CIBJO holds its 2018 congress in Bogotá, Colombia, focuses on responsible sourcing and adapting to changing business and technological environment

CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has wrapped up its 2018 annual congress at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bogotá, Colombia, which was held from October 15 to October 17, with steering committee meetings taking place on October 13 and 14. A highlight of the event was the unveiling of a Responsible Sourcing Guidance, which is designed to provide  benchmarks for responsible sourcing systems developed and applied by jewellery and gemstone industry organisations and commercial bodies, and for governments that may seek to create viable regulatory systems.

Addressing the congress, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri called on the jewellery and gemstone industries to adapt to the often-dramatic changes that have taken place in the business, technological and geopolitical environments, stressing this is necessary in order to develop and prosper.

The congress was hosted by Fedesmeraldas, the National Federation of Emeralds of Colombia, and CDTEC, Colombia’s leading gemmological institute.

 

2108 CIBJO CONGRESS REPORTS

CIBJO concludes 2018 congress in Bogotá, Colombia, after focusing strongly on responsible sourcing and new technologies

During the concluding General Assembly session on the final day, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri described the congress as most successful, noting that significant work had been accomplished in driving forward the business and social agendas of the jewellery and gemstone industries, and in particular preparing them for the luxury marketplace in the years ahead.

Colombian Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez visits CIBJO Congress, addresses challenges and opportunities facing country’s jewellery industry

Colombian Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez was a guest of the 2018 CIBJO Congress on its third and final day, addressing delegates as well as about 200 local members of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá’s Jewellery Cluster. Speaking to the gathering, she outlined challenges facing Colombia in general and the business community specifically, and she pointed to the growing importance and expansion of her country’s jewellery sector.

Colombian industry session features CIBJO panel, looking at how responsible business standards can help jewellery producers break into foreign markets

The morning of the third and final day of the 2018 CIBJO Congress focused on the Colombian jewellery sector with presentations by the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá and the Colombian emerald mining industry. A special panel featuring CIBJO delegates discussed how the Colombian jewellery industry would benefit from adopting responsible business practices.

ISO platinum standard and impact of FTC’s revised jewellery guides debated at Precious Metals Commission

Issues relating to definitions of platinum and gold fineness levels, as well as to the disclosure of rhodium plating, were at the heart of the Precious Metals Commission meeting on the second day of the 2018 CIBJO Congress.

CIBJO Ethics Commission deconstructs the revised jewellery guides of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission

The FTC guides do not have the power of law, although they do attach to a law preventing misleading advertising. The revision process is now closed, but the FTC can reopen consideration of any element of the guides at any time, Ethics Commission President Tiffany Stevens told congress delegates.

Gemmological Commission reveals results of survey of gem labs, which looked at how they differentiate the reporting of natural, synthetic and treated diamonds

The survey showed that the nomenclature used to define the nature of the stones is generally clear, but there remain some inconsistencies in the precise terms used, and whether or not synthetic and treated stones are actually graded.

Soon-to-be launched Precious Corals Online Course at heart of the Coral Commission’s deliberations at the CIBJO Congress

While precious corals are deep-water species, and are not under immediate threat from climate warming and ocean acidification, the commission hopes that the public profile of precious coral jewellery and scientific initiatives taken by its members will raise awareness and provide solutions for the plight of the endangered shallow-water coral reefs.

Pearl Commission discusses the strength of social media marketing to promote industry and consumer education

CIBJO’s Do’s and Do Not’s guide for retailers was also presented during the Pearl Commission session. It is a concise document for industry professionals, reviewing what people who trade in pearls should and shouldn’t do, and it includes a table providing comprehensive information about possible pearl treatments.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s revised guide for the jewelry industry comes under the focus of the Diamond Commission at CIBJO Congress

An overview of the changes that the United States’ FTC published in its jewellery guides are believed by industry groups to be skewed in favour of the synthetic diamond trade. Despite this, the commission did not feel there was any necessity at this stage to amend the Diamond Blue Book.

Coloured Gemstone Commission differentiates between opinions and facts on gemstone reports, Do’s and Dont’s and simplified guides

The dilemma of separating empirical facts and the professional opinion of gemmologists on gemstone reports came under focus in the Coloured Stone Commission, which met on the first day of the 2018 CIBJO Congress.

Blockchain presented to CIBJO Congress, as specialist panel discusses how innovative technology may affect the jewellery industry

The objective of the session was to investigate the significance and possible impacts of Blockchain in general, and more specifically in terms of the technology’s applications in the jewellery and gemstone sectors, from perspectives of defending the chain of supply and as a financial tool.

CIBJO unveils Responsible Sourcing Guidance project, standardising manner in which jewellery and gemstone firms should implement supply-chain due diligence

Philip Olden, head of the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Guidance Project and President of the new Responsible Sourcing Commission, told the congress that the  mission is to support and provide guidance to all CIBJO members, especially manufacturers, retailers and distributors.

Special CSR Session at 2018 CIBJO Congress focuses on ethical issues facing companies in the supply chain

‘There is no debate in our industry whether we should act and seen to be acting responsibly, be it to our employees, customers, stakeholders and the wider society socially, environmentally and in terms of the way we do business,’ CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri to congress delegates.

In opening speech to 2018 CIBJO Congress, President Gaetano Cavalieri says jewellery industry must adapt to change

Dramatic changes have taken place in the business, technological and geopolitical environments, and the jewellery and gemstone industries need to adapt in order to survive and prosper, the CIBJO President said.

Responsible sourcing in jewellery and gemstones is the primary focus of Opening Session of 2018 CIBJO Congress

The 2018 CIBJO Congress has opened in Bogotá, Colombia, with CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri dispelling what he described as a popularly-held belief that very little changes. The challenge of the industry’s leadership is to identify change and develop adaptive strategies, he said.

CIBJO President calls for the creation of government-monitored chokepoints, to verify integrity of coloured gemstones entering chain of distribution

Gaetano Cavalieri called for the creation of government monitored chokepoints for the coloured gemstone sector, similar to national Kimberley Process Authorities that verify the identity of rough diamonds entering the global pipeline.

2018 CIBJO Congress opens in Bogotá, Colombia, with strong focus on responsible sourcing in the international jewellery sector

This included the introduction of a Responsible Sourcing Guidance document, which will serve as a reference for responsible sourcing practices developed and applied by industry organisations and commercial bodies worldwide, and will come to have the status of a CIBJO Blue Book. To oversee the process, a Responsible Sourcing Commission was established.

CIBJO Congress 2018 set to kick off in Bogotá, Colombia, on October 15, agendas and related documentation now online

With the 2018 CIBJO Congress set to open in Bogotá, Colombia, agendas and related documentation for the various sessions and meetings that will take place during the event have been posted online for downloading.

