CIBJO President applauds decision in United Kingdom to regard Diamond Terminology Guideline as Primary Authority Advice

DECEMBER 8, 2020

Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has described as “profoundly important” the agreement in the United Kingdom between the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) and UK Trading Standards, a British government service working to ensure that consumers are protected from unfair trading, to provide the Diamond Terminology Guideline the status of Primary Authority Advice.

Developed by CIBJO together with eight other leading diamond and jewellery industry organisations and first released in 2018, the Diamond Terminology Guideline is designed to serve as the reference document when referring to or describing diamonds, laboratory-grown diamonds and imitations of diamonds. It is built on two internationally accepted standards: the ISO 18323 Standard (“Jewellery – Consumer confidence in the diamond industry”) and the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book. It encourages full, fair and effective use of a clear and accessible terminology by all sector bodies, organisations, traders and retailers.

“This is a profoundly important development in what is a concerted campaign to normalise on a global basis unambiguous terminology that clearly differentiates between natural diamonds, laboratory-grown diamonds and imitations of diamonds, enabling consumers to make informed purchasing decisions,” Dr. Cavalieri said. “The collaboration between NAJ and UK Trading Standards means that consumers in a key jewellery market like Great Britain are being afforded protections now available in a limited, but still growing group of countries. Measures like this enhance confidence both in our products and in the jewellery trade itself.

The immediate effect of the NAJ-UK Trading Standards agreement is that more than 2,000 members of the association, who collectively comprise over half of the jewellery trade in the United Kingdom, have received recommendations from UK Trading Standards about describing diamonds, laboratory-grown diamonds and imitations of diamonds, based on the Diamond Terminology Guideline. By following the Primary Authority Advice, their businesses are protected against the risk of any action by enforcing authorities, even if they have a different perspective as to what needs to be done to be compliant with the law.

“By understanding the nature of the products they buy and the different value propositions, consumers are able to make informed decisions, remain confident and continue to love diamond jewellery. This is why clear and accessible diamond terminology is fundamental. In addition, as consumers increasingly get informed and shop in an interconnected digital global market, the language used across all communication channels should follow guidelines that are ideally aligned across countries,” said Raluca Anghel, Head of External Affairs and Industry Relations, Natural Diamonds Council.

With this latest development, the United Kingdom joins a group of countries that are home to important jewellery markets that have enshrined accurate diamond terminology into law. The most doctrinaire is most probably France, where a decree only allows the use of the term “synthetic diamonds,” when referring to laboratory-grown materials, and forbids the use of descriptors such as “cultivated,” “real,” and “cultured.”

In Belgium, a Royal Decree issued in November 2019 referenced the nomenclature presented in the Diamond Terminology Guidelines and the CIBJO Blue Book in listing acceptable terminology to be used by members of the jewellery and gemstone trades. It was an update of a decree that had been issued in 2014.

In Germany  the ISO 18323 standard has been translated into a German DIN standard. Furthermore, the Diamond Terminology Guidelines are recognized by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as the reference documents for the diamond and jewellery trades. This followed a decision by a District Court in Munich in 2004 that relied on the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book in substantiating its decision that  the term “cultured” is unacceptable for describing laboratory-grown diamonds.

China has adopted the Diamond Terminology Guidelines as reference documents for the diamond and jewellery trade, in compliance with Chinese GB/T national standards, and in the United Arab Emirates the  Emirates Authority for Standardization and Methodology (ESMA) officially approved the Diamond Terminology Guidelines in November 2019.

In 2018, CIBJO and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) reached agreement with the  Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation to harmonise the official system used in Russia for classifying polished diamonds with the standards and nomenclature detailed in the CIBJO Blue Book.

To download the Assured Advice version of the Diamond Terminology guideline in PDF format, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

CIBJO President applauds decision in United Kingdom to regard Diamond Terminology Guideline as Primary Authority Advice2020-12-08T10:39:35+00:00

CIBJO highlights the harsh impact of COVID crisis in developing nations, in statement prepared for special session of UN General Assembly

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.”

To download CIBJO’s statement to the UN General Assembly, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

CIBJO highlights the harsh impact of COVID crisis in developing nations, in statement prepared for special session of UN General Assembly2020-12-07T08:09:05+00:00

CIBJO releases Laboratory-Grown Diamond Guidance for review by members of affiliated organisations and companies worldwide

OCTOBER 13, 2020

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.

For those wishing to review the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Guidance, the document can be downloaded in PDF format via the following link: http://www.cibjo.org/downloads/REVIEW%20DOCUMENT%20-%20CIBJO%20Laboratory%20Grown%20Diamond%20Guidance.pdf

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: cibjo@cibjo.org.

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 worldwide2020-10-13T07:29:40+00:00

CIBJO describes as ground-breaking the publication of ISO 24016, first internationally recognised diamond-grading standard

SEPTEMBER 23, 2020

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.

The new ISO 24016 standard can be purchased and downloaded from the ISO website at: https://www.iso.org/standard/79795.html.

CIBJO describes as ground-breaking the publication of ISO 24016, first internationally recognised diamond-grading standard2020-09-23T10:49:47+00:00

CIBJO and Intertek announce first-ever programme to educate and certify CSR, sustainability and SDG officers for the jewellery industry

ABOVE: Alessandro Ferracino (right), Regional Director of Italy & France Intertek, describing the CIBJO/WJCEF and Intertek to train and certify CSR, sustainability and SDG professionals for the jewellery and gemstone industry, during the VOICE VicenzaOro trade event in Vicenza, Italy, on September 12, 2020. He joined on the podium by Maria Francesca Bergamaschi (left), Intertek Italy’s South Europe Sustainability Manager and Global Manager for the company’s programme with the Responsible Jewellery Council; and Raul Sapora, Intertek Italy’s gemmologist.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2020

CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, and Intertek Italia SpA, the Italian subsidiary of the Intertek Group, a multinational assurance, inspection, product-testing and certification company that assists companies ensure that their operating procedures and products meet quality, health, environmental, safety, and social accountability standards, have announced a joint initiative to educate, train and certify CSR, sustainability and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) compliance officers, specifically for the gemstone and jewellery industries. It will be the first dedicated programme of its sort worldwide.

The announcement was made on September 12, 2020, during the opening day of the VOICE VicenzaOro trade event in Vicenza, Italy, by CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, who was joined on the main stage by Alessandro Ferracino, Regional Director of Italy & France Intertek; Maria Francesca Bergamaschi, Intertek Italy’s South Europe Sustainability Manager and Global Manager for the company’s programme with the Responsible Jewellery Council; and Raul Sapora, Intertek Italy’s gemmologist.

Speaking to the gathering, which was simultaneously streamed worldwide, Mr. Ferracino explained that a three-track programme is being planned, beginning with the defining of professional qualification standards for several levels of jewellery industry CSR/sustainability/SDG  compliance officers, specifying what each requires in terms of educational background, standards proficiency and work experience. The different officers would include Sustainability Managers,  CSR Managers, Sustainability & CSR Auditors, SDG Action Managers and SDGs Users. The positions and their respective qualifications would first be approved by UNI, Italy’s national standardization authority, and that would lead to internationally recognized accreditation.

The second step will involve the creation by CIBJO’s educational arm, the World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation (WJCEF), of the International Council for Sustainable Business (ICSB), which will be an academy providing educational programmes that provide prospective compliance officers with the knowledge and skills necessary. Potential candidates for the courses provided through ICSB would be employees of companies operating in the jewellery and gemstone industries, or individuals seeking employment as compliance officers in the sector.

The third step, which will be carried out by Intertek, will be the certification of persons for the various levels of compliance officers, according to an internationally recognized accreditation process. Certification will ascertain that the CSR, sustainability and SDG compliance officers have achieved the necessary competences, knowledge and skills required for their assigned tasks.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri speaking during the session in Vicenza on September 12, 2020, at which the CIBJO/WJCEF agreement with Intertek was announced.

There are already a range of a CSR, sustainability and SDG standards being applied in our industry, and not only is the number likely to increase, but so are the demands that companies must comply with them in order to gain access to both suppliers and customers,” said Dr. Cavalieri. “But the process can be confusing, and as a result there is a growing need for professional compliance officers, who also are familiar with the specific requirements of our industry, such as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the World Diamond Council System of Warranties, the Responsible Jewellery Council Code of Practice, the Dodd-Frank Act, the European Conflict Minerals legislation and the OECD conflict minerals guidance, not to mention compliance systems required by private companies.”

“The goal of this programme is to create a class of internationally recognized jewellery industry CSR, sustainability and SDG professionals, who will help companies become compliant,” Dr. Cavalieri continued. “There clearly is a gap in the industry’s skill set, and together with Intertek, CIBJO and WJCEF seek to fill it.”

CIBJO and Intertek announce first-ever programme to educate and certify CSR, sustainability and SDG officers for the jewellery industry2020-09-17T08:22:51+00:00

United Nations publishes CIBJO statement to ECOSOC High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

JULY 8, 2020

The Office of the United Nations Secretary General has announced the publication of statements delivered by NGOs affiliated to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), for the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development that is currently taking place. Only 179 statements from the more than 5,400 NGOs affiliated to ECOSOC were published, and among them was the declaration delivered by CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation.

Representing the international jewellery sector in the key UN agency, which is responsible for promoting the body’s Sustainable Development Goals, CIBJO became the first and only jewellery industry organisation in ECOSOC when it received special consultative status in 2006.

“CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, remains committed to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to furthering this objective through the leadership, educational activities and other services that it provides globally within the greater jewellery industry, along its full value chain, from the mining regions through to the retail markets. More specifically, it supports the theme of the 2020 ECOSOC High-Level segment ‘Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development,’ obligating itself to sustained action within its sector and among its stakeholders during the final ten years of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” CIBJO declared at the opening of its statement.

The CIBJO statement referred specifically to the current coronavirus pandemic and its impact on communities dependent upon revenues generated by jewellery, precious metals and gemstones. “The current COVID-19 pandemic, which poses massive health and economic challenges to the world community in general, represents a particular risk to the sector that CIBJO serves, and more particularly to those individuals and communities in developing countries, who rely on the support and economic leverage provided by the jewellery, precious metals and gemstone sectors, which currently are under threat. At the same time, new technologies and processes that are being applied to cope with the pandemic and its various impacts provide the promise of improving CIBJO’s ability to better serve its stakeholders beyond the crisis. Most importantly, COVID-19, which does not discriminate between people, nations and regions, underscores the degree to which all of humanity is interdependent,” it noted.

To download a full copy of the CIBJO statement to the ECOSOC High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

United Nations publishes CIBJO statement to ECOSOC High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development2020-07-08T12:25:16+00:00