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

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.

By |2018-10-18T23:16:46+00:00October 18th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO concludes 2018 congress in Bogotá, Colombia, after focusing strongly on responsible sourcing and new technologies

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

October 17, 2018

The morning of the third and final day of the 2018 CIBJO Congress focused on the Colombian jewellery sector, with some 200 members of the Jewellery Cluster of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá joining the proceedings, which was highlighted by a visit by Colombian Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez, as well as presentations by the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá and the Colombian emerald mining industry.

With responsible business standards and sustainability playing such a large part in the proceedings of the 2018 Congress, a special panel discussion featuring CIBJO delegates was held, to discuss how the Colombian jewellery industry would benefit from adopting such practices.

The members of the panel included Charles Chaussepied, a former senior executive at Richemont International and former Deputy CEO of Piaget, who also is Vice Chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council; Edward Johnson, Business Development Manager at RJC and former European business development director of the Gemological Institute of America; Prida Tiasuwan, Vice President of the Thai Gem & Jewelry Association and chairman of the Pranda Group, one of Thailand’s largest jewellery manufacturer; and Tiffany Stevens, President and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the 101-year-old trade organisation that serves the jewellery trade on all manner of legal issues.

Moderator Steven Benson, CIBJO’s Communications Director, asked Mr. Chaussepied what the expectations are of companies in operating in a way that ensure sustainable development. “Companies want the best goods they can possibly secure, but you must be sure where it came from and the conditions in which it was mined,” he said. “The top brands do not compromise on ethical issues and all their suppliers must be completely transparent in all areas of their work.”

Concerning legal or customs barriers facing Colombian firms wanting to enter the U.S. market, Ms. Stevens replied that the U.S. Patriot Act demands compliance regarding anti-money laundering and other illegal uses.

“If you sell to a U.S. firm, the buyer needs to show that you are someone with whom they are allowed to do business. You also need to show you are in compliance with Colombian anti-money laundering. And if you attend a trade show and do $50,000 of business or more, you need to show you are compliant with U.S. laws on anti-money laundering as well,” she said.

Mr. Tiasuwan was asked what lessons Thailand as a global coloured gemstone and jewellery hub could provide to smaller markets such as Colombia. “Beautiful jewellery can only be made by a workforce that is treated well and respected and that has security of employment. When they feel secure and happy, they make great jewellery,” he stated.

Mr. Chaussepied was then asked whether standards different are when a major brand is involved. “We don’t talk about suppliers, we talks about partners. We look at their capacity to abide by our excellence quality standards. Sometimes it takes time for them to come to the level needed but if we see that they can provide us with what we need, then we are happy to work with them.”

On the same question, Mr. Johnson commented that one set of standards for the entire industry brings greater clarity, which is why the RJC aims to bring all members together under one international standard.

Speaking to the question of what level of knowledge the Federal Trade Commission’s jewellery guides is needed by foreign companies wanting to work and sell in the United States, Ms. Stevens explained that the FTC exists to protect the U.S. consumer and sets rules on how to advertise. “You can make yourself competitive in the U.S by learning the rules,” she stated.

Mr. Tiasuwan was asked if he believed that Colombian jewellery makers have an advantage due to their proximity to raw materials, such as emeralds and gold. He replied that he visited an emerald cutting and polishing factory in Bogotá the previous day, and he had been impressed with what he saw “It is clear to me that the quality of the workforce is good. But, when I checked the cost of labour, I would say that you are not competitive at the lower end of the market. Your aspiration should be to produce goods at the top end of the market, and obtaining the skills to do that will take time,” he said.

By |2018-10-18T22:30:43+00:00October 18th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on Colombian industry session features CIBJO panel, looking at how responsible business standards can help jewellery producers break into foreign markets

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

ABOVE: CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (far right) presenting a gift to Colombian Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez (second from left). She is flanked by Pramod Kumar Agrawal (far left), Chairman of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, and Kenneth Scarratt, President of CIBJO’s Pearl Commission.

