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Blockchain comes under the spotlight, as specialist panel discusses how innovative technology may affect the jewellery industry

October 15, 2018

Blockchain, a method of securely transferring data through a decentralized online platform, has been earmarked by many as the next great disruptive technology is beginning to make inroads into the jewellery and gemstone sector. It was the focus of a dedicated CIBJO Congress session, the objective of which was to investigate the significance and possible impacts of Blockchain in general, and more specifically in terms of its applications in the jewellery and gemstone sectors.

A powerful tool for recording sequential events, which cannot be altered after the fact, Blockchain is most often associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but the technology is independent of them.

Panel moderator Erik Jens began the session by saying that the general public is still not completely clear about what Blockchain means. “Like many other disruptive technologies before it, while there is near unanimous excitement at the revolutionary potential of the technology, people are still not completely clear on how it works or how to truly use it effectively,” he stated. “Is it just a new buzzword or will it really bring large benefits to the jewellery industry supply chain?”

Delivering the keynote address was Carrie George, Vice President and head of Sustainability Solutions for Everledger, a Blockchain company that has been a leader in development of traceable and responsible supply chains in the diamond, gemstone and jewellery sectors. She was filling in for company founder, Leanne Kemp, who had returned home to Australia to receive an award as the Chief Entrepreneur of Queensland from the federal government and the Premier of Queensland.

Ms. George’s presentation was entitled De-mystifying Blockchain. “We believe that Blockchain will become so ubiquitous that you won’t really ask what it is,” she said. “It will become an embedded protocol.”

In the future, she stated, people will look back it is as an easily understood everyday feature, just “as we take the Internet, cell phones and other technology for granted.”

Blockchain is about building transparency and trust, Ms. George said. At its heart is its ability to track asset provenance and to verify their true provenance.

Traditional databases typically are centralised, she pointed out, but Blockchain allows a vast number of people to interact simultaneously without the possibility of them being tampered with.

“Blockchain can be used for small-scale miners allowing for legitimate market inclusion. We can simplify documentation, improve retailer and consumer confidence,” she said. She said there was a very wide range of uses for the technology in bringing security and transparency – all the way from artisanal miners to the jewellery sector.

The panel discussion featured speakers who are all already involved in the development of applications using Blockchain technology for the jewellery industry

Corrado Facco, a CIBJO Vice President with specific authority for matters relating to Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability, spoke about a project relating to trade show management. “Trade shows typically involve enormous amounts of organisation. With Blockchain, we can create a digital identity, including elements indicate ethical integrity. This becomes a verifiable record of who is taking part in the shows, building trust and reducing risk of dubious participants participating in the various events.

Mr. Facco also pointed to Blockchain’s financial role. “The project we are involved in involves the creation of digital wallets, enabling trade show participants to pay digitally, within a safe environment.”

Eli Avidar, also a CIBJO Vice President today heads fintech company Carats.io, which is issuing digital tokens that unlike Bitcoin, whose value is governed purely by supply and demand, are backed by diamonds.

Blockchain offers a great many alternatives, he said, like chain of custody verification, transparency and more. “But this is not going to sell diamonds and jewellery. All these things are excellent, but we need more than that,” he stated.

“Blockchain allows us to transfer value. Sending large amounts of money today involves calls from bank compliance officers to check who we all are, and then the money only moves after five days. Blockchain will speed this up and make it immediate.”

Mr Avidar said that from a financial perspective there are major advantages for the jewellery industry. These include superior efficiency with no go-betweens, speeded up payments in just a matter of minutes, reduced or no transfer fees, and improved security, and new financing alternatives in an industry where regular bank credit is increasingly scarce.

“You need to open an electronic wallet and it needs to be done now because that is where the economy is going,” he said.

The final speaker on the panel, Daniel Nyfeler, Managing Director of the Gübelin Gem Lab in Switzerland. He also heads the laboratory’s Provenance Proof initiative, which is developing a range of technologies to improve transparency in the gemstone industry. It is partnering with Everledger to create the Provenance Proof Blockchain for Coloured Gemstones.

Mr. Nyfeler explained that the Blockchain project involved a digital and decentralized ledger that can monitor the movement of gemstones across the supply chain from the mine to the consumer. The Blockchain initiative aims to provide transparency, integrity and security and is applicable to all coloured gemstones, he added.

