JVC Summary Explains Recent Dodd-Frank Decision

On April 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its opinion in the appeal of National Association of Manufacturers, et al., v. Securities and Exchange Commission.

NAM had challenged several aspects of the SEC’s disclosure rules implementing the conflict minerals provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. While the Court rejected most of those claims, it held that requiring certain companies to publicly report that their products have “not been found to be ‘DRC Conflict-Free’” violates the First Amendment by unconstitutionally compelling speech.

The other provisions of the rule remain in place. These require that companies covered by the rule – public companies that file reports with the SEC – report to the SEC about the origin of the conflict minerals they use. The conflict minerals are tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. In addition, companies covered by the law must exercise due diligence regarding their supply chains if the conflict minerals they use may have originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or an adjoining country.

The requirement that, after performing supply chain due diligence, companies then publicly report if any of their products have “not been found to be ‘DRC conflict free’” is the only provision that the Court found to be unconstitutional.

According to the Court, this requirement compels specific speech, instead of allowing companies to use their own language to describe their products.

In the Court’s words, “[b]y compelling an issuer to confess blood on its hands, the statute interferes with that exercise of the freedom of speech under the First Amendment.” The ruling does not change the requirement that a disclosure must be made to the SEC if a company determines that its products contain minerals tainted by conflict.

The disclosure, however, may be in language that the company chooses.

The case has been returned to the District Court for further proceedings. The coming weeks will determine the full impact of the ruling, as the parties to the litigation decide how to proceed. Should either party request it, the Court might grant a re-hearing on the matter before the full Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

In the meantime, companies covered by the law will continue to prepare their SEC filings. These companies will only be able to comply with the requirements of Dodd-Frank if they have the cooperation of their direct and indirect suppliers. Therefore, businesses in the supply chains of covered companies will continue to be called upon to provide information about mineral origin, and to implement responsible supply chain processes.

Besides raising the free speech issue, the appellants challenged several other aspects of the law. For example, they argued that the SEC erred by not including an exception in its Rules for de minimis uses of conflict minerals. They also asserted that the statute should apply to companies that “manufacture” with conflict minerals, but not to those that only “contract to manufacture.” Additionally, they contended that the SEC’s cost and benefit analysis regarding the rule was insufficient. The Court of Appeals rejected all of these claims.

JVC has published a summary of the main points of the court decision, which will be available on the JVC web site: www.jvclegal.org.

Also available on the website is JVC’s “Supply Chain Assurance Kit.” The do-it-yourself kit is designed to help suppliers of gold and tungsten implement assurance programs, and thus meet customer requirements regarding mineral origin and responsible supply chains.

Any questions on Dodd-Frank and conflict minerals can be directed to Suzan Flamm at suzan@jvclegal.org.

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AGA Las Vegas Conference Will Focus on Lab-Grown Diamonds

As increased production of lab-grown diamonds continues, so do questions—about the products themselves as well as their impact. Everyone is affected, from dealers, retailers, designers, manufacturers and appraisers. Consumers also have questions and, unfortunately, many in the trade still don’t know how to answer them. To address the situation, this will be the focus of the AGA’s Las Vegas conference, taking place Thursday, May 29, 1:00-5:00 pm, at the Platinum Hotel.

The availability of lab-grown diamonds to the public through retail jewelers, internet sites, and in the secondary market, has raised many questions, and many viewpoints are surfacing. There are also rising concerns about inadvertently buying and selling lab-grown diamonds as “natural” diamonds, especially in small sizes set in multi-stone and pave-set jewelry.

“Now is the time to pay attention to this growing market,” says AGA president Stuart Robertson. Having tracked CVD production for about 10 years, and now watching the increasing role of China in the lab-grown sector, Robertson believes the world will see dramatic growth from China in CVD, along with expanding availability of HPHT-grown diamonds.

To address questions and issues in this rapidly evolving market, speakers at the AGA conference will include Dr. James Shigley of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA); Tom Chatham, President, Chatham Created Gems; Dusan Simic, President of Analytical Gemology and Jewelry Laboratory (AG&JL); and Ronnie Vanderlinden, President of the Diamond Manufacturer’s and Importers Association (DMIA) and Diamex, Inc.

Dr. James Shigley will provide information on identification techniques for lab-created diamonds, and Dusan Simic will present breaking news on affordable options now available for identifying mounted as well loose diamonds, including melee sizes. Tom Chatham, a respected grower, will give a producer’s insights into current and projected production estimates, while diamond dealer Ronnie Vanderlinden will share his thoughts on why he, a well known natural diamond dealer, decided to sell lab-grown diamonds as well as natural.

In addition, the Q&A session will be extended to allow attendees to play a more interactive role in creating an in-depth discussion and understanding of the market and where it is headed.