October 17, 2018

Colombian Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez was a guest of the 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. She was greeted by CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri.

Addressing the gathering, she outlined challenges facing Colombia in general and the business community specifically, and she pointed to the growing importance and expansion of the Colombian jewellery sector. In this respect, Ms. Ramirez paid tribute to representatives of the country’s emerald and jewellery industries, who she said were leading the sector forward.

The Vice President said that deep-seated changes were taking place in Colombia and the government has ambitious plans for economic expansion, and also aims to close social gaps. The country will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019 and the country’s challenge is to create a unified state with inclusiveness for all its citizens, she said.

The country has faced many challenges and security issues, she said, and the government was aiming to provide legal, economic and personal security for all Colombians. Among the key efforts being taken is the promotion of gender equality.

Relating to Colombia’s jewellery industry, Ms. Ramirez said that 35 percent of the country’s production is concentrated in Bogotá. Although this could be seen as a natural state of affairs due to the city being the country’s capital, Colombia would nevertheless benefit from a diversification of the jewellery industry which would provide employment opportunities in other towns and cities, she stated.

Colombia’s main foreign jewellery export destinations are the United States, with 39 percent of the country’s jewellery exports being sold there, followed by Hong Kong with 28 percent, Switzerland with 14 percent, Thailand with 8 percent, and Japan with 3 percent.

Mrs. Ramirez addressed the issue of beneficiation of the state’s mineral resources. She said that Colombia needs to expend more efforts and resources in adding value to its minerals.

This means exporting fewer loose stones and more finished jewellery products set with precious stones, she said. Illustrating her point, she presented exports statistics showing that exports of loose precious stones comprised 86.2 percent of total exports of stones, jewellery and costume jewellery in 2017. Meanwhile, finished jewellery products accounted for just 12.5 percent of total exports in the sector, while costume jewellery exports accounted for 1.2 percent.

Exporting significantly more finished jewellery items will bring in higher foreign currency earnings, which the government can use for the economic and social development of the state, the Vice President stated.

By |2018-10-18T17:47:49+00:00October 18th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on Colombian Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez visits CIBJO Congress, addresses challenges and opportunities facing country’s jewellery industry

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

October 16, 2018

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

Commission President Huw Daniel explained how CIBJO has made representations at the ISO twice this year, asking the ISO to reconsider its revision to the international standard for platinum ISO 9202, which was amended without input from the jewellery industry in 2014, reducing the threshold standard to 500ppt from 850ppt.

CIBJO said it was not in the interest of the consumer, nor the jewellery industry, because there’s an established standard of 850ppt and above for platinum, with an accepted norm of 950ppt to 999ppt in jewellery across global markets, providing consumers with confidence in platinum’s purity and unique performance characteristics.

Mr. Daniel said the ISO had been open to CIBJO’s input at the Technical Committee Meetings. As a result, a draft international standard (DIS) has been drawn up to revise the threshold back to 850ppt and above, and there will be a vote on the amendment in December. “We believe the majority of countries will support revising it back to the original standard, which is in line with national standards and consumer expectations,” Mr Daniel said.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri took part in the session, thanking Mr. Daniel and saying that the precious metals sector has an important impact on the entire jewellery industry. The role of CIBJO is very important, he added, saying that the world federation is there to help members to achieve their aims and safeguard consumers.

Mr. Daniel spoke of important changes impacting the jewellery industry resulting from the FTC’s revised Jewelry Guides published in August 2018. The first relates to precious metal minimum thresholds. For gold there will no longer be a 10K minimum threshold, and fineness must be disclosed for any item under 24K.

Mr. Daniel said this could lead to a race to the bottom in precious metal categories, and greater challenges in disclosure at retail. “If you have 1K gold, is that really gold? Do we want jewellery that is 99 percent base metal called gold jewellery?”

He also said that new guides from the FTC relating to products with precious metal surface layers had important implications for disclosure. Its jewellery guides now require disclosure of rhodium plating where there had previously been no such requirement.