“I realize that it will not be easy or even possible to engineer all flows, trades, movements of gemstone and precious metals with Blockchain technology short term,” said Mr. Jens, concluding the panel discussion. “What about the smaller or more artisanal type of players in the value chain? What about the flaws in technology? A lot of improvement is still needed. But one needs to a start somewhere and this is the moment when it is happening. Our industry needs to be aware and take advantage of technological innovation, after all, innovation equals sustainability, and that is why we have gathered here together in Bogotá. It is to achieve a better industry in a better world.”

By |2018-10-17T00:55:58+00:00October 16th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on Blockchain comes under the spotlight, as specialist panel discusses how innovative technology may affect the jewellery industry

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

ABOVE: Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri (left), CIBJO President, and Tyler Gillard, head of the OECD Responsible Mineral Supply Chain project, addressing the Opening Session of the 2018 CIBJO Congress in Bogotá, Colombia, on October 15.

October 15, 2018

The 2018 CIBJO Congress has opened in the Colombian capital of Bogotá, with a strong focus on responsible sourcing in the jewellery industry. 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 Book. To oversee the process, a Responsible Sourcing Commission was established.

“At the end of last year, we decided to investigate whether the methods by which we have compiled our standards for diamonds, coloured stones, pearls, precious metals, coral and gemmological laboratories could be applied to the subject of responsible sourcing,” explained Dr. Cavalieri. “We asked ourselves, would it be possible to create a responsible sourcing protocol that could be universally accepted, which would meet the ethical standards that our industry expects from itself, and at the same time be acceptable from the perspective of the international community?”

Dr. Cavalieri explained that an operating principle of the Responsible Sourcing Guidance document was that it would be inclusive, meaning that there is an expectation that the standards, guidelines and systems that it describes can reasonably be applied by all members of the industry, irrespective of size or financial capacity.

“Like the other CIBJO Blue Books, the standards and guidelines contained in the Responsible Sourcing Guidance document are recommendations, as opposed to conditions of membership. However, they should come to serve as benchmarks for responsible sourcing systems developed and applied by industry organisations and commercial bodies worldwide, and for governments that may seek to create viable regulatory systems. Also, like the other Blue Books, the Responsible Sourcing Guidance will be a living document, which will be reviewed on a constant basis, and amended if changing conditions make it necessary,” Dr. Cavalieri stated.

CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Guidance is based on the OECD Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, and supports the Kimberley Process and UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights.

Delivering keynote addresses, both during the Opening Session and during a special Responsible Sourcing Session that was held on the first day of the CIBJO Congress, was Tyler Gillard. He heads the OECD’s team working on due diligence in the mining and metals, financial, textiles, oil and gas and agriculture sectors, and additionally leads the multi-stakeholder negotiations for the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. CIBJO had consulted with the OECD and other key industry associations in formulating its guidance document.

“CIBJO’s new initiative ensures a level playing field and is a common and consistent common reference among different actors in the supply chain,” Mr. Gillard said. “It also helps smaller players to become familiar with internationally accepted due diligence and responsibility, and we are encouraged by the progress taken by CIBJO to promote due diligence, transparency and integrity of the jewellery industry supply chains.”

Mr. Gillard insisted that the OECD understands the challenges faced by the many smaller and medium-sized bodies in the jewellery industry in instituting its due diligence standards, and especially small-scale and artisanal miners. “We don’t require full traceability from mine to consumer, but that you are exhibiting a strong degree of commitment,” he said.

“I emphasise that due diligence is a process, and that it won’t be completed overnight. But you must show good faith that you are doing it,” he said.

The President of the new Responsible Sourcing Commission is Philip Olden, who has developed responsible sourcing protocols and guidance for leading international companies in the jewellery and gemstone sectors, and who oversaw the creation of CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Guidance document. The commission’s two vice presidents will be Tiffany Stevens, President and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee in the United States, and Erik Jens, an independent financial consultant for the jewellery and gemstone sectors and former head of the diamond and jewellery division at ABN AMRO Bank.

