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The new ISO standard provides clear definitions around the nomenclature that should be used when describing diamonds
The new ISO standard provides clear definitions around the nomenclature that should be used when describing diamonds

New diamond standard to impact entire industry

A set of international guidelines designed to provide consumers with greater confidence when buying diamonds has gained support from a number of industry organisations.

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) have welcomed the international standard, with Australia’s peak jewellery industry body, the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA), also announcing plans for its use within the local trade.

As previously reported by Jeweller, the ISO 18323:2015, Jewellery – Consumer confidence in the diamond industry standard released by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides guidelines on the nomenclature that should be used by those involved in the buying and selling of different diamond types.

Ernie Blom, WFDB president
Ernie Blom, WFDB president

While offering clarity to manufacturers and suppliers, the standard was specifically designed to provide consumers with a greater understanding of the industry and thus increase confidence when purchasing diamonds.

WFDB president Ernie Blom explained that the process of creating a new ISO standard began seven years ago and that the WFDB had been involved in formulating the definitions, along with other industry stakeholders.

“The importance of this standard lies in the fact that it sets out which nomenclature can be used and which cannot in the purchase and sale of diamonds, treated diamonds and synthetic diamonds,” Blom said.

A CIBJO media statement noted that the standard mirrored the terminology outlined in the organisation’s Diamond Blue Book (CIBJO’s industry standards manual), which were, in turn, aligned with those of the International Diamond Council (IDC).

“This a development of the utmost importance, not only for us in the industry, but first and foremost for jewellery consumers, who are now better protected through international conventions than they previously were,” CIBJO president Gaetano Cavalieri added.

Clear definition
Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO president
Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO president

The standard explicitly defined a diamond as having been “created by nature” and also noted “the denomination ‘diamond’ without further specification always implies ‘natural diamond’”. Further to this, the only terms permitted to describe a synthetic diamond were ‘laboratory-grown diamond’ or ‘laboratory-created diamond’.

“[The standard] unambiguously bars the use of adjectives such as ‘cultured’ and ‘cultivated’, as well as ‘real’, ‘genuine’, ‘precious’ and ‘gem’ to describe any synthetic diamond,” the CIBJO statement added. “The use of such words can be considered deceptive.”

The issue of diamond grading was not specifically addressed in the standard.

“ISO notes very clearly the issues that the WFDB has been emphasising for some time: the need for integrity and transparency to ensure that consumers have total confidence in our products,” Blom said. “Buyers do not usually have the technical knowledge to understand the many aspects of diamonds and so they are reliant on correct and honest labelling.

“I would highly recommend that diamond industry members view information regarding the new ISO standard.”

Local impact
Colin Pocklington, JAA Code of Conduct chair
Colin Pocklington, JAA Code of Conduct chair

Colin Pocklington, chair for the JAA Code of Conduct, also recommended that those working in the industry – retailers in particular – adhered to the new standard.

“The Code already requires laboratory-created or grown gemstones to be designated as ‘laboratory-grown’ or ‘laboratory-created’ as per CIBJO guidelines. However, we are pleased that this definitive standard has been issued,” he said.

“In the next revision of the Code, we will refer to the new ISO standard. In particular, that the use of the word ‘diamond’ without further specification implies a natural diamond.”

Pocklington expected that a revised version of the Code would be released in September this year.

The new ISO standard can be viewed at

More reading
Revenue slumps for big diamond producers
JAA Code of Conduct complaints on the rise
Industry’s Code of Conduct receives update

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Wednesday, 22 January, 2020 09:36am
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