ABOVE: CIBJO’s senior officers during the General Assembly session on the final day of the 2018 congress (from left): Roland Naftule, Vice President; Marc-Alain Christen, Chief Financial Officer; Gaetano Cavalieri, President; Corrado Facco, Vice President; and Eli Avidar, Vice President.
October 17, 2018
The 2018 CIBJO Congress concluded today in Bogotá, Colombia, after three days of official business, which followed two days of steering committee meetings. The final day of the congress was marked by a visit by Colombia’s Vice President, Marta Lucia Ramirez.
Addressing the special session of the congress, which also was attended by about 200 members of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá’s Jewellery Cluster, Ms. Ramirez outlined challenges facing Colombia in general and the business community specifically. She pointed to the growing importance and expansion of the Colombian jewellery sector, and paid tribute to representatives of the emerald and jewellery industries, who she said were leading the sector forward.
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 marketplace of the years ahead.
“As industry leaders, our obligation is to ensure that our sector is able to evolve and adapt in accordance with changing business, technological, social and geopolitical conditions,” said Dr. Cavalieri. “Staying in one place effectively means that you are moving backwards, and that is not acceptable. What we have done in Bogotá over the past few days is to examine what is happening around us, and to discuss and implement strategies that will equip our industry for the future.”
A landmark event took place on the first day of the congress, when CIBJO’s Responsible Souring Guidance was unveiled. It is intended that the document will achieve the status of a CIBJO Blue Book, coming to serve as a reference for responsible sourcing practices developed and applied by industry organisations and commercial bodies worldwide, while taking into account the challenges of the global jewellery supply chains. Like the other Blue Books for diamonds, coloured gemstones, pearls, precious metals, coral and gemmological laboratories, it will be a living document, which can be amended and added to as changing conditions require. For that purpose, a Responsible Sourcing Commission was established, with Philip Olden appointed as its president.
Disruptive technologies were discussed at length during the 2018 CIBJO Congress. Blockchain technology was the focus of a dedicated session, investigating the significance and possible impacts of the new technology in general, and more specifically in terms of its applications in the jewellery and gemstone sectors. These include securely and transparently tracking the movement of merchandise, as it changes hands multiple times during its journey down the chain of distribution, and also the use of digital currencies, which can significantly reduce banking costs and provide financing opportunities for industry members.
Also coming under the spotlight was the use of the social media as a means of marketing products and services in the jewellery industry. In an enlightening presentation during the meeting of CIBJO’s Pearl Commission, Kevin Cannon, head of digital marketing at the Cultured Pearl Association of America, showed how a single paid-for posting on Facebook was seen by 1.7 million people, and generated 50,000 clicks, 3,000 shares and more than 800 comments.
Environmental sustainability, particular in the marine ecosystem, received a great deal of attention. CIBJO’s Coral Commission, headed by Vincenzo Liverino, reported on its work in promoting research into the repopulation of coral reefs, which today are being severely damaged by climate warming and ocean acidification. While precious corals, which are deep-water species, are not under the same degree of threat as the shallow water coral reefs, the commission hopes that the profile of precious coral as a luxury item will raise public awareness about the plight of those species that are in danger of extinction.
Among the other subjects receiving close attention was adoption by the jewellery industry of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, which were presented and explained by Tyler Gillard, who heads the Responsible Mineral Supply Chain project at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.
Also discussed at length were the recently revised guides of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for diamonds, precious metals, coloured gemstones and pearls; means of separating professional opinions from measurable facts on gem grading reports; and simplified versions of the CIBJO Blue Books and other guidelines for members of the jewellery retail trade.
The venue of the the next CIBJO Congress was also announced. It will be the Kingdom of Bahrain, and will be hosted by the Bahrain Institute for Pearls &Gemstones DANAT in November 2019.
The 2018 CIBJO Congress was hosted at the Grand Hyatt Bogotá by Fedesmeraldas, the National Federation of Emeralds of Colombia, and CDTEC, Colombia’s leading gemmological institute.