The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) is taking steps to safeguard the integrity of the natural diamond industry.

It has announced the expansion of its Assure programme which promotes the testing of diamond verification instruments in the interest of ensuring consumers trust the industry.

The programme was first launched in 2019 in order to give third-party insights into diamond verification services.

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Now, the Assure programme 2.0 builds upon the best practice of the original programme.

A second independent testing laboratory has been opened, located at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, in one of the world’s key diamond hubs.

This facility will operate alongside the founding Assure testing specialist, UL, located in Canton, Massachusetts, United States, with identical samples and testing procedures.

Both laboratories will work simultaneously to enhance the long-term sustainability of Assure, double the testing capacity and create a more geographically diverse landscape for submissions.

David Kellie, CEO Natural Diamond Council, said: “Integrity and consumer trust is critical to the success of the jewellery industry and I’d like to thank all our partners and the wider industry for their commitment to the Assure programme and the verification of their products.

“I’d also like to thank the many manufacturers of the diamond screening devices being presented for the role that their participation plays in ensuring trust throughout the industry.”

Raluca Anghel, head of external affairs and industry relations at the Natural Diamond Council, said: “By enhancing and improving the Assure programme we are taking even greater strides in protecting consumer confidence.

“Everyone is responsible for correctly disclosing the nature of the product they are selling, but to facilitate this we need robust diamond verification instruments that are rigorously tested.

“With this latest iteration of the Assure programme, manufacturers will be presented with vital information to continue improving their devices and consumers can be assured of the vigorous steps taken to ensure their confidence.”