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International Diamond Laboratories (IDL)

Because Consumer Confidence Matters

Francesco Natale
Chief Gemologist Officer - IDL
Anne Smet
Chief Executive Officer - IDL

The New Jeweller Bureau spoke to Anne Smet and got insights into IDL and the exceptional services that it offers to clients in the GCC region. Excerpts:

International Diamond Laboratories' is known as Dubai ’s very own certification and grading entity. What was the purpose of initiating this venture and how has IDL been successful in servicing the clients in time when grading sector was still in a nascent stage in Dubai?

We were the first to start a full-pledged certification business. It is highly laborintensive, but at the same time we want to present our customers with a nice product. The future is bright especially since Dubai as a focal point for buying jewellery has grown tremendously in the past 10 years. It is the centre of the Gulf region, and as you know the Gulf represents about 9% of the worldwide consumption of diamonds.

UAE has been the Kimberley Process Chair for the year 2016 and we have witnessed a number Diamond companies moving into the city of Dubai. Has this increased the overall business of Diamond grading & Certification for IDL. If yes, how has been the increase in terms of volume?

The KP Chair’s initiatives have increased global awareness of Dubai as the focal point in the Middle East for diamond trade. That definitely has attracted more companies to establish themselves in the DMCC Free Zone. On the other hand, one cannot deny that the last year in retail has been more difficult. Much has to do with international problems on the one hand and also some changing patterns in the tourism sector. As you know, the value of the Euro has decreased by about 30% and there are of course much lesser Russian buyers in the market. The low oil price has also not contributed to a success. All in all, we are happy that we have been able to maintain the same volume as the previous years and we are confident that we can continue to grow as before.

Tell us something about IDL services concerning Jewellery keeping in mind the large Retail business that Dubai does year on year. Please name a few clients with testimonials.

IDL is very busy with jewelry certification especially in the local market. We provide a full range of services in testing, identification and grading of diamonds and all type of color stones mounted in jewelry. Our jewelry certificates are highly appreciated and requested in the market for the clear and complete content of all details regarding the jewel and the gems mounted in it. Dubai as a large retail market needs such grading and identification reports to guarantee the quality to the many customers buying jewelry every day and keep their confidence high. We provide such services to some of the biggest jewelers in town: Cara jewelers, Puregold, Damas, Dhamani, 7C’s Diamond and Jewellery, Jewel Corner just to mention a few.

Synthetic Diamonds are on the increase globally and is entering in Dubai as well. Your take on the growth of this segment in Dubai . What’s your advice to retailers on trading with Synthetic diamonds?

The growing production of synthetic diamonds is a matter of great concern for everybody active in the trade. At this moment, production of man-made diamonds are said to represent 2-3% of the worldwide production. With production costs getting lower, one may expect that this could damage the integrity of the jewellery pipeline, if not properly disclosed. The best way to guarantee your business against these kinds of threats which finally could damage consumer confidence is to make sure that all your jewellery is certified. Synthetics definitely will find their way and their place in the market. The most important thing is that they are not mixed up with natural diamonds and that every retailer takes the appropriate measures to dissociate the real diamonds from the man-made diamonds.

How impor tant is education and awareness on Diamond and Jewellery Certification and Grading business? What has been IDL's initiative with respect to education in the jewellery sector?

Education of customers is fundamental for a healthy jewelry market. People need to be confident in what they are buying and trust the jeweler where they are purchasing. For this reason, IDL conducts regularly during the year training classes that are made available to the jewelers that want their staff to be qualified and be able to explain all the details of the gems they are selling in the shop. This brings awareness to the end consumer and makes the jewelry trade grow in the right direction.

What is that single factor that makes IDL different from other existing certification and grading laboratories in Dubai ? Please brief our readers on the expansion plans of IDL in terms of new products, services and offices in the GCC region?

many customers using our services and certifications. We are looking at ways to enable our clients to supply and sell their jewelry worldwide with IDL certification. One of the most important factors that make IDL different from other labs is the ability to deliver a very fast and precise service to our clients as well as a special focus and high technical expertise on grading coloured g emstones.