BDB may lift ban on synthetic diamonds trade in 6 months

Bharat Diamond Bourse

India cuts and polishes 10 out of every 11 rough diamonds traded globally.

Mumbai: Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), the diamond trading hub in Mumbai, will consider lifting a ban on the trade of synthetic or lab-grown diamonds in the next six months.

“We have received representations from a number of our members on (allowing the trade of) synthetic diamonds and we will discuss this at the board level before convening an EGM to allow the same in the next five to six months,” said Anoop Mehta, president, BDB.

BDB banned the trade of synthetic diamonds in 2015 as traders feared lab-grown diamonds could be mixed with real stones by rogue diamond merchants to dupe customers.

However, after the global diamond giant DeBeers launched Lightbox Jewellery for marketing lab-grown diamonds in September last year, the fears have been laid to rest. Besides, diamantaires at the BDB have been urging Mehta to allow these to be traded.

“We are now considering approving lab-grown diamond trade because they’ve become easy to identify with technology advancements and adequate machines available with the trade to identify and certify them,” added Mehta.

Bhargav Vaidya, a CA who provides consultancy to leading diamond firms in BDB, said the draw for lab-grown stones were their relative “inexpensiveness” compared with natural ones. “They could be 30-50 per cent cheaper and are a feasible alternative to the natural diamonds so long as there is a transparent system to identify them,” said Vaidya.

India cuts and polishes 10 out of every 11 rough diamonds traded globally. Colin Shah, vice chairman, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), said cut and polished diamond exports grew 0.39 per cent in value to $23.8 billion in FY19 from a year ago. Gold jewellery exports grew 24.36 per cent to $12.03 billion from $9.67 billion in FY18. However, silver jewellery exports dived 75 per cent to $837.8 million in FY19.

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