By Michelle Graff
New York—Representatives from the U.S. Department of State met with a coalition of industry leaders Monday in New York to put them on notice about possible new regulations that would impact all jewelry imports.

According to those who attended the meeting, who asked not to be named, the department is looking to require a declaration of origin or provenance for every piece of finished jewelry or jewelry component imported into the United States, including precious metals, diamonds and all colored gemstones.

As one industry leader in attendance at the meeting put it: “Whatever you can name, you can put a check mark next to it.”

The new requirements are a reaction to intelligence that indicates that minerals, including gemstones and precious metals, are being used to fund what State Department officials described as “maligned regimes” worldwide.

About 25 leaders from organizations including Jewelers of America, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the Diamond Manufactures and Importers Association of America, the American Gem Trade Association and the Diamond Dealers Club New York attended Monday’s meeting, which took place at the State Department’s request.

They said jewelry is just one industry the federal government is looking to monitor more closely for ties to money laundering and terrorism, though it has been flagged as a “high priority” for increased monitoring.

The State Department wants to “enhance” the Kimberley Process, which they view as “inadequate,” particularly in light of the fact the KP has not voted to broaden the definition of a “conflict” or “blood” diamond to include human rights abuses by governments and/or security firms.

The issue came up for a vote in 2012, the year the U.S. chaired the process, but ultimately did not pass and since has failed to regain much traction, leading some to label the process as “irrelevant.”

While such regulations would have a tremendous impact on the jewelry industry in the United States, which sources the vast of majority of its materials from overseas, there are few details available at this point, including when—or even if—the regulations will go into effect, what they will entail for jewelry importers and how they will be enforced.

Those who attended Monday’s meeting said they will share more details as they become available.

In the meantime, they recommended suppliers and jewelers ensure they follow all existing sourcing requirements, including the Clean Diamond Act, the World Diamond Council’s System of Warranties and the KP, and that their anti-money laundering (AML) programs are up-to-date and active.

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