Rapaport’s diamonds sales platform Rapnet has begun to list diamonds graded by Forevermark-owned grading lab IIDGR (International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research). This is a drastic change from its policy of only selling GIA graded diamonds as a measure of ensuring to the users of their platform that their diamonds are 100% trustworthy. It is even more compelling in the wake of the seemingly rocky relationship between Rapaport and De Beers of late, with Rapaport calling for the CEO of De Beers to step down due to poor management and lack of foresight in the world’s largest diamond company. This makes the Rapnet move even more confusing.
The IIDGR Grading Laboratory Image credit: IIDGR
Why on earth would Rapnet list IIDGR graded diamonds?
The IIDGR was founded in 2004 by De Beers to grade their goods, although the lab supposedly operates independently of De Beers’ instruction (as in, supposedly not swayed to over-grade the goods that come in). IIDGR now also sells diamond grading equipment, which has helped to establish them as a diamond grading leader. However, the leader and most trusted name in diamond grading remains the GIA, the Gemological Institute of America. Ever since it was founded as a purely independent educational institution for diamond grading in the 1970s, it has remained at the forefront of trustworthiness and objectivity, and the industry and buyers alike have come to completely depend on it, despite the fact that other diamond grading labs have opened since. Whether it is for colorless or for fancy colored diamonds, the GIA is the final word for analyzing diamond specifications.
De Beers/IIDGR Grading Certificates Image credit: De Beers
One of the main reasons that the GIA can be so trusted is that they are completely objective, with no agenda. They do not sell diamonds so there is no reason to doubt them. Can the same be said for De Beers? Their main goal is to sell their diamonds. De Beers is a diamond company that operates the entire value chain, from mining to polishing to setting and then retail. Clearly their goal is to sell. It cannot be said in all certainty that an IIDGR diamond is graded as objectively as one graded by the GIA, or maybe so?
A grading lab should be a full independent entity not attached to any other entity, especially not a commercial kind that benefits from the sales of its own certified products.
It is pretty clear why De Beers wants to be listed by Rapnet. Like any diamond company, they want their goods available to a larger audience. Rapnet is currently the largest network servicing the diamond industry, and is the premiere source for diamond dealers to search for the goods that they need. De Beers is also looking to reposition themselves once again as the leading diamond company in the world. It is a huge privilege for them to be allowed to list themselves on Rapnet. Listing themselves means that they can list their diamonds with their own in-house certification without having to send any of the diamonds to the GIA for grading (and to avoid any of the expense that sending out their diamonds would incur).
Is Rapnet doing this as a way to ‘apologize’ to De Beers for their opinions that they expressed toward De Beers’ CEO? If so, this is quite a generous apology! It can potentially bring in millions of dollars in sales to De Beers! It also helps establish Forevermark and the IIDGR as staple brands in the industry, which De Beers could never have accomplished on their own.
Listing IIDGR Certificates on Rapnet gives the IIDGR a seal of approval by Rapaport
Is Rapnet is doing this just to beef up their own position? Perhaps they are just trying to keep things interesting to keep people revisiting their website and to maintain Rapnet’s premiere status? Rapnet can certainly get a percentage of every sale from its platform, so it is in their best interest to keep their platform as alive and healthy as possible.
If Rapnet bows to no one, how come they are bowing to De Beers? What do you think? Tell us in the comments!
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