Blackstone Aiming to Raise $300m Through the IGI Debut

Jeweler repairing diamond ring in workshop

Blackstone Inc. (BX), the investment firm headquartered in New York, is reportedly looking to raise $300m through the IPO of India’s International Gemological Institute (IGI).

Examining a diamond
Based on a Reuters report, this gemstone certification company aims for a valuation of about $1.5bn.

In May 2023, Blackstone bought IGI for $570m from Fosun International Limited (0656.HK) and the Lorie family, who founded the company. Describing itself as the world leader in the grading and accreditation of gems, IGI operates mainly in India.

According to Reuters, the organisation appointed Morgan Stanley (MS) and Kotak to captain its market debut. As of April 2024, IGI has 29 laboratory facilities worldwide that grade and appraise jewellery, natural and lab-grown diamonds, and other gemstones. Although founded in Belgium, this company’s main financial arteries are in India.

A Reuters source indicated that IGI aspires to boost interest in lab-grown diamonds in India. Although these resemble diamonds, they are less expensive. This country cut the taxes on the production of lab diamonds to promote the practice and product.

In 2021, India’s jewellery sector carried a value of $78bn. Most of its products are exported, but there seems to be a local shift from gold to diamonds. Blackstone is reportedly keen to push on with the IGI IPO as India’s debut scene is the most vibrant in the Asian market sphere.

LSEG data shows that during the first quarter of this year, Indian firms amassed approximately $2.3bn in IPOs. That is a big jump from the estimated $166.5m raised during the same period last year.

Source: Leaprate

IGI Grades Largest Polished Lab-Grown Diamond

The three lab-grown diamonds from Greenlab

The International Gemological Institute (IGI) has graded a 27-carat lab-grown stone that it claims is the world’s largest polished synthetic diamond.

Indian lab-grown company Greenlab created the marquise step-cut, 27.27-carat diamond, named Om, IGI said Wednesday. The stone, which has no color enhancement, was grown using chemical vapor deposition (CVD).

Along with Om, the IGI graded two additional lab-grown stones submitted by Greenlab, including Shivaya, an emerald-cut diamond weighing 20.24 carats, and Namah, a pear rose-cut, 15.16-carat polished. Greenlab plans to display the diamonds at the JCK Las Vegas show, it noted.

Previously, the largest known polished CVD diamond was a princess-cut, 16.41-carat, G-color, VVS2-clarity stone created by Shanghai Zhengshi Technology. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) graded the stone in January.

At the time, the largest polished lab-grown diamond of any sort the GIA had examined was a cushion-cut, 20.23-carat, fancy-vivid-yellowish-orange, VS2-clarity diamond created using the High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) method in 2019.


India Draws Up Rules to Prevent Certificate Fraud

Industry leaders in India have published draft rules aimed at stopping members from selling diamonds with false grading reports.

The new Diamond Charter calls for tight measures to prevent the misuse of certificates. It also requires companies to take action to stem the circulation of grading reports that are not attached to a stone.

The document, which the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) posted on its website last week, mandates ethical conduct and grants powers to punish those who misbehave. It is currently at the consultation stage, and could go into effect next month, GJEPC executive director Sabyasachi Ray told Rapaport News Monday.

The draft calls for participation by the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), the Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB) and the Mumbai Diamond Merchants’ Association (MDMA), as well as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the International Gemological Institute (IGI), HRD Antwerp, Gemological Science International (GSI) and the Gemmological Institute of India (GII). Those organizations will also set up a committee to enforce the rules among members, it says.

The move follows increased demand for grading and a string of fraud cases involving natural stones carrying reports pertaining to lower-quality or synthetic goods.

“[Since] lab-grown diamonds came into the market, above [0.30 carats], no natural diamond is sold without a certification,” Ray explained. “This [underpins] the value of the diamond.”

The rules require grading institutions to give each diamond a unique identification number and a corresponding laser inscription when they receive it for certification, and to keep an accessible online archive of reports. They also compel labs to offer free verification services at major trading centers and maintain records of know-your-customer (KYC) documents.

Meanwhile, bourses must remind their members that trading of a certificate without the sale of a diamond is illegal, according to the charter.

The guidelines also govern what happens if a seller has multiple grading reports from different labs for the same stone and only wishes to give the buyer one of them. In this case, the seller should return the remaining certificates to the lab or destroy them within 30 days so misuse of the document is impossible, the charter continues.

It also calls on diamond buyers to verify the certificate’s authenticity using the relevant lab’s online database.

The boards of the BDB and the GJEPC have approved the charter, with members of exchanges and the general public now able to comment on the draft before November 16, Ray said. Depending on feedback, implementation could happen by December 1, he added.

“Our understanding is that the charter is in draft; we look forward to learning more about it,” a GIA spokesperson said. “For many years, GIA has supported the efforts of trade bodies, including the GJEPC, in addressing issues of importance to the trade and to advance consumer protections.”

While grading fraud has been an issue for years, the phenomenon has become especially common since the rise of lab-grown diamonds.

In August, police in India discovered a scam in which people had sold low-quality diamonds bearing counterfeit certificates, a number of them involving forged GIA report numbers. Some of the stones were lab-grown but carried natural-diamond reports.

In May, the GIA reported a rise in submissions of lab-grown diamonds with counterfeit inscriptions.