Mr Daniel said, “It has not always been common practise for rhodium plating of white gold to be fully disclosed to consumers, resulting in disappointment as well as increased costs for care and maintenance.” The FTC guides also require sellers to assure the reasonable durability of the coating.

Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) legal counsel Sarah Yood, who was on the platform with Mr. Daniel along with JVC’s President and CEO Tiffany Stevens, said there was no precise definition of what reasonable durability means. However, she stated, a general definition would be what an average person of average intelligence would expect it to mean.

By |2018-10-18T17:24:27+00:00October 18th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on ISO platinum standard and impact of FTC’s revised jewellery guides debated at Precious Metals Commission

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

October 16, 2018

The focus of the Ethics Commission was overwhelmingly the impact of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s revised jewellery guides for the precious metals, diamonds, coloured gemstones and pearls sectors, with Tiffany Stevens, President and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and Sara Yood, the JVC’s senior legal counsel, providing a comprehensive update.

Ms. Stevens explained that the FTC regulates inter-state trade in the United States and serves to protect American consumers. She said that the FTC has a dual mandate regarding the language it uses in its guides, since it is beholden to free speech, so it is always trying to strike a balance.

The guides do not have the power of law, though they do attach to a law preventing misleading advertising.

She said the revised guides are now final, and the revision process is closed, although the FTC can reopen consideration of any element of the guides at any time.

Ms. Yood gave the commission meeting an overview of the changes relating to precious metals, saying that they were very technical and complicated. For all products reasonable durability must be assured. Although there is no precise definition of what reasonable durability means, she stated that a general definition would be what an average person of average intelligence would expect it to mean.

Among the changes in the precious metals sector were new minimum thresholds. For gold there will no longer be a 10K minimum threshold, and fineness must be disclosed for any item under 24K. With products containing more than one metal, the predominant metal should be listed first. The FTC guides also now require disclosure of rhodium plating where there had previously been no such requirement, and requires sellers to assure the reasonable durability of the coating.

Ms. Stevens spoke about the changes affecting diamonds, and the three approved terms to describe lab-grown diamonds and the recommendation, rather than an outright prohibition, that the synthetic descriptor not be used. She emphasised that the FTC should not be seen as taking sides, but rather to aligning with free speech requirements under the First Amendment.

The word “natural” has been removed from the definition of diamond because it reflects that diamonds can now be made in several ways, however it does not change the requirement to disclose lab-grown diamonds.

Ms. Yood pointed out that the removal of the word natural was strategic, in that prevents a situation that lab-gown diamond producers can claim that the FTC guides do not apply to them.

Regarding pearls, there was only one change regarding treatment disclosure, while gemstones changes included the disclosure of treatments or special care requirements, which retailers disclose to consumers.

Industry members must be aware of the changes and what they entail, and descriptions have to be very clear. “We will continue to communicate with the FTC regarding the practical application of the jewellery guides on behalf of CIBJO,” said Ms. Stevens.

Ms.Yood then discussed the Jewellery Development Impact Index, which is benchmark that can be used to determine the degree to which the jewellery sector in any country impacts positively or negatively on the national economy and social structure. The initiative was originally conceived at the Jewelry Industry Summit in Tucson more than two years ago, with CIBJO’s involvement, and then was adopted by the U.S State Department, with the assistance of student interns from the American University in Washington, D.C .The project has now found a permanent home in the Minerals, Materials and Society Programme at the University of Delaware.

To download of copy of the presentation delivered by Ethics Commission, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

By |2018-10-18T17:01:18+00:00October 18th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO Ethics Commission deconstructs the revised jewellery guides of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission

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

October 16, 2018

The meeting of the Gemmological Commission opened with the body’s President, Hanco Zwaan, discussing a survey conducted prior to the CIBJO Congress with gemmological laboratories around the world, on how they report on natural, synthetic diamonds and treated diamonds.

