CIBJO Congress 2019 wraps up in Bahrain with creation of Laboratory-Grown Diamond and Technology Committees

ABOVE: Gaetano Cavalieri (far left), addressing the CIBJO Congress during the session at which the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Working Group presented its guidance document. He is joined on the podium by several working group members (from left): Wesley Hunt, chairperson, Thierry Silber, Andrey Zharkov and Daniel Nyfeler.

NOVEMBER 21, 2019

The 2019 CIBJO Congress has concluded in Bahrain, with the World Jewellery Confederation’s Board of Directors voting to establish a series of new committees, among them one that will be dedicated to establishing operating practices that are specific to the laboratory-grown diamond trade, and another which will focus on the long-term impacts of new technologies on the jewellery, gemstone and precious metals sectors.

The annual congress was held this year at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manama, Bahrain, from November 18 to 20, with steering committee meetings taking place on November 16 and 17. It was hosted by DANAT, Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones. The congress was attended by about 220 participants, with about 150 flying in from abroad.

According to the decision by the board, the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee will operate under the umbrella of the CIBJO’s Diamond Commission. It is being created from an ad hoc working group, which was established at the 2018 CIBJO Congress in Colombia, and over the past year prepared a guidance document that was presented at a highly anticipated and packed session at the gathering in Bahrain. The working group included CIBJO officers and officials, representatives both the laboratory-grown diamond sector, the natural diamond sector and a leading gemmological laboratory.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (fifth from left) thanking Noora Jamsheer (second from left), CEO of DANAT, the congress host, and other members of the staff of the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones, during the gala dinner on November 18, 2019.

CIBJO’s objective in creating the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee, said its President, Gaetano Cavalieri, was to establish a proposal for a set of working rules that will enable the natural and laboratory-grown diamond sectors to work alongside each other, enabling both to grow and flourish, not at the expense of the other, while maintaining the consumer’s trust and confidence.

“The time has come to reach a modus operandi that is acceptable to all of us,” Dr. Cavalieri stated. “Unnecessary effort and time have been wasted through mutual recrimination, and it ultimately it is in the interests of all sides to develop a mutually agreed-to framework that would prevent problematic incidents, such as the mixing of parcels of natural and laboratory-grown diamonds without disclosing the fact to consumers.”

The new Technology Committee will draw on expertise from across the jewellery sector, with the goals of developing understandings of the disruptive technologies that are likely to impact the industry in coming years.

Among them is Artificial Intelligence (AI), which could be transformative for the jewellery and gemstone sector, because it takes over decision-making functions that to date have been performed by people. With a capacity to have positive impacts, in that it could create systems that are able to analyse consumer demand and then optimize the production of raw materials, the types, qualities and quantities of gemstones being cut, and the range of jewellery being produced, there also are more sinister aspects, such as reduced autonomous decision-making and invasions of privacy of both members of industry and consumers.

CIBJO Congress delegates during a session of the World Jewellery Confederation’s annual gathering, this November in Bahrain.

“It is imperative that we develop an understanding of where things are headed, rather than having to react to situations brought about by technological developments, when we are less informed and less prepared,” explained Dr. Cavalieri. “For a long while our industry continued to operate according to rules and systems that seldom changed, but that is no longer the case. CIBJO needs to better informed, and we must then pass that knowledge onto our members and stakeholders. This will be the role of the Technology Committee.”

The CIBJO Board of Directors additionally decided to establish a third new committee, which will be charged with fundraising for the World Jewellery Confederation.

2019 was an election year for CIBJO, with a new Board of Directors being sworn in and the confederation’s President, Dr. Cavalieri, being confirmed for another two-year term in office. Two new vice presidents were elected to serve along the CIBJO’s long-time Vice President Roland Naftule. They are Jonathan Kendall of the De Beers Group of Companies and Pramod Agarwal, the current Chairman of India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

The annual CIBJO Congress is the official venue for the meeting of the CIBJO Assembly of Delegates, at which gathers the members of national jewellery and gemstone associations from about 45 countries and representatives of many of the industry’s most important commercial bodies. During the event, the organisation’s Diamond, Coloured Stones, Pearl, Coral, Precious Metals, Gemmological and Responsible Sourcing Blue Books, which are industry’s most widely accepted directories of uniform grading and business standards and nomenclature, are discussed and updated.

For comprehensive reports of each CIBJO Congress 2019 session, photo galleries speeches and presentations and commission special reports, please visit the dedicated website by CLICKING HERE.