A hands-on session will provide a rare opportunity to see and examine a variety of lab-grown diamonds – both HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) and CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) – following which there will be a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception at which attendees can meet the experts and colleagues, and continue the conversation.

Advance registration discount (by May 15): AGA and Gem-A members $95, non-members, $125; after May 15: $105 for AGA and GemA, $150 for non-members. Visit AGA’s website, www.accreditedgemologists.org for more information or to register.

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Jewelers Mutual Offers “PEP” Talk

When it comes to creating or updating a safety and security plan, where is a jeweler to start?

In its latest video, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company suggests tackling this complex topic by focusing on three central areas of security using "The 'PEP' approach to jewelry security" which examines physical, electronic and procedural measures that can help jewelers and their associates stay safe and secure.

In just over three minutes, jewelers can share this "PEP" talk with their sales and security teams to make security top of mind.

"Effective security for any jewelry operation requires an integration of appropriate physical, reliable electronic and consistently applied procedural security," said David Sexton, CPCU, vice president of loss prevention consulting.

"The critical interdependence of these three layers of security in the protection of a jewelry operation is the special subject of this program. We want jewelers to be able to evaluate their own security and protection through an understanding of how these layers depend on each other in an effective security strategy."

"By drawing attention to the different types of security, we want to help retail jewelers think more strategically about their operation. It's common for a retail jeweler to be strong in two of the three areas of security, but any vulnerability can make a jeweler a target for crime. We really want jewelers to step back and take a look at all three types of security - physical, electronic and procedural."

Jewelers Mutual debuted the PEP video during a free loss prevention webinar. The webinars, which introduced the PEP approach to security were well attended and included a question and answer session with one of Jewelers Mutual's loss prevention specialists, Carrie Volp. "It can be a challenge to fit in time for professional development and security training, so Jewelers Mutual is here to help," said Volp. "We host detailed webinars that you can attend and videos you can share with your associates because every employee plays a part in the security of your store."

The webinars are available on demand atJewelersMutual.com.

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The IDEX Online Polished Price Report for April 17

A great deal of activity in round diamonds again this week with many rises, according to the weekly IDEX Online Price Report.

Fancy shape items again posted low levels of activity with most being negative.

The following are some of the changes in this week's IDEX Online Diamond Price Report.

Rounds

  • 0.18-0.22 cts several decreases

  • 0.23-0.29 cts J-K / IF rises of 2-3%

  • 0.30-0.39 cts many increases in most colors and clarities

  • 0.40-0.44 cts many rises in lower colors and clarities

  • 0.45-0.49 cts D / SI3-I3 rises of 2-4%

  • 0.50-0.69 cts I-L / SI2-I1 rises of 2-4%

  • 0.70-0.79 cts K / IF-VVS1 rises of 2-4%

  • 0.80-0.89 cts unchanged

  • 0.90-0.99 cts I / IF +3.1% to $6,600p/c

  • 1.00-1.24 cts just two changes, both upwards

  • 1.25-1.49 cts M / SI1 +3.3% to $3,100p/c

  • 2 cts N / VS2 +2.2% to $4,600p/c

  • 3 cts D-E / SI1 rises of around 3%

  • 4 cts I / VS1 +2.8% to $21,800p/c

  • 5 cts G-J / IF declines of up to 2.5%



Fancy Cuts

 

  • 0.18-0.22 cts unchanged

  • 0.23-0.29 cts no changes

  • 0.30-0.39 cts E-F / SI2 rises of 3-4%

  • 0.40-0.44 cts unchanged

  • 0.45-0.49 cts no changes

  • 0.50-0.69 cts two changes, one up, one down

  • 0.70-0.79 cts I / I1-I2 declines of 3-4%

  • 0.80-0.89 cts just two changes, one up and one down

  • 0.90-0.99 cts D / VS2 +3.6 to $5,800p/c

  • 1.00-1.24 cts unchanged

  • 1.50-1.99 cts no changes

  • 2 cts I / IF +3.1 to $10,000p/c

  • 3 cts L-M / IF-VVS1 rises of 1-4%

  • 4 cts E / SI2 +2.9 to $14,200p/c

  • 5 cts L / SI1 + 2.9% to $7,000p/c

To receive a full free copy of the IDEX Online Diamond Price Report, please email prices@idexonline.com.

Edahn Golan is Editor-in-Chief of IDEX Online, heading an international team of writers that covers global industry related events and issues. He writes about rough and polished diamond prices, publishes industry analysis articles and a popular weekly opinion column. In recent years, Edahn has advised a number of leading diamond firms, industry bodies and governmental agencies. He writes research papers on topics ranging from provenance analysis of fancy color diamonds to diamond's contribution to local economies, often contributing or writing the diamond chapters for leading research organizations such as KPMG and Bain & Co.

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