Indian Govt. to Set up Gem Certifying Labs

New Delhi: To weed out fakes precious gemstones, the government has begun a process similar to hallmarking of gold which it says will help reinforce consumer confidence in Indian gems and jewellery industry, reports The Economic Times.

With no regulation for testing and certifying coloured gemstones and increasing proliferation of online jewellery stores, the commerce department along with industry and accreditation bodies plans to set up government accredited labs whose certification is globally recognized.

“We want consumers to know the purity of coloured gemstones they buy. We have suggested labs to certify coloured gemstones, on the lines of hallmarking. There is no formal mechanism to know how testing of precious gemstones is done because of which consumers get duped and end up paying higher prices,” said a commerce department official.

The department has mooted a separate accreditation body for gemstones as many private labs claiming to certify these jewels have mushroomed in the country.

“Private labs have certificates which are not recognized anywhere. In a way, there is more cheating and consumers are losing confidence,” said an industry representative.

India’s exports of gems and jewellery dropped 3.46 per cent in 2015-16 to $38.5 billion from $39.9 billion in 2014-15. Exports of coloured gemstones dropped 4.43 per cent in FY16 to $433.18 million. Even though gems and jewellery exports accounted for almost 15 per cent of India’s total exports last financial year, it was the fifth successive year of drop in shipment.

Explaining that certification is a complicated and subjective process, the first official said that even though there are no government accredited labs to verify precious rocks, accreditation by international players including GIA, HRD and IGI, is recognized in India.

On its part, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council has set up gemstone certification centres in Delhi, Jaipur, Surat and Mumbai and tests around 35 gemstones per day. The Gemmological Institute of India (GII) too has set up a diamond detection machine to detect synthetic diamonds from the natural ones.