2018 CIBJO CONGRESS PHOTO GALLERIES

BOGOTÁ

GRAND HYATT BOGOTÁ

STEERING COMMITTEE MEETINGS
OCTOBER 13, 2018

STEERING COMMITTEE MEETINGS
OCTOBER 14, 2018

WELCOMING COCKTAIL PARTY
OCTOBER 14, 2018

OPENING BOARD MEETING
OCTOBER 15, 2018

CONGRESS OPENING SESSION
OCTOBER 15, 2018

CSR PANEL DISCUSSION
OCTOBER 15, 2018

RESPONSIBLE SOURCING GUIDANCE
OCTOBER 15, 2018

BLOCKCHAIN SESSION
OCTOBER 15, 2018

COLOURED STONE COMMISSION
OCTOBER 15, 2018

DIAMOND COMMISSION
OCTOBER 16, 2018

PEARL COMMISSION
OCTOBER 16, 2018

CORAL COMMISSION
OCTOBER 16, 2018

ETHICS COMMISSION
OCTOBER 16, 2018

GEMMOLOGICAL COMMISSION
OCTOBER 16, 2018

PRECIOUS METALS COMMISSION
OCTOBER 16, 2018

GALA DINNER
OCTOBER 16, 2018

VISIT OF THE COLOMBIAN VICE PRESIDENT
OCTOBER 17, 2018

COLOMBIAN INDUSTRY SESSION
OCTOBER 17, 2018

SECTOR A SESSION
OCTOBER 17, 2018

GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING
OCTOBER 17, 2018

VIDEO OF SPEECHES TO 2018 CIBJO CONGRESS

DR. GAETANO CAVALIERI
PRESIDENT OF CIBJO
OPENING SESSION ADDRESS
OCTOBER 15, 2018

EDWIN MOLINA
PRESIDENT OF APRECOL, COLOMBIA
OPENING SESSION ADDRESS
OCTOBER 15, 2018

TYLER GILLARD
HEAD OF OECD RESPONSIBLE MINERAL SUPPLY CHAIN PROJECT
OPENING SESSION ADDRESS
OCTOBER 15, 2018

PRAMOD KUMAR AGARWAL
CHAIRMAN OF GEMS & JEWELRY EXPORT PROMOTION COUNCIL (GJEPC)
OPENING SESSION ADDRESS
OCTOBER 15, 2018

STEPHANE FISCHLER
PRESIDENT OF WORLD DIAMOND COUNCIL
OPENING SESSION ADDRESS
OCTOBER 15, 2018

AHMED BIN SULAYEM
CHAIRMAN OF THE DUBAI MULTI COMMODITIES CENTRE (DMCC)
OPENING SESSION ADDRESS
OCTOBER 15, 2018

ERNEST BLOM
PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD FEDERATION OF DIAMOND BOURSES
OPENING SESSION ADDRESS
OCTOBER 15, 2018

MARTA LUCIA RAMIREZ
VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA
ADDRESS TO CONGRESS (IN SPANISH)
OCTOBER 17, 2018

2018 CIBJO CONGRESS PRESENTATIONS

DR. GAETANO CAVALIERI
President, CIBJO

Opening Session Address
October 15, 2018

Responsible Sourcing Guidance Address
October 15, 2018

Speech during visit of Vice President of Colombia to 2018 CIBJO Congress
October 17, 2018

Address to World Emerald Symposium
October 14, 2018

TYLER GILLARD
Head of OECD Responsible Mineral Supply Chain Project

Responsible Sourcing Session Presentation
October 15, 2018

PHILIP OLDEN
President of the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Commission

Responsible Sourcing Session Presentation
October 15, 2018

STEPHANE FISCHLER
President of World Diamond Council

Opening Session Address
October 15, 2018

AHMED BIN SULAYEM
Executive Chairman of Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC)
President, IIDGR

Opening Session Address
October 15, 2018

ERNEST BLOM
President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses

Opening Session Address
October 15, 2018

ERIK JENS
Vice President of CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Commission

Responsible Sourcing Session Address
October 15, 2018

Responsible Sourcing Session Presentation
October 15, 2018

Blockchain Session Presentation
October 15, 2018

CARRIE GEORGE
Vice President and head of Sustainability Solutions for Everledger

Blockchain Session Keynote Presentation
October 15, 2018

TIFFANY STEVENS
 President of CIBJO Ethics Commission

SARA YOOD
Senior Counsel, Jewlers Vigilance Committeee (JVC)

Ethics Commission Presentation on FTC Guidelines and Jewelry Development Impact Index (JDI)
October 16, 2018

EMMANUEL PIAT
 Vice President, CIBJO Coloured Stone Commission

Responsible Sourcing Session Presentation
October 15, 2018

EDWARD JOHNSON
 Business Development Director, Responsible Jewellery Counsel (RJC)

Responsible Sourcing Session Presentation
October 15, 2018

ASSHETON CARTER
CEO of The Dragonfly Initiative/Project Director of the Coloured Gemstones Working Groupg

CSR Session Presentation
October 15, 2018

NATALIA URIBE
 Head of Standards and Certification, Alliance for Responsible Mining

CSR Session Presentation
October 15, 2018

2018 CIBJO CONGRESS SPECIAL REPORTS

MARKETING & EDUCATION COMMISSION

PRECIOUS METALS COMMISSION

DIAMOND COMMISSION

COLOURED STONE COMMISSION

ETHICS COMMISSION

GEMMOLOGICAL COMMISSION

PEARL COMMISSION

CORAL COMMISSION

2018 CIBJO CONGRESS HOSTS

FEDESMERALDAS is the umbrella corporation representing the Colombian emerald industry as a whole. Its founding members are: The Emerald Miners Association (APRECOL), the Emerald Colombian Brokers Associations (Asocoesmeral) and the Emerald Exporters Association (ACODES).

CDTEC is the most advanced gemmological institute in Latin America. Its aim is to acquire and impart knowledge in every field associated with the gems and jewelry industry from mining through trading.

2018 CIBJO CONGRESS SPONSORS

PLATINUM SPONSORS

GOLD SPONSOR

SPONSORS

CIBJO holds its 2018 congress in Bogotá, Colombia, focuses on responsible sourcing and adapting to changing business and technological environment2018-11-07T14:46:25+00:00

Marine-focused seminar in Vicenza suggests that jewellery could become symbol for environmental sustainability

In a planet threatened by uncontrolled climate change, the jewellery industry could come to be recognized as a beacon of sustainability and positive environmentalism. This was the message emanating from a seminar co-organized by CIBJO and the Italian Exhibition Group (IEG), which took place January 22 at the VICENZAORO January show in Vicenza, Italy.

