CIBJO releases Gemmological Special Report, considers process of separating measurable facts from opinion

OCTOBER 23, 2019

With fewer than four weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the seventh of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Gemmological Commission, headed by Hanco Zwaan, it considers measures that should be taken to ensure that a person reading a laboratory report understands what information is measurable fact and what information represents the opinion of the gemmologist.

“Dividing the report so that there is a section with test results and a section with interpretations or opinions may cause even more confusion. The more prudent policy could well be what some laboratories already do, and that is clearly stating on their report that specific results – such as those dealing with origin—are in fact opinions,” Mr. Zwaan writes.

The readiness of many gem labs to assign variety names to gemstones, despite there currently not being universally accepted gemmological standards for those names, is particularly controversial, and has been driven more by commercial interests rather than science. “The general attitude has been that, as long as new variety names were not in conflict with science, logic, or other, already given names, they could be accepted,” he notes.

“Conflict with commercial interests are fraught with problems,” Mr. Zwaan continues, citing the case of Paraiba tourmaline, which most commonly is recognised by its distinctive colour, but some insist also needs to have been sourced in the Brazilian state of Paraiba. This means that similarly coloured tourmaline from Mozambique and Nigeria should not share the same variety name.

“Does that make Paraiba tourmaline a variety or brand?” he asks.

“What we do know is that, historically, once a brand or trading name becomes widely accepted in the public sphere, it is more likely to be used as a variety name. This in itself is a compelling enough reason to define variety names precisely,” the President of Gemmological Commission states in the special report.

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

CIBJO releases Gemmological Special Report, considers process of separating measurable facts from opinion2019-10-23T06:48:09+00:00

CIBJO releases Ethics Special Report, examines international frameworks and proper disclosure

OCTOBER 16, 2019

With fewer than five weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the sixth of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Ethics Commission, headed by Tiffany Stevens, it covers a variety of topics, including the increasing number of international conventions with which members of the jewellery industry are expected to comply, and recommended processes of disclosure.

“Responsible business standards being applied in the jewellery industry are meshing further and further with those used internationally, and with frameworks that govern other industries around the globe. It is important that jewellery industry companies fully understand their responsibilities under these complex sets of expectations, and they communicate them effectively and directly with their supply-chain partners and ultimately the consumer,” Ms. Steven writes.

“A few key systems to keep in mind include the OECD frameworks, with special attention to the organisation’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict Affected and High-Risk Areas, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the FTC Jewellery Guides in the United States, ISO standards, the World Diamond Council System of Warranties, and the perhaps-evolving definition of “conflict” under the Kimberly Process,” she continues.

Government scrutiny of the jewellery supply chain’s adherence to ethical business practices is becoming increasingly common, the CIBJO Ethics Commission President notes, citing a recent meeting of jewellery industry leaders with officials of the U.S. State Department,  where the industry was counselled to abide with standards for managing risks to women in the minerals, responsible sourcing and jewellery supply chain, as well as complying with Anti-Money Laundering and other measures to prevent malign activity.

Noting that it is the consumers’ right to know how the how their jewellery and its components affected the environment and the lives of people as it journeyed along the supply chain, she states that being forthright, fully descriptive and making all disclosures clear and easy to understand is imperative.

“When seen globally, we have at our disposal an amazingly complex system of frameworks, definitions and semantics,” Ms. Stevens writes. “But as a trade we should aim for the simplest, most direct forms possible when communicating with consumers, and these should be standard in the sales representative’s in-store pitch to a potential customer, on invoices, on social media and online – wherever products are bought and sold.”

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

CIBJO releases Ethics Special Report, examines international frameworks and proper disclosure2019-10-16T06:59:56+00:00

CIBJO President discusses path of Russian and global jewellery industry at ‘The Art of Jewellery: Traditions and Trends’ exhibition in Moscow

OCTOBER 10, 2019

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri has delivered two keynote addresses at the Russian state-sponsored “The Art of Jewellery: Traditions and Trends” exhibition in Moscow, during which he paid tribute to the country’s historic contribution to the jewellery tradition, and discussed the path forward for the country’s industry in the international markets.

