The Israel Diamond Exchange this week said it will join forces with the European Gemological Laboratory to use hi-tech methods to fight off the infiltration of synthetic and treated stones entering the natural diamond market. "The World Federation of Diamond Bourses determined that synthetic or treated diamonds need to be properly identified," said Guy D. Benhamou, CEO and managing partner at EGL Israel. "In practice, however, there are suspicions that treated diamonds are found in the trade of natural diamonds, causing damage to the reputation and credibility of the industry." EGL Israel, which issues about two-thirds of diamond certificates in Israel, this week launched the EGL SpectroGEM, the first innovative system available in Israel using advanced technology, which has the ability to fully identify treated and synthetic stones. Investment in the development of the new system is about $500,000. EGL is joining the global trend aimed at boosting consumer confidence and restoring credibility to the industry by ensuring absolute differentiation between natural diamonds and synthetic or treated stones. "Today everything is about ensuring consumer confidence. The consumer needs to be sure what kind of diamond they are buying," said Avi Paz, president of the Israel Diamond Exchange. Under the terms of the cooperation with EGL, the Israel Diamond Exchange will be able to use the EGL SpectroGEM to clarify cases of differences of opinion over the identification of a diamond. A natural diamond loses in value if treatments such as color or clarity enhancements are detected. "Today we cannot operate a proper and legitimate diamond market without the usage of technology in order to differentiate," said Benhamou. "As treated diamonds and manufactured or synthetic diamonds are becoming more and more sophisticated, we need more and more advanced technology otherwise this market will collapse." Use of the EGL SpectroGEM would increase volume of activity by 20 some percent, he said.