Diamonds sparkle at the Academy Awards

Diamonds were a hit on Oscar night, showcasing some of the most dazzling diamonds on offer at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

Academy Awards hostess, Anne Hathaway, set off her bare neckline with a $10 million Tiffany Lucida Star Diamond necklace set with a total of 94 carats of diamonds. The necklace was paired with 10-carat diamond earrings, also from Tiffany, and a 5-carat diamond ring. Best actress award winner Natalie Portman accessorized with a Tiffany rubellite tassel earrings set with rose-cut diamonds, an Elsa Peretti Diamonds by the yard bracelet, diamond earrings worn as hair accessories and a diamond ring, both by Jean Schlumberger.

De Beers Forevermark brand featured strongly among the guests. Melissa Leo accepted her best supporting actress award wearing Forevermark 2.05-carat diamond drop earrings paired with a 10-carat Forevermark diamond flower ring.

Amy Adams jazzed up her deep midnight blue L’Wren Scott sequined gown with a Cartier emerald and pearl necklace that layered over the navy blue beads of her dress and a striking platinum houte joaillarie secret watch bracelet set with several rows of colorless diamonds and featuring a large carved emerald watch face in the center, also by Cartier.

Best actress nominee Nicole Kidman matched her Dior Couture gown with a 150-carat 19th Century Riviere diamond necklace by Fred Leighton and wore the long strand of old-mine diamonds as a choker, with a string of sparkling stones trailing down her open back.

Actress Helen Mirren was nearly all Cartier, wearing a classic silk gray gown designed by Vivienne Westwood in collaboration with Cartier jewels. She complimented the shape and color of her dress with a vintage platinum necklace from 1907 set with diamonds and pearls, and a large diamond and platinum bracelet from Cartier’s Archive Museum Collection.

Jennifer Hudson wore a fancy colored diamond and platinum ring, platinum and diamond earrings, a wide 50-carat diamond and platinum bracelet, and a platinum and diamond leaf bracelet all by Neil Lane. Colored diamonds also made an appearance on best actress nominee Jennifer Laurence who displayed platinum and fancy yellow 16-carat diamond earrings by Chopard. Sandra Bullock was spotted donning diamond and platinum stud earrings, together with vintage platinum and diamond bangles by Harry Winston.

Mila Kunis was glamorous in Neil Lane diamond and platinum cocktail ring, line bracelet, bangle and earrings totalling 30 carats while Penelope Cruz wore a 10-carat pink sapphire ring with two carat diamonds by Chopard. Young best supporting actress nominee Hailee Steinfeld was ballerina pretty with her platinum and 10-carat diamond headband, and a platinum and diamond ring by Fred Leighton.

Conclusion of Taylor Trial Delayed

Boycott of the trial by former Liberian President Charles Taylor could delay its conclusion indefinitely.

The war crimes trial of Charles Taylor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague was set to close this week. However, the final proceedings may now be delayed in much the same manner that the opening was postponed just over three years ago: amidst a boycott by the former Liberian President.

Testimony was supposed to close the trial this week, with the defense scheduled to present its closing arguments on Wednesday and rebuttals taking place on Friday. However, true to the drama that has beset the trial from the start, Taylor’s lawyer, Courtenay Griffiths, stormed out on Tuesday to protest the court’s refusal to accept the defense’s final written case summary.

The court reasoned that the document was filed some 20 days late, while Griffiths argued that he had requested an extension on the January deadline. He explained that the submission of his defense summation was contingent on rulings on eight legal matters that were rendered after the filing deadline.

The British lawyer said he would boycott the hearing until the document was accepted.

Following his lawyer’s example, Taylor “waived his right” to attend Wednesday’s hearing. As the defense appeals the court’s rejection of its summation document, the closing could be delayed indefinitely.

It is not the first time Taylor has halted the trial. Back in June 2007, Taylor boycotted the opening sessions and dismissed his initial legal team, causing a delay of six months until new counsel was assigned.

The trial has been a long, drawn-out process. Since January 2008, the court has heard evidence from 94 prosecution witnesses and 21 for the defense and has admitted 1,093 exhibits. Its very nature has also been a sensitive one, with the location moved from Freetown to The Hague so as not to evoke too much emotion amongst the local Sierra Leone population.

The issue of whether the boycotts are defense tactics or legitimate legal protests will hopefully be ironed out by the procedural decisions of the presiding judges sooner rather than later. The population of Sierra Leoneans would surely like to put this final chapter of its ugly civil war to bed – with justice served.

Rather than divert attention to the procedural issues facing the court, it is worth stressing what is at stake for the people of Sierra Leone, as well as for the diamond industry in these penultimate moments of the trial.

