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

In the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the jewellery industry’s communal sense of responsibility is of paramount importance2020-03-15T11:18:26+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-IEG seminar at VICENZAORO January show to focus on the challenges faced by SMEs in meeting social responsibility and sustainability requirements

JANUARY 13, 2020

With responsible sourcing policies, verifiable supply chain integrity and social and environmental sustainability fast becoming requirements for companies operating in the jewellery sector, small and medium-sized enterprises are feeling increasingly pressured. The cost of conducting due diligence can be restrictive, and often is a source of anxiety,  particularly in Italy, where all but a handful of companies are SMEs and family owned.

But, as more major retailers require that suppliers demonstrate they have conducted due diligence as a requirement of doing business, and key mining companies demand that clients comply with minimum standards to be eligible for direct supply, SMEs are searching for solutions that will allow them to meet to meet expectations. They will be the subjects of a seminar during the first day of the upcoming VICENZAORO show in Vicenza, Italy, organized by CIBJO and hosted by the Italian Exhibition Group (IEG).

Moderated by Philip Olden, President of CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Commission, it will take place on Friday, January 17, 2020, from  11:00 AM to 1:00 PM in the Tiziano Room, Hall 7.1 of the Vicenza Exposition Centre. The seminar is being 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, are featured speakers.

Entitled “Does Size Matter?”, the seminar will provide practical guidance and viable solutions geared for SMEs operating in the international jewellery sector, outlining what is required today in the industry in terms of responsible sourcing, supply chain integrity and environmental sustainability. Featuring a panel of international speakers, it also will present the experiences of smaller Italian companies that successfully have incorporated principles of CSR and sustainability in their businesses.

The seminar will be conducted simultaneously in English and Italian. It is the latest edition in a series of educational programmes organized by CIBJO and IEG in support of Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability in the jewellery sector, and is endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

“We are committed to the principle that, to the greatest degree possible, every ethical member of our industry should enjoy fair access both to supply and the markets,” said CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri. “We also contend that all members of our industry are reasonably able to conduct basic due diligence on their supply chains. How that can be done will come under the spotlight in Vicenza.”

CIBJO-IEG seminar at VICENZAORO January show to focus on the challenges faced by SMEs in meeting social responsibility and sustainability requirements2020-01-13T10:26:11+00:00

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