Clarification, November 9, 2021: This article has been updated to clarify that not all the named organizations have signed up to the charter, which is still in a draft stage. A quote from the GIA has also been added.


Largest ever CVD laboratory-grown diamond hailed a “remarkable achievement”


The International Gemological Institute’s (IGI) Hong Kong laboratory has certified the largest chemical vapor deposition (CVD) laboratory-grown diamond received to date.

With a finished weight of 12.75 carats, this collection-quality man-made gemstone was fashioned from a 46.20 carat CVD-grown rough crystal.

According to its creator, Shanghai Zhengshi Technology, it is the largest CVD lab-grown diamond ever produced.

“For the past 15 years, IGI has been at the forefront of lab-grown certification and education,” stated IGI CEO, Roland Lorie. “With this milestone, the Institute continues to establish itself as the prominent leader in the industry and opens the door for future opportunities to exceed current gemological standards.”

IGI gemologists confirmed the 12.75ct stone was Type IIa, giving it exceptional chemical purity and transparency, with VVS2 clarity, F color, and triple-excellent marks in cut-quality and finish.

Following detailed scientific analysis, the laboratory substantiated that the stone had not undergone any post-growth treatments, so it can be categorised as a pure CVD diamond.

“A laboratory-grown diamond of this carat weight, with such a high clarity and color grade, is a remarkable achievement in CVD cultivated diamond technology,” said IGI Hong Kong managing director, Bob Van Es. “As the industry leader in the certification of laboratory-grown diamonds, IGI will continue to follow these new developments closely.”

This news comes only three months after the IGI analysed the Guinness World Record-holding biggest black lab-grown diamond.

Source: professionaljeweller

IGI Grades Record Black Lab-Grown Diamond

The two black lab-grown diamonds.

The International Gemological Institute (IGI) recently graded a 116-carat, black synthetic diamond that ranks as the largest lab-grown diamond of its color.

The 115.65-carat, type IIb stone was produced by UK-based Meylor Global using High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT), and was accompanied by a second black lab-grown diamond weighing 109.58 carats, IGI said Wednesday.

“The innovative approach in physical chemistry of diamond growth, combined with sophisticated technological methods and advanced high-pressure equipment, allowed us to obtain record-breaking extra-large diamond single crystals, having in mind the idea of getting the biggest possible diamond plate,” said Meylor CEO Yuliya Kusher.

Meylor grew the diamonds as part of its “World’s Largest Black Diamonds Project,” which it began at the beginning of the year. However, it intends to try for a larger one in the future. The larger stone holds the Guinness World Record for its category, IGI reported.

“The significant milestone of [over 100 carats] in diamond size was achieved by our company in a very short time, and the next even more promising target of [over 200 carats] is right now under deep scientific investigation,” Kusher added.


Sarine Joins Race to Buy HRD Antwerp


Sarine Technologies has entered the running to acquire HRD Antwerp, according to two sources close to the sale process.

The Israel-based diamond-technology company has registered its interest in buying the Belgian laboratory, as have two previous heads of HRD, the two anonymous sources told Rapaport News.

Peter Meeus, who ran the organization between 1999 and 2005, was one of the first candidates be linked to a potential bid around a month ago. He is now joined by Serge Couvreur, who served as HRD’s general manager from 2013 to 2014, as well as by Sarine. The International Gemological Institute (IGI) also entered a bid earlier this year, as reported by Rapaport News in early November, but has since pulled out, the sources confirmed. The situation is changing constantly, another source pointed out.

Sarine’s move could be seen as part of its increased focus on grading and other downstream activities. While its main business is providing diamond-mapping equipment to manufacturers, the polished-grading sector offers considerable revenue opportunities and margins, Sarine noted last month.

Potential buyers of HRD have until next Tuesday to submit a final bid with a proposed price, one of the sources added.

HRD and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, which owns the lab, declined to comment, as did the three bidders and IGI.


China’s Fosun Buys 80% of IGI

International Gemological Institute Lab

Chinese corporate giant Fosun has agreed to buy an 80% stake in the International Gemological Institute (IGI), the grading laboratory said Wednesday.

“The interest of this large conglomerate to invest in IGI shows the confidence it has in our industry,” said Roland Lorie, IGI’s CEO. “As demand for certification increases, the investment…will significantly accelerate our core business, offering and presenting many new opportunities all over the globe.”

Fosun will implement the acquisition through Yuyuan, its holding company for the consumer sector, IGI explained. The Lorie family will retain a 20% interest, with Roland Lorie still managing the company. Marc Brauner, who was previously Lorie’s co-CEO, has left IGI after 30 years with the group. The parties did not release any further financial details.

Antwerp-based IGI, founded in 1975, operates 23 laboratories and schools around the world. Fosun is one of China’s largest corporations, spanning the financial, health-care, pharmaceuticals, consumer, real-estate, mining and energy industries, with Club Med and Cirque du Soleil among the brands it owns. It bid to acquire Gemfields last year, but lost out to Pallinghurst Resources.

“IGI has built great fundamentals and human capital over the years, with highly respected expertise and input from both the Lorie and Brauner families,” said Xu Xiaoliang, executive director and copresident of Fosun and chairman of Yuyuan. “We believe IGI is well positioned to bring its gemological knowledge and expertise to emerging markets, including China.”

Image: An IGI laboratory. Credit: IGI