It may be easy to forget that the tragic civil war in Sierra Leone, the backdrop to the trial, still burns in the memories of the people of that country, with hundreds of thousands dead and countless limbs dismembered, as many of the prosecutor witnesses testified. It was also this conflict that ultimately led to the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) in 2000, to stem the flow of conflict diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.

Prosecutors allege that during Taylor’s term as Liberia’s president between 1997 and 2003, he “created, armed, supported, and controlled the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in a ten-year campaign of terror against the civilian population of Sierra Leone,” from his neighboring Liberia. In addition, prosecutors assert in their written summation that Taylor directed and facilitated RUF’s control of the diamond mining areas so that “many millions of dollars worth of RUF diamonds – mostly mined by civilians under conditions amounting to slavery – were delivered to Taylor.”

As a result of these allegations, Taylor faces an 11-count indictment for crimes against humanity, war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law. These are listed by the court as follows:

Acts of terrorism; Murder; Violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder; Rape; Sexual slavery and any other form of sexual violence; Outrages upon personal dignity; Violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular cruel treatment; Other inhumane acts; Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities; Enslavement; and Pillage.

Taylor is the first African leader to face an international tribunal and has pleaded innocent to all charges. Rather, he claims to have been at the forefront of brokering peace between the Sierra Leone government and the rebels.

Griffiths, whose written summation was not accepted by the court for the aforementioned reasons and therefore had not been published at press time, has argued bias by the court. He has further claimed a U.S.-led conspiracy against Taylor, citing cables written by U.S. diplomats stationed in the West African country and leaked by WikiLeaks to major media outlets, which then published them. It appears to be the case that Griffiths is clutching at straws, both in his government conspiracy claim and regarding what are perceived as delay tactics.

Either way, the diamond industry should be following these events closely, particularly as it continues to face conflict-diamond-related reputational challenges, vis-a-vie a weakened KP and a manipulative member in Zimbabwe. The conclusion of the Taylor trial will hopefully not only bring some closure to the people of Sierra Leone, but also strengthen the diamond industry’s resolve to react to human rights violations with a sense of urgency. After all, the industry’s vulnerability to the ethical challenges posed by manipulative dictators remains as relevant today as during the presidency of Charles Taylor.

The Charles Taylor Trial
Editorial, News 
Feb 10, 2011 By Avi Krawitz

Gemesis Goes White, to Market Directly to Consumers

Gemesis Diamond Company, which produces of gem quality lab created diamonds, announced that it is producing colourless diamonds.

Until now, the company offered only yellow diamonds. The company said the new line of diamonds is of excellent colour and clarity, adding that most diamonds in current inventory average approximately half-carats; however, Gemesis succeeded in producing colourless diamonds larger than one carat.

The colourless diamond offering was not the only news from the company. Gemesis also plans to go directly to consumers, saying that it is in the final stages of developing its own jewellery line. Gemesis will be launching a new e-commerce website in the coming months, combined with parallel sales through limited retailers who subscribe to the company program – including education, approach, and pricing philosophy.

The company’s own Internet pricing will not undermine participating retailers, it promised. The company also reported advances made with its fancy colour stones, achieving a vivid yellow colour. The new yellow stones will also be available on the e-commerce site. In May 2008, Gemesis announced the beginning of regular production of pink diamonds. Maybe due to the economic crisis that followed a few months later, those diamonds were never widely sold in the market.

Milan, Italy September 16, 2010

CIBJO President Gaetano urged an audience at a major gemmological gathering in Paris to commit themselves to advancing consumer confidence issues.

He spoke at the 11th Rendez Vous Gemmologiques de Paris as well as at the Fourth European Gemmological Symposium  that were jointly organized in Paris and held at Luxembourg Palace, the seat of the French Senate, on September 6. 

With a range of renowned speakers from the UK, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, Switzerland and France, a wide variety of experts and researchers delivered lectures and presentations on the latest topics in gemmology. 

Cavalieri delivered a presentation entitled Beyond the Facets ethics, social responsibility and the business of gemmology, in which he made a passionate call on the gemmological community to take a proactive role in pushing forward consumer confidence issues.

You all take part in some stage of the pipeline… none of you is an observer or bystander, and therefore, what happens in the industry is also your responsibility, he told the audience.

We expect you to be the watch dogs, the whistleblowers if need be, the gatekeepers of the industrys ethics. You have access to information, are observing the industry and making a living from it. You are part, willingly or unwillingly, of the team of the industrys defenders, Cavalieri said.

The delegates were welcomed by Pierre Simon, President of the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry and by Bernadette Pinet Cuoq, President of the Union Francaise de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfevrerie, des Pierres & des Perles, who also serves as vice president of Sector C of CIBJO.

