2018: The Year That Was…

From some of the biggest natural diamonds being unearthed to world’s leading miner De Beers launching lab-grown diamond jewellery brand, the year 2018 had been a mix of ups and downs. Let us have a look at few of them:
In February, around Rs. 13,000 crore fraud involving diamantaires Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi came to light which shook the entire Indian diamond industry and banking institutions.
In May, De Beers Group announced the launch of a new company called Lightbox Jewelry that began marketing a new brand of laboratory-grown diamond jewelry under the Lightbox name in September 2018, offering consumers high-quality, fashion jewellery designs at lower prices than existing lab-grown diamond offerings.
The Pink Legacy, a rectangular-cut, 18.96-carat, fancy-vivid-pink diamond was sold to Harry Winston for $50.4 million at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale in November, thus setting a world record for average price for a pink diamond at auction, fetching $2.7 million per carat.
In July, FTC in its revised guidelines removed the word ‘natural’ from description of diamonds as they are not the only ones that exist in the market. However, it made it compulsory for the traders/marketers to disclose of lab-grown diamonds to describe it as ‘man-made’.
In January, De Beers in its bid to bring in complete transparency in diamond trade launched Tracr. This blockchain venture can track diamonds from mining stage to final sale. Signet Jewelers, Chow Tai Fook, ALROSA have already signed up for Tracr.
Customs Duty in India increased from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent on lab-grown diamonds, diamonds semi processed, half cut or broken, cut and polished colour gemstones; on finished jewellery customs duty has been increased from 15 per cent to 20 per cent In April, RBI banned LoUs and LoCs as trade finance instruments in the wake of Rs. 13,000-crore PNB scam allegedly by diamond jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his associates through fraudulent LoUs, which further reduced the financial flexibility of importers.
In June, the Indian Government announced setting up of a national domestic council to promote the growth of the labour-intensive gems and jewellery sector in the country.
In December, the Government announced that it is working on an integrated gold policy, which is expected to be released soon, to promote growth of the yellow metal industry and exports of jewellery.
In May, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), together with the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), formally launched MyKYCBank - a powerful new tool to bring greater compliance and transparency to diamond transactions. In December, Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) – a subsidiary of DMCC (Dubai Multi Commodities Centre) – signed a service agreement to join the MyKYCBank platform of the GJEPC.

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