De Beers, the premier supplier of rough diamonds to the world, plans to set up a synthetic diamond detection centre in India next month. It has been a request from Indian processing companies. It might install the machines either in Surat or at Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), here. In March, it had set up a grading and inscription facility in Surat, at an investment of Rs 60 crore. There are a few synthetic diamond detecting machines at BDB but none are available to identify synthetic diamonds in ornaments. The BDB machines have a long waiting list for testing.
“We will launch a new low-cost, high-volume synthetic melee screening and referrals testing service in India in October,” said Jonathan Kendall, president of International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research, part of De Beers.
Adding: “We have renowned expertise in the application of diamond technology and India is the world’s largest centre for diamond cutting and polishing. Launching (this) service in India for screening synthetic melee and testing referrals will support both trade and consumer confidence.”
“A lot of mixing of synthetic with natural diamonds is happening. The new detection centre would help the industry to segregate (these),” said Sanjay Kothari, a sector veteran.
In recent years, import of synthetic diamonds has increased from many places, including Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong. The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has urged the government to fix a separate HS Code (under which imported goods are identified). Currently, synthetic diamonds are imported under the natural diamond code.
GJEPC data show rough synthetic diamonds’ import was $86 million in 2013-14, a 21-times increase in 10 years from a mere $4 mn in 2004-05.
“We had requested global diamond miners, including De Beers and Alrosa, for setting up such machines in India. We had also urged Gemological Institute of America. It is good that De Beers has honoured our request. We believe others would follow,” said Sabyasachi Ray, executive director, GJEPC.
Around nine-tenths of all rough diamonds mined in the world are processed in India.