Serving as the official venue for the meeting of the CIBJO Assembly of Delegates, the CIBJO Congress gathers the members of national jewellery and gemstone associations from more than 40 countries and representatives of many of the industry’s most important commercial bodies. During the event, the organisation’s Diamond, Coloured Stones, Pearl, Coral, Precious Metals and Gemmological Blue Books, which are industry’s most widely accepted directories of uniform grading standards and nomenclature, are discussed and updated.

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

By |2018-10-17T00:29:59+00:00October 16th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on 2018 CIBJO Congress opens in Bogotá, Colombia, with strong focus on responsible sourcing in jewellery sector

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

October 15, 2018

At the end of 2017, CIBJO decided to investigate whether the method by which it had compiled guidance and educational support for diamonds, coloured stones, pearls, precious metals, coral and gemmological laboratories could applied to the subject of responsible sourcing. Would it be possible to create guidance for responsible sourcing that could be universally accepted, which would meet the ethical standards that our industry expects from itself, and at the same time be acceptable from the perspective of the international community?

The goal in producing the document was not to compete with any other due-diligence systems, nor would it be something that CIBJO could enforce or police. Like the other CIBJO Blue Books, the standards and guidelines contained in the proposed CIBJO Responsible Sourcing document would be recommendations and guidance, as opposed to a standard or a compliance mechanism.  However, the guidance should come 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. The CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Guidance was presented during a special session of the 2018 CIBJO Congress in Bogotá.

Philip Olden, head of the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Guidance Project and the designated President of CIBJO’s new Responsible Sourcing Commission, provided a detailed briefing on the aims of the project. He said it was created to support and provide guidance to all CIBJO members, especially manufacturers, retailers and distributors. It also aims to reinforce UN goals, protect the reputation of the industry to fulfil a duty of care, he said.

“We acknowledge there are many challenges: there are different levels of sophistication among small and medium sized firms, and fragmented and multi-layered supply chains. We recognise that this is a roadmap and a path of continuous improvement,” Mr. Olden stated.

Stephane Fischler, President of the World Diamond Council, was asked about the difficulties caused by consensus-based decision-making process of the Kimberley Process. He said that the advantage is that once agreed, then decisions are carried out solidly by all members. “The success of the KP up to now has been due to its narrow focus on rebel forces using conflict diamonds. We are in the process of trying to change this. … Changes do not go as fast as we would want, but it does allow participants to put all their comments on the table.”

Philip Olden, Head of the CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Guidance Project, said that as with CIBJO’s Blue Books, CIBJO will now help members on responsible supply chain operations.

Edward Johnson of the Responsible Jewellery Council was asked why coloured gemstones are now included in its now expanded scope of operations. “The strongest requests came from our retail members,” he said.

“We are focusing on ruby, sapphire and emeralds because they provide the most value in the supply chain and our Code of Practices now include them. We are happy to receive more comments. We are looking to raise more awareness of our work to promote a responsible supply chain for fine jewellery and watches. I have been shocked at how few people in our industry know what CSR even is so we have a great deal of work ahead of us,” he added.

“We welcome the CIBJO initiative,” said Edward Johnson, Business Development Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council, who presented how RJC membership could support the CIBJO guidance . “We suggest a CSR policy for companies because it provides many advantages: it demonstrates leadership, keeps the industry ahead of legislation, it enables firms to join a community of confidence, to get noticed and create awareness, and improve business relations.”

Erik Jens gave a financier’s perspective on supply chain due diligence. CSR has become a well-known part of modern business practices, he said. It provides companies who implement it moral credit in a cynical world. A study showed that firms implementing CSR recorded significantly improved financial performance, he stated.

“CSR requires a very serious plan of action. If you only look at shareholder returns and the desire for stronger results, you cannot really be serious about CSR. However, after 3-5 years, a CSR policy can create significant additional financial value for firms,” Mr. Jens said.

Emmanuel Piat, a coloured stone dealer and Vice President of CIBJO’s Coloured Stone Commission, presented practical challenges facing the coloured stones supply chain and discussed how governments and emerging standards in article mining can help address these challenges.

Speaking via a video link, David Bouffard, Vice-President of Corporate Affairs at Signet Jewellers, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewellery, said that consumers’ expectations have evolved enormously in recent decades, and they expect responsible sourcing. Signet created its own responsible sourcing protocols five years ago. ”All of our suppliers are required to comply with the protocols,” he said. “We believe it serves the industry as a whole and also underpins consumer confidence.”