Entitled “Green and Blue Jewellery, Environmentally Sustainable Luxury,” the seminar focused on the marine ecosystem, where fully sustainable gem production, relating to the ability of biological systems to remain diverse and productive over the course of time, is feasible. It was the latest event in CIBJO and IEG’s joint programme, endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to support Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability in the international jewellery sector.

Under the spotlight were organic materials, generally produced through aquafarming, such as cultured pearls. Precious coral was also examined.

Unlike a mine, which has a finite life span, a pearl farm can continue producing indefinitely, on condition that it is responsibly operated. A healthy oyster has the ability to consecutively produce three high-quality cultured pearls over its productive life span, if it is provided a clean marine environment in which to live, and proper time between grafting and harvesting for the pearls to form. Such responsible practices are more likely to be applied in places where sustainable social and economic opportunities are also present.  For if pearl farming communities share only a minimal proportion of the revenues generated by their labour, they are less likely to invest in maintaining a decent marine environment and will be more inclined to maximize production by reducing the gestation period of the pearl in the oyster.

Steven Benson, CIBJO’s Director of Communications and the seminar moderator, introducing the panel (from left) Rui Galopim de Carvalho, Laurent Cartier, Jacques Christophe Branellec, Shigeru Akamatsu and Justin Hunter.

Gaetano Cavalieri (left), President of CIBJO, and Matteo Marzotto, Executive Vice President of the Italian Exhibition Group, and welcoming participants to the seminar in Vicenza.

Because pearls and their oysters should be cultivated in pristine marine environments, pearl producers have an inherent need for marine conservation, explained Dr. Laurent Cartier, a pearl and gemstone specialist at the Swiss Gemmological Institute in Basel, Switzerland, and one of the world’s preeminent experts in sustainability in the cultured pearl sector. He is a co-founder of the Sustainable Pearls project, which promotes responsible pearl farming and contributes to marine conservation and livelihood development efforts in the Pacific region.

There is a unique synergy between pearl quality and ocean health, with profits and conservation being closely linked, Dr. Cartier said. Not only does pearl farming offer economic development opportunities to remote communities, it also has the potential to be a sustainable luxury product, and a great medium to engage with and educate consumers, he added.

Representing one of the world’s most prominent pearl companies was Shigeru Akamatsu, who is a senior researcher at the Mikimoto Pearl Research Laboratory in Japan, and also a Vice President of CIBJO’s Pearl Commission. He described Mikimoto’s “zero emissions pearl farming” policy, which eliminates the release of industrial waste into nature during the pearl farming process, in part by ensuring that practically all elements of the are oyster are productively utilised.

The tropical reefs in which much of world’s pearl farms operate cover less than one half of 1 percent of the earth’s surface area, but contain the largest concentration of biodiversity on the planet, explained Justin Hunter, founder and CEO of J. Hunter Pearls in Fiji and President of the Fiji Pearl Association. Over the past several years, he has been working together with the government of Fiji to establish a Private Public Partnership that will create viable economic and employment opportunities within rural communities of the island nation, while at the same time developing means of countering the effects of climate change.

Pearl farms serve as important regulators of water quality, with pearl farmers adopting the role of sea stewards to protect their investment, Mr. Hunter said. The pearl-bearing oyster is a filter feeder by nature, with one of the highest clearance rates, he noted, adding that it is often referred to as an “indicator species,” inasmuch as any decline in water quality has a direct impact on oyster health, resulting in poorer pearl quality and increased oyster mortality.

Pearl farming is as much as about knowing the technique of operating on an oyster as it is about preserving nature and nurturing people, said Jacques Christophe Branellec, Deputy CEO and Executive Vice President of Jewelmer, a Philippines-based international luxury brand cultivating South Sea pearls and producing fine jewellery. He also is a Vice President of the CIBJO Pearl Commission.

Emphasizing the close association between responsible social practices and responsible environmental management, Mr. Branellec recounted the efforts of his company to rebuild employee housing after a devastating typhoon had struck the Philippines. While company workers worked to repair damage caused to the pearl farms caused by the storm, Jewelmer built about 400 homes for workers and their families, he recalled. “We are not in the life of a business,” he stated, quoting the company Chairman, Manuel Cojuangco, “we are in the business of life.”

Climate change has significantly impacted on the world’s coral reefs, said Rui Galopim de Carvalho, founder and editor of Portugal Gemas, a gem and jewellery digital educational platform, and Vice President of CIBJO’s Coral Commission. Nonetheless, he stressed the importance of educating the public about the difference between shallow-water common coral, some of which have been declared in danger of extinction, and precious coral species, which live at considerably greater depths beneath the ocean, none of which are considered so threatened by the world wildlife authorities.

Corrado Facco, Managing Director of the Italian Exhibition Group and Vice President of CIBJO, delivering the concluding words of the seminar.

Nonetheless, said Mr. Galopim de Carvalho, the coral sector is a strongly aware of the threats posed by warming ocean temperatures and acidification, and is supporting research into actively culturing precious coral under controlled conditions, as a means of encouraging reef restoration. Unlike pearls, precious coral is currently harvested, and relies on natural growth for rejuvenation. Sustainability is maintained mainly by ensuring that production levels remain below the ability of the coral reefs to grow and regenerate on their own.

The seminar was opened by CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri and IEG Executive Vice President Matteo Marzotto, both of whom stressed the commitment of the two organisations toward educating the jewellery industry about social, economic and environmental sustainability. Closing words were delivered by Corrado Facco, IEG’s Managing Director, who also serves as Vice President of CIBJO, with special authority over the confederation’s CSR programme. The seminar moderator was Steven Benson, CIBJO’s Director of Communications.

PRESENTATIONS

DR. LAURENT CARTIER
Pearl and gemstone specialist, Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF)
Dr. Cartier is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent experts in sustainability in the cultured pearl sector. He is a co-founder of the Sustainable Pearls project, which was started to investigate how responsible pearl farming could be promoted and thereby contribute to marine conservation and livelihood development efforts in the Pacific region. He holds a PhD from Basel University that focused on pearl farming sustainability and traceability.

SHIGERU AKAMATSU
Senior researcher, Mikimoto Pearl Research Laboratory
Long associated with the Mikimoto Pearl Research Laboratory, the lab is one of the world’s most accomplished facilities researching pearls and other new technologies for production sites, and has developed techniques for implementing what it calls “zero emissions pearl farming,” which eliminates the release of industrial waste into nature during the pearl farming process. In addition to his work at Mikimimoto, Mr. Akamatsu has been a delegate on behalf of his country in the CIBJO Pearl Commission since 1994. He currently is a Vice President of the CIBJO Pearl Commission.

