“Currently, there is a downward trajectory in diamond market” – Curtis Lowrey, Founder & President of Independent Gemological Laboratories

Founder & President of Independent Gemological Laboratories, Curtis Lowrey while his recent visit in India, told Jewel Trendz about diamond markets trajectory so far and changes in industry in last 17 years.

Independent Gemological Laboratories (IGL) was founded in 1999 by Curtis Lowrey to deal with future challenges in an ever changing market place, detecting treatments and enhancements to diamonds and colored stones are a constantly evolving challenge with research and education independent prides itself on staying current with the latest developments within the gemstone industry.

As President of IGL for last 17 years, Lowrey has seen significant changes in the diamond world. IGL was founded to be certification laboratory for multi diamond products, mainly non bridal jewellery. Events like 9/11, market crash in 2008, Brexit and US Presidential elections impact the markets greatly. To deal with such situation IGL continues to be in the bridal jewellery and diamond testing areas. 2016 has been challenging for the diamond markets so far.

Lowrey states, “Europe is in a transition period with the choice of Brexit, the US is in the middle of a very continuous election that is diverting consumers attention from buying jewellery for self purchases, though bridal jewellery is doing fine, China seems to be in a slow period.” There is a lot of concern over the introduction of lab-grown diamonds both as category in merchants show cases and as an illegitimate undisclosed offering between traders in the wholesale market. “IGL’s position on the topic is any stone that is identified and has been inscribed should be accepted. The detection in an easy and sure way needs to be resolved and the lab-growers should assist to that effort.”

As a laboratory IGL needs to be investing in and understanding lab-grown diamonds. In New York, IGL has been investing in equipment to detect lab-grown diamonds. Lowrey tells, “We have relationships with growers who assist us in learning about new techniques and advancements.”

According to Lowrey diamonds have moved over the years from an exotic purchase to one that is commodity and as with all commodities currently, diamond markets too have been in a downward trajectory. “Therefore competition by large sight holders and cutters has not been strong. And also, the valuation of better goods of higher clarity and larger carat weights has not been held firm which is unusual since they are more rare and so more valued,” adds Lowrey.

India is a major jewellery production center for cutting diamonds and making jewellery. “The diamond market for export of jewellery is around 30bn USD according to GJEPC. Set jewellery is exported to every part of the globe from India. As well as cutting a large portion of the worlds cut and polished diamonds. I believe more diamonds are cut in India than in any other country in the world,” Lowrey adds. This is also why IGL opened its first overseas office in Mumbai. To attend the Indian markets well IGL is developing a cause teaching Gemology. It will focus on diamonds and diamond grading. IGL also plans to add colored stones in the basic course over time.

-Rika Aash Pathak