CIBJO Congress 2019 wraps up in Bahrain with creation of Laboratory-Grown Diamond and Technology Committees2019-11-21T06:21:12+00:00

CIBJO Congress 2019 opens in Bahrain with focus on climate change and environmental sustainability

ABOVE: CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (third from right), with the guests of honour during the opening ceremony of the CIBJO Congress 2019, from right: HE Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister; and Chairman of Mumtalakat, Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund which owns the congress host, DANAT; HE Jawad Al Arayedh, Deputy Prime Minister; HE Wael Al Mubarak, Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs; HE Shaikh Fahad bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, Director General, Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister.

NOVEMBER 18, 2019

The 2019 CIBJO Congress has opened in Bahrain, with a call on the jewellery industry by CIBJO President Gaetano to take action on climate change, which he said was not an issue specific to the sector, but it is the “most important story of our time.”

“There is a tendency, when faced by a challenge of this magnitude, to feel that we as individuals are helpless,” Dr. Cavalieri continued. “But if each of us does nothing, the march towards inevitable environmental catastrophe will continue. However, if each of us acts, and then that is multiplied over and over and over, company by company, industry by industry, it may be possible to stave off disaster. It is the least we can do.”

The CIBJO’ Congress opening ceremony took place in the presence of HE Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, the Bahrain Deputy Prime Minister who also serves as Chairman of Mumtalakat, the country’ sovereign wealth fund, under which operates DANAT, Bahrain Institute for Pearls & Gemstones, the host of the congress; HE Jawad Al Arayedh, a Bahrain Deputy Prime Minister; HE Wael Al Mubarak, Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs of Bahrain; and HE Shaikh Fahad bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, Director General, Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister.

Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, address the opening session of the 2019 CIBJO Congress by video.

Lise Kingo, the Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, which is represented for the first time at a CIBJO Congress, addressed the gathering in a video message. In terms of global warming, she said, the world is at a pivotal moment.

“The good news is that we have the innovation, the tools and the expertise to turn the situation around, and transform the crisis into an opportunity,” Ms. Kingo stated.

“What we need now is leadership. That is why we at the UN Global Compact are asking business leaders to step up and commit to setting science-based targets, which are aligned with mitigating the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.”

In term of action, the CIBJO President urged companies active in the jewellery industry to sign into CIBJO’s Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative. It is designed to help companies within the jewellery and gemstone industries understand their environmental impact, reduce it, and protect themselves and the sector as a whole, as well as our planet.

“As an organisation, CIBJO first measured and offset its carbon emissions in 2013, and committed to continue with this policy, serving as a role model for the industry, with the intention of encouraging members to follow its lead. The 2015 CIBJO Congress in Salvador, Brazil, was the first jewellery industry event ever to be fully carbon neutral, and every congress since then, including this one in Bahrain, has and will be carbon neutral,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

Delegates and guests of honour during the opening session of 2019 CIBJO Congress in Bahrain.

In his address, Dr. Cavalieri pointed out other key subjects that will be addressed during the three-day congress in Bahrain. One is helping create an international standard for Fei Cui, which is the Chinese term for a range of jade compositions, of which the best known is jadeite. With a market size that is comfortably in excess of $8 billion per annum, “it is fair to say that, after diamonds, Fei Cui products make up the most valuable sector in our worldwide industry,” the CIBJO President stated.

The Chinese and Hong Kong industries are interested in advancing international standards for Fei Cui in cooperation with CIBJO, and in a special session at the congress in Bahrain on Tuesday, November 19, a delegation will present its case.

During a later session at the 2019 congress on November 18, the Laboratory Grown Diamond-Working Group will present a proposed guidance document, design to create responsible trading standards for the new product category, which will simultaneously protect consumer confidence both in laboratory-grown and natural diamonds.

“The only ground rules that were provided to the working group was that it members needed be committed to defending the interests of consumers by being absolutely transparent about the identity of the products being sold, and there should be general agreement that neither the natural diamond or laboratory-grown diamond sectors should advance their respective interests by disparaging those of the other,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

The 2019 CIBJO Congress is taking place in Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, November 18-20. Serving as the official venue for the meeting of the CIBJO Assembly of Delegates, the CIBJO Congress gathers the members of national jewellery and gemstone associations from more than 40 countries and representatives of many of the industry’s most important commercial bodies. During the event, the organisation’s Diamond, Coloured Stones, Pearl, Coral, Precious Metals, Gemmological and responsible Sourcing Blue Books, which are industry’s most widely accepted directories of uniform grading and business standards and nomenclature, are discussed and updated.

