Forum to better understand issue of synthetic diamonds, impact on African source markets and approach needed to ensure sustainability of diamond industry
The UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair), Ahmed Bin Sulayem, will host a special forum on synthetic, or man-made, diamonds and their impact on the future of the diamond industry on November 14. The forum will be held in conjunction with the annual KP Plenary, which is taking place at The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City, between 13 and 17 November 2016. Bringing together representatives from 81 countries, the global diamond industry and civil society, the event will discuss a number of key issues facing the sector.
The special forum on synthetic diamonds at the KP Plenary be opened with a presentation entitled: "Natural and Synthetic Gem Diamonds: A Symbiotic Relationship or Zero-Sum Game?” and will look at the producer, market, and governmental challenges in sustaining integrity and consumer confidence in the diamond supply chain. It will be led by industry analyst and expert Chaim Even-Zohar, and the presentation will be followed by a panel featuring wholesale traders, labs, media, trade specialists and industry leaders.
“Since African source markets are responsible for 65% of the world’s diamond production, it is understandable why the issue of synthetic diamonds is a growing area of concern for the industry as it threatens the livelihoods of millions of people, including artisanal diggers and small-scale miners, who rely on the mining of natural diamonds,” said Mr. Bin Sulayem. “As one of the pillars of the KP is to deliver fair value to producers across the diamond supply chain, it is vital that the industry discusses this issue, realizes its potential impact and discusses how it can be addressed.”
While synthetic diamonds are a small fraction of the market at the moment – industry experts believe that 3% of diamonds consumed world-wide are man-made – the supply of these stones is growing rapidly.
“Extensive research has shown us that consumers prefer natural diamonds. However, technology has allowed manufacturers to make synthetic diamonds that are indistinguishable from natural diamonds to the naked eye, and given that there is no limit on the production quota for these synthetic gems, an increasing supply could change an industry model based on scarce supply. This also harms consumers that buy diamonds as a store of value, as in the long-term, synthetic diamonds are far less valuable. As a result, it is vital we understand what place these man-made diamonds will take in the industry and how consumers will respond,” added Mr. Bin Sulayem.
“Over the past decade, the KP has grown to become a pioneer in promoting important dialogue for the global diamond industry, and through this forum, we hope to take another leap forward in fostering solutions that will lead to the sustainable growth of the sector in the years to come, as well as deliver greater value to source markets in Africa.”