HRD Antwerp : The high-end jewellery houses in India do require a certification service that can complement and further their brand-proposition: Couvreur

With four decades of resourceful experience in grading and more than 500 years of rich diamond heritage, HRD Antwerp has launched jewellery certification service in India which will play a key role in strengthening the consumers’ confidence on the category and help jewellers position differently in the fiercely competitive market. In an interview with Niladri S Nath, Serge Couvreur, CEO, HRD Antwerp talks about their India-centric plans.     

The Retail Jeweller (TRJ): Please tell us about the services HRD Antwerp offers.

Serge Couvreur (SC): Set up in 1976, HRD Antwerp is the 100% subsidiary of AWDC. For four decades, HRD Antwerp has been offering high-quality grading solutions as well as enormous in-house expertise and know-how. We offer a wide range of services and equipment to the diamond jewellery manufacturers and jewellery retailers.

We at HRD Antwerp grade diamonds according to the IDC rules, an international standard for grading polished diamonds introduced and endorsed by the diamond industry’s two leading representative organisations, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA). These rules provide a guarantee for transparency.  

We also ensure our diamond certificates remain advanced from a technological perspective. To assure the detection of synthetic and treated diamonds, we use state of the art knowledge and equipment. The external authenticity features of the HRD Antwerp Certificate such as line structures, watermark, embossed logo, fluo marks and micro text provide a forgery-proof and tamper-proof diamond certificate that is unmatched in the industry, giving our clients complete peace of mind.

TRJ: What are the key highlights of your diamond-grading service in India?
SC: We have introduced the highest level of diamond grading to the Indian market. We have brought to the table a vast range of expertise to the Indian market including Belgian expert graders, experienced trainers and cutting edge technology. In addition, certificates issued by our Mumbai diamond lab are managed by our specifically developed tracking software which is controlled from Antwerp, thus ensuring guarantee for consistency. Furthermore HRD Antwerp was the first Diamond Lab officially accredited with the ISO label (international standard NBN EN ISO/IEC 17025.).  This label guarantees that the grading methods used in the diamond lab have been externally audited and subject to an independent, third party quality-check. In addition, an HRD Antwerp Diamond Certificate is a forgery-proof and tamper proof certificate that is unmatched in the industry.

TRJ: HRD Antwerp has recently launched diamond jewellery certification service in India. What are opportunities you saw that prompted you to launch jewellery certification service in India?
SC: The jewellery certification scenario is not very streamlined in India. The certification process is currently being carried out at an extremely hurried pace with no attention to quality. Such a scenario often dents the consumer confidence on the category and throws a spanner to the growth prospect of the category. When a consumer invests his/her hard-earned money into buying diamond jewellery, he/she is entitled to get authenticated details on the diamonds he/she has bought in addition to quality assurance of highest standard. Our state-of-the-art jewellery certification service has essentially been conceptualized to fill up the void that exists in the Indian jewellery market at present.

TRJ: What are the unique features of the jewellery certification service?
SC: Akin to our diamond grading service, our jewellery certification service also highlights Antwerp’s rich heritage. As 8 out of 10 of all rough diamonds in the world are handled in Antwerp and 1 out of 2 of all polished diamonds pass through this city of Belgium, there is credence of the highest level attached to our grading service. The jewellers in India can have the slice of that heritage by going for our grading service. ‘Diamonds certified by Antwerp-based lab’ will be the most prestigious differentiating factor for the jewellers in this highly competitive market scenario.

In addition, we offer our customers faster turn-around time to assist them in taking swift financial decisions. For that, we have deployed Alpha-diamond Analyzer from Bruker at our lab and the best part of the machine is that it doesn’t require mounted diamonds in the jewellery to be removed.  

TRJ: How are you planning to expand your client-footprint in India?
SC: We wish to preserve the exclusivity of our diamond grading and jewellery certification service. The other certification services operational in India are quite mass in nature. But, we wish to project our service differently by associating only with the top-end of jewellery retail spectrum. We don’t like to merely play the role of a certification service provider for our clients. We wish to play a vital role in their growth. Through our detailed and most authentic certifications service, we wish to help them win the confidence of their customers and strengthen their brand-positioning. In fact, the high-end jewellery houses in India do require a certification service that can complement and further their brand-proposition. And our certification service is apt for that purpose because of its lineage. We are currently focusing on working with leading jewellers in all the metro cities in India.

TRJ: How are you planning to promote your service at the business level and consumer level?
SC: We are participating in various B2B jewellery exhibitions in India to create awareness about our services. Also, we will be promoting our services at the consumer-level so that they can demand our service from their favourite jewellers. In fact, we have organized successful consumer-engagement programmes in countries like China and Thailand which helped us gain better traction in those markets. That journey has just begun in India.

For queries on HRD Antwerp services: Rahul Jauhari, Commercial Director; email: