ABOVE: Volkan Bozkır (left), President of the United Nations General Assembly, during the special session to discuss the international impact of COVID-19 and the response to the crisis, which took place on December 3 and 4, 2020. He is joined at the podium by Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations. (Photo: UN media services)
DECEMBER 7, 2020
CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has participated in a special session of the United Nations General Assembly, which took place in New York on December 3 and 4, 2020, looking at the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people, societies and economies, and discussing the multifaceted and coordinated response required to address the crisis.
CIBJO was invited to participate in the session as the jewellery and gemstone industries’ only representative in the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), delivering a written statement that was presented to the body on December 3 and posing a question that was addressed in the panel discussions that took place on December 4.
The COVID-19 pandemic was described as the greatest global health crisis since the creation of the United Nations 75 years ago, with fundamental humanitarian, socio-economic, security and human rights implications.To date it has claimed more than 1.3 million lives, infected more than 54 million people and upended the livelihoods billions all over the world. Significantly, it has exposed vulnerabilities and exacerbated inequalities within and between developing and developed countries, hitting the poorest and most vulnerable people particularly hard, the UN General Assembly was told.
“As was the case with almost all business sectors, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the jewellery and gemstone industries presented a range of challenges that had never really been considered, let alone prepared for,” CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri noted in his statement to the UN General Assembly. “What was clear was that the potential fallout, both from the health crisis and its economic effects moving forward, would extend considerably beyond the luxury markets.”
“Hundreds of millions of individuals, mainly living in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, are dependent upon the revenues generated by the extraction of precious metals, diamonds and coloured gemstones for their livelihoods. Many of them are involved in artisanal and small-scale mining, and lack the protections afforded to employees of the larger, industrialized mining operations,” the CIBJO President’s statement continued, echoing the call made by others for special attention to be paid to countries and regions that may lack the capacity to provide relief for their citizens during the crisis.
Inequalities within and between developing and developed countries were also addressed in the question that CIBJO posed during the panel discussion. Noting the massive costs associated with purchasing, importing, shipping, handling, delivering and administering the new COVID-19 vaccines, CIBJO asked how can the international community, using multilateral cooperation, ensure that any vaccine that is developed be distributed in a full and fair way to the populations of all countries who need it, and not just the advanced Western nations. “Where will international finance come from to aid the poorest countries in vaccine distribution?” CIBJO asked.
“Although we operate in the luxury sphere, we in the jewellery and gemstone sectors have a particular perspective on the less developed regions of our globe, largely because they are the source of many of the raw materials that we use,” said Dr. Cavalieri, speaking after the UN session. “As a community we have a responsibility to serve the social and economic interests of all our stakeholders, and this is particularly acute during the type of crisis that we are all are living through, although we are not necessarily as affected to the same degree.”
The Board of Directors of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has released a Laboratory-Grown Diamond Guidance document for review by officers and members of affiliated national associations and representatives of commercial members. This is the final stage in a more than two-year process to create a harmonised set of operating standards and principles for the laboratory-grown diamond sector.
Intended to assist all professionals handling laboratory-grown diamonds, the primary purpose of the guidance document is to protect and enhance consumer confidence. It was compiled by a committee of representatives from both the laboratory-grown diamond sector and the natural diamond sector.
A key principle of the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Guidance is that, to ensure confidence, consumers must receive complete and unambiguous information about what they are buying, so that they can make consciously informed purchasing decisions. This requires clear and accurate information that the diamonds were created industrially, and not through geological processes, as is the case with natural diamonds.
The laboratory-grown diamond sector and natural diamond sector operate according to different business models, with the relationship between colour, clarity and weight, on the one side, and rarity on the other, which exists with natural diamonds, not relevant with laboratory-grown diamonds, where colour, clarity and weight are subject to the control of the laboratory-grown diamond manufacturer. Rarity is a critical factor in setting the price of a natural diamond, and in deciding its long-term value trajectory.
Divided into various sections, the guidance document outlines clear principles for describing laboratory-grown diamonds, and well as due diligence measures that should be followed by companies handling such merchandise and events at which they are displayed, like trade shows. It furthermore recommends the manner in which loose laboratory-grown diamonds or jewellery set with laboratory-grown diamonds should be disclosed on sales invoices and consignment documents. The document also addresses the subject of laboratory-grown diamond detection technology.
A key section of the document relates to the services provided by gem labs to the laboratory-grown diamond sector. It contends that the confidence of consumers will be served by their receiving an accurate and objective report of the characteristics of the laboratory-grown stone that they are buying, but, since these are unrelated to rarity, care should be taken that the report itself does not infer a similarity between a laboratory-grown diamond and a natural diamond. The report, therefore, is referred to a “Laboratory-Grown Diamond Product Specification,” and not a grading report.
Since a manufactured product is involved, the guidance document recommends that Laboratory-Grown Diamond Product Specification reports include other information that is not provided on standard natural diamond grading reports. This includes the name of the manufacturer, the production batch, the country of manUfacture, the method of manufacture (HPHT or CVD), and information about treatments and processes to which the stone was subject after its original manufacture.
