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Lazare Kaplan International

Lazare Kaplan International Inc. (LKI) is a diamond manufacturing and distribution company based in New York City. The Chairman of the Board of Directors is Maurice Tempelsman.


Business activities

LKI's main business activity is cutting and polishing "ideal-cut" and "fine make" diamonds, which it sells to upscale retail jewelers throughout the world. Some of these diamonds are distributed loose while others are set in jewelry under The Lazare Diamond® brand. LKI distributes its products through over 1,500 retail partners and customers in 29 countries.

Although primarily based in the United States, LKI also has sales offices in Belgium, Italy, Mexico, Japan, China and Hong Kong. While some 60% of LKI’s sales are in the US, Canada and Europe, LKI has also operated in Japan since 1973, Southeast Asia since 1987 and Latin America since 1997.

LKI’s primary factory is located in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and is the largest diamond cutting and polishing factory in the United States. The company also has manufacturing operations in other parts of the world. It has established a joint manufacturing partnership with Alrosa (the Russian government-owned mining company), with cutting facilities in Moscow and Barnaul. In addition, it produces in Antwerp, Belgium (mainly larger stones and square-cut diamonds), and has contract manufacturing operations in China and Thailand. In Africa, LKI has manufacturing facilities in Botswana; a joint manufacturing and technical services agreement with NamGem in Namibia; and a partnership with Nozala Investments (Pty.) to manufacture diamonds in South Africa.

Company history

LKI was founded in 1903 by Mr Lazare Kaplan. The Tempelsman group purchased a controlling interest in LKI in 1984. LKI has been publicly listed since 1972 and remains the only company specialising in diamond manufacturing whose shares are publicly listed on a US stock exchange (American Stock Exchange; stock symbol: LKI). It has been a Diamond Trading Company (DTC) Sightholder since 1946. In 1985, it became the first company to launch a branded diamond (The Lazare Diamond®).

Technical innovation

In 1919, Lazare Kaplan’s cousin, mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky, first published the mathematical formula for diamonds cut to "ideal" proportions, a formula designed to optimise the brilliance, fire and sparkle in a polished diamond. In the same year, LKI became the first commercial-scale operation to cut its diamonds to ideal proportions. In 1957, LKI developed the modern oval cut, and in 1983 it developed and patented the laser inscription process. In 2002, LKI was awarded a patent, jointly with the General Electric Company, for the high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) process for improving the color of certain all-natural diamond types. In addition, LKI has secured numerous patents on diamond setting techniques and innovations in displays for loose polished stones and jewelry.

Ethical standards

LKI supports (and has helped develop) policies that prohibit the trade in conflict diamonds, prevent money laundering, combat the financing of terrorism, and promote transparency, fair dealing and disclosure throughout the diamond pipeline. It is LKI’s strict policy to clearly identify its prospective suppliers and its customers before entering into any business transaction.

Kimberley Process Certification Scheme [1] – LKI actively participated in the inaugural meeting of diamond industry stakeholders in Kimberley, South Africa, in May 2000, and participated in all subsequent deliberations that led to the January 2003 adoption of the KPCS and its system of controls over rough diamond trading, intended to combat the trade in conflict diamonds. LKI will not import or export rough diamonds without an accompanying Kimberley Process Certificate of origin.

World Diamond Council Industry Self-Regulation [2] – Established in conjunction with the KPCS, the WDC has established a system of buyer-seller warranties to extend the reach and effectiveness of the KPCS throughout the entire diamond pipeline. LKI trades only with companies that provide such warranties, guaranteeing the conflict-free origin of the diamonds on their invoices. All sales and consignments of LKI diamonds are accompanied by LKI’s own warranty statement. This flow of warranties in and warranties out is audited and reconciled on an annual basis by LKI’s financial auditors.

Zero tolerance for conflict diamonds – LKI follows a policy of zero tolerance for conflict diamonds as defined by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 55/56 of 2000 [3]. The LKI system of controls was instituted before the existence of this UN Resolution, and received special commendation from the UN for its contribution to stemming the flow of conflict diamonds. All of LKI’s rough diamond buyers are required to sign and abide by a written code of ethical diamond trading conduct as a condition of continued employment.

Trade association membership – LKI and its officers are members of a wide variety of diamond and jewelry industry associations including, but not limited to, the American Gem Society, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the Jewelers Board of Trade, the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association, the Jewelers Credit Interchange Group, the Jewelers Security Alliance, the New York Diamond Dealers Club, and the Council for Responsible Jewelry Practices.

Best Practice Principles Assurance Program (a Diamond Trading Company program [4]) – LKI subscribes to and is compliant with this program, which was developed to demonstrate to supply chain partners, consumers and other interested stakeholders that the exploration, extraction, sorting, cutting and polishing of diamonds, and the manufacture and sale of diamond jewelry is undertaken in a professionally, ethically, socially and environmentally friendly and accountable way.

Corporate citizenship policies

LKI supports and implements, within the scope of its influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, development, labor standards and environmental sustainability.

Social Accountability International (SAI) [5] – LKI’s primary factory in Puerto Rico was the first such factory in the world to be certified by SAI for compliance with the highest standard of workplace norms, as measured by SAI’s internationally recognized social accountability measuring system (SA8000). The SA8000 standard and verification system provides a credible, comprehensive and efficient measure of humane workplace practices and public responsibility.

UN Global Compact [6] – In 2000, LKI became a founding member of the United Nations Global Compact, intended to support universal environmental and social principles.

Global Sullivan Principles [7] – LKI endorses and subscribes to the Global Sullivan Principles, a code of conduct designed to promote social justice, human rights and economic opportunity.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lazare_Kaplan_International". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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