About Steven Benson

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Steven Benson has created 247 blog entries.

CIBJO postpones annual congress, will be rescheduled in 2021

JUNE 9, 2020

CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has announced that its annual congress, which this year was scheduled to have taken place in Dubai, UAE, October 5 to 7, will be postponed to 2021, as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The decision to postpone the congress was taken during a video conference of the CIBJO Board of Directors, following consultation with the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC), which was to have hosted the event.

“This is the first time that we have had to postpone a CIBJO Congress, but under the circumstances it was definitely the most prudent action to take,” said CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri. “Our primary concern is ensuring the health and safety of all participants, and, although none of has a crystal ball with which to predict how things will be five months from now, this is not a decision that can be taken at the last moment. Much of our operation is now taking place online, including the work of our various commissions and committees, and this will continue at full pace. A congress, however, is an event at which we should meet face to face to face, and that hopefully will be possible once again in 2021.”

Dr. Cavalieri thanked the DMCC for its support and understanding. “The DMCC management has been tremendous throughout this period, and we greatly appreciate having been able to come to a mutual decision,” he stated. “They have generously renewed their invitation to host the congress in 2021, and we look forward to being able to gather in Dubai then, just as we intended to do this October.”

CIBJO postpones annual congress, will be rescheduled in 20212020-06-09T11:08:23+00:00

CIBJO release 09-06-2020


CIBJO postpones annual congress, will be rescheduled in 2021

Click PDF icon on left to download document

CIBJO release 09-06-20202020-06-09T11:07:52+00:00

As gesture to industry during COVID-19 crisis, CIBJO makes all Blue Books available free of charge

APRIL 14, 2020

With the international jewellery and gemstone industry grappling with the challenge of a worldwide economic shutdown, instituted by governments in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, CIBJO has announced that it will no longer be charging for downloads of its Blue Book series of industry standards and nomenclature.

The CIBJO Blue Books are definitive sets of grading standards and nomenclature for diamonds, coloured gemstones, pearls, coral, precious metals and gemmological laboratories, and also responsible sourcing practices. With an almost complete absence of jewellery industry standards endorsed by the International Standards Organisation (ISO), they are the most widely accepted set of rules and terminology, and have been recognized as such by the courts in the European Union, and by various governments and regulatory bodies around the world.

“Given the scale of the current crisis, this clearly is a modest gesture, but one that we are keen to make,” said Gaetano Cavalieri, the CIBJO President. “Like so many other economic sectors, the jewellery business is largely at a standstill. But that is temporary, and when the markets begin moving again we believe that progress will be supported by all members of our industry working in unison, with a common set of rules and practices. That is what the Blue Books promote.”

The Blue Books are compiled and are consistently updated – year and year out – by the various CIBJO Commissions. Their standards represent a consensus derived from the broad expertise on the subject within the commissions, and also from individuals outside the commissions who have expressed an interest in participating in the development of the guidelines.

The application of the Blue Books’ standards is voluntary. However, it is recommended that these standards should apply to all persons, partnerships and corporations at all stages of the jewellery chain of distribution, from the initial sourcing of all industry products up to and including the creation of jewellery.

All seven Blue Books can be downloaded at no cost from a dedicated page on the CIBJO website, located at: http://www.cibjo.org/introduction-to-the-blue-books-2/.

As gesture to industry during COVID-19 crisis, CIBJO makes all Blue Books available free of charge2020-04-14T07:04:21+00:00

CIBJO release 14-04-2020


As gesture to industry during COVID-19 crisis, CIBJO makes all Blue Books available free of charge

Click PDF icon on left to download document

CIBJO release 14-04-20202020-04-14T07:00:58+00:00

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