India Explores Diamond Hallmarking Options

India is planning a hallmarking mechanism for diamonds, the Indian Express reported citing unnamed sources. The government is thinking of certification of diamond similar to that for gold, the report said.

Ravin Jain, the chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), told Rapaport News he was not aware of any such plan and added that the government has not sought any advice from the council regarding hallmarking for diamonds.

DiamondsBut the Indian Express explained that the proposal comes in the form of a recent circular by the customs department imposing a 2 percent import duty on both lab-grown (synthetic) diamonds and natural polished diamonds.

With this, experts fear the country might see a large inflow of lab-grown diamonds, which previously had an import duty of 10 percent, the Indian Express noted. The report also raises concerns that consumers could be tricked into buying a diamond that is in fact lab-grown.

Given the fact that lab-grown diamonds cost 40 percent to 50 percent less than the natural ones, it is the jewelers who are going to benefit the most, the report cited unnamed experts as saying.

“It is not good for consumers. There must be some certification like the one for gold. In fact, it should have a separate duty structure and tariff code,” the Indian Express quoted an unnamed GJEPC official as saying. “India’s strength lies in natural diamonds and we have no competence in lab-grown diamonds.”

The official said that the government should first put infrastructure in form of laboratories for industrial diamonds as currently there is no facility for testing the lab diamonds, which are also used for making jewelry, the report noted.

An industry official on condition of anonymity told Rapaport News that a standard for diamonds was devised and approved by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) about three to four years ago but there is nothing on diamond hallmarking.

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