JUSTIN HUNTER
Founder and CEO of J. Hunter Pearls, Fiji
Justin Hunter is the founder and CEO of J. Hunter Pearls, Fiji’s largest pearl producer. The company was established in 1999 was formed in partnership with the traditional fishing right owners and their rural communities. As President of the Fiji Pearl Association, Mr. Hunter has been working together with the Government of Fiji to establish a Private Public Partnership that will formulate and set industry standards to ensure consistent production of top quality pearls, while maintaining socially and environmentally sustainable practices throughout all aspects of the Industry.

JACQUES CHRISTOPHE BRANELLEC
Deputy CEO and Executive Vice President, of Jewelmer, Philippines
A senior executive at the  companythart was founded by his father, Jacques Branellec, and Filipino entrepreneur Manuel Cojuangco, he also serves as a  Captain of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary 402nd Squadron, and  advocates the cause of the Save Palawan Seas Foundation, which is protecting marine life and providing sustainable sources of livelihood to Palawan’s coastal communities. Mr. Branellec serves as Vice President of CIBJO’s Pearl Commission and is a member of the CIBJO Board of Directors.

RUI GALOPIM DE CARVALHO
Founder and editor of Gemas Portugal
A leading gemmologist, Rui Galopim de Carvalho operates of the most extensive gem-testing operations his native country of Portugal in collaboration with public and private museums, as well as with the Catholic Church. His company, Portugal Gemas, collaborates with several national trade associations, jewellery schools and universities.He also has developed teaching and gemmological promotion in Brazil and Mozambique. He currently serves as Vice President of Sector A of CIBJO, which covers all gem materials, and as Vice President of CIBJO’s Coral Commission.

PHOTO CREDIT FOR ALL IMAGES: La Presse
Marine-focused seminar in Vicenza suggests that jewellery could become symbol for environmental sustainability2018-01-25T13:34:29+00:00

CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has successfully concluded its annual congress in Bangkok, Thailand

The three-day event, running from November 5 through 7, brought from around the world some 150 official delegates and a total about 300 participants, and covered a wide range of issues on the agenda of the international gemstone and jewellery industry. There was a strong focus on responsible sourcing, Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability, particularly in the coloured gemstone sector.  It was preceded by the three days of pre-congress steering committee meetings and the first World Ruby Forum.

Opened by General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister of Thailand, the 2017 CIBJO Congress was hosted at the Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) and the Gem and Jewellery Institute of Thailand (GIT), both of which fall under the jurisdiction of the Thai Ministry of Commerce.

 

 

CONGRESS REPORTS

CIBJO General Assembly elects CIBJO officers for next two years, concludes 2017 congress

Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri was elected to another two-year term as President, and for the first time three Vice Presidents were elected: Roland Naftule of the United States, Eli Avidar of Israel, and Corrado Facco of Italy. Marc-Alain Christen of Switzerland was reconfirmed as the organisation’s Chief Financial Officer and a new Board of Directors was elected, also for a two-year term.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha officially opens CIBJO’s 2017 congress

General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the country’s head of government, was accompanied by Mrs. Apiradi Tantraporn, Thailand’s Minister of Commerce, and Mr. Sontirat Sontijirawong, the Deputy Minister of Commerce.

In presence of Thai prime minister, CIBJO President endorses Thailand’s central role in jewellery and gemstone industry

‘For members of the jewellery industry, the undisputed entry point into the ASEAN Economic Community is Bangkok, and that puts Thailand into a very powerful place, on condition that it is able to defend its market position in the region,’ said Dr. Cavalieri.

Sector A told changes to Blue Books only to take place every three years

It was agreed that the Coloured Gemstone Book and the Diamond Book will not be changed for the next three years, while the Coral Book along with the Pearl Book will be up for revision in two years, and then every three years thereafter. The Gemmological Book will be changed next year.

CIBJO Coral Commission reports on creation of Coral Guide for the Italian Customs organisation

The customs guide may be too complicated for members of the retail trade, for it is designed to serve the specific needs of government customs agents. It is currently available in English, Italian and Thai, and translations into German, French and Japanese are also possible.

Free online course and Fiji Pearl Development Plan focus of Pearl Commission

The Fiji Pearl Association plans to enhance the effectiveness of locally managed marine areas, and integrate coastal management and land and sea management programmes to bring about meaningful income for local island residents.

Precious Metals Commission focuses on compliance with EU and U.S. legislation

CIBJO’s Precious Metals Commission looked at the new regulations ratified this past year in the European Union and their potential impact, comparing them to legislation passed in the United States seven years ago, as part of the Dodd Frank Act.

Ethics Commission provides update on industry forum initiating grass-roots sustainability projects

The commission received a report on the Jewellery Industry Summit in the United States, of which one outcome was the creation of the Jewellery Development Index, which is being developed by students in a programme with the U.S. State Department, to assess the comparative impact of the jewellery industry on people’s lives in different countries.

IDC Book to be harmonised with CIBJO Blue Book as single international diamond guide

The decision that was authorised by the Diamond Commission means that the CIBJO Diamond Book will serve the whole diamond industry and be the only book for the trade, the body’s president, Udi Sheintal told the meeting.

CIBJO Marketing & Education Commission releases jewellery industry employee recruitment and retention guide

The 60-page publication contains self-contained guides and templates for applications to businesses, as well as insights from industry figures from around the world. It will shortly be made available for downloading on the CIBJO website.

Special session searches for solutions to coloured stone supply chain integrity

‘You have to start with: first, don’t do any harm. Don’t harm the people you want to regulate. If you are going to ban child labour or other bad practices, then you have to find alternative work for them. Perhaps we can help as an industry to provide Africans with wells for clean drinking water,’ said gem expert Richard Hughes, in a session co-organised with the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).

Coloured Gemstone Commission appoints group to simplify Blue Book for jewellery industry

‘Retailers in touch with consumers are finding it too detailed and complex. The idea is to create a simplified book,’ said Charles Abouchar, Vice President of the Coloured Stone Commission, referring to the Gemtone Blue Book.

Gemmological Commission discusses harmonisation of colour nomenclature and undeterminable treatments

A document was discussed that compared standards for terms such as royal blue and pigeon’s blood red that are currently in use at various labs. The question is not whether CIBJO accepts the use of such terms, but rather that it intends to provide factual information and creating more transparency regarding what is currently going on.

CIBJO Congress kicks off with debate on CSR challenges and opportunities

CIBJO President Gaetano proposed developing a structure for rough coloured gemstones, involving a combination of government monitoring and self-administered due diligence, which will enable the industry to demonstrate the integrity of its chain of distribution.

CIBJO President discuss CSR in coloured gemstone sector at inaugural World Ruby Forum

‘The fact that it is more difficult to monitor the origins and flow of coloured gemstones in the pipeline does not mean that the trade will get a special pass from NGOs, the media or socially-aware millennial consumers,’ said the CIBJO President.