Mr. Bouffard, who also serves as President of CIBJO’s Sector B, which covers the retail sector, and is Chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council, also commended CIBJO on its Responsible Sourcing Guidance, saying that it will make a real contribution to promoting responsible business standards in the greater jewellery industry.

To download all presentations on the Responsible Sourcing session including the summary of CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Guidance, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

By |2018-10-17T00:44:36+00:00October 16th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO presents Responsible Sourcing Guidance, standardising manner in which jewellery and gemstone firms should implement supply-chain due diligence

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

October 15, 2018

As has been the custom of the past several years, the Opening Session of the CIBJO Congress was followed by one that focused specifically on the subjects of Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability in the jewellery and gemstone sectors. It was moderated by the CIBJO President, Gaetano Cavalieri.

“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,” Dr. Cavalieri said in his opening remarks. “But there are questions and disagreements about procedure and practice, and whether a system that is appropriate for a large corporation can fairly be applied in a smaller company. There are also questions about verification, which in principle is a good thing, but can be costly, putting smaller organisations at a disadvantage.  These are issues we must struggle with, and try and find solutions.”

Tyler Gillard, who leads the lead the multi-stakeholder negotiation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, said the OECD document is a general one on due diligence that is applicable to all products. “Companies need to track their supply chain work. It’s about building trust and consumers among consumers. We have taken the framework that we developed and it is now applicable to all areas of the economy.”

Edwin Molina, President of Aprecol, the Colombian Emerald Producers Association, said Colombia is committed to responsible mining. “Artisanal miners see that we respect them when we interact with them with this policy. They trust us that we are not simply doing it for legal reasons, but that we care about the way they work. Our emerald fund has helped them,” he stated.

Stephane Fischler, President of the World Diamond Council, was asked about the difficulties caused by consensus-based decision-making process of the Kimberley Process. He said that the advantage is that once agreed, then decisions are carried out solidly by all members. “The success of the KP up to now has been due to its narrow focus on rebel forces using conflict diamonds. We are in the process of trying to change this. … Changes do not go as fast as we would want, but it does allow participants to put all their comments on the table.”

Philip Olden, Head of the CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Guidance Project, said that as with CIBJO’s Blue Books, CIBJO will now help members on responsible supply chain operations.

Edward Johnson of the Responsible Jewellery Council was asked why coloured gemstones are now included in its now expanded scope of operations. “The strongest requests came from our retail members,” he said.

“We are focusing on ruby, sapphire and emeralds because they provide the most value in the supply chain and our Code of Practices now include them. We are happy to receive more comments. We are looking to raise more awareness of our work to promote a responsible supply chain for fine jewellery and watches. I have been shocked at how few people in our industry know what CSR even is so we have a great deal of work ahead of us,” he added.

Laurent Cartier spoke about sustainable pearl farming and drew a distinction between this sector of the industry, and the other sectors, where raw supply is predominately mined. With pearls, the sustainability movement came about largely is response to a growing recognition that climate change is instigating a situation which, in 50 years’ time, we may not have pearls. That means that pearl farmers need to take the lead in how to institute responsible practices, he said.

Assheton Carter, CEO of the Dragonfly Initiative and Project Director for the Coloured Gemstones Working Group, representing large brands in the jewellery trade, said the coloured gemstones sector is very different from many other areas of the jewellery industry supply chain.

“We had to build a framework for CSR and a common language,” he said. “We developed different standards for different elements of the coloured gemstones industry. Our system is based on enabling improvements in companies’ operations. We will also create a resource centre so that people are working on the same playing field.”

Natalia Uribe Martinez, Head of Standards and Certification at the Alliance for Responsible Mining, which is an organisation that promotes responsible standards and criteria for artisanal and small-scale mining in Latin America, Asia and Africa, was asked how challenges for miners in South America are different than for those in Africa. Usually there is a lack of mining frameworks, she said, and it’s also expensive for small-scale miners to comply.

Are we seeing the creation of an ethical hierarchy, whereby larger firms that can afford to institute responsible sourcing are being seen by consumers as more responsible, Dr. Cavalieri asked the panel.

Tyler Gillard said it cannot be said that it’s easier for bigger firms because all companies face their own specific challenges. Smaller firms, for example, can easily streamline policy across their operations, he explained.

