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So far Steven Benson has created 237 blog entries.

MESSAGE FROM THE CIBJO PRESIDENT: The COVID-19 crisis will be transformational for our industry, it’s imperative that we discuss together how to move forward

APRIL 6, 2020

Historically, international crises have been inflection points in the human experience, and the COVID-19 epidemic is likely to be one of the most transformative in living memory. The world we knew before March 2020 will be different to the one that emerges at the other end of the tunnel through which we are traveling, and it will be incumbent upon us to adapt in order to succeed in the new environment.

By way of illustration, think back to 1991 and the First Gulf War. During the weeks leading up to the January 15 deadline for Iraq to withdraw its troops from Kuwait, while a multinational military force gathered in Gulf, Israel was systematically cut off from international air traffic, as the likelihood of Iraqi missile attacks on the state drew closer. In order to keep business flowing, Israeli polished diamond traders began sending massive quantities of goods abroad on consignment, telling clients they only needed to pay for those diamonds they required, returning those they did not.

When the war finally ended some six weeks later, and the air embargo on Israel ended, it quickly became apparent that the Israelis’ clients were reluctant to relinquish the generous terms that they had been offered during the crisis. What is more, pressure was placed on suppliers from other centres, like Belgium and India, to follow suit. The percentage of consignment sales in the polished diamond trade rose considerably, and imperceptibly the burden of financing the business shifted to the midstream. The consequences of that are being felt to this very day.

The COVID-19 pandemic differs from previous periods of upheaval in that it has been so all-embracing. There is almost no facet of life that has not been impacted, anywhere on the globe. At the same time, as humanity, we have never been better equipped to deal with its effects. The changes that emerge, and they will be considerable, will come about as both a result of the comprehensiveness of the experience, and also because what we have done and what we have used to cope in the challenging environment.

For me personally, as one who for many years has only rarely spent much more than one week in one place at a time, the experience of being homebound has been challenging. But while I have not set my foot out of my home since February 26, I have had more face-to-face meetings with colleagues from around the world than ever before in my more than 50-year career, albeit they have all been virtual, via my computer, tablet or cell phone. Social distancing clearly does not negate social interaction.

One of the lessons that the COVID-19 epidemic should be teaching us is the infinite degree to which we are dependent upon one another. While we all consider ourselves masters of our own destiny, as we should, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the actions we take, consciously or not, will impact on those around us, and ultimately on the greater society. What you may consider to be an acceptable level of personal risk, may not be acceptable to your counterpart, who could be threatened by your actions to a similar degree.

Such levels of co-dependency certainly apply to behaviour related to mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, but are they not relevant to other aspects of our communal existence? Global warming, like COVID-19, is a phenomenon that threatens humanity, as well as other living beings inhabiting our planet. Will the coronavirus crisis contribute to the understanding that if we do not all institute responsible climate standards and practices, those who choose not to follow the advice of scientists threaten more than only their own existence?

Given the inevitability of substantial change and the degree to which we all have a vested interest in decisions that are and will be made, it is imperative that we initiate a cross-industry dialogue as soon as possible. It is fair to assume that none of us alone fully understands the length and breadth of the myriad of challenges that we are facing, nor the full range of solutions that we already have at our disposal, or those that it are within our capacity to develop. If we pool our knowledge and expertise, however, the picture will become clearer.

There are immediate issues that need to be addressed, many of them resulting from the slowdown to practical shutdown of the retail jewellery sector. How do were traverse this period without placing undue pressure on the full chain of supply? Then there are the longer-term issues. How will the coping mechanisms that we are using change the way we do business in the years and decades ahead?

Over the coming days, weeks and months, CIBJO will be coordinating a public dialogue and consultation, using some of the tools that have kept us in close contact over the past several weeks, despite the social distancing.

I invite you to join the discussion. It is quite possibly the most important thing that we should be doing right now, other than protecting our health and that of all others around us.

Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri
CIBJO President

MESSAGE FROM THE CIBJO PRESIDENT: The COVID-19 crisis will be transformational for our industry, it’s imperative that we discuss together how to move forward2020-04-10T09:14:02+00:00

MESSAGE FROM THE CIBJO PRESIDENT: In the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the jewellery industry’s communal sense of responsibility is of paramount importance

MARCH 9, 2020

I write these words from my home in Milan, to which the movement of my family is now restricted, according to new government regulations meant to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Fortunately, we are all in good health.

Messages of encouragement and good wishes have been flowing in from many of you, and they are much appreciated. The spirit of community and mutual support have always been a feature of the jewellery industry, and these are qualities that are especially valued in times like these.

There is no denying that the COVID-19 coronavirus is impacting our industry and our members. Northern Italy, which represents the heart of the national sector and the jewellery design brain trust of the world, is in virtual shut down, as is China, our second largest market. International travel, which for many of us is the life blood of our business, has been curtailed or suspended, trade shows across the globe have been postponed or canceled, and factories, buying offices, wholesalers and retailers are in standby mode.

