Sector A discusses use of technology, benefit of guides and Blue Books’ future

ABOVE: Roland Nafule, President of Sector A, the division within CIBJO that deals with gem materials.

OCTOBER 28, 2016

Sector A President Roland Naftule opened the meeting by thanking CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri and all the Commission Presidents for their hard work in the period that has passed since the 2015 CIBJO Congress in Salvador, Brazil, in May 2015.

He also spoke about CIBJO’s intended creation of a ‘My CIBJO’ section on its website, where documents will be posted to enable members to easily find information relating to all of CIBJO members’ discussions and meetings.

Mr. Naftule spoke about the Pearl Guide developed by the Pearl Commission under the presidency of Ken Scarratt that has a tremendous amount of information that could not be added to the Blue Books. The provision of such guides will greatly assist the wider jewellery industry around the world.

He also mentioned a proposal to create an Opal Guide presented by Andrew Cody of behalf of the Australian industry, and it was agreed to proceed within the framework of Sector A. This was conditioned on the inclusion of opals produced in all countries of the world.

The meeting also held a brief discussion on whether, with development of guides for different gemstones, the Blue Books should be limited to international trade rules. Other important information could be provided through the new guides. This, it was said, may simply the task of translating the Blue into languages other than English.


Sector A discusses use of technology, benefit of guides and Blue Books’ future2017-12-07T11:56:27+00:00