Diamond Trade Subject to Arbitration on Color Grading Standards

Thursday,12 October 2017 02:340 Comments

Members of the diamond trade may face arbitration for dealing in diamonds with a color grade that differs from industry standards by more than one grade, according to a new policy issued by various industry organizations. The bodies are considering extending the policy to include clarity grading.


Formulated by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and CIBJO – The World Jewellery Confederation.


The policy states that compliance regarding diamond color grades should be brought before the authorized body of a bourse, which will determine the broadly accepted industry benchmark to be used in the case. The bodies recognized the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the International Diamond Council (IDC) as the industry-accepted standards.


The diamond should then be submitted by the local bourse to a respected laboratory, or three recognized gem experts, to be graded based upon on the industry benchmark chosen by the bourse. If an independent examination concludes that the diamond’s color grading exceeded  the accepted industry standard by more than one grade, the bourse will be tasked with taking necessary measures, including disciplinary action against the relevant parties.


The directive was sent by the associations in late March to their respective members but was announced publicly by Ernie Blom, the president of the WFDB, during the presidents meeting in Tel Aviv last week.


“Due to the subjective nature of gem grading, it is widely accepted that a difference of up to one grade in color and clarity should be tolerated,” Blom said. “This has already been established as the industry norm and we are reiterating the importance that our members should adhere to that norm to ensure continued consumer confidence in diamonds.”


Blom later clarified that the formal policy regarding arbitration for failure to adhere to industry grading standards applied only to color grades at this time. However, he anticipates that industry organizations would work to include a limit of one degree difference in clarity grading under the enforcement policy as well.

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