ISO 9000 – New Rules for Diamonds and Jewelry
By Bryan Boyne (g.g.) , Thursday, September 24, 2015
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently issued a new standard for describing synthetic and treated diamonds, which is considerably stricter than the Federal Trade Commission Guides for the jewelry industry. Like the FTC, the new ISO standard states that the unmodified term ‘diamond’ can be used only in reference to natural diamonds. It defines a natural stone as “one formed completely by nature without human intervention during the formation.”
The ISO standards, like the FTC Guides, are designed to eliminate consumer confusion about the nature of the products being marketed. But the ISO standard is far more specific in limiting the terms that can be used to describe synthetic and treated diamonds. The ISO allows marketers to use only the terms ‘laboratory-created’, ‘laboratory-grown’, and ‘synthetic’ to describe non-natural diamonds. The FTC allows those terms as well as ‘man-made’ and ‘(company name)-created’, according to Cecilia Gardner, president and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee. Not allowed under the new ISO standard are abbreviations and alternatives, some of which are used commonly in the trade including ‘lab-grown’, ‘lab-created’, and the aforementioned ‘man-made diamonds’.
Any diamond that has undergone any treatment other than cutting, polishing, cleaning and setting must be described as a ‘treated diamond”. Those treatments include, but are not limited to, coating, fracture filling, heating, irradiation, laser drilling, HPHT treatment or any other physical or chemical process.
It is not surprising that ISO rules are stricter than even the FTC rules for the jewelry industry. To obtain and maintain certification for ISO 9000 companies must demonstrate a full commitment to embracing the very best practices in their industry. ISO 9000 companies are required to go above and beyond the mainstream and operate at the highest standards for quality assurance and continual improvement.
Whiteflash is one of very few retail jewelers anywhere in the world that have earned ISO 9000 certification. Having first been certified in 2011, Whiteflash has been recertified each year since. ISO Certification not only gives customers the highest level of confidence in quality assurance, but underscores the company’s dedication to the highest ethical standards in the products and services they offer.
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