The guidance document recommends that, if the 4Cs are used by a laboratory to describe the physical characteristics of laboratory-grown diamonds, the letters “LG” should be placed as a prefix before the 2Cs of colour and clarity. Certain countries require that OIML/Legal Units of Measurement be used to describe the weight of laboratory-grown diamonds, and here the guidance document recommends that the report notes both the stone’s standard carat weight and its weight in grams.
Only officers and members of CIBJO-affiliated national associations and representatives of CIBJO commercial members are eligible to download and review the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Guidance. Therefore, the document is password protected. To obtain the password, please the contact the association to which you are connected, or the commercial member that you represent. A full list of of CIBJO national associations and commercial members is available via the following link: http://www.cibjo.org/national-organizations/
Comments about the reviewed document should be sent by email to the CIBJO Secretariat at: email@example.com.
Submitted comments must include the name of the person submitting them, and the name of the CIBJO national association member or the CIBJO commercial member to which they belong or they represent.
All comments should be submitted no later than Monday, November 1, 2020.
CIBJO releases Laboratory-Grown Diamond Guidance for review by members of affiliated organisations and companies worldwideSteven Benson2020-10-13T07:29:40+00:00
CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has described as ground-breaking the publication by the International Standards Organisation of ISO 24016, the first-ever standard approved by the body that specifies the terminology, classification and the methods to be used for the grading and description of single unmounted polished diamonds.
“This is a historic moment for our industry,” said CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, “for it is the first time than a strictly defined diamond grading system has been ratified by the world’s leading standards body, formally recognizing principles and terminology that to date have not been approved by any impartial and international authority. ISO 24016 essentially parallels the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book, meaning that our widely-accepted standard is now effectively validated by ISO.”
“The aim of a standard for grading unmounted polished diamonds is to set rules for determining with maximum precision and accuracy the mass, colour, clarity and cut of individual polished diamonds,” ISO 24016 notes in its introduction. “On one hand, based on these four criteria – also known as ‘the 4Cs’ – the diamond trade evaluates the value of diamonds. On the other hand, some diamond grading reports may be issued based on different standards by different laboratories, potentially leading to different results for the same individual diamond. This situation damages the reputation of the whole diamond trade. Hence, the need for a unique ISO standard for grading polished diamonds.”
ISO 24016 applies to natural, unmounted, polished diamonds of more than 0.25 carats. It is a comprehensive technical document, 55 pages in length, providing detailed information with tables and figures. It expressly does not apply to fancy coloured diamonds, synthetic (laboratory-grown) diamonds, diamonds treated by methods other than laser drilling, nor to assembled stones.
It is the second standard issued by the International Standards Organisation dealing specifically with diamonds. ISO 18323, which was released in 2015, defined specific nomenclature for natural diamonds, synthetic diamonds and diamond simulants. It was reconfirmed last week after a five-year systematic review process.
Headquartered in Geneva, ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organisation, to which are are affiliated 165 national standards bodies. It operates 333 Technical Committees covering 253 sectors, among them food and agriculture, energy, health, mechanical engineering, communications, and more, bringing together experts that share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges. To date, more than 23,000 ISO standards have been issued. Issues in ISO related to jewellery and precious metals are handled by Technical Committee 174, chaired by Dr. Jonathan Jodry, which has participants and observers from 40 countries and is responsible for more than 25 international standards.
The process of developing a new standard for diamond grading began two years ago at the request of Schweizerische Normen-Vereinigung (SNV), the Swiss Association for Standardisation. The initial stage of preparing a draft document was accelerated in 2018, when CIBJO granted ISO permission to use its own Publicly Available Specification PAS 1048, based on the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book, as a basis for drafting the new ISO standard. Jean-Pierre Chalain, Vice President of CIBJO’s Diamond Commission, was designated as the convenor of TC174 Working Group 2, to oversee the project.
The process of deliberation and review took about two years to complete, and was managed thanks to the dedication of a team of internationally renowned diamond experts from 10 different countries. After consensus among the technical specialists was reached, the draft was shared with all ISO National Members from the Technical Committee for further comments, and then a final draft was sent to all ISO TC members for ratification.
“This a massive achievement for the diamond industry, and it was achieved through hundreds of hours of hard work, and a painstaking international vetting process,” said Udi Sheintal, President of CIBJO’s Diamond Commission. “Now, for the first time, we can say without equivocation that a entire gemstone category, namely diamonds, has been fully addressed by the International Standards Organisation, which through ISO 24016 and ISO 18323 comprehensively provides an accurate definition of diamonds, and the ways in which they are described and graded. Furthermore, with both standards being so closely associated with the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book, we can take great pride in our processes and professionalism.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that these two international ISO standards, together with the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book, will help boost consumer confidence,” Mr. Sheintal said. “The timing is particularly relevant, especially now when clear distinctions must be made between laboratory-grown diamonds and natural diamonds.
Mr. Chalain stressed that major asset of the standard ISO 24016 is that will be regularly subject to a systematic review process, to ensure that it remains relevant to the needs of the diamond trade. He thanked all the various participants in two-year process, and in particular CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO Diamond Commission President Udi Sheintal, Rudi Biehler, ISO TC 174 Chair Jonathan Jodry, ISO TC 174 Secretary Petra Bischoff, and Patrick Lötscher, Secretary of ISO TC 174 Working Group 2.