Ernie Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, has issued a new policy on colour grading to all members of the organisation, issuing the following statement:
As we are all too aware, the issue of color grading has become controversial over the past year, with complaints regarding the standards of grading by some labs.
In this respect, I am sending the attached document: New Policy on Color Grading and Industry Best Practice. This is a joint statement supported by the WFDB, IDMA and CIBJO.
It is important that we stress the industry-wide support for this statement – from rough and polished manufacturers, traders and dealers to jewelry makers and retail operations. This policy statement makes it quite clear that there will be no hiding place for labs who break the rules.
Doing so cheats members of the diamond and jewelry industries, but it also could have a disastrous effect on consumer confidence. We must not only talk about the importance of consumer confidence, but show the steps we are taking to defend it.
Please forward this important document to all members of your bourse, stressing the importance in all its aspects – from moral to financial – of members supporting this policy and acting together to stamp out over-grading for which we can have nothing but zero tolerance.
New Policy on Color Grading and Industry Best Practice
In the framework of the present and intense industry debate on grading and representation of polished diamonds, the WORLD FEDERATION OF DIAMOND BOURSES (WFDB), the WORLD EWELLERY CONFEDERATION (CIBJO) and the INTERNATIONAL DIAMOND MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION (IDMA) direct a new policy to all accredited bourses, organizations and their members.
- The WFDB, CIBJO and IDMA direct their bourses and organizations to protect the integrity of diamonds and of the diamond trade and to maintain, implement and enforce upon their members high ethical standards in all areas including that of accurate descriptions and representations of diamonds.
- Within the framework of the above, the WFDB, CIBJO and IDMA announce their new policy defining and promoting best practice on color grading, through the diamond pipeline as set up below.
- Within current industry expertise, the industry-accepted standards and nomenclature based on master color sets (D-Z scale) of the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and the IDC (International Diamond Council), the development of new technology and present code of best practices, the WFDB, CIBJO and IDMA stipulate that the color grading of a diamond more than one grade from a broadly accepted industry benchmark, is unacceptable.
- In the event of a complaint, or a challenge to a report brought before the authorised body of a Bourse (including mediation or arbitration), the authorised body will determine the broadly accepted industry benchmark (GIA and IDC standards). In addition, the authorised body will submit the diamond to a leading, respected laboratory or to three (3) recognised expert gemologists or diamantaires, qualified to provide a report on any diamond in question in terms of which it shall determine whether the color grading exceeded accepted industry benchmark (GIA and IDC standards) by more than one grade.
- If the independent examination confirms that a breach has occurred, all necessary measures will be taken, including possible disciplinary actions.
- Future possible detailed recommendations, directives and sanctions to be taken in the event of violations may be sent to all relevant parties in order to be enforced by them, on their members, subject to the prevailing laws of any jurisdiction.
- The WFDB, CIBJO and IDMA are presently considering legal advice from different jurisdictions as to the integration of their respective recommendations within individual national jurisdictions, state and city laws.
- The WFDB, CIBJO and IDMA are issuing this new policy so as to provide clear and explicit guidance to their members regarding their proper future conduct and best practice, to publicise the policy and the possible severe disciplinary consequences in the event of any contraventions.
Ongoing investigations into various aspects of certification, already a focus of the WFDB, CIBJO and IDMA, will inform and help determine any future measures or adaptations to future recommended industry best practice.