The Diamondguild of Antwerp has decided to respond to this situation of synthetic and manipulation of diamonds and against accusations, real or otherwise, from ONG’s and the international press. The creation of the ‘Bureau of Mineral and Gemmology’ independent of the Federation will issue a ‘quality label’ to its members after a thorough investigation.
Introduction of the “5 C’s” TM by the Diamondguild DealersA new revolution
This new and real revolution created under the auspices of the Diamondguild Dealers is to regain confidence in diamonds and precious stones. The ‘Bureau of Minerals and Gemmology (BMG)’ was established within the Federation in order to support diamond dealers in the promotion of nature’s most beautiful product ‘diamonds‘.
The trade in precious stones and especially in diamonds has experienced a difficult period. Since some years NGO’s have focused on diamond dealers, mostly unjustified, for the purchase of rough diamonds from conflict areas. The proceeds of the sales of these rough diamonds are used to buy weapons and thereby encouraging civil strives. Studies have been made by independent organisations which show that these transactions amount to less than 2% of the world production. Nevertheless, this was still too much for the Antwerp diamond sector which already exercised a strict control via the Antwerp Diamond High Council in the form of Certificates of Origin, a system which was imposed a year later by the United Nations and other diamond centres.
Since 2003 it has become impossible to import rough diamonds in a diamond centre without the ‘Kimberly’ document. However, NGO’s were not convinced and, according to them, there were still ‘leaks’ in the system.
The whole sector was also subjected to a slander campaign in connection to ‘child labour ‘ for the cutting of very small, labour intensive diamonds, as is the case in the textile industry. In the Far East and Latin American countries children of 10 and 12 years of age work under lamentable conditions for up to 12 hours per day. In the diamond sector this occurs seldom. Thanks to this present initiative the diamantaire using directly or indirectly child labour will never have the opportunity to qualify for the ‘5 C’s’ label for his products.
Some ‘diamantaires’ of suspicious background have been able to infiltrate this closed business, which is so dependent on honesty. Through pressure of the media, the political world and, above all, globalisation, the sector has become more transparent which opens opportunities for infiltration by malafide elements.
For these problems the label ‘5 C’s’ will offer a drastic solution as the diamantaire who aspires to the ‘5 C’s’ branding will have to submit to the BMG experts the origins of the funds.
Never attempted or heard of previously in the diamond and precious stones trade; a professional association, which guarantees their members to the jeweller and the final consumer. The Diamondguild will issue a written guarantee that the stone(s) accompanied by the usual 4 C’s certificate also carries the 5 C’s label if it complies with following criteria:
- ‘Confidence’ confirming the 4 C that the stone(s) are natural and not manipulated.
- ‘Code of Conduct’ a deontological code undersigned by the manufacturer and under control of the Federation.
- ‘Clean and Conflict free of origin’ not involving any white washing practice and imported and cut correctly. Not originating from a conflict area.
- ‘Child labour free’ and cut under strict supervised safety and hygienic standards.
- ‘Cut in Antwerp’ or in another diamond cutting centre so that, as in other manufactured goods (electronics, cars, watches, fashion etc.) the product is identifiable.
The 5 C’s provides 5 criteria, which will once more elevate diamonds to the honourable place it deserves. Various jewellers association have already enthusiastically welcomed this initiative. The International Diamond Workers Association which has excellent relations with the Diamondguild concerning ethics in the diamond business has given its approval.
The 5 C’s certificate will be issued by the Federation’s ‘Bureau of Minerals and Gemmology’ (BMG). This organisation will work with local accredited experts and correspondents in the major diamond cutting centres under administrative and scientific supervision in Antwerp.
A guarantee card in credit card format with electronic chip will accompany every stone. It will contain the 4 C certificate provided by one of the recognised labs and the Federations document. This confirms the ‘honesty’ of the diamond as symbol of love and joy but above all it’s irreproachable origin.
The NGO’s will have a watertight guarantee. The diamond dealer will be satisfied to find a worthy product to sell to his clients. The jeweller who will be able to sell a ‘clean’ product with a clear conscience and without fear of being accused of handling conflict diamonds.
The consumer who will be in possession of a guarantee card and will have peace of mind that the stone originates from a conflict-free mine and cut under best conditions. He can proudly display the stone. The precious stone dealers in rubies, sapphires and emeralds who were accused in connection of the origin and cutting can also make use of this system.
The diamond, precious stones and jeweller’s sector has come into a period of rehabilitation.
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