Representing the president of the French Senate, Senator Andre Ferrand presented Dr. Cavalieri with a Medal of Honor on behalf of France. In awarding the medal, the senator said that CIBJO is working tirelessly to advance business ethics, social practices and impresses on jewellery professionals to accept their responsibilities. CIBJO is the industrys beacon for ethics, corporate and social responsibility, he said.

Since its inception in 1998, the Rendez Vous Gemmologiques de Paris, organized by the French Association of Gemmology AFG and its president Didier Giard, has hosted nearly 3,000 gemmologists from 50 different nationalities.

CIBJO is the international jewellery confederation of national trade organizations. CIBJOs purpose is to encourage harmonization, promote international cooperation in the jewellery industry and to consider issues which concern the trade worldwide. CIBJOs chief mission is to protect consumer confidence in the industry. Click here to go to the CIBJO website for more information. 

International Diamond Council releases IDC Rules in Russian

The International Diamond Council (IDC) released the Russian translation of the "IDC Rules for Grading Diamonds" today in Moscow, on occasion of the 34th World Diamond Congress, the biennial congress of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA).

During a short ceremony, IDC chairman Stephane Fischler presented a bound copy of the Russian language version of the IDC Rules to Sergey Oulin, chairman of the Diamond Chamber of Russia, and host of the congress.   
In his address, Fischler noted that the distribution of the IDC Rules in other languages, in addition to the authoritative English version, would make a significant contribution toward the proliferation of a single, authoritative, international set of diamond nomenclature in markets that until recently had had little or no access to the information and therefore could not be shared with consumers.
"This indeed is the core mission of the IDC: a globally accepted, clear and transparent grading nomenclature, to secure and enhance consumer confidence in polished diamonds," Fischler stated.
Fischler said the Chinese translation was published in June as the first of a series of translations that IDC aims to make available. "Last month, the IDC rules were published in Chinese. The release of the rules in Russian are yet another step in making them accessible to a wider audience," he said. "We are now looking at translating the rules in other languages such Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Italian and French," he noted.
Fischler called upon the delegates of the WFDB and IDMA to support the creation of additional translation projects. "You are in an ideal position to assist in creating translations and your members will the first to enjoy the immediate benefit of having the rules available in their own languages," he noted. 
The IDC Rules and the translations in Russian  and Chinese are now available for downloading from the IDC website.

Zimbabwe Defies Ban of Marange Diamonds

Zimbabwe’s government has resolved to defy a diamond sale ban ruled by the world approving authority, the Kimberly Process and will now begin exporting diamonds from its Chiadzwa fields.

Waiting for approval, the country has stockpiled four million stones carrying an estimated US$1.7 billion extracted from the controversial fields but cannot trade them on the open market after failing to secure the KP endorsement following concerns of human rights issues in particular the arrest of diamond researcher, Farai Maguwu. Mines minister Obert Mpofu said the country would still establish a “transparent and accountable” mechanism for selling the diamonds.
A Kimberly Process meeting held in Israel ending June 24, resulted in a deadlock over allegations of corruption, killings and human rights violations in Zimbabwe’s eastern Marange diamond fields.
On Wednesday, Mpofu said that the KP had reported Zimbabwe met the organization’s “minimum requirements” for diamond mining and “so now everything is in place to resume the sales”, contrasting what the KP ruled.
The Chiadzwa diamond field is believed to be potentially holding one of the world’s largest deposits of the precious gem and government hopes to rescue the nation’s desperate and ailing economy. (AFP, Reuters)


For the first time ever, diamond jewelry consumers are going to have a diamond retail benchmark that will guide them in how much they should pay for a diamond.

The Diamond Retail Benchmark (DRB) is derived from up-to-date market data using an objective and fully transparent methodology.

The diamond category is one of the few retail sectors that up to now has not had a Retail Benchmark for consumers. For consumers, many of them first-time diamond buyers, the purchase of a diamond may sometimes prove to be a confusing experience. As a luxury product that will accompany consumers through major life events and will be bought to celebrate those events, confidence is elementary. Consumers should be able to buy a diamond with the confidence of knowing they paid a fair price.

The DRB presents a retail price recommendation for a diamond based on each of the 4Cs – Cut, Carat, Color and Clarity. The benchmark is based on the high-end of retail prices currently in the market place, therefore allowing enough room for all business models. The DRB should be used as background information only. Actual prices are determined by the sellers.

Fraudulent GIA Diamond Certificate Found

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has identified and seized a bogus diamond grading report appearing recently in Hong Kong.

In a news release issued on Wednesday, GIA revealed that although the number of the diamond grading report was in existence in their database, it corresponded to a higher-quality diamond with different measurements, colour, and clarity. According to GIA, a lower quality diamond was cut to match the specifications of the diamond that went with the original report. Furthermore, GIA stated that upon closer scrutiny of the false diamond grading certificate, it was discovered that there were several characteristics inconsistent with those found on an authentic GIA diamond grading report, including differences in font, colour, and background.