The exhibition opened at the Moscow State Exhibition Hall “New Manege” on October 8, 2019, with Dr. Cavalieri delivering an opening speech along with Alexey Fursin, Head of the Moscow Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development. The event is being organized by the Gokhran of Russia with the support of the Moscow Government, and with participation of the Russian Jewellery Guild. It will run through October 20, 2019.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (centre) holding a framed letter featuring an especially issued ‘canceled’ postal stamp, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Gokhran. He is  flanked by Oleg Dukhovnitsky, Head of the Federal Agency of Communications; and Andrey Yurin, Head of the Gokhran of Russia.

“Russia is a country with a long and proud tradition in the jewellery arts, where the products produced have reflected not only the talent and ingenuity of its designers and craftspeople, but also the culture and history of this great nation, and the deposits of precious minerals with which your country is so richly blessed,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

“Like all great art disciplines, fine jewellery artists learn and draw from the experience of those that have come before them, not only in their own countries, but from others as well,” Dr. Cavalieri continued. “Arguably the most famous Russian jeweller of them all, Carl Fabergé, was an individual deeply invested in both the Russian and French cultural experiences. In our industry that as not a considered a drawback, but rather a strength.”

Providing both a retrospective of Russia’s jewellery heritage and look forward to its future, the exhibition features 220 unique masterpieces from the collection of the Gokhran, including works of Fabergé, Ovchinnikov, Khlebnikov that are being seen in public for the first time. In the modern jewellery section, works by more than 200 items of Russia’s best craftsmen are presented. These include creations by the winners of the Russia 21st Century Jewellery Art Competition, which was  organised by the Gokhran with the support of the Moscow Government, and with the participation of the Russian Jewellery Guild and the Creative Artists Union of Decorative and Applied Arts.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri delivering the lecture on the state of the international jewellery industry in Moscow on October 9, 2019

During the opening ceremony, the Russia 21st Century jewellery competition awards were presented, and Oleg Dukhovnitsky, the Head of Russia’s Federal Agency of Communications, presented to the participants a series of “cancelled” postage stamps,  celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Gokhran.

On October 9 Dr. Cavalieri delivered a lecture about the global diamoind industry to an audience of jewellery industry leaders, jewellery designers and manufacturers, and students from various colleges teaching jewellery crafts.

The CIBJO President paid special tribute to the role played by the Gokhran and its head Andrey Yurin, who he credited with forging a way forward for Russia to become a force in the international jewellery marketplace.

The team at Gokhran played a key role in the preparation a Memorandum of Understanding that CIBJO signed last year with the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), with the goal of harmonising the official system used in Russia for the classification of polished diamonds with the standards and nomenclature applied internationally, as it is presented in the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book. “The object of the agreement is to ensure that the system by which polished diamonds are classified and described in the Russian Federation are in accordance with the most widely accepted standards in the international trade,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

CIBJO President discusses path of Russian and global jewellery industry at ‘The Art of Jewellery: Traditions and Trends’ exhibition in Moscow2019-10-10T11:12:49+00:00

CIBJO releases Coloured Stone Special Report, looking at technology’s impact and challenge of variety names

OCTOBER 9, 2019

With fewer than six weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the fifth of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Coloured Stone Commission, headed by Charles Abouchar, the report looks at opportunities provided by new technologies, and also at the vexing issue of gemstone variety names being used for marketing purposes, with few if any agreed to gemmological standards.

“One would surmise that, with the pace of technological advancement today, the challenges facing the coloured gemstone sector would be lessening in number,” Mr. Abouchar writes. “But, as we discover time and time again, both technology and human ingenuity have a tendency to create new challenges and transform old ones. We have our work cut out for us.”

“However, as an organisation committed to instilling ethical business practices, technology enables us to reach out to our colleagues in ways that once were not possible,”  he continues, noting that over the past year CIBJO has made two landmark guides available to the industry – the “Do’s and Don’ts,” which provides easy-to-understand guidelines for industry professionals about the rules and methods for the accurate disclosure and description of natural materials, treated materials and artificial products, as well as recommendations about information that should be requested from suppliers; and the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Blue Book, which recommends procedures by which all participants in the jewellery supply chain may undertake supply-chain due diligence. Both can be downloaded at no cost from the CIBJO website.