Overall, he said, the nomenclature used is clear about the nature of the stones described, but there were some inconsistencies in precise terms used, and whether or not synthetic and treated stones are actually graded. The results of the survey were reported back to the board for further discussion.

Some of these terms and grading principles are not in accordance with the rules in the CIBJO diamond Blue Book, he said.

The next issue on the agenda was the current status of an informative document covering colour terms. Mr. Zwaan showed a preliminary draft, which includes terms used to describe certain colours of ruby and sapphire. Information has been added since last year and the document now reflects the positions of a number of important labs.

The document includes an attempt to show where the respective colours approximately lie, referring to the Munsell colour charts. Because a universal standard is lacking, it is hoped that a modified draft will increase transparency on this subject in the sector.

The meeting then discussed the issue of the separation of facts and opinions on lab reports. The Coloured Stone Commission asked the Gemmological Commission whether it is possible to separate test results from professional opinions of lab reports. It was agreed that ultimately reports need to be done in this way, so as to make them more understandable to consumers.

Shane McClure of the Gemological Institute of America noted that GIA and other labs state on their reports that specific results given on the reports, such as origin, are opinions. Charles Abouchar suggested that labs should use terms like “GIA-type Burma” or SSEF-type pigeon blood” to state clearly that both origin and colour terms are an opinion and not a fact.

Meanwhile, Nilam Alawdeen argued that consumers believe that the results given on a lab report are based on industry standards which is not, in fact, the case. To clarify this, it should be clearly mentioned that some information given on a report are opinions, which would also protect the lab itself.

On the issue of variety names, Mr. Zwaan said that he had informed the Gemmological Commission Steering Committee that a working group is being formed of members of the Coloured Stone and Gemmological Commissions, to propose a list of accepted variety names. It would also attempt to give as precise definition of the variety names as possible.

By |2018-10-18T16:42:17+00:00October 18th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on Gemmological Commission reveals results of survey of gem labs, looking at how they differentiate reporting of natural, synthetic and treated diamonds

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

October 16, 2018

A Precious Corals Online Course, intended for the retail sector and consumers, which will provide tools for better product knowledge and raise awareness of sustainability issues, was a focus of the Coral Commission, which met during the second day of the 2018 CIBJO Congress. The meeting was chaired by Vincenzo Liverino.

Commission Vice President Rui Galopim explained that he spoke at the Coral Commission Steering Committee last year about creating the course. It has already undergone six peer-level reviews, he told the commission.

He said the CIBJO board will make the decision on the right platform for distribution of the course and how CIBJO will direct it to people who need it, and also how much it should cost.

Mr. Galopim gave a comprehensive overview of the course syllabus which is compliant with the CIBJO Blue Book on coral. He said that commission members were asked to provide images. Many were received, but more are still needed in some sections, such as technical images. Alan Hart, of Gem-A in the United Kingdom, offered his organisation’s support to the initative.

The commission also heard about a proposed letter to be sent to gemmological educational bodies, explaining how CIBJO established the Coral Commission with specific objectives, which include including raising public awareness of issues related to sustainability, and educating people about the biology, ecology, history and the legacy of precious coral.

Mr. Galopim said it hopes this outreach to gemmological educational institutes will encourage the use of correct nomenclature for precious coral, as expressed in the CIBJO Coral Book, the CIBJO Coral Guide for Customs, and, now, the online educational course. It is also hoped that the various institutes will consider adding precious coral units to their own syllabus.

The letter will be sent, along with an annex that explains the key concepts of coral nomenclature, definitions, classification and more. The contents of both the letter and the annex were approved.

Ken Scarratt, who had previously been welcomed as a new Vice President of the Coral Commission, thanked Mr. Liverino for his commitment, generosity and enthusiasm in the advancement of initiatives for a better coral industry, and for all his work in the CIBJO Coral Commission.