Coloured Gemstone Steering Committee hears case for CIBJO Opal Guide

Meeting on November 3, the Coloured Gemstone Steering Committee heard a presentation made by Andrew Cody of Australia, who argued the case for a possible Opal Guide that would be separate from CIBJO Gemstone Blue Book.

 

CONGRESS PHOTO GALLERIES

BANGKOK

SHANGRI-LA BANGKOK HOTEL

CONGRESS REGISTRATION

STEERING COMMITTEE MEETINGS
NOVEMBER 2, 2017

STEERING COMMITTEE MEETINGS
NOVEMBER 3, 2017

STEERING COMMITTEE MEETINGS
NOVEMBER 4, 2017

LOY KRATHONG FESTIVAL
NOVEMBER 3, 2017

WORLD RUBY FORUM
NOVEMBER 4, 2017

CIBJO BOARD OF DIRECTORS
NOVEMBER 5, 2017

SPECIAL CSR SESSION
NOVEMBER 5, 2017

GEMMOLOGICAL COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 5, 2017

COLOURED STONE COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 5, 2017

PEARL COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 5, 2017

GALA DINNER CRUISE
NOVEMBER 5, 2017

PRIME MINISTER OPENS CONGRESS
NOVEMBER 6, 2017

DIAMOND COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 6, 2017

MARKETING & EDUCATION COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 6, 2017

ETHICS COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 6, 2017

PRECIOUS METALS COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 6, 2017

CORAL COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 6, 2017

SECTOR A
NOVEMBER 7, 2017

GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NOVEMBER 7, 2017

CIBJO BOARD OF DIRECTORS
NOVEMBER 7, 2017

 

CONGRESS VIDEOS

VIDEO SCREENED AT OPENING OF
2017 CIBJO CONGRESS
NOVEMBER 6, 2017

2017 CIBJO CONGRESS PROMO

VIDEO SCREENED AT OPENING OF
WORLD RUBY FORUM
NOVEMBER 4, 2017

 

CONGRESS PRESENTATIONS

DR. GAETANO CAVALIERI
President, CIBJO

Opening Ceremony Address
November 6, 2017

CSR Session Address
November 5, 2017

CSR Session Presentation
November 5, 2017

World Ruby Forum Address
November 4, 2017

World Ruby Forum Presentation
November 4, 2017

CORRADO FACCO
Vice President, CIBJO
Managing Director, IEG

 

CSR Session Presentation
November 5, 2017

ERIK JENS
CEO, ABN AMRO International Diamond & Jewelry Group

CSR Session Presentation
November 5, 2017

SAKHILA MIRZA
Executive Board Director and General Counsel of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA)

CSR Session Presentation
November 5, 2017

JONATHAN KENDALL
President, CIBJO Marketing & Education Commission
President, IIDGR

CSR Session Presentation
November 5, 2017

ELIZABETH ORLANDO
Economic/Commercial Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State

Presentation to have been delivered at CSR Session
November 5, 2017

Ms. Orlando, who at the last moment was unable to attend the 2017 CIBJO Congress, was to have presented the Jeweller’s Development Impact Index, which currently is under development. The presentation was prepared with Patricia Syvrud, CEO of Joia Consulting.

 

PRE-CONGRESS SPECIAL REPORTS

MARKETING & EDUCATION COMMISSION

PRECIOUS METALS COMMISSION

DIAMOND COMMISSION

COLOURED STONE COMMISSION

ETHICS COMMISSION

GEMMOLOGICAL COMMISSION

PEARL COMMISSION

CORAL COMMISSION

 

SPONSORS

MAIN SPONSORS

Ministry of Commerce of Thailand

Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP)

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CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has successfully concluded its annual congress in Bangkok, Thailand2017-12-07T11:56:10+00:00

‘WE AS AN INDUSTRY SHOULD PROVIDE MORE GUARANTEES TO THE FINAL CONSUMER’

The perspective of the President of the World Diamond Council

Stéphane Fischler, the president of the World Diamond Council (WDC), is a third-generation diamantaire from Antwerp, Belgium, who began working in his family-owned company in 1979. He has a long history of public service in the diamond and jewellery industries.

He was among the founders of the WDC in 2000, serving as member of its steering committee until 2008, including a term as vice president starting in 2006. In 2012 he was invited to re-join the reconstituted WDC, and was elected its vice president in September 2016. In June of this year, he took over the presidency of the World Diamond Council. His mandate will end in May 2020.

Mr. Fischler also is chairman of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the primary umbrella organisation representing Belgian diamond sector, having first been elected to the post in June 2012, and re-elected for two-year terms in 2014 and again in 2016.

In 2008, he was elected chairman of the International Diamond Council (IDC), a diamond grading and nomenclature body affiliated to the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA). He resigned he position in 2015 and was asked to remain on as IDC vice president.

Mr. Fischler is currently vice president of SBD, the Belgian diamond manufacturers’ association; treasurer of IDMA; and a member of the Board of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). He has been member of the board of the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) since 2006 and was it elected vice president in 2012.

Earlier this year, Mr. Fischler played a key role in the creation of the CIBJO European Jewellery Guild, which was formally established in Vicenza in September.

Mr. Fischler spoke to VOICES OF CIBJO on a wide range of topics, including the Kimberley Process and World Diamond Council, the integrity of the supply chain in the diamond and jewellery sector, cooperation between CIBJO and IDC, and the future role of the CIBJO European Jewellery Guild.

The World Diamond Council was established to represent the industry in the campaign to eliminate the trade in conflict diamonds. According to the accepted definition of conflict diamonds, does such a trade currently exist, and are there regions where the potential for such a trade remain high?

STÉPHANE FISCHLER: The KP was created to address a very specific issue. It was designed to create a platform or mechanism to stop the funding of conflict and violence by rebel groups against legitimate governments from being fuelled by diamonds. Today, 99 percent of all diamonds in the trade come from a conflict-free source.

However, the importance of the KP and the WDC remains crucial when it comes down to the future of the product we represent, as there are still areas where diamond mining may take place that suddenly becomes involved in armed conflict. There will always be new challenges, and we stand ready to address them.

 

How relevant is the current definition of conflict diamonds, and, if it is lacking, how may it be improved?

STÉPHANE FISCHLER: The idea of the KP has always been very narrow: to create a platform or mechanism to stop conflicts fuelled by diamonds. The mission has been completely accomplished.

The WDC has taken a very clear position, expressed in Vicenza in 2012, supporting a broadening of the scope of the certification scheme, focused on preventing the escalation of violence in mining areas. At the same time, we need to talk more inside the industry about how to provide confidence in all spheres—providing adequate protection to all stakeholders and in particular the most vulnerable.

We as an industry should provide more guarantees to the final consumer. That is our responsibility.

