WFDB: Re­vised FTC Guide­lines Not In Line With Agreed Ter­mi­nol­ogy

Solitaire - - SPECTRUM -

The World Fed­er­a­tion of Di­a­mond Bourses (WFDB) has re­sponded to the re­vised U.S. Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion’s (FTC) guide­lines re­leased re­cently as they re­late to the is­sue of de­scrip­tors for di­a­monds.

The new guide­lines are not in line with the Di­a­mond Ter­mi­nol­ogy Guide­lines as agreed last year and im­ple­mented by the WFDB, the In­ter­na­tional Di­a­mond

Coun­cil, the In­ter­na­tional Di­a­mond Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and CIBJO, the World Jew­ellery Con­fed­er­a­tion, said WFDB pres­i­dent Ernie Blom. How­ever, he pointed out that the new guide­lines do re­quire that all lab-grown di­a­monds must be clearly and con­spic­u­ously dis­closed.

“We have a united stand re­gard­ing nomen­cla­ture which was agreed with all the com­bined knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence of the lead­ing in­dus­try bod­ies, but the FTC ap­pears to have moved in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion,” Blom said.

Pre­vi­ously, the FTC’s guide­lines ap­proved non-mined di­a­monds: lab­o­ra­tory-cre­ated, lab­o­ra­tory-grown, [man­u­fac­turer-name]cre­ated, and syn­thetic as de­scrip­tors, and while the first three re­main, it has re­moved the term syn­thetic.

Blom said, “We feel that these changes pro­vide too much of a bias to­wards the lab-grown di­a­mond sec­tor. We ap­pre­ci­ate the hard work of the FTC, but we do not feel that the views of the di­a­mond sec­tor were taken suf­fi­ciently into ac­count, though we ac­knowl­edge there was con­sul­ta­tion with Amer­i­can in­dus­try bod­ies. The guide­lines do not in­clude the views of the global di­a­mond trade which the WFDB rep­re­sents, al­though we are pleased that lab-grown stones have to be clearly marked as such.

“Our paramount aim is al­ways con­sumer con­fi­dence and the re­vi­sion has the po­ten­tial to cause a de­gree of con­fu­sion. The FTC notes that man­u­fac­tur­ers that make di­a­monds in a fac­tory set­ting are free to use other de­scrip­tors as long as they ‘clearly and con­spic­u­ously con­vey that the prod­uct is not a mined stone,’ but we feel that this might pro­vide too much lat­i­tude in their mar­ket­ing claims.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate that the FTC re­jected a bid by di­a­mond grow­ers to in­clude terms such as [man­u­fac­turer-name]-grown, foundry, cre­ated, and grown. These are stones cre­ated to or­der in a fac­tory. We are also pleased that the FTC makes clear that any de­scrip­tors for non-mined di­a­monds must be ab­so­lutely clear and promi­nently dis­played to con­sumers. A di­a­mond sold without any de­scrip­tors must be a nat­u­ral di­a­mond.

“We hope that the door is still open for us to go back and ap­proach the FTC in or­der to try and per­suade the or­gan­i­sa­tion to re-think its de­ci­sion,” Blom added.

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