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Leaving Their Mark


The next time you receive an invoice or any correspondence from a diamond supplier, look for a new mark on the letterhead: the WFDB mark.

This is the recently adopted symbol of commitment to a comprehensive code of moral principles and ethical practices adopted by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, an international association with 25,000 dealer-members and 26 exchanges worldwide. Chances are very good that most people from whom you buy diamonds—whether based in America, Belgium, China, India, Israel, Thailand, or any other diamond cutting or export center—belong to this association founded 60 years ago.

The mark represents a much-needed pledge to newly evolving global norms of business conduct for the diamond trade in such extra-sensitive areas as the environment, labor, and worker welfare. According to WFDB leaders speaking at a press conference during the recent Las Vegas show, jewelers who are concerned about conflict diamonds or diamonds cut by children or underpaid adults are to interpret the mark as an assurance that the seller does not engage in, or buy from others engaged in, such reprehensible practices. Supposedly, this is not merely a declaration of principles but a set of agreed-upon standards which the group will police and enforce. Violation of these standards can result in suspension.

That’s not all. The mark is also meant as a guarantee of product integrity and full disclosure regarding any enhancements performed on the diamonds a WFDB member sells. Hence it should allay lingering fears about clarity and color enhanced stones, as well as misrepresented natural ones. Here, too, the WFDB intends to monitor members and punish code violators.

All in all, says Ernest Blom, the WFDB’s newly-elected president, “The mark promises accountability, integrity, and adherence to tradition.”

Don’t confuse the WFDB mark with the De Beers mark that is physically inscribed on diamonds as a sign that they traveled a crime-free path from mine to market. The WFDB mark is a logo put on business documents and marketing literature that symbolizes a firm’s allegiance to ethical principles and honest practices—as well as its willingness to submit to all procedures used to verify this allegiance. As such, it is a step forward in consumer protection.

No wonder the fledgling Council for Responsible Jewelry Practices (CRJP) heartily endorses the mark. Says the group’s CEO, Michael Rae: “We see much potential common cause between the World Federation code of principles and the WFDB mark’s commitment to proper auditing, monitoring, and enforcement, with the CRJP’s own principles, code of conduct, and verification process.”

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the WFDB mark
A commitment to a code of principles: the WFDB mark.
Ernest Blom, World Federation of Diamond Bourses president.
Ernest Blom, World Federation of Diamond Bourses president.
sample WFDB mark diamond dealer certificate
A sample WFDB mark diamond dealer certificate. Mark numbers can be verified on the federation’s web site at www.wfdbmark.com.