New York--Diamond grading reports and millennials are among the two most-talked-about topics among jewelers today.

On Sunday at JA New York Summer, the Diamond Council of America’s Terry Chandler told attendees how the two were related in a talk titled “Diamond Grading Reports: The Jeweler’s Ticking Time Bomb.”

Chandler started his afternoon session by recapping the events that unfolded in Nashville, Tenn. last year.

In May a local NBC affiliate, WSMV, began airing a series of reports about local retailer Genesis Diamonds selling EGL International-graded diamonds that were found to be over-graded for both color and clarity.

The reports, which eventually were picked up by media outlets across the country, were the impetus for a number of changes in the jewelry industry around an issue that has been simmering for years: over-graded diamonds.

Martin Rapaport removed diamonds graded by any EGL laboratory from RapNet, grading reports are no longer being issued under the EGL International brand, and a group of key industry organizations drafted a new policy specifically to address color over-grading.

While helpful, these actions certainly don’t mean that every over-graded diamond suddenly has disappeared from the market and, Chandler pointed out, it doesn’t mean there aren’t people still trying to commit fraud.

He said jewelers need to “go back to being professionals”--they need to have the ability to look at a diamond and determine if indeed the color grade listed on the diamond’s grading report does not match the stone, and then relay that to their customers.

Otherwise they are going to lose customers, particularly millennial customers who come into the store armed with a wealth of knowledge. They expect the retailers from whom they are buying to be able to answer all their questions, and they expect all that information to be accurate.

“You will not pass their test if they find out you’re lying to them,” Chandler said. They will leave the store without making a purchase and, what’s worse, tell all their friends and social media followers about their experience.

And, he adds, it won’t just be diamonds they abandon but jewelry as a whole.

“If we continue to allow this to go on … the millennials will walk away,” he said.


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