Responses by Sriram Natarajan, Managing Director of GIA India regarding BDB’s approval of lab-grown diamond (LGD), fully digital reports for LGD and increased duty on imported cut and polished LGD
Q: BDB members have given in-principle approval for laboratory-grown diamond (LGD) trading. Please share your reaction/thoughts.
SN: It is an encouraging move to allow laboratory-grown diamond trading within BDB. I believe it will help in the long-term sustainability of the Indian diamond manufacturing industry. Various bodies such as BDB, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and many others, including GIA, have spread awareness about laboratory-grown diamonds, identification and identification instruments and services, as well as the importance of full disclosure. Also, BDB is working on creating a set of guidelines to ensure separation of the natural and laboratory-grown diamond pipelines; I’m confident that the industry will welcome it and ensure the strictest compliance. The industry awareness and adherence to guidelines will ensure both the natural and laboratory-grown diamond industries co-exist and grow independently.
Q: GIA also introduced new, fully-digital reports for LGDs with specific colour and clarity grades. Can you explain the reason behind this decision?
SN: GIA has been grading laboratory-grown diamonds since 2007. Recently, we introduced LGDR by GIA – a family of four new digital-only reports for laboratory-grown diamonds with 4Cs color and clarity specifications. These specifications would replace the descriptive terms and grade ranges previously used on GIA reports for laboratory-grown diamonds. The four LGDR by GIA reports feature a distinct new look and updated format fully differentiated from GIA’s well-known grading reports for natural diamonds. The new LGDR reports state that the stone was created by either the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) or high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) method, and whether it may include post-growth treatments to change the colour. All laboratory-grown diamonds submitted to GIA will be laser-inscribed with the GIA report number and the words “LABORATORY-GROWN” to ensure that consumers can clearly differentiate them from natural diamonds.
The evolution of GIA’s reports for laboratory-grown diamonds is fully aligned with our mission to protect all consumers. Everyone who purchases gemstone jewellery – whether natural or laboratory-grown – expects and deserves the information, confidence and protection that come with a GIA report.
Q: The Union Budget 2021-2022 called for an increase in duty on imported cut and polished laboratory-grown diamonds. Do you think this will lead to an increased LGD production and decreased consumption of natural diamonds?
SN: We believe that natural and laboratory-grown diamonds will coexist and both will have a market of their own. Laboratory-grown diamonds may have the benefit of affordability. The story of a natural diamond is unique – a product that was formed a billion years ago, several hundred miles under the earth, brought to the surface by volcanic activity, and a natural resource that’s depleting over time. We believe the growth of laboratory-grown diamonds will expand the overall diamond market and bring in new customers. Ensuring consumers’ trust with GIA’s reliable, independent and authoritative grading reports for all diamonds benefits and protects the public and the entire gem and jewellery industry.