CIBJO Congress 2019 opens in Bahrain with focus on climate change and environmental sustainability2019-11-18T21:12:50+00:00

CIBJO Congress 2019 set to kick off in Bahrain on November 18, agendas and related documentation now online

NOVEMBER 15, 2019

With the 2019 CIBJO Congress set to open in Manama, Bahrain, in three days’ time, agendas and related documentation for the various sessions and meetings that will take place during the event are now available online. Contained in a Digital Binder, they can be downloaded from the dedicated congress website. To download the Digital Binder, please CLICK HERE.

The schedule of the CIBJO Congress includes a series of meetings of different working groups, called sectors and commissions, each of which focuses on a different sector or field of interest in the jewellery industry. The Digital Binder includes the agendas and documentation related to each of their sessions, as well as those sessions that encompass the entire CIBJO membership.

The 2019 CIBJO Congress will take place in Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, November 18-20, with pre-congress meetings on November 16 and 17.

Serving as the official venue for the meeting of the CIBJO Assembly of Delegates, the CIBJO Congress gathers the members of national jewellery and gemstone associations from more than 40 countries and representatives of many of the industry’s most important commercial bodies. During the event, the organisation’s Diamond, Coloured Stones, Pearl, Coral, Precious Metals and Gemmological Blue Books, which are industry’s most widely accepted directories of uniform grading standards and nomenclature, are discussed and updated.

Hosting the CIBJO Congress 2018 is DANAT, the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones.

CIBJO Congress 2019 set to kick off in Bahrain on November 18, agendas and related documentation now online2019-11-15T11:30:42+00:00

CIBJO President delivers keynote address on traceability standards at jewellery summit during Chinese Import Expo

ABOVE: CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri delivering the keynote address at the International Jewellery Standardisation Summit, which was held during the Second Chinese Import Expo in Shanghai on November 8, 2019.

NOVEMBER 11, 2019

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri has delivered the keynote address at the International Jewellery Standardisation Summit in Shanghai on November 8, 2019, which was held in parallel with the Second China International Import Expo that is taking place in the city. In his address, he focused on the importance of origin traceability standards for the future of the jewellery sector, focusing specifically on their significance for the growth of the business in China.

The summit was coorganized by the China Gem & Jade Exchange, which recently joined CIBJO as a national association member. It was one a number of conferences being held during the China International Import Expo, in which the Chinese government is seeking to promote the opening of the giant Chinese market to the international trade.

Full traceability is very difficult in the jewellery sector, and is generally limited to a small number of companies that control the full range of production, from the mine through retail, the CIBJO President said. There are also a growing number of technological solutions, many of them using blockchain, where every time a gemstone, jewellery component or full item of jewellery changes hands, the transfer of ownership or custody is recorded.

“These are all exciting developments, but currently they are effective with only a small number of the materials flowing through the chain of distribution,” Dr. Cavalieri said. “Consequently, if we are going to talk about systems that encompass the bulk of materials that we handle, we have to look for administrative solutions. This means creating paper trails, or more appropriately for the world in which the live, digital trails.”

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri being recognized by Simon Chen, Executive Vice President of the China Gems & Jade Excgange, during the International Jewellery Standardisation Summit in Shanghai on November 8, 2019.

“What we essentially are talking about is doing due diligence. In other words, carrying out a series of acts that essentially verify that all the parties supplying you have also done the appropriate due diligence,” he continued.

Describing a number of the existing due diligence systems being used in the industry, including those mandated by law, like the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, national Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regimes, the Dodd Frank Act the European Union’s conflict minerals regulations, as well other industry enforced systems, some of which require third-party auditing, Dr. Cavalieri introduced CIBJO’s new Responsible Sourcing Blue Book of standards and guidelines, which was approved at the beginning of this year.

“Like the other CIBJO Blue Books, the standards and guidelines contained in the proposed CIBJO Responsible Sourcing document are recommendations, as opposed to conditions of membership,” he stated. “However, they should come to serve as benchmarks for responsible sourcing systems developed and applied by industry organisations and commercial bodies worldwide, and by governments.”

“An operating principle of the Responsible Sourcing document is that it will be inclusive, meaning that there is an expectation that the standards, guidelines and systems that it describes can reasonably be applied by all members of the industry, irrespective of size or financial capacity, Dr. Cavalieri stressed.

“Does this trace every component in an item of jewellery back to that specific part of the world in which it was sourced?” Dr. Cavalieri asked.

