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CIBJO launches new informational website that provides guidelines for describing diamonds found in nature and diamond crystals created in a factory

MARCH 9, 2021

CIBJO has launched a new informational website, called “What is a Diamond?” Its purpose is to inform consumers and members of the jewellery and gemstone industry about the precise terminology that should be used to describe both diamonds found in nature and diamond crystals created in a factory or laboratory.

Located on the web at www.whatisadiamond.org, the new website is an initiative of CIBJO’s Diamond Commission, and it was built with the support of the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF.

Using the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book as its primary reference, the new website definitions also comply with ISO Standard 18323 of the International Organisation for Standardisation. They draw a clear distinction between natural diamonds and synthetic or laboratory-grown or laboratory-created diamonds, as well qualifying what are considered natural products and what are considered products made artificially.

The website also explains the distinctions used in the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), and supplies concise guidelines as to the  terminology that should be applied by traders of both natural diamonds and man-made diamonds.

“The purpose of the website is to be an easy-to-find and simple-to-understand reference point for all those who purchase, sell or handle diamonds,” said CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri. “Our goal is not to indicate what is better or more valuable, but rather to ensure that the public is able to distinguish between the different products in the marketplace. Consumer confidence, which is the bedrock of our industry, is completely dependent on people being able to make informed purchasing decisions.”

CIBJO launches new informational website that provides guidelines for describing diamonds found in nature and diamond crystals created in a factory2021-03-25T16:15:15+00:00

Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls released by the CIBJO Pearl Commission as a consumer resource

FEBRUARY 18, 2021

CIBJO’s Pearl Commission has released the first edition of the CIBJO Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls. The 62-page illustrated document provides an overarching view of natural and cultured pearls, from both seawater and freshwater sources, and highlights the important parameters by which their appearance can be described and assessed in terms of physical dimensions and quality. It is designed to serve as a reference point and a source of information for both the the general public and the jewelry trade.

The CIBJO Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls can be downloaded free of charge from the CIBJO website by CLICKING HERE.

Complementing the CIBJO Pearl Blue Book, which is also produced by the Pearl Commission and is considered the authoritative reference for technical standards and nomenclature in the pearl sector, the CIBJO Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls is a primer about pearls tailored for jewellery consumers and pearl lovers, and is designed to serve as an educational tool for the pearl and jewelry trades, and gemmological laboratories.

Providing an overview of the various pearl categories in different parts of the world, the guide lists, describes and illustrates the primary pearl-producing molluscs, and the type of pearls that each yields. A comprehensive breakdown of the leading seawater and freshwater cultured pearl types in the market is provided, detailing the species, origin, characteristics and production of each. The richly illustrated guide details the system for classifying natural pearls from the Akoya complex and the system for classifying cultured pearls, and also supplies information about pearl treatments and other pearl types, such as keshi cultured pearls.

Preparing the CIBJO Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls was a multi-year and multinational project, with the original draft written by a team at Paspaley Pearling in Australia, whose members focused particularly on the section covering the classification of cultured pearls. The Akoya complex natural pearl classification section was prepared by experts at the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones (DANAT).

“The CIBJO Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls is a tremendous resouce, intended to provide consumers and the trade with accurate and easily-to-comprehend information about this increasingly popular jewellery category,” said Gaetano Cavalieri. “It is a result of the hard work of a great many dedicated individuals from across the globe, but some deserve special mention. In particular, I would like to thank Nick Paspaley and Peter Bracher for taking the initiative, and putting at our disposal the wealth of knowledge of their team in Australia. Likewise, congratulations are due to Kenneth Scarratt, President of the CIBJO Pearl Commission, the editor of the guide, and for the addition he made to this outstanding document. Thanks also to all those members of the CIBJO Pearl Commission Steering Committee, who have devoted much time and effort in ensuring that the content is informative and accurately reflects the product.”

“I encourage all members of the industry, and in particular jewellery retailers, to download the CIBJO Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls and to make it available to their clientele,” Dr. Cavalieri said. “Knowledge breeds consumer confidence, and that ultimately is our primary objective.”

Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls released by the CIBJO Pearl Commission as a consumer resource2021-02-18T09:44:18+00:00

CIBJO release 18-2-2021


Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls released by the CIBJO Pearl Commission as a consumer resource

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CIBJO release 18-2-20212021-02-18T09:35:45+00:00

Jose Hess, 1933-2021, CIBJO President and Jewellery Industry Giant

ABOVE: Jose Hess, 1933-2021

FEBRUARY 10, 2021

CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, pays tribute to Jose Hess, the world-renowned jewellery designer and beloved industry leader, who served as the organisation’s first American President from 1997 through 2000. He died peacefully at his home in St. Augustine, Florida, on February 9, 2021, at age 87.

He was born in 1933 into a Jewish family, which left Nazi Germany in 1938, settling in Colombia, South America. It was on arrival there that, on his identity papers, an immigration official replaced his birth name “Josef” with “Jose,” and it was by the Spanish name he would be known for the remainder of his life.

Jose got his start in the jewellery industry at age 14. Having left school temporarily to help his parents, who had both fallen ill, he found employment with a Viennese goldsmith who had also fled Nazi Germany. Jose would later tell of learning his craft the old-fashioned way, from melting gold through creating sheets or wire and making jewellery by hand, and learning how to set precious gems.

Jose immigrated to the United States at age 17 and worked at a series of jobs in the jewellery industry. Graduating high school, he took gemmology courses at GIA, and obtained a degree from the Mechanics Institute of the General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of the City of New York.

After four years service in the U.S. military, Jose became a full-time jeweller, making models and handmade pieces for the renowned American designer David Webb.

In 1958 he set out on his own, enjoying early success with store owners who  loved his designs. But few were prepared to sell the jewellery under his name, and Jose made it a mission to forge a new path in the industry, where branding and designer-driven products are key components.

The name Jose Hess became synonymous with fine jewellery design. In 1963, he won the first of his De Beers Diamonds International Awards, for a gold and diamond leaf pin. Over the years he was recognized many times, among them winning seven De Beers Diamonds International Awards, eight De Beers Diamonds Today Awards, two International Gold Corp. Certificate of Merits and an American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Award. His jewellery was often spotted on celebrities at red carpet events, and was featured by consumer magazines such as Modern Bride, Elle, In Style, Vogue and others.

Jose’s sense of devotion to jewellery extended beyond his craft to the people of his industry, to whom was devoted. In the United States he served on the Board of Directors of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America (MJSA) and as President of both the Plumb Club and the 24 Karat Club of the City of New York.

In 1996 he was elected President of CIBJO, beginning the first of two consecutive two-year terms at the start of 1997, ending in December 2000. During this period he worked hard to nurture a new generation of leadership for the international jewellery business.

Jose’s commitment to the future of jewellery was absolute. He was a founder of both the American Jewelry Design Council and the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group, and was a guide to emerging young designers and a consultant for jewelry companies around the world. He taught at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where helped create a framework course for jewellery students that is still offered today.

Jose was married for 33 years to Magdalena “Maggie” Hess, a renowned designer in her own right. She survives him along with four children – Lawrence, Francine, Aaron and Josef— and four grandchildren.

“Jose is a one of a handful of people that one can truly describe as having changed our industry, and he left it a better place,” said Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO’s current President. “In so many respects I owe my position to him, for it was he that more than 20 years ago insisted that, if I really wanted to make a mark, I needed to devote myself to public service. I succeeded him as president, but he never left my side. He was my role model, my mentor and my friend.”

“Jose was compassionate and generous, with a keen sense of humanity and community,” Dr. Cavalieri continued. “In so many ways he embodied the cosmopolitan industry of which we are all part, with a strong feeling of pride of where he came from and remarkable degree of comfort in all the places that life had taken him, from Europe to South America and then to the United States, which he loved dearly. He also was a brilliant jeweller, raising the level of our craft to fine art. Our thoughts are of him, and with Maggie and his family.”

May his memory be a blessing.

