NDC Expands ASSURE Program; Includes Diamond-set Jewellery Testing

NDC Expands ASSURE Program; Includes Diamond-set Jewellery Testing
Photo credit: Ben Perry / © De Beers

The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) has expanded its ASSURE Program designed to protect consumers and safeguard the integrity of the natural diamond supply chain by supporting Diamond Verification Instrument manufacturers. First launched in 2019, the program received a positive welcome by the industry, and in just over a year it has tested around 80% of the commercially available and viable Diamond Verification Instruments.

Now, the ASSURE Program 2.0 builds upon the best practice of the original ASSURE Program. A second independent testing laboratory has been onboarded, located at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, in one of the world’s key diamond hubs. This facility will operate alongside the founding ASSURE testing specialist, UL, located in Canton, Massachusetts, United States, with identical samples and testing procedures. Both laboratories will work simultaneously to enhance the long-term sustainability of the ASSURE Program, double the testing capacity and create a more geographically diverse landscape for submissions.

The ASSURE Program 2.0 has also evolved to include diamond-set jewellery testing, which adds further scope to the ASSURE Standard. Both open and closed-back mounted stones will be included in the testing regimen. This latest iteration of the ASSURE Program also includes an updated ASSURE Sample of natural diamonds, synthetic diamonds and diamond simulants in a range of sizes. This ASSURE Sample has been carefully curated to reflect goods currently circulating in the market, as well as individual stones that anticipate future trends and pose some of the greatest challenges to Diamond Verification Instruments.

Diamond Verification Instrument manufacturers will also benefit from enhanced characterisation data to help them identify and address potential areas for improvement in the functioning of their instruments.

David Kellie, CEO Natural Diamond Council said, “Integrity and consumer trust is critical to the success of the jewellery industry and I’d like to thank all our partners and the wider industry for their commitment to the ASSURE program and the verification of their products. I’d also like to thank the many manufacturers of the diamond screening devices being presented for the role that their participation plays in ensuring trust throughout the industry”.

Raluca Anghel, Head of External Affairs and Industry Relations at the Natural Diamond Council, added: “By enhancing and improving the ASSURE Program we are taking even greater strides in protecting consumer confidence. Everyone is responsible for correctly disclosing the nature of the product they are selling, but to facilitate this we need robust Diamond Verification Instruments that are rigorously tested. With this latest iteration of the ASSURE Program, manufacturers will be presented with vital information to continue improving their devices and consumers can be assured of the vigorous steps taken to ensure their confidence.”

Starting in October 2021, manufacturers of Diamond Verification Instruments are invited to submit both new instruments and existing instruments that have already been tested but whose ASSURE Tested Certification is expiring post their 2-year validity mark.

Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), said: “The ASSURE Program 2.0 is facilitating even greater pipeline integrity for the natural diamond industry. We need Diamond Verification Instruments at all stages of the diamond supply chain that can be relied upon for their accuracy and, crucially, a methodology that encourages manufacturers to continue innovating. I am confident this latest testing regime will achieve these aims and strengthen pipeline integrity for all.”

Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC, also acknowledged the importance of the ASSURE Program for helping the industry prepare for new requirements in customs export codes for laboratory-grown diamonds and natural diamonds, beginning on January 1, 2022. Shah said: “New customs regulations will require separate export codes for laboratory-grown diamonds and natural diamonds as of January 2022. Only through accurate identification can businesses correctly disclose their products and ensure a smooth customs process and the ASSURE Program’s efforts to provide manufacturers with detailed characterisation data will lead to even greater levels of accuracy for exports.”

Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO – The World Jewellery Confederation, commented: “It is terrific to see how the ASSURE program is being enhanced and expanded. I would urge all manufacturers to submit their Diamond Verification Instruments for testing. Manufacturers who commit to this process are part of an industry-wide effort to improve pipeline integrity and ensure consumer confidence in diamond jewellery.”

Edward Asscher, President of the World Diamond Council, noted, “The diamond jewellery sector must always have at its core a set of processes that ensure the absolute protection of the supply chain. The ASSURE Program helps do just that, by supporting the development of Diamond Verification Instruments and promoting clear product disclosure. This is the only way to maintain consumer confidence on the long term, and respect the efforts of each person and organisation that are part of our communities and our industry.”

An employee using the AMS2 machine to analyse melee diamonds, De Beers Group Industry Services, Surat.

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