“No, it does not, and given the structural complexities of an industry such as ours, it is unlikely that any such system, covering most if not all the jewellery in the value chain, will ever be created,” he said. “But what it does is help create system by which every participant becomes a link in a chain of trust. Together we provide the commitment to integrity that our consumers require. This will work on one condition, and that is we all play our part. And to that we need common standards, which apply in China, as they do in Italy, or in any other part of the world.”

CIBJO President delivers keynote address on traceability standards at jewellery summit during Chinese Import Expo2019-11-11T08:45:38+00:00

CIBJO releases Coral Special Report, focuses on global warming effects and conservationism

‘Heart,’ carved from Mediterranean Coral (Carallium rubrum) by Jan Fabre. From the Liverino Collection, Torre del Greco, Italy. It was the first time that coral was used as a primary medium in a contemporary piece by the renowned artist. © Jan Fabre 2019

NOVEMBER 6, 2019

With fewer than two weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the ninth and the last of this year’s CIBJO commission Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Coral Commission, headed by Vincenzo Liverino, the report is dominated by environmental topics, and in particular the efforts by the industry to address the impact of global warming. It also reports on the worldwide effort to protect biodiversity and the various coral species.

As the report notes, no precious coral species are considered endangered by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, although four varieties are listed in Appendix III, which requires the relevant authorities in each country to determine that specimens were acquired legally. The four Appendix III-listed precious coral species are Aka or Oxblood coral (Corallium japonicum), which lives in Japanese waters; Momo or Angel’s Skin coral (Pleurocorallium elatius), which can be found off the coasts of Japan and Taiwan; Pure White or Shiro coral (Pleurocorallium konojoi), which lives in Vietnamese waters; and Midway coral (Corallium secundum), which lives mainly off the coast of the U.S. State of  Hawaii.

In the report, Mr. Liverino writes about a CIBJO initiative involving the identification of precious coral species using new DNA sequencing technology. This is being done in cooperation with the Federico II University in Naples, Italy, and in particular with the support of Professor Di Cosmo. DNA fingerprinting, the Coral Commission President explains, will allow members of trade to comply with current environmental legislation and international regulations, and also to meet conservationist concerns in the consumer markets.

The special report also discusses carbon-14 dating of precious coral and a range of educational tools that have been developed by the Coral Commission for use in the industry.

Concluding the report, Mr. Liverino urges members of the sector to sign on to CIBJO’s Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative, as part of the worldwide effort to address the devastating effects of global warming. “It is essential that industry recognize that carbon neutrality requires more than simply awareness, but actions as well. Carbon auditing is a first step and the CIBJO initiative in an important support mechanism,” he writes

To download a full copy of the CIBJO Coral Commission’s special report, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

CIBJO releases Coral Special Report, focuses on global warming effects and conservationism2019-11-06T09:58:02+00:00

CIBJO releases Pearl Special Report, looks at environmental challenges and opportunities

OCTOBER 30, 2019

With fewer than three weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the eighth of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Pearl Commission, headed by Kenneth Scarratt, it looks at the growing impact of environmental and conservationist factors on the pearl sector, noting that these pose challenges but also provide opportunities for the industry.

A case in point is the Philippines, where Mr. Scarratt notes that climate and environmental changes have had a significant effect on pearl production. These relate to greater fluctuations in water temperature, ocean acidification, and the changing of the plankton profile, which has affected the survival rate of certain batches of oysters, as well as the overall growth rate.

“These changes present both challenges and opportunities. Obviously, the main challenge is the lower volume of production that will be available for distribution to the global market. On the other hand, this also serves as an opportunity because, with the lower biomass density, comes the potential to achieve a higher quality output,” he notes.

The report also looks at natural pearls. While rare, nowadays they most commonly are a by-product of the seafood industry, and in this respect could be subject to restrictions imposed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna (CITES), as is the case with the Queen conch, off the coast of Mexico.

One country where fishing specifically for natural pearl-producing oysters still takes place is Bahrain, the venue of 2019 CIBJO Congress. The waters around the island nation have been producing natural pearls for some 4,000 years and continue to do so to this day, in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colours, writes Mr. Scarratt, who also notes that this is the only type of pearling that takes place in the kingdom.

The oyster variety located off the waters of Bahrain is Pinctada radiata, which is the same type of oyster being used to culture pearls at two facilities in the United Arab Emirates. A consequence of the production from the UAE is that one should no longer automatically assume that a pearl’s Pinctada radiata origin determines that it is natural, Mr. Scarratt notes.

To download a full copy of the CIBJO Pearl Commission’s special report, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

CIBJO releases Pearl Special Report, looks at environmental challenges and opportunities2019-11-01T12:22:21+00:00