Describing unsubstantiated coloured gemstone variety names as the “biggest challenge our trade is facing right now,” Mr. Abouchar notes that there are numerous instances of the same descriptive names being assigned according to different standards, each time in accordance with the individual guidelines of various gemmological laboratories.

“Starting with more classical descriptive terms, like ‘pigeon blood’ and ‘royal blue,’ some laboratories began developing their own nomenclature, creating new descriptive names for a wide range of colours. Apparently, this is a mutually beneficial business strategy for both the laboratories and the dealers,” he writes.

Surmising that technology may eventually provide a solution to the problem, it is nonetheless imperative that the industry act quickly before consumer confidence is compromised. CIBJO’s  Coloured Stone Commission will work in close collaboration with the organisation’s Gemmological Commission to establish standards and parameters for variety names, he notes.

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

CIBJO releases Coloured Stone Special Report, looking at technology’s impact and challenge of variety names2019-10-09T08:20:04+00:00

CIBJO releases Diamond Special Report examining issues at the faultline between natural and laboratory-grown stones

OCTOBER 2, 2019

With fewer than seven weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the fourth of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Diamond Commission, headed by Udi Sheintal, the report focuses predominantly on what it refers to as the “faultline” between diamonds mined in nature and man-made diamonds.

“Because laboratory-grown diamonds prices were deliberately benchmarked against the price of natural diamonds at the outset, the risk exists that the consuming public will continue to associate the one with the other, even after the economics have changed,” Mr. Sheintal writes. “While natural diamonds may once have inflated the price of laboratory-grown stones, the price war in the laboratory-grown diamond sector could have the effect of depressing the value of goods in the natural diamond sector.”

“This makes the task of disconnecting the natural diamond sector and the laboratory-grown diamond sectors even more important, not only from our professional perspective, but from the perspective of the consumer as well. The appeal of both products is different, and so clearly are the economics. They both should be provided the opportunity to thrive, in harmony alongside each other,” he continues.

In the report, Mr. Sheintal calls for the creation of agreed-to rules of engagement between the natural diamond and laboratory-grown diamond sectors in marketing their products, and warns about a readiness to pitch one as being more ethical or environmentally acceptable than the other. “This is not only a self-destructive marketing strategy, but it is also questionable in terms of the claims being made and the data upon which they are based,” he writes.

“Proper rules of engagement need to be created. I suggest that one of them would be for all sides to agree that any stone, which may be precious, but always is a lifeless object, is neither ethical nor environmentally friendly. These qualities refer to the way in which they are mined or manufactured. The onus of responsible behaviour always falls upon the individuals and companies mining or synthesising, processing and marketing these products,” he notes.

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

CIBJO releases Diamond Special Report examining issues at the faultline between natural and laboratory-grown stones2019-10-09T08:19:27+00:00

CIBJO releases Precious Metals Special Report, looks at market drivers, trends and increased scrutiny

SEPTEMBER 25, 2019

With fewer than eight weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the third of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Precious Metals Commission, headed by Huw Daniel, the report examines the increasing readiness of national authorities, particularly in the United States, to examine the integrity of the gold supply chain. The report also provides an overview of supply, demand and their effect on prices in the gold, platinum, palladium and silver markets.

“In a time of increasing uncertainty, investors predictably are seeking safe havens in these commodities, and that has implications on price. However, the outlook for demand is less clear, because the integrity of the gold supply chain has come under increasing scrutiny,” writes Mr. Daniel.

The focus on practices in the gold industry is coming from two different sources, the report notes. First, the mainstream media is intensifying reportage of “dirty gold” and issues around where and in what way the metal is sourced, and how it is moved through the supply chain. Second, the U.S government has given notice to the jewellery industry that, for purposes of national security, imported goods should be labelled with all of the countries they have passed through on the journey to the American consumer.

But, despite the increased pressure, the market-analysis section of the report predicts a favourable supply-demand balance for precious metals. But general, however, it is not jewellery that is the deciding factor, but rather the investment market or the automotive sector. In the case of palladium, for example, there has been increasing pressure on supply due to to auto-catalyst systems, because of stricter fuel emissions legislation being imposed globally.

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

CIBJO releases Precious Metals Special Report, looks at market drivers, trends and increased scrutiny2019-10-09T08:18:46+00:00