In the same release, GIA revealed that their investigation had tracked the counterfeit diamond certificate back to Antwerp, Belgium, a major diamond trading center. Information on the perpetrators is now being sought by the GIA, who is working law enforcement authorities around the world to help detect and prosecute such criminal activities. GIA asks that any individuals with information about either this particular bogus certificate or any other fraudulent activity bring it to their attention.

To help both the industry and public, all major laboratories provide an online database service that allows individuals to check the authenticity of a diamond certificate online by entering the diamond report number and the carat weight of the diamond, which then pulls up all available information about the diamond.

However, this online verification service only serves to determine if the certificate number exists, not if the diamond that accompanies it matches the certificate. GIA offers a verification service to confirm the authenticity of a diamond grading report whereby clients must submit both the diamond and certificate to the GIA laboratory.
In Australia, DCLA performs this verification service and individuals may bring their diamond and accompanying diamond certificate to the DCLA for verification; please contact the laboratory for more information.

‘How to buy a diamond’ workshop Saturday 25 July

Diamond buying made easy…register now for the next 2-3 hour hands-on workshop covering diamond quality and diamond buying taught by the Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia.

DCLA diamond experts will walk participants through How to Buy a Diamond during a 2-3 hour in-house workshop located at the actual DCLA Laboratory.

Date: Saturday July 25 2009
Time: 9:00am

Cost: $88 incl GST, redeemable against any later purchase of a diamond through the DCLA Diamond Exchange.

Diamond Buying workshop topics include:

•Detailed explanation and hands-on evaluation of the 4C’s of diamond grading. Participants will take part in the grading process to learn how the quality and value of a diamond are established. This includes how the diamond shape, cut quality, colour, clarity, carat weight, fluorescence, and transparency affect the price of a diamond.

•Choosing the diamond shape, size, and quality right for you

•How to shop for a diamond and questions to ask jewellers

•How to read, understand, and compare Diamond Grading Certificates when shopping

•Explanation and identification of diamond treatments, and how they affect value

•Explanation and identification of synthetic diamonds, and how they affect value

Participants will have ample opportunity to ask questions throughout the workshop.
Spacing is limited, contact DCLA on 1300 66 3252(DCLA) to register and reserve your place.

Synthetic Diamonds on the market in Australia?

A synthetic diamond has been identified by the DCLA, on the heels of the recent discovery of numerous treated diamonds in Australia.

The man-made diamond, a near-colourless 0.54ct round brilliant cut diamond, was submitted to the DCLA Laboratory for authentication by an Australian diamond merchant unconfident of its origin.

With subsequent examination, the diamond was identified by the DCLA as a diamond created by a company in Canada, Advanced Optical Technologies Corporation (AOTC). Identifying features of this diamond include no fluorescence and a light blue hue, as well as a tiny dark grey inclusion with metallic lustre, pictured above at high resolution 50X magnification.

AOTC produces synthetic coloured diamonds (primarily yellows and blues) as well as colourless “white” diamonds using a high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) process. There are several other overseas companies also producing synthetic diamonds on a wide scale using this process, while others use a newer process using chemical vapour deposition (CVD) technology. To date, however, there has been no fully disclosed importer of synthetic diamonds in Australia.

In terms of identification, synthetic diamonds (also known as man-made diamonds, lab- or laboratory-created diamonds, and lab- or laboratory-grown diamonds), have the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as natural diamonds do, making them impossible to identify without advanced testing.

Examination with a microscope may sometimes show indicators, or ‘clues’, that a diamond is synthetic, but these are indicators only; neither presence nor absence of these indicators is conclusive. Both natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds may show very similar characteristics, thus advanced testing is required for conclusive identification.

Some visible clues of synthetic diamonds that valuers should be aware of are those of dark grey or black inclusions with a metallic lustre, as seen in this particular HPHT-created diamond, inert fluorescence under long-wave UV light, cloud inclusions, internal or surface graining, stronger short-wave to long-wave fluorescence, phosphorescence, and colour zoning, among others. Natural diamonds will also show these characteristics however, which is why identification of a diamond’s origin requires an educated and trained gemmologist, skilled in handling the necessary equipment in a qualified laboratory.

Buyers and valuers should also be aware that synthetic diamonds created by synthetic diamond producers like AOTC are laser inscribed on the girdle for identification and disclosure purposes, ie. “AOTC CREATED” and should be accompanied by a synthetic diamond report for full and clear disclosure – however, this inscription can be removed and a diamond should always be verified.

DCLA will not issue diamond grading certificates for synthetic diamonds.