At this stage it is very difficult to predict how long this state of virtual suspension will continue. What is certain, however, is that it is temporary. Economies need to function, and human ingenuity will always find ways to adapt to changing conditions.

But it is important to begin considering what needs to be done so that we are able to traverse the current crisis intact as possible, both as an industry and as an association, such as CIBJO.

Inevitably, the first priority must be dealing with the health crisis, and to the greatest degree possible protecting the wellbeing of our families, employees and their dependents.  Courageous decisions have already been taken, by trade shows and conference organizers for example, who selected to spare the prospective participants in their events the dilemma of whether to attend or not. A great deal remains unknown about the real risk posed by the COVID-19 coronavirus, but in the meantime, it is preferable to err on the side of safety.

At the same time, within the framework of the restrictions being imposed to prevent the spread of the virus, we must begin using the tools at our disposal to allow the motor of our business to continue turning. Fortunately, more than during any other period in human history, we have a wealth of instruments in our toolkit.

Travel and face-to-face interactions are preferable, but in their absence teleconferencing, video-chatting, Facebook, Whatsapp and Skype are all viable alternatives. Many employees can work from home and remain productive. Managers can monitor business long distance, and products can be displayed and transactions completed online. The technology is available, and many are already using it.

But there is a caveat. Many of the technology-based solutions for managing a business remotely come with a cost that will be less easily carried by small and medium-sized enterprises. Especially at a time like this, there should be an industry-wide sense of awareness that colleagues who are more vulnerable to the suspension of regular trading norms should be a provided a fair opportunity to catch up and compete.

The stakes are extremely high. We deal in luxury products, but our chain of supply supports communities and sometimes entire countries in some of the world’s most developmentally challenged areas. It is incumbent upon us to put our heads together and chart a way forward for the industry through the uncertainty that the COVID-19 coronavirus has created. It is during times like this that the communal spirit of our industry and the mettle of our members will be truly tried and tested.

In meantime, I send my best wishes to all of you from the determined and life-loving city of Milan. Let us face the challenges that confront us together, optimistic about the future.

Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri
CIBJO President

MESSAGE FROM THE CIBJO PRESIDENT: In the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the jewellery industry’s communal sense of responsibility is of paramount importance2020-04-06T08:25:13+00:00

Message from the CIBJO President 09-03-2020



In the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the jewellery industry’s communal sense of responsibility is of paramount importance

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Message from the CIBJO President 09-03-20202020-03-09T10:57:32+00:00

2020 CIBJO Congress to take place in Dubai October 5-7, hosted by DMCC

ABOVE: Almas Tower, the headquarters of DMCC in the heart of Dubai, selected as the venue for 2020 CIBJO Congress.

FEBRUARY 11, 2020

CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, will hold its 2020 annual congress in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from October 5 to October 7. Pre-congress meetings will take place October 3 and October 4.

The 2020 congress will be hosted by DMCC (Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre), one of the world’s leading free zones, which is tasked by the Government of Dubai Authority to drive commodities trade and enterprise. With more than 17,000 businesses registered, DMCC sits at the heart of the region’s growing jewellery trade, and is home to the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), the only World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) accredited bourse in the Arabian Gulf. The Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX), and Dubai Design Academy (DDA) are also based in DMCC.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (right), together with the 2020 CIBJO Congress hosts, Ahmed Bin Sulayem (centre), Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC, and Martin Leake, Special Advisor – Precious Stones, DMCC.

It is the second time that a CIBJO Congress will have taken place in Dubai, with the first being held there in 2008, when it also was hosted by DMCC.

The official venue of the 2020 CIBJO Congress is the Almas Conference Centre, located in the DMCC’s iconic Almas Tower headquarters.

CIBJO congresses serve as the official gathering place for the World Jewellery Confederation’s Assembly of Delegates. They are also the venue for the annual meetings of CIBJO’s sectoral commissions, where amendments can be introduced to the organisation’s definitive directories of international industry standards for diamonds, coloured stones, pearls, gem labs, precious metals, coral and responsible sourcing, known as the Blue Books.

The CIBJO Congress is also where the programme of World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation (WJCEF), relating to responsible and sustainable activities in the industry and CIBJO’s ongoing cooperation with the United Nations and its development programme is reported upon.

“We are delighted to be returning to Dubai,” said Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President, “which over the past decade has established itself as one of the world’s most important jewelry and gemstone hubs and its third largest diamond trading centres. As a city that straddles both East and West, it is a most fitting venue for our global confederation’s annual congress. We thank the DMCC for its generous invitation.”

“The prestigious CIBJO Congress is one of the most important moments in the international jewellery trade calendar. Selected to host the event for a second time underscores Dubai’s standing in the trade, and role in shaping its future. Hospitality is part of Dubai’s DNA, and DMCC looks forward to welcoming colleagues from across the globe, and joining the conversation at this crucial juncture for the industry,” added Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC.

A dedicated CIBJO Congress 2020 website will be launched shortly.

