Microscopy
Photo credit: Trust "Tru" Katsande on Unsplash

RJC to develop Lab Grown Gemstone Standards

With an increasing number of Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) members electing to carry both natural and lab grown gemstone products, the RJC has decided to develop a ‘Laboratory Grown Materials Standard.’

RJC is the leading standards organization of the international jewelry and watch industry, with 1,500 member companies in 71 countries. Members commit to a comprehensive Code of Practices (COP) for diamonds, colored stones, silver, gold and platinum group metals which spans human stewardship, labor rights, environmental impact, mining practices, product disclosure and more.

RJC Logo
Credit: RJC

A New Standard

The new Laboratory Grown Materials (LGM) standard covering lab grown gemstones and materials will be separate from the traditional RJC COP, since laboratory grown products carry a different risk profile from natural products. The standard will apply specifically to companies dealing in LGMs.

According to RJC Executive Director Iris Van der Veken:

Setting a standard for LGMs is an important strategic initiative by RJC, underlining our commitment to ensure that all jewelry is responsibly sourced, manufactured and marketed. It is all about consumer confidence. This standard will provide a clear robust framework not only for manufacturers and retailers, but also for reassuring customers that the manufacturers and sellers of LGMs follow rigorous processes that ensure the credibility and transparency of their operations.

Iris Van der Veken
Iris Van der Veken, RJC

A Transparent Process

RJC will follow its long-standing public consultation procedure with all stakeholders, following the ISEAL Standard-Setting Code of Good Practice. The consultation process will be managed by RJC’s multi-stakeholder Standards Committee.

David Bouffard, Chair of RJC, underscored increasing consumer awareness and the importance of bringing providing confidence for jewelry shoppers.

With the increasing consumer awareness of LGMs, it is imperative that we set these standards to ensure that all laboratory-grown diamonds and gemstones are responsibly manufactured, sourced and sold, and that consumer confidence can be maintained through the application of a clear and consistent approach for businesses dealing with LGMs.

David Bouffard
David A. Bouffard, RJC

Serving the Greater Good

RJC continues to emphasize the importance of responsible sourcing and supply chain due diligence. The RJC’s Chain-of-Custody Certification for precious metals supports these initiatives and can be used as a tool to deliver broader Member and stakeholder benefit. Through the implementation of the COP and CoC, RJC’s members contribute towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 agenda.

UN 17 Sustainability Goals
Credit: United Nations

Dual-Channel Legitimacy

As technology evolves more laboratory grown gemstones are coming to market at higher levels of quality. IGI has long recognized the dual-channel legitimacy of natural and manmade gemstones, pioneering the grading of lab grown diamonds in 2005 and, in 2021, becoming the world’s first gemological laboratory to hold certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for both natural and lab-grown diamonds.

John Pollard

John Pollard is an educational consultant and subject matter expert for diamond producers, grading laboratories and jewelers in the USA, Europe and Asia. He has lectured for JCK Las Vegas, IGI workshops in New York, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, the American Gem Society in Washington D.C., GIA's Alumni Association and other industry organizations.

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