The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) – formerly the Diamond Producers Association – has expanded its diamond detection initiative, the Assure Program, which was first launched in 2019.
The Assure Program is designed to “protect consumers and safeguard the integrity of the natural diamond supply chain” by providing third-party testing of what the NDC terms “diamond verification instruments” – that is, detectors of lab-grown diamonds and diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia.
Detectors are evaluated against stringent criteria by an independent testing laboratory – UL, a “global safety certification” business headquartered in the US – allowing jewellery retailers to accurately compare devices from different manufacturers and across price ranges.
The NDC claimed that in just over a year, the program had tested approximately 80 per cent of the “commercially available and viable diamond verification instruments”, with a “positive welcome by the industry”.
In order to broaden the scope of the program and double testing capacity, the NDC has engaged a second laboratory, located at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.
Both testing facilities will use identical samples and procedures, and “work simultaneously to enhance the long-term sustainability of the Assure Program”.
Notably, diamond-set jewellery will also now be included in testing. The testing samples have also been updated to “reflect goods currently circulating in the market, as well as individual stones that anticipate future trends and pose some of the greatest challenges to diamond verification instruments.”
Raluca Anghel, head of external affairs and industry relations at the NDC, said, “By enhancing and improving the Assure Program we are taking even greater strides in protecting consumer confidence.
“Everyone is responsible for correctly disclosing the nature of the product they are selling, but to facilitate this we need robust diamond verification instruments that are rigorously tested. With this latest iteration of the Assure Program, manufacturers will be presented with vital information to continue improving their devices and consumers can be assured of the vigorous steps taken to ensure their confidence.”
Yoram Dvash, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, praised the Assure Program for “its important role in protecting consumers and enabling them to feel confident in their diamond purchases.”
He added, “The global diamond industry needs to strive for full transparency in order to safeguard consumer confidence. I call on diamond manufacturers to submit their diamond verification instruments to the Assure testing program, thereby contributing to the integrity of the natural diamond pipeline.”
The testing program is particularly relevant to the Indian market, where new customs export codes for lab-created and natural diamonds will come into effect on 1 January 2022.
Colin Shah, chairman of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, said, “Only through accurate identification can businesses correctly disclose their products and ensure a smooth customs process, and the Assure Program’s efforts to provide manufacturers with detailed characterisation data will lead to even greater levels of accuracy for exports.”
Starting in October 2021, manufacturers of detectors may submit both new instruments and existing instruments that have already been tested – but whose AssureTested Certification is approaching the two-year expiry date – to be re-tested with the updated sample.
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