Stephane Fischler said we always forget that when we talk about large versus small companies, the large firms only represent 15 percent of the market.

Edward Johnson said 65 percent of RJC members are smaller and medium-size companies. He added that there is a lot of work left to do to encourage smaller firms to adapt responsible sourcing standards.

By |2018-10-16T18:41:51+00:00October 16th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on Special CSR Session at CIBJO Congress focuses on issues facing companies in the supply chain

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

ABOVE: Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President, addressing the Opening Session of the 2018 CIBJO Congress in Bogotá.

October 15, 2018

Speaking to the Opening Session of the 2018 CIBJO Congress in Bogotá, Colombia, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri outlined dramatic changes that have taken place in the business, technological and geopolitical environments, and said that the jewellery and gemstone industries need to adapt in order to survive and prosper.

“The jewellery and gemstone business is not immune from the impacts of technology and geopolitics, and is being changed by them, often substantially,” Dr. Cavalieri stated. “It is critical that we understand this, for our ability to adapt to these changes will, for many us, be the decisive factors in deciding whether, in an industry of family-owned companies, the next generation will remain in business.”

“Charles Darwin once wrote: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.’ It is a lesson that we all need to think about, and it is adapting to change that we are focusing on most keenly at this congress in Colombia,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

Among the steps being taken at the 2018 CIBJO Congress to address change in the industry, Dr. Cavalieri said, is the adoption of a Responsible Sourcing Guidance for the jewellery and gemstone sectors, which will be a living document that can be changed over time to adapt to the shifting landscape. To oversee the process, he added, a CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Committee is being established.

Another session at the congress addressing technological change will deal with Blockchain. “One of the ways it is being adapted for use in our industry stems from its ability to track the movement of data along the chain of distribution, in a secure and transparent manner. In an industry that has long contended that traceability is an almost impossible challenge, this is a very significant development,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

“Blockchain is most closely associated with the new crypto or digital currencies; in fact, it is the technology that has driven their development. These too are almost certainly going to become a factor in our industry, providing new tools for managing commerce and also for obtaining financing,” he continued.

“The commodity that we handle at CIBJO Congresses is infinitely precious, but it is not diamonds, coloured gemstones, gold, silver, platinum, pearls or coral. It is knowledge, which ultimately is the most important element that any of us need in order to adapt and change to new realities,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

To download a full copy of Dr. Cavalieri’s address, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

By |2018-10-25T08:54:32+00:00October 16th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on In opening speech to 2018 CIBJO Congress, President Gaetano Cavalieri says jewellery industry must adapt to change

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

October 15, 2018

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.

“It is a false belief, because in our business, as in life, change is constant,” he said. “In fact, I would dare to say that, if any one of us 20 years ago read through the topics for discussion on this congress’ agenda, we would barely understand a great many of them, and certainly not know how they got there. The ability to cope with change is quite possibly the greatest challenge of our time.”

Dr. Cavalieri spoke about the intensive work of CIBJO for more than a decade in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility, and of the release by the organisation of a Responsible Sourcing Guidance document, which creates a general framework for the worldwide industry.

“Let me stress, the adoption of the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Guidance document in 2018 does not for one second imply that that we have not been responsible to date,” he stated. “What it recognises is that in today’s business environment, we need to show that we operate in a structured and verifiably ethical manner. That is reality, and we have to adapt.”

Dr Cavalieri was followed by Edwin Molina, President of Aprecol, the Colombian Emerald Producers Association. He applauded CIBJO for holding its annual congress in Colombia, and briefed the delegates on the nature of the Colombian emerald mining industry and the challenges that it has faced in recent decades.

Mr. Molina said that Aprecol aimed to show how the industry is changing in Colombia and to promote it internationally. “We understand the importance of responsible mining and commitments to mining communities. We have launched an appellation of origin of our country’s emeralds together with the government. This will demonstrate a responsible sourcing and commitment to communities. There would be a special stamp showing the origin of the emeralds,” he stated.

Alberto Saldarriaga, Director of Communications of Mineria Texas Colombia, said the CIBJO Congress helped make the Second World Emerald Symposium which preceded it a success.