2020 CIBJO Congress to take place in Dubai October 5-7, hosted by DMCC2020-02-11T14:19:53+00:00

CIBJO release 11-02-2020


2020 CIBJO Congress to take place in Dubai October 5-7, hosted by DMCC

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CIBJO release 11-02-20202020-02-11T14:07:52+00:00

CIBJO-IEG seminar at VICENZAORO January show looks at how SMEs face the challenge of responsible sourcing and sustainability

“Trust, but verify” is a rhyming Russian proverb (Доверя́й, но проверя́й) that entered the English lexicon in the 1980s, when it was popularised by American President Ronald Reagan in respect to nuclear disarmament. It is now becoming a fact of life for all players in the jewellery industry, where doing due diligence to ensure responsible sourcing practices, verifiable supply chain integrity and social and environmental sustainability is becoming a requirement of doing business.

But the cost of conducting due diligence and becoming involved in projects that promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can be restrictive, especially for smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It is thus a cause of considerable anxiety in the jewellery sector, where most companies are of limited dimensions. This is especially so in Italy, where all but a handful of firms are SMEs, and most are family owned.

Members of the “Does Size Matter?” panel during the seminar at the VICENZAORO show in Vicenza, Italy, on January 17, 2020. They are (from left): Giorgio Bodei, Director of Pomellato; Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC); Philip Olden, President of CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Commission, the seminar moderator; Moya McKeown, a Sustainability Advisor at Carbon Expert; and Vincenzo Liverino, President of CIBJO’s Coral Commission.

The pressure to do due diligence is being exerted at both ends of the value chain. At the upstream side, mining companies, and particularly those in the diamond industry, are demanding that their suppliers demonstrably show that they are acting responsibly. Downstream, major retailers are increasingly likely to demand that their suppliers demonstrate that they have conducting due diligence on their own supply chains.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri greeting the seminar participants.

Marco Carniello, Director of the VICENZAORO shows, delivering a welcome address.

How SMEs can successfully meet these challenges was the subject of a seminar held the first day of the VICENZAORO show in Vicenza, Italy, on January 17, 2020. Entitled “Does Size Matter?”, it was organized by CIBJO and hosted by the Italian Exhibition Group (IEG), which owns the VICENZAORO show. The event was the latest in an ongoing programme designed and operated by the two organisations in support of Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability in the jewellery sector, which is endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The seminar, which was conducted simultaneously in English and Italian, was supported by leading Italian trade organisations, among them Federpreziosi and Club degli Orafi. Steven Tranquilli, Federpreziosi’s Director, and Gabriele Aprea, President of Club degli Orafi, both welcomed the participants, together with CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, and Marco Carniello, Director of the VICENZAORO shows.

Gabriele Aprea, President of Club degli Orafi, addressing the seminar.

Steven Tranquilli, Director of Federpreziosi, speaking to seminar participants.

Moderated by Philip Olden, President of CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Commission, and featuring a panel of international speakers, the seminar outlined what is required today in the industry in terms of responsible sourcing, supply chain integrity and environmental sustainability. It also presented the experiences of Italian companies that successfully have incorporated principles of CSR and sustainability in their businesses.

The purpose of the seminar was to provide practical guidance. The speakers outlined what is a required in terms of responsible sourcing, supply chain integrity and sustainability, and then presented a range of alternative solutions.


Philip Olden, President, CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Commission, United Kingdom

Mr. Olden, who served as moderator of the seminar, outlined the principles for responsible sourcing in CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Blue Book, emphasizing how they are designed to be adopted by all players in the industry, irrespective of size.

Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director, Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), United Kingdom

Ms. Van der Veken described the operation of the jewellery industry standards and certification organisation, whose Code of Practice now includes gold, silver, platinum group metals, diamonds and coloured gemstones. She noted that 146 of RJC’s more than 1,200 members are Italian, with many of them SMEs.

Moya McKeown, Sustainability Advisor, Carbon Expert, Spain

Ms. McKeown described CIBJO’s Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative, which is a designed to enable members of the industry estimate their carbon footprint and then neutralise it, as part of the worldwide effort to limit the pace of global warming and climate change.

Vincenzo Liverino, President, CIBJO Coral Commission, Italy

As CIBJO Coral Commission, Mr. Liverino has championed a programme aimed at conserving the deep-water precious coral reefs, as well the shallow-water common coral reefs that are today under threat from global warming. As an SME, he is an adopter of the CIBJO Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and provides his perspective on how the jewellery industry may play its part in facing the challenge of climate change.

Giorgio Bodei, Director, Pomellato, Italy

Mr Bodei describes the efforts of Pomellato, which is part of the Kering Group and is one of Italy’s leading jewelry manufacturers, to ensure that all its suppliers, many of which are smaller companies, follow responsible sourcing practices. He highlighted the firm’s  Nuvola Collection, which includes gold exclusively  sourced from artisanal miners, all of whom have been certified by the Fairmined organisation.  (Presentation in Italian)

CIBJO-IEG seminar at VICENZAORO January show looks at how SMEs face the challenge of responsible sourcing and sustainability2020-01-22T09:03:48+00:00