 

The Kimberley Process has in the past struggled to find consensus on a number of issues, including the definition of conflict diamonds. In its current structure, do you feel that it is able to resolve contentious matters. If not, how may this be remedied?

STÉPHANE FISCHLER: As the KP is comprised of representatives from 81 governments, 40-plus industry groups and many non-government organizations (NGOs) and associations, of course consensus building among such a diverse group is more complex than with other smaller and simpler organisations. The KP is no different than any other international process, where a very large amount of countries is involved, each with its own specificity and interest, and where politics do play a major role.

Factoring in these complexities, the KP has created a set of processes and protocols that help overcome these challenges such as review visits and the peer review mechanism. Though there is always room to improve the efficiency of conflict resolution and decision making within the KP, we have seen important progress using our processes, for example bringing back Ivory Coast after its exclusion within the process.

Having said that, the KP has been so far comparatively very successful. I hope that an inclusive and respectfully managed process can achieve further progress.

 

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is essentially government run and monitored, while more contemporary responsible sourcing systems, like Dodd Frank in the United States and the more recent conflict minerals regulation in Europe shift the responsibility to companies, often applying the OECD due diligence guidance. Do you think the pendulum has moved, and how may this affect what is expected from the diamond industry?

STÉPHANE FISCHLER: Ensuring that conflict stones remain out of the global diamond supply chain is a responsibility that is shared by all parties, not just governments.  It starts at the beginning with those that focus on mining and discovery, through groups that handle rough and polished, and extends through manufacturing and retail right to the end consumer. The main task of the diamond market is to show that it is able to self-regulate, as is the case with the WDC System of Warranties, and ensure the integrity of entire sales chain.

 

In terms of the way in which its chain of supply is monitored, should the diamond sector be treated differently to other sectors in the greater jewellery industry? If so, why?

STÉPHANE FISCHLER: I believe the diamond industry has been at the vanguard of these issues well before precious metals and other gems.

We are happy to note the impressive efforts made especially by the precious metal industry.

 

The World Diamond Council’s statutes definitely describe its area of interest as conflict diamonds and matters related to the Kimberley Process.  How do you see the World Diamond Council as evolving, and where does it take its place among the other representative organisations active in the gemstone and jewellery industry?

STÉPHANE FISCHLER: Indeed, the mandate of the World Diamond Council is focused on the rough diamond supply. As well as having created the System of Warranties to complement the KPCS, the WDC provides the only platform for members to discuss important issues pertaining to conflict diamonds and the KP, as we represent the entire diamond pipeline through our association.

The WDC allows the international diamond industry to have a single, united voice that is representative of the entire diamond supply chain, from mine to retail.

In practice, the WDC is actively involved in the work of the KP, providing the functioning of the KP Administrative Support Mechanism, for example. It is involved in the daily work of all KP Working Groups, among other things participating in review visits and missions to KP participating countries, providing technical expertise to the monitoring teams as needed, and chairing the KP’s Working Group of Diamond Experts-WGDE.

In one sentence, our role is to ensure that the end product, manufactured out of the raw material and set in jewellery, is untainted.

 

What is the role played by the representative organisations within the World Diamond Council, and, given the fact that each represents many companies, should they have a status that is different from those WDC members that are individual companies?

STÉPHANE FISCHLER: The WDC is indeed the only representative industry organization representing the whole of the diamond value chain. Continuous dialogue with all industry stakeholders is key to the WDC. We talk and listen to our members, whether they represent many companies on individual companies.

Since last year the WDC has been developing an active communications strategy in order to better inform the industry and our members, and make clear what the KP and the WDC are doing to support diamond mining countries and their populations and keep the supply chain conflict free.

The role of representative organizations, member of the WDC, is to ensure proper education and support within its very vast membership for the industry self-regulatory mechanisms.

 

There has been concern expressed in the industry that cumbersome and sometimes expensive due diligence compliance systems may have the effect of pushing some of the smaller players out of the business, because they lack the necessary financial means and personnel. Is such concern justified and how does once prevent such a situation?

STÉPHANE FISCHLER: We are very much aware of this concern. Consumer interest in the origin of diamonds grows. This is largely due to the new information environment in which we live. An important challenge for the diamond market is to show that it is able to self-regulate and ensure the entire sales chain. The industry is very much focused on ensuring ethical practices from mine to retail.

I believe the self-regulation in place throughout the industry is not burdensome and constitute an impediment to growth. It is our common responsibility to provide adequate support to those experiencing difficulties in understanding or implementing to proposed processes.

 

You played an active role in the establishment of the CIBJO European Jewellery Guild, which was established earlier this month to provide a united voice for members of the industry in Europe. What do feel that a body of this type will be able to achieve?

STÉPHANE FISCHLER: It is an idea that, together with Benadette Pinet-Cuoq, Gaetano Cavalieri and Charles Chaussepied, we took to fruition. It has been long overdue and I believe will contribute to streamline and benefit the European industry’s effort in achieving a constructive dialogue with the European Union, and enhancing European value addition.

 

At the upcoming CIBJO Congress in Bangkok, there will once again discussion about the CIBJO Blue Book relative to the International Diamond Council’s grading system.  As a past IDC chairman, how do you view this relationship?

STÉPHANE FISCHLER: I can definitely say, and it is my personal opinion that we are now at a point where the two major nomenclature organisations must be focused on building a unified foundation for the benefit of our industry.

‘WE AS AN INDUSTRY SHOULD PROVIDE MORE GUARANTEES TO THE FINAL CONSUMER’2017-12-07T11:56:14+00:00

CIBJO seminar in Vicenza looks at impact on jewellery industry of new EU conflict minerals legislation and strategies for dealing with its requirements

The significance and potential impact on the jewellery industry of Regulation (EU) 2017/821, which will control the import into the European Union of gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten from conflict and high-risk areas, came under the spotlight at a seminar for the jewellery industry in Vicenza on September 24, organised by CIBJO and the Italian Exhibition Group.

Participants were welcomed by Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO’s President, and by Matteo Marzotto, IEG’s Executive Vice President.

The seminar, which was moderated by Philip Olden, a consultant to Signet Jewelers and the former managing director of the World Gold Council, brought together a panel of expert speakers, representing government, international and European organisations, business standards organisations and the jewellery, precious metals and gemstone industries.

Panel members included Marten Westrup, Coordinator of Energy and Raw Materials at the European Commission, DG Trade; Hannah Koep-Andrieu, Policy Adviser-Extractives in the Responsible Business Conduct division at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD);  France Capon, Secretary General of the European Precious Metals Federation (EPMF); Andrew Bone, Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC); Sakhila Mirza, Executive Board Director and General Counsel of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA); Stephane Fischler, Acting President of the World Diamond Council (WDC); and Francesca Angeloni, Business Development Manager Europe Jewellery and Watch Industry in the Consumer & Retail Services division of UL.