He spoke about the benefits of the country’s new appellation of origin initiative in uniting the industry throughout the supply chain. “The appellation is owned by the country and not by the industry or the government, and it is being administered as a national project by Aprecol. This guarantees its credibility and integrity and will help to drive sales throughout international markets.”

Tyler Gillard, who heads the OECD’s Responsible Mineral Supply Chain project. He said the initiative he leads is instituted in 48 countries and helps companies set global responsible business standards. “The jewellery supply chain is a critical source of jobs around the world. Because of uncertainty in global trade, it is important that this industry understands the need for rule-based regulations,” he stated.

“There is a regulatory push by governments who are worried about tax evasion, human rights impacts, money laundering, and consumers are also increasingly vocal that supply chains be responsible especially with products like jewellery. They are prepared to pay 10 percent more for products made by socially responsible companies,” Mr. Gillard said.

“Companies that do this perform 2-10 percent better because they can get easier access to finance if they are operating according to international standards, such as the OECD standards which are supported by 48 nations,” he stated.

“The OECD understands the challenges in instituting these changes, especially for small-scale miners and other small firms across the supply chain. So our initiative is flexible and can be adapted. We are willing to adapt our standard to your needs. We don’t require full traceability from mine to consumer, but that you are exhibiting a strong degree of commitment. We don’t support embargoes or boycotts because we think that is not responsible. It’s a tool for bringing people together to adopt it and not to exclude firms. But we do require good faith. This industry should not live with reputational damage,” Mr. Gillard noted.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), spoke of CIBJO’s Commissions which cover every aspect of the global jewellery trade – from diamonds and coloured gemstones to pearls, precious metals, coral, gemmology and others. CIBJO’s Blue Books provide the most authoritative information on all elements of the jewellery supply chain, he said, adding that the DMCC is considering the translation of the Blue Books into Arabic for the Gulf and Middle East regions.

“The release in July of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s revised guides to jewellery, emphasised the importance of the Blue Books. Although the U.S. is the single largest market, we need authoritative documents that can serve the global market and that is precisely what your Blue Books provide. As the United Nations of the Jewellery industry, CIBJO should not be held to ransom by the FTC ruling,” He stated.

He spoke of his vision of making Dubai a centre for coloured gemstone trading just as the DMCC did for diamond trading. In just 15 years, Dubai created the infrastructure necessary to create an international market place for diamonds in Dubai.

Stephane Fischler, President, World Diamond Council (WDC), spoke of the role of the WDC in creating the Kimberley Process to stamp out conflict diamonds. There are many challenges facing the supply chain, and CIBJO is leading the way in responsible practises since it is critical that consumers must feel comfortable with the jewellery they buy, he said.

The WDC has no power to push changes through to deal with supply chain issues, but industry bodies can make changes by self-government rather than waiting for governments to act, he commented. However, governments do have a role in creating protection and the legal framework for transparent business.

Pramod Kumar Agarwal, Chairman of the Gems and Jewellery Export Council (GJEPC) of India, talked about the role of the GJEPC which has 6,500 members across the sub-continent who deal from all parts of the jewellery pipeline. India consumes 10 percent of polished diamonds and polishes 11 out of 12 rough diamonds for the global market, and is an active member of the Kimberley Process and driving change.

“We are concerned about the lack of diamond promotion and we have taken the initiative by contributing $2 million to the budget of the Diamond Producers Association,” he said.

He mentioned that Jaipur in India has great experience in cutting and polishing emeralds from around the world, including stones from Colombia.

He said that the FTC revised guides for jewellery created confusion among consumers. “We are not against any product, but that should not be at the cost of the natural diamond industry,” he said.

Mr. Agarwal spoke of the International Diamond Monitoring Committee that was set up by the GJEPC last year and asked for CIBJO to give it its full support.

Ernest Blom, President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, said that the well-attended Congress bears witness to the dedication of CIBJO’s members. “I applaud your commitment to the operations of this great international body which covers the entire spectrum of the jewellery industry – from precious metals, diamonds and gemstones to marketing, ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility and much more besides.”

Mr. Blom said that, as with CIBJO members, WFDB members also voluntarily devote an enormous amount of time, in order the deal with the challenges facing the industry. The WFDB, with 30 bourses in 21 countries spanning the globe, protects the consumer by ensuring that diamonds are traded fairly and honestly.

