Mumbai: The Diamond Detection Expo & Symposium (DDES) 2015 opened at the BDB today with Praveenshankar Pandya, Chairman GJEPC and Anoop Mehta, President BDB strongly reiterating that the Indian diamond industry stood firmly committed to taking all steps necessary to prevent undisclosed mixing and establish separate footprints for natural and synthetic diamonds as this would help maintain consumer confidence in natural diamonds.
Pandya announced that the industry would soon be forming a Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee (NDMC) in Surat along the lines of the similar body it has set up in Mumbai for this purpose. GJEPC would, along with the NDMC, help to develop a network of detection centres with the required equipment and personnel in all major manufacturing centres in Gujarat.
The DDES is a first of its kind Expo and Symposium that is a platform for the trade to interact with developers of machines and technology for detection of natural diamonds and synthetic ones. It is being organised by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) in association with Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB).
Introducing DDES and welcoming all the participants and visitors, Pandya said that this first of its kind event would serve as a platform for members of the trade to learn about recent scientific and technological advancements in the field. The two day event would have both knowledge sessions and actual displays of available machines, he said, so that the industry could learn not only about what currently exists, but also about possible future developments. This, he added, would play an important part in helping to prepare a road map for strengthening consumer confidence in natural diamonds.
Pandya said that the aim of the Council was to spread awareness about the issue and about steps that could be taken to prevent mixing, as well as to make detection technology accessible to the Small and Medium Enterprises which are such an important part of the industry.
Though currently the production of synthetic diamonds is at very minimal levels (about 0.3% of natural diamond production), Pandya said that Council wanted to ensure that the industry is equipped and prepared even if production of synthetic diamonds increased rapidly and rose to say 3% of natural diamond production.
In his address, Anoop Mehta pointed out that the BDB had already banned the trading of synthetic diamonds within its premises. He said the Bourse was not against synthetics, but had acted based on the overwhelming sentiment among members that this was a necessary step to prevent mixing. The BDB has also been instrumental in making detection technology accessible to its members through the Diamond Detection and Resource Centre (DDRC) that has been established within the bourse premises. BDB would also help manufacturers who wished to display their machines and technology to the trade.
Mehta said that the industry was working to ensure that a day would soon come when every business would be able to install detection machines within its offices. This could happen if demand for the technology increased bringing the unit cost of each machine within reach of even the smaller businesses. He said this was not an impossible dream, and drew a parallel with digital technology that had completely replaced the old diamond weighing scales in a matter of a little more than a decade. When these machines first entered the market, only the bigger companies could install them, but now it was an essential part of every office, he noted.
Speaking at a Press Conference held at the venue, both Pandya and Mehta also expressed confidence that the technology for detection of every type of synthetic stone was available, and the main challenge before the industry was to ensure it spread widely thus becoming more cost-effective and easily accessible.
At the press meet, Ashish Mehta, Convener NDMC, GJEPC said that the committee had commissioned a study a couple of years ago and had concluded that the percentage of synthetic diamonds was extremely low (about 0.3% of natural diamond production). He announced that the NDMC would soon initiate another study of the current situation regarding the production of synthetics as well as the possible scaling up that could be expected in the future.
Organizations that are exhibiting at DDES include IIDGR of De Beers, GIA, HRD Antwerp, GSI, IGI, DRC Techno, IDI and Bruker Optic. The Expo, which will be on till December 16, is open to all members of the trade.