While the regulatory regime established by the new law will be fully enforced only from January 2021, providing sufficient time for businesses to adapt to its provisions, its basic framework has been outlined in the legislation that was passed by the European Parliament in May.  But there are still benchmarks, procedures and requirements that need to be formulated by the European Commission, which will be providing guidance to the business community

Matteo Marzotto (left), Executive Vice President of the Italian Exhibition Group, and Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO, welcoming participants to the seminar in Vicenza.

Philip Olden, seminar moderator.

in the months ahead. This will include a white list of approved refineries and smelters, located both inside and outside of the EU, from which purchases of gold will not trigger automatic third-party auditing requirements.

Mr. Westrup explained that the EU’s approach to conflict minerals and the recently enacted regulation has the main objective of ensuring sufficient supply chain due diligence in imports of gold and 3Ts from conflict-affected and high-risk areas.

Mr. Westrup noted that the four-year lead-in time before the requirements are to be met and the setting of thresholds below which importers are exempt from the legal requirements for due diligence are in part meant to meet the concerns of small and medium-sized enterprises. He explained that the thresholds set out in the regulation (100 kilogram per annum for gold) are intended to ensure that at least 95 percent of imports of each metal or mineral are covered, while at the same time underlining that companies without legal obligations under the EU regulation also should carry out due diligence as far as possible.

Ms. Koep-Andrieu noted that the five-step process outlined in the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas forms the basis of the new EU regulations, and that all companies could begin integrating its requirements into their systems of management, so as to become compliant with the new regime before 2021, regardless of size. She also pointed out that the guidance is applicable to all minerals, and not only gold and the 3Ts.

Ms. Capon outlined the efforts already taken by the members of the European Precious Metals Federation to ensure that the gold they are importing is subject to the type of due diligence outlined in the new EU regulations. She also was critical about the 100-kilogram threshold, saying that it undermined the efforts of other companies seeking to become compliant, while suggesting that it be reduced significantly or eliminated completely.

Noting that membership in the Responsible Jewellery Council has long passed the 1,000-company mark, Mr. Bone described the organisation as the leading

responsible business standards organisation in the jewellery sector. The RJC Code of Practices, which is an international standard of responsible business practices for diamonds, gold and platinum group metals, accommodates the OECD guidelines, and, if one is RJC-certified, compliance with the new EU regulations will be easily achieved, he said.

Ensuring the integrity of the precious metals market, Ms. Mirza, said that LBMA’s Responsible Gold Guidance helps ensure the long-term integrity of the wholesale gold business.

The LBMA good delivery list, which is widely recognised as the de facto standard for precious metals markets around the world as to what refiners’ gold and silver bars are acceptable, today includes 71 gold refiners from 31 countries, accounting for 85 percent to 90 percent of world production. Its due diligence standards are also compliant with the OECD guidance document, Ms. Mirza said.

Relating the experience of the diamond industry in implementing a rigid regulatory system to stem the flow of minerals financing conflict, Mr. Fischler noted that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme differs from the EU regulations in that places a significant burden on government, while the European system focuses its attention predominantly on company self-regulation. Nonetheless, he added, while government is more directly involved in monitoring rough diamond imports and exports, diamond companies still need do due diligence, both in maintaining records of KP certificates in the rough diamond trade, and in complying with the WDC System of Warranties in the polished diamond business. While the approach of the Kimberley Process differs from that of the OECD guidance, Mr. Fischler said he is supportive of the principles expressed in the OECD document, and stressed that the industry in general needs to promote a mutual commitment to “a duty of care.”

Ms. Angeloni provided the perspective of one of the largest companies conducting third-party audits in the jewellery industry, presenting a checklist of procedures that companies will need to undergo in order to achieve compliance with the new EU regulations. She also announced that UL is developing a toolkit together with CIBJO, which will serve as a roadmap for companies in navigating the new regulatory regime.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Olden remarked that, while the introduction of the EU regulations will represent a formative moment for both the precious metals and jewellery sectors, the seminar demonstrated that systems are already in place to make compliance more achievable than some may have feared. “If you insist that your bank buy only from LBMA-approved refiners, and you are certified by a code of practices such as that of the Responsible Jewellery Council, then in all likelihood you will have in place all the various elements required to become compliant,” he said.

Mr. Olden proposed that the speakers on stage endorse the following statement: “This panel supports the principles of duty of care and supply chain due diligence. We encourage participants in the jewellery supply chain to engage with industry organisations to ensure compliance with industry guidance and standards relating to responsible sourcing.” The speakers supported the resolution.

 

PRESENTATIONS

MARTEN WESTRUP
Coordinator of Energy and Raw Materials, European Commission, DG Trade
Coordinating the approach to energy and raw materials in the Directorate-General for Trade of the European Commission, with a special focus on conflict minerals, Mr. Westrup previously was a team leader in the Directorate-General for Energy, primarily driving forward the EU’s approach to renewable energy, energy efficiency and Greenhouse Gas reductions in a 2030 perspective.

HANNAH KOEP-ANDRIEU
Policy Adviser-Extractives in the Responsible Business Conduct division,  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Today focusing on extractives and supply chain due diligence, Ms. Koep-Andrieu  has extensive field experience. She has worked on risk and impact assessments in the extractives sector, with a focus on stakeholder engagement, artisanal mining, security and human rights issues.

FRANCE CAPON
Secretary General,European Precious Metals Federation (EPMF)
Ms. Capon is responsible for representing the European Precious Metals Federation (EPMF), as well as for managing the projects and associated budgets  of the EPMF and Precious Metals & Rhenium consortium, while guarding the application of the articles of the association and the internal rules of the federation.

ANDREW BONE
Executive Director, Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC)
Following a long and successful career at De Beers, during which he was instrumental in setting up the World Diamond Council and the formation of the Kimberley Process, for the  past two years Mr. Bone has headed the management team at the jewellery industry’s largest responsible business standards organisation.

SAKHILA MIRZA
Executive Board Director and General Counsel, London Bullion Market Association (LBMA)
Ms. Mirza is responsible for all the legal and regulatory work of LBMA and that of London Precious Metals Clearing Limited (LPMCL).  Her role involves the LBMA’s work in relation to responsible sourcing, and lobbying efforts on behalf of members on a wide range of regulatory issues, including EU conflict minerals regulation.

STEPHANE FISCHLER
Acting President, World Diamond Council
A founding member of the World Diamond Council, Mr. Fischler has headed the body since June 2017. He is treasurer of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, a member of the board of the Responsible Jewellery Council, vice president of the Diamond Development Initiative, and the current president of the Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC).