He spoke about a project with the Federico II University in Naples, Italy, involving DNA fingerprinting, which is a powerful tool for species identification and possibly geographic determination. DNA testing in the past was not feasible nor viable for materials like pearls, cultured pearls and coral. After talks with the university, DANAT, the Bahrain gem lab that Mr. Scarratt heads, decided to get involved in the project and progress is being made. Samples are currently under analysis and a visit is scheduled with the university. The Instituto Gemmólogico Italiano (IGI) is also involved in the project, and the Coral Commission is encouraging other institutes to take part.

Mr. Liverino told the Commission about the creation of a working group/subcommittee within the Coral Commission that will be engaged to explore environmental sustainability aspects of coral reefs. He reported on the landmark progress of the Centre Scientifique de Monaco in Monte Carlo, with the support of Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, regarding the repopulation of coral reefs, and explained the advancements that were made with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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

Mr. Liverino told the meeting that very few changes had been made to the Coral Blue Book over the past year and during its Steering Committee meeting, because of the very significant volume of work that had been accomplished in 2017. Proposed changes to the Coral Book will take place in 2019.

Finally, Mr. Liverino informed the meeting that the CIBJO Coral Guide for Customs has been translated into Spanish, Italian and Thai. It currently is being translated into German and will soon be translated as well into Portuguese and Arabic.

By |2018-10-18T22:59:44+00:00October 18th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on Soon-to-be launched Precious Corals Online Course at heart of Coral Commission’s deliberations at CIBJO Congress

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

October 16, 2018

CIBJO Pearl Commission, which met on the second day of the 2018 CIBJO Congress, took a slightly different track this year, spending a major part of the session considering means of marketing pearl education, particular via the social media.

Pearl Commission President Ken Scarratt introduced the team from the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA), which is now a CIBJO member. Kevin Cannon, head of digital marketing for the CPAA, who helped build the CPAA’s Pearls as One course to cover all major cultured pearl types, gave a review of its comprehensive online course.

The aim was to include a great deal of diverse material, he said. This includes an hour of high-quality video. The course aims to be fully interactive, with comments and questions. He said that over 29,000 comments have been posted so far on the course’s online board, and instructors provide answers where questions are asked.

Every CPAA member can get a sponsorship code to pass on to clients so that they also can do the course to learn how to buy and sell pearls confidently.

The CPAA has partnered with trade and industry groups from across the world, Mr. Cannon said.

He also provided information on the CPAA’s digital marketing strategy using Facebook in particular, but also Instagram. He described the results of a single advert which was seen by 1.7 million people, with 50,000 clicks, 3,000 shares and more than 800 comments.

“Facebook allows us to target people from many perspectives and to target potential clients. We can target very precisely unlike with traditional advertising,” he stated.

He also spoke about the difference between trade members and consumers doing the course. Among consumers, the completion rate is lower because they don’t necessarily want the certificate to show completion of the course, but rather the information that is available.

The CPAA’s Executive Director, Jennifer Heebner, said that pearls only comprise 3 percent of jewelry sales, but we see that there is huge demand for them. “We aim to be the authoritative voice of cultured pearls. We are going to align our course with CIBJO’s Blue Book on Pearls,” she said.

Mr. Scarratt said that he had been impressed with the way the CPAA has delivered its message. “The data you are getting will help us to understand the overall market,” he commented.

On other issues, the Commission heard that there has been no update on the issue of misleading terminology being used by some Chinese cultured pearl companies. Nonetheless, the issue is being forwarded to Sector A for further discussion.

On the subject of the Japanese Pearl Standard presented at last year’s Congress, it is still incomplete and not approved yet in Japan. When they have a final document, they will come back to us, Mr. Scarratt said.

Talking about the Do’s and Do Not’s guide for retailers, Mr. Scarratt commented that it is not a replacement for the Blue Book, but gives a review of what people who trade in pearls should and shouldn’t do and there is a table format at the end regarding treatments.

The Blue Pledge project, which aims to protect and defend the quality of water and the ocean environment in the Pacific region, was also discussed.

