October 15, 2018
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 CIBJO Congress. The meeting was chaired by Charles Abouchar, the commission president.
Other subjects that were tacked included solving the discrepancies of variety names on reports; the Do’s and Do Not’s – Ethically Responsible Trading in Diamonds, Coloured Gemstones and Pearls guide; and a simplified Blue Book for ease of use by retailers.
A working group of the Coloured Gemstone Commission and the Gemmological Commission will look into the possibility of how to present reports, with a clear separation of facts and opinions.
On the usage of variety names on reports, Mr. Abouchar said this will be a very difficult task. There is a need to clearly quantify the criteria required to define a variety name. What this means is that, on occasion there are no clear borders between two variety names for the same mineral, such as green beryl and emerald, where a decision would have a major impact on the price of a stone.
Both the separation of fact and opinion on gemstone reports and the issue of variety names were discussed in the Coloured Gemstone Steering Committee and the Gemmological Commission Steering Committee. A working group has already begun the task of finding solutions.
On the Do’s and Do Not’s document, the aim is to try and reach out to retailers with a simplified guide on ethical behaviour. When it met earlier, the Coloured Stone Steering Committee had accepted the document with minor changes, Mr Abouchar said, and we will recommend that it be approved by the CIBJO Board of Directors.
Ken Scarratt explained the thinking behind the guide, saying it is designed to help the small retailer, and to be short and sweet. “The Blue Books say do this or don’t do that, so if we combine all the do’s and do not’s then we have a list for the retailer. It can be easily translated into almost any language and inexpensive to print. The contents do not replace the definitions in the Blue Books and the reader is always encouraged to download the relevant Blue Book.”
The Do’s are meant to help the sales staff to properly, accurately and honestly describe goods to the client, and to issue receipts in an unambiguous way.
Moving on to the subject of the simplified Blue Book, Coloured Stone Commission Vice President Nilam Alawdeen explained that, last year, the commission received the mandate to develop a simplified version of the Blue Book, which has become too detailed for use by many retailers. A small group has worked on The Gemstone Book Mini Guide, and regularly kept the Steering Committee up to date with its progress.