“We ensure that diamonds are traded fairly right across the world – from the Panama exchange in the South to our bourses in Asia in the North – and everywhere in between. We will always consider applications from groups who wish to set up a new diamond exchange – and nothing would please me more than to expand our coverage in Central and South America with its huge economies and rapidly growing middle-class populations,” he said.

Mr. Blom concluded by mentioning the close cooperation and excellent relations between the WFDB and CIBJO which helps the jewellery industry globally tackle challenges.

Concluding the opening session, Dr Cavalieri thanked the speakers and delegates from across the world for making the effort to attend. He spoke of the need for transparency and best business practices. “We try to serve as an example to the jewellery industry,” he stated.

By |2018-10-16T18:44:25+00:00October 15th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on Responsible sourcing in jewellery and gemstones focus of Opening Session of 2018 CIBJO Congress

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

ABOVE: Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President, addressing the World Emerald Symposium in Bogotá on October 12.

October 12, 2018

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri has called for the creation of government monitored chokepoints for the coloured gemstone sector, at which it will be possible to verify the integrity of merchandise accessing the chain of distribution, similar to national Kimberley Process Authorities that verify the identity of rough diamonds entering the global pipeline. He was speaking at the opening of the World Emerald Symposium, which started in Bogotá today, and will precede the start of 2018 CIBJO Congress on October 15.

While regulators to date have focused their attention on diamonds and precious metals, the period of grace for coloured gemstones is coming to an end, Dr. Cavalieri said. “We have to meet the challenge. And we need to do to that without threatening the livelihoods of the men and women who have earned their living over the years from the coloured gemstone trade,” he stated.

“Given the wide variety of coloured gemstones and the massive number of small companies involved in their production and distribution, it is unlikely in the foreseeable future that a single regulatory umbrella body will be established for the coloured gemstone sector, like the Kimberley Process. But if the trade and government cooperate, on a country by country basis, it may be possible to establish a multitude of chokepoints, which can verify and certify the integrity of the gemstones in their respective regions of jurisdiction,” Dr. Cavalieri continued.

“The incentive for governments to join with industry in creating such national chokepoints would be to defend and grow the market share of their own gemstone industries,” he stated. “But that is not the only incentive. It is also a system that will help create legal pathways for artisanal miners, enabling them to enter the legitimate chain of distribution. As we know, today much of the material they produce is sold on the black market or smuggled, and therefore produces little to no tax revenue for the state and local governments.”

Dr. Cavalieri revealed that he has spoken with a number of governments, and the ideas that he presented have been quite well received. He added that a general Responsible Sourcing Guidance document will be presented at the upcoming CIBJO Congress, which in time could come to serve as a set of standards for a future network of national offices, verifying the integrity of coloured gemstones mined in their territories.

To download a full copy of Dr. Cavalieri’s address to the World Emerald Symposium, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

By |2018-10-13T01:26:28+00:00October 13th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO President calls for the creation of government-monitored chokepoints, to verify integrity of coloured gemstones entering chain of distribution

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

October 10, 2018

With the 2018 CIBJO Congress set to open in Bogotá, Colombia, in five days’ time, agendas and related documentation for the various sessions and meetings that will take place during the event are now available online. Contained in a Digital Binder, they can be downloaded from the dedicated congress website. To download the Digital Binder, please CLICK HERE.

The schedule of the CIBJO Congress includes a series of meetings of different working groups, called sectors and commissions, each of which focuses on a different sector or field of interest in the jewellery industry. The Digital Binder includes the agendas and documentation related to each of their sessions, as well as those sessions that encompass the entire CIBJO membership.

The congress venue will be the Grand Hyatt Bogotá, situated in the heart of Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo, in the city’s commercial district, from October 15 to October 17, with pre-congress meetings starting on October 12. Between October 11 and October 14, the World Emerald Symposium will take place at the same venue.

Serving as the official venue for the meeting of the CIBJO Assembly of Delegates, the CIBJO Congress gathers the members of national jewellery and gemstone associations from more than 40 countries and representatives of many of the industry’s most important commercial bodies. During the event, the organisation’s Diamond, Coloured Stones, Pearl, Coral, Precious Metals and Gemmological Blue Books, which are industry’s most widely accepted directories of uniform grading standards and nomenclature, are discussed and updated.