FRANCESCA ANGELONI
Business Development Manager Europe Jewellery and Watch Industry, Consumer & Retail Services, UL
Ms. Angeloni is responsible for inspections, testing and responsible sourcing services related to the jewellery sector at UL. After beginning her career in fine jewellery retail in Italy, she later worked as a diamond advisor and  jewellery expert for for the HSE24 TV Channel. She is a co-founder of an Italian fashion jewellery line.

PHOTO CREDIT FOR ALL IMAGES: La Presse
CIBJO seminar in Vicenza looks at impact on jewellery industry of new EU conflict minerals legislation and strategies for dealing with its requirements2017-12-07T11:56:19+00:00

A partnership spanning continents brings hope to the survivors of genocide in Rwanda

Jennifer Ewah is the founder and creative director of Eden Diodati, a jewellery brand committed to fulfilling a social function, which is assisting the creation of sustainable and dignified employment for disadvantaged people in Rwanda. An Oxford-trained lawyer, she balances a legal career with one of a jewellery designer. She is the winner of numerous awards, including the International Sustainable Brand of the Year 2013 outside of Latin America, from the Centre for Study of Sustainable Luxury, and she is a Fellow of Ethical Fashion Forum’s 500 Ethical Leaders around the World.

 

By Jennifer Ewah

The story I am about to tell is about jewellery and its impact on humanity. It is a tale of rebirth through creativity and personal journey, and about a group of remarkably brave and resilient women from Rwanda, seeking to rebuild their lives following the devastation of civil war and genocide.

I myself am not Rwandan, and originally was not even a jeweller. I come from a family of medics and politicians from Nigeria. I providentially studied law at Oxford University, and that compelled me to move further towards the path of social justice, combined with progressive philanthropy.

But I always had a creative inclination. Growing up in the environment that I did, the Benin bronzes, a group of more than one thousand metal plaques and sculptures that once decorated the royal palace of the Benin Kingdom, in what is today Nigeria, provided a constant reminder of the rich artistic legacy of the African continent. Inspired by my home and heritage, I began designing and drawing from age three, and many years later, after studying at Central St Martins, the London College of Fashion, and than at Beaux Arts in Paris, I discovered my true métier.

I established in Eden Diodati in 2015 as a socially sustainable luxury jewellery brand. A key component of its operation was and still remains a partnership with a social cooperative in East Africa, which serves formerly marginalised women artisans, many of whom experienced personally the horrors of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.  The brand’s name evokes the utopian garden from the Book of Genesis, but also pays tribute to Giovanni Diodati (1576-1649), the Swiss-born Italian theologian, who was the first translator of the Bible into Italian from its orginal Hebrew and Greek. He was a pioneer.

The Rwandan cooperative with which we partner was founded by two sisters in Kigali, both with a jewellery design background. They organised what was then about 20 women, teaching them how to weave and bead, and then to enhance their skills with new techniques. After gathering under its umbrella more orphaned and widowed women, the organisation today provides work for more than 5,000 female survivors, organized into 52 smaller cooperatives. Many of its members are living with HIV and AIDS after experiencing gender-based violence during the conflict.

Master weavers from the Rwandan cooperative, two of 5,000 women now involved in the creation of jewellery pieces headed for the world’s luxury markets, alongside a gold neckpiece highlighted by beading by Eden Diodati.

Eden Diodati was brand born out of my desire to capture the compassion, empathy and strength that is at the heart of the beauty of the women that I know – my mother, a doctor, being the foremost example. Its artistic style is but one aspect of its mission. Social activism is another.

My vision was to evoke beauty through crafting luxury pieces with a strong, beautiful aesthetic, yet also to commit to love for others. The ethical aspect of our supply chain is not independent of its visual aspect; it informs, inspires and sustains people and communities in the most fundamental way.

For me, talking to the founders of this Rwandan cooperative felt like the first of a series of little miracles. “The Garden of Eden” is not found in perfect circumstances, but in courageous daily acts of love, forgiveness and generosity such as those shown gracefully by the women towards each other – Hutu and Tutsi working side by side.

Employing centuries-old artisanal heritage with comptempory technique, the Rwandan women’s courage, skill, fortitude and faith help challenging pre-conceptions of “Made in Africa.” Our goal is to shift paradigms in high-end jewellery and bring to market ethical luxury, within a brand context, affording priority to craftsmanship, provenance and elevated design.

Jeanette is our lead craftswoman and Eden Diodati’s project manager artisan within the Master Weavers of my partner cooperative. She was orphaned during the genocide and was the sole survivor in her entire family. Today, we see her transformed through the community of the cooperative. She is a confident, elegant and creative woman who holds firmly to an immutable sense of personal gifting, despite the trauma of the beginning of her life.

Another master weaver, Sada, contracted HIV through gender-based violence during the conflict. She struggles daily with the scourge of her illness. Her deep courage, smile and femininity is almost always in my mind, and her courage represents the cornerstone of what Eden Diodati is. It is a brand providing sustainable income to formerly marginalised artisans, but it is also a conduit that exposes humanity  through the light of love and solidarity. Each piece reflect the stories of craftswomen who had the breath-taking courage to look up beyond dark circumstances, in order to be sustained symbiotically by the work of their hands and the inherent creativity of their souls.

Reflecting how this celebration of artisanal heritage transcends cultures, Eden Diodati works on the opposite side of the globe in Italy where the metal components are manufactured by a Responsible Jewellery Council-accredited partner. These are then combined with the beaded elements produced in Rwanda. Our story represents collaboration across continents for positive social good. All the while, a geo-continental amalgam of global cultures influences the design.

We do not compromise. Although we are committed to providing sustainable employment to formerly marginalised and vulnerable women, our collections are design-led and of exceptionally high quality, to ensure that luxury customers who want to invest in our pieces receive the value they deserve. Our circle of ethical production enables clients to empower women sustainably, and enables our clientele the opportunity to experience beauty through compassion.

Eden Diodati donates 10 percent of shareholder dividends to Médecins Sans Frontières, which is also known as Doctors Without Borders. It is an international NGO, established by a group of doctors and journalists in France in 1971, which is best known for its projects in war-torn regions and developing countries affected by endemic diseases, and whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect and catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict. In 1999 MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The exhilarating reality of our story and my journey has always been and always will be the people and relationships built through it, from young, talented friends and colleagues, to visionary Rwandan social business leaders. Creative and emotional bonds have formed, and common understandings of purpose and trust have developed. I, and all those I work with closely, have a desire to see sustainable luxury brought to the fore of mainstream consciousness.

The depth of what this brand means to me is indescribable. It is the pursuit of my heart, and is why I face all challenges with optimism and faith.

Love is my inspiration, and love never fails.

A partnership spanning continents brings hope to the survivors of genocide in Rwanda2017-12-07T11:56:25+00:00