By |2018-10-18T21:02:31+00:00October 18th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on Pearl Commission discusses the strength of online marketing to promote industry and consumer education

U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s revised guide for the jewelry industry is focused on by the Diamond Commission at the CIBJO Congress

ABOVE: Diamond Commission Vice President Jean-Pierre Chalain (right), together with Stephane Fischler, President of the World Diamond Council.

October 16, 2018

Meeting on the second day of the 2018 CIBJO Congress, the Diamond Commission conducted a lengthy discussion regarding changes to the recently revised Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries issued by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in July.

Commission Vice President Jean-Pierre Chalain, who chaired the meeting in the absence of the Diamond Commission President Udi Sheintal, provided an overview of the changes that the FTC published in terms of nomenclature, which industry groups believe were 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.

Mr. Chalain read out comments from Diamond Commission Vice President Harry Levy who suggested the use of the term “man-made” as the clearest way of describing diamonds that were not mined.

WFDB President Ernie Blom said that a decision should be made on CIBJO’s stance regarding the FTC latest guides, and whether it will continue to cooperate with other industry groups to continue their lobbying efforts to amend the new FTC’s guide, which is being coordinated  by Diamond Producers Association.

Sarah Yood, Legal Counsel for the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, pointed out that the FTC has obligations under the U.S. Constitution to ensure free speech.

The Diamond Commission then went to discuss the Diamond Terminology Guidelines published by nine trade organizations in February of 2018. Mr Chalain said the Diamond Commission cooperated in the creation of the guideline, which is based on the CIBJO Blue Book on diamonds and the ISO standard. As such, it clarifies in a very simple language diamond terminology, which will enhance consumer confidence in the diamond trade. It was published ahead of the FTC changes in February and the trade organizations are encouraged to use it and provide to their members and trade.

In August, following the FTC revised guide were released, the Diamond Commission was also asked to assist in drafting new Diamond Terminology Guidelines for the U.S. market. This was done, together with DPA and AWDC, but the commission has no information on how it will be promoted in the United States.

This document, he said, was aimed at making sure that the industry understands that the US-FTC adopted a position that is not in line with international industry organisations.

WFDB President Blom said that Gaetano Cavalieri suggested that the industry reaches out to the synthetic diamond producers to find a way forward. There is a problem with synthetic producers who are piggybacking on the diamond trade to promote their products, he said, by using misleading and unaccepted terms for diamonds, as well as criticising the way we produce diamonds and forgetting all the good work that diamonds do by providing a livelihood for miners across Africa. Industry bodies need to do more to combat their negativity and that is why the guideline is important, Mr. Blom commented. In this regard, the new campaign of DPA was presented by the commission.

There was also a mention of the MoU signed by CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri and Stephane Fischler, on behalf of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, with the Gokhran, Russia’s depository for jewellery, precious metals and minerals, to create a nomenclature based on the CIBJO Diamond Book, for a national standard for the Russian Federation.

The Commission also heard an update regarding a CIBJO initiative proposed at the 2017 Congress for the introduction of an 8-digit HS customs code specific to synthetic diamonds. National organisations have been asked to lobby their national customs bodies to include the HS codes in order to differentiate between synthetic diamonds, synthetic stones and natural diamonds. This will enable the diamond sector to monitor the growing trade in synthetic diamonds and help to prevent the circumvention of customs procedures.

World Diamond Council President Stephane Fischler commented that the Kimberley Process has tabled a proposal on the same issue, because of the risk of rough synthetics entering the pipeline. The Kimberley Process has also approached the World Customs Organization (WCO) on the issue.

Mr Fischler proposed that the KP and CIBJO coordinate their efforts on the issue.

By |2018-10-18T23:04:22+00:00October 18th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s revised guide for the jewelry industry is focused on by the Diamond Commission at the CIBJO Congress

Coloured Gemstone Commission focuses on opinions in gemstone reports, Do’s and Dont’s and simplified guides

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.

By |2018-10-16T23:53:05+00:00October 16th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on Coloured Gemstone Commission focuses on opinions in gemstone reports, Do’s and Dont’s and simplified guides
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