July 2019, India: Recently India introduced an import classification code solely for lab-grown rough diamonds, which would enable the industry to better identify lab-grown diamonds and keep track of the goods as opposed to the olden days where all categories were being marked as synthetic. Perhaps, the move also stems from the actions of GIA (Gemological Institute of India) and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) earlier this year, where both banned the word ‘synthetic’ for usage against lab-grown diamonds. Both of these institutes now classify lab-grown diamonds as real diamonds as they have the same optical, physical, thermal and chemical properties.
The government has separated the Indian Trade Clarification (ITC) code for rough synthetic gemstones into diamonds and non-diamonds, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) reported last week. The move will help organizations such as the GJEPC track the precise quantities of lab-grown diamonds coming into the market, explained Colin Shah, the council’s vice chairman.
Previously, all rough synthetic gemstones carried the same Indian import code — 71042000 — whether they were man-made diamonds or other stones. From now on, rough lab-grown diamonds will fall into 71042010, while other rough synthetic stones will be assigned 71042090. Trade data for the two categories is likely to be available starting in August, the GJEPC said. “This will go a long way in strengthening the efforts of the council to monitor the two pipelines and maintain their integrity,” said GJEPC chairman Pramod Agrawal.
With the increasing demand for lab-grown diamonds, government agencies and international organizations such as the GIA are initiating efforts to regularize the trade of lab-grown diamonds in a manner that would motivate the industry patrons to venture with faith into this peaking industry that is estimated to grow to INR 36,000 CR by end of 2023 and exceed INR 1,00,000 Cr by 2035, according to a recent report by renowned analyst, Paul Zimnisky.
The increasing prices of natural diamonds due to decreasing supply, high maintenance and promotion costs, increasing gold price have led consumers to now look for sustainable alternatives and lab-grown diamonds fit perfectly into these categories.
Pooja Sheth, MD & Founder of Limelight Handcrafted Diamonds, adds “The lab-grown diamond industry is booming and there is no denying that. The consumers are completely aware of the product that they are being offered and what’s more is that they aren’t the ones to shy away from it. Initiatives such as introducing new import codes will strengthen our industry more as this will help to capture precise data leading to more transparency as opposed to the olden times where knowing the source of a diamond was a mammoth task . Being an advocate of total transparency, I support this move and think our industry will benefit greatly from it, be it the lab-grown or the mined diamond industry.”