Archive for the ‘Diamond Regulation’ Category

Blood Tainted Diamonds: Three Ways to Avoid Them

Conscientious customers nowadays typically inquire about the source of the diamonds they are intending or considering to purchase. “Blood diamonds” have been so named because armed factions in a number of politically unstable African states routinely coerce local populations to work the diamond mines under extreme working conditions and for very little pay.

Concerned consumers generally have three options when it comes to avoiding blood diamonds. These are: (1) buying from retailers that deal solely in diamonds mined from Canada or Australia; (2) buying a synthetic diamond; or (3) buying diamonds that have been certified by the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
Conflict-free diamonds
Diamond mining operations in Canada and Australia comply with all relevant regulations and best-practices recommendations and are certainly conflict-free. The provincial government of the Northwest Territories of Canada, for example, issues its own certificates of authenticity for diamonds that have been mined within its territory and are then processed into gems at centers and labs within the province. These diamonds basically never leave the Canadian Northwest and so do not run the risk of being mixed with diamonds from other sources prior to cutting, faceting, and polishing.
Synthetic diamonds
Another way to ensure that a customer is not buying a blood diamond is by choosing a man-made diamond. Synthetic
diamonds are an alternative for those who are looking for value at a lower price. But most synthetics are limited to shades of yellow, and many of the big gem labs have refused to grade them. Without a reliable grade certificate from an established gem lab, the price of an individual synthetic might not correspond well with its actual 4Cs. The biggest drawback of synthetics is, of course, their lack of uniqueness. They come in batches, and individual gems in every batch are practically identical microscopically. The ownership of expensive synthetics can be difficult to establish, and some companies have thus resorted to techniques such as laser etching to “individualize” each gem.
Kimberly Process Certificates
Other than buying natural diamonds that had been mined and processed in Canada or Australia, the third and least reliable way for potential buyers to ensure that they purchase a non-conflict diamond is to look for a Kimberly Process Certificate. The Kimberly Process however is a voluntary system and has been criticized by some of its own originators. Partnership Africa Canada’s 2009 Diamonds and Human Security Annual Review states that the KPCS doesn’t have the teeth to enforce its prescription since legislation in participating countries is inadequate or poorly enforced, monitoring and statistical information on trades are spotty, and smuggling and non-compliance are not being effectively sanctioned. Although the Kimberly Process has received much criticism as of late, it is still the only existing system for screening rough diamonds that have not been sourced from either Canada or Australia. And since Africa is the source of approximately 65% of the world’s supply of rough diamonds, the Kimberly Process Certificate is still better than no certificate at all.

Don’t be Fooled by Enhanced Diamonds

The phrase ‘too good to be true’ can be applied to everything in life, including diamond jewelry.If you find a cheap engagement ring or bridal ring, or see signs for wholesale diamond rings, be sure that the seller isn’t cutting their price by cutting quality.While there are excuengagesive retailers who can offer you genuine designer diamond rings and other natural diamond jewelry at a great price, many offer low prices because they are using enhanced diamonds.

Unlike high quality natural diamonds, enhanced diamonds are inferior stones that have been artificially treated to hide cracks, repair ugly inclusions and improve their color.These treatments are unnerving by any standard and include laser drilling and boiling in sulfuric acid to remove black or dirty inclusions, exposure to radiation to enhance or change the stone’s color, placing the diamond in extreme heat and pressure to improve clarity, using a sealant to hid cracks and pits in the diamond, and being coated with a substance to add a reflective effect.

While all of these treatments can result in a gemstone that is cheaper than a natural diamond, don’t be fooled.Enhanced diamonds cost less because they are lower quality, and therefore less valuable.In fact, there is heated debate in the jewelry industry about the use of treatments to enhance diamonds, as it can make stones difficult to grade and certify accurately.

Under US law  , all enhanced diamonds must be declared and sold as such.One of the most common practices to enhance diamonds that must be declared is laser drilling to dissolve inclusions to improve clarity.These holes are clearly visible under a jeweler’s microscope and it is debated whether or not this process damages the integrity of stone.

The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is the leading organization in studying and grading diamonds and all other gemstones, and they also require that all diamonds that have been laser drilled must be disclosed as enhanced.When buying diamond jewelry make sure it comes with a clear appraisal that discloses full information about each stone.

If clear information about stone enhancements is not immediately available, or a customer service rep does not want to talk about this process openly then walk away and look elsewhere for a natural, high quality diamond.

Unfortunately, just because a diamond has not been laser drilled does not mean that it hasn’t been subjected to other enhancement treatments such as a being boiled in sulfuric acid. Most inferior stones actually have fractures that extend to the surface from inclusions deep in the stone that allow the acid to travel into the inclusion without holes being bored.

Would you consider buying a diamond ring if you knew the diamond had been immersed in sulfuric acid?Or buy a diamond bracelet that had been exposed to radiation? Would you buy any kind of gemstone jewelry that you knew had cracks that had to be filled with a sealant?

The GIA has announced that new treatments to artificially enhance diamonds are being developed all the time, making it more difficult for customers to identify and buy a genuine, natural diamond.They have reported finding diamonds being sold with “an uneven texture with abundant fractures” and “unevenness in their color”[1] although they couldn’t identify what techniques had been used to treat the stone. Another report noted that High Press/ Heat Treated (HPHT) annealing of diamonds is “one of the most serious challenges the diamond industry has ever faced”[2]

This worrying trend makes it even more important to only buy diamond jewelry from a source that you trust, and who are dedicated to only creating designer diamond jewelry using the highest quality, natural diamonds.Look for sites that advertise that they don’t use enhanced diamonds, and have clear certification for all of their diamond jewelry from

While enhancements may not be visible to the naked eye, they will certainly be visible to a trained jeweler or appraiser.While you may not be immediately concerned about the resale price of your diamond bracelet, engagement ring or gold diamond ring,any valuable piece of diamond jewelry is an investment in the future, and you will certainly want to make sure that any jewelry passed down from generation to generation is the highest value that it can be.