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

By |2018-10-13T01:27:07+00:00October 10th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO Congress 2018 set to kick off in Bogotá on October 15, agendas and related documentation now online

CIBJO releases Coral Commission Special Report, looks at research into sustaining and repopulating precious coral reefs

October 3, 2018

With fewer than two weeks to go to the opening of the 2018 CIBJO Congress in Bogotá, Colombia, on October 15, 2018, the eighth and the final of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Coral Commission, headed by Vincenzo Liverino, the report looks at a variety of topics related to precious coral reef sustainability, including government regulation of harvesting, research into methods for repopulating depleted areas, the use of DNA and Blockchain in achieving traceability, and online education.

“The industry encourages the enforcement of the current regulations and, as more scientific data on existing [precious coral] populations becomes available, hopes that harvesting and conservation practices be adapted so that resources are better managed, which is in the best interest of not only the ecosystem, but also the trade,” writes Mr. Liverino.

The special report highlights a number of research projects currently underway in Japan and Monte Carlo, where precious coral samples are being grown under controlled conditions in the laboratory, and in certain cases then transplanted on the seabed.

At a project on Birou island, off the coast of Japan, being conducted by the Precious Coral Protection and Development Association and the Kuroshio Biological Research Foundation, 223 small Corallium japonicum branches were first grown in tanks under controlled conditions and eventually attached to reef-growing blocks positioned underwater at depths of 100 metres. “With the transplanting phase now completed, growth rates are being monitored and other data collected. An encouraging growth rate was recorded both before and after transplantation, and there is a remarkable survival rate of 99 percent,” Mr. Liverino writes.

At the upcoming CIBJO Congress in Bogotá, an online course prepared by the Coral Commission will be presented. Catering to retailers selling precious coral jewellery, it  covers a range of topics, including  the history and cultural relevance of precious coral in many parts of the world, a layperson’s review of the biology and taxonomy of coral, information about geographic occurrences, accepted trade names for each species, treatments and imitations, CITES and fishing  regulations, sustainability concerns, product-care recommendations and a list of scientific references.

“It is hoped that the online course syllabus could become a model and primary reference for gemmological and jewellery schools creating their own educational materials,” Mr. Liverino notes.  “They too have a primary role to play in raising the general awareness about precious coral and the sustainability of harvested gem materials within the trade.”

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

By |2018-10-10T19:37:04+00:00October 3rd, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO releases Coral Commission Special Report, looks at research into sustaining and repopulating precious coral reefs

CIBJO releases Pearl Commission Special Report, focuses on industry’s commitment to marine sustainability

September 26, 2018

With fewer than three weeks to go to the opening of the 2018 CIBJO Congress in Bogotá, Colombia, on October 15, 2018, the seventh of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Pearl Commission, headed by Kenneth Scarratt, it focuses on the growing commitment of pearl farmers from around the world to set the golden standard for sustainability in a marine environment.

“Mankind’s impact on the earth’s environment is not simply related to saving the elephants, lions and the rhinoceros, or wild orchids, while these have great urgency. But they are no greater than the significant issues surrounding how we control the massive volume of rubbish generated globally that enters our oceans and seas,” wrote Mr. Scarratt.

Surveying a list of ongoing projects from the Philippines to Australia, the Indonesian archipelago to West Papua, and Fiji to Bahrain, Mr. Scarratt describes a community whose long-term livelihood is dependent on its ability to maintain a pristine ocean environment, and to provide economic opportunity to the far-flung indigenous communities where pearling is carried out.

“Pearl farming has often been described as ecological aquaculture,” notes Mr. Scarratt, quoting the Blue Pledge, a new initiative that aims to unite pearl farmers who actionably seek to contribute to the health of the oceans and the global climate. “Pearl oysters are filter feeders that require pristine water conditions in order to produce high-quality pearls. They are also recognised as an indicator species, meaning that any decline in water quality has a direct impact on oyster health, pearl quality, and oyster mortality.”

“Thus, while the world around us appears to be desperately struggling with man’s ineptitudes, let us take comfort in the fact that our pearling community can stand proudly as shining examples to the rest of humanity,” Mr. Scarratt writes.

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

By |2018-10-03T10:40:38+00:00September 26th, 2018|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO releases Pearl Commission Special Report, focuses on industry’s commitment to marine sustainability
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