Jose Hess, 1933-2021, CIBJO President and Jewellery Industry Giant2021-02-10T16:00:42+00:00

CIBJO release 10-2-2021


Jose Hess, 1933-2021, CIBJO President and Jewellery Industry Giant

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CIBJO release 10-2-20212021-02-10T15:55:05+00:00

CIBJO President applauds decision in United Kingdom to regard Diamond Terminology Guideline as Primary Authority Advice

DECEMBER 8, 2020

Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has described as “profoundly important” the agreement in the United Kingdom between the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) and UK Trading Standards, a British government service working to ensure that consumers are protected from unfair trading, to provide the Diamond Terminology Guideline the status of Primary Authority Advice.

Developed by CIBJO together with eight other leading diamond and jewellery industry organisations and first released in 2018, the Diamond Terminology Guideline is designed to serve as the reference document when referring to or describing diamonds, laboratory-grown diamonds and imitations of diamonds. It is built on two internationally accepted standards: the ISO 18323 Standard (“Jewellery – Consumer confidence in the diamond industry”) and the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book. It encourages full, fair and effective use of a clear and accessible terminology by all sector bodies, organisations, traders and retailers.

“This is a profoundly important development in what is a concerted campaign to normalise on a global basis unambiguous terminology that clearly differentiates between natural diamonds, laboratory-grown diamonds and imitations of diamonds, enabling consumers to make informed purchasing decisions,” Dr. Cavalieri said. “The collaboration between NAJ and UK Trading Standards means that consumers in a key jewellery market like Great Britain are being afforded protections now available in a limited, but still growing group of countries. Measures like this enhance confidence both in our products and in the jewellery trade itself.

The immediate effect of the NAJ-UK Trading Standards agreement is that more than 2,000 members of the association, who collectively comprise over half of the jewellery trade in the United Kingdom, have received recommendations from UK Trading Standards about describing diamonds, laboratory-grown diamonds and imitations of diamonds, based on the Diamond Terminology Guideline. By following the Primary Authority Advice, their businesses are protected against the risk of any action by enforcing authorities, even if they have a different perspective as to what needs to be done to be compliant with the law.

“By understanding the nature of the products they buy and the different value propositions, consumers are able to make informed decisions, remain confident and continue to love diamond jewellery. This is why clear and accessible diamond terminology is fundamental. In addition, as consumers increasingly get informed and shop in an interconnected digital global market, the language used across all communication channels should follow guidelines that are ideally aligned across countries,” said Raluca Anghel, Head of External Affairs and Industry Relations, Natural Diamonds Council.

With this latest development, the United Kingdom joins a group of countries that are home to important jewellery markets that have enshrined accurate diamond terminology into law. The most doctrinaire is most probably France, where a decree only allows the use of the term “synthetic diamonds,” when referring to laboratory-grown materials, and forbids the use of descriptors such as “cultivated,” “real,” and “cultured.”

In Belgium, a Royal Decree issued in November 2019 referenced the nomenclature presented in the Diamond Terminology Guidelines and the CIBJO Blue Book in listing acceptable terminology to be used by members of the jewellery and gemstone trades. It was an update of a decree that had been issued in 2014.

In Germany  the ISO 18323 standard has been translated into a German DIN standard. Furthermore, the Diamond Terminology Guidelines are recognized by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as the reference documents for the diamond and jewellery trades. This followed a decision by a District Court in Munich in 2004 that relied on the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book in substantiating its decision that  the term “cultured” is unacceptable for describing laboratory-grown diamonds.

China has adopted the Diamond Terminology Guidelines as reference documents for the diamond and jewellery trade, in compliance with Chinese GB/T national standards, and in the United Arab Emirates the  Emirates Authority for Standardization and Methodology (ESMA) officially approved the Diamond Terminology Guidelines in November 2019.

In 2018, CIBJO and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) reached agreement with the  Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation to harmonise the official system used in Russia for classifying polished diamonds with the standards and nomenclature detailed in the CIBJO Blue Book.

To download the Assured Advice version of the Diamond Terminology guideline in PDF format, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

CIBJO President applauds decision in United Kingdom to regard Diamond Terminology Guideline as Primary Authority Advice2020-12-08T10:39:35+00:00