Hard on the heels of the announcement of the Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC) at the turn of the new year to crackdown on the unethical practice of mixing lab-grown synthetic diamonds with natural diamond parcels, that could potentially tarnish both the image of the industry and the country, further stringent measures have been announced by the Ministry of Commerce of India and the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), to curb the undesirable practice. Accordingly, the Ministry of Commerce has decided to separate the Harmonized System Codes (HS-codes) for lab grown synthetic diamonds and natural diamonds, which were hitherto placed under the same HS-code, that enabled some unscrupulous diamond dealers to export lab grown synthetic diamonds as natural diamonds either mixed or unmixed with genuine natural diamonds.
The Director General of Foreign Trade of India (DGFT) who is responsible for assigning HS-codes for different commodities has decided to call a meeting with GJEPC on January 13, to finalize this issue
Diamond industry insiders are of the view that lab grown synthetic diamonds are sold with impunity in the domestic market too, and feel the necessity of legislation to curb this trend too. Lab-grown diamonds first entered the consumer markets in the 1990s, but were easily detected by experienced dealers. However, due to the ever-evolving technology, the difference between natural and lab-grown diamonds is now difficult to detect with the naked eye, and instances of consumers being taken for a ride by unscrupulous dealers have been reported. A consumer can know the difference only by taking the diamonds to a laboratory.
Pankaj Parekh, Vice Chairman of GJEPC said, “Due to the same HS Codes being used for natural and lab-grown diamonds, there have been cases of lab-grown diamonds being exported overseas in the name of naturals. This is raising a big question on India’s trust value. If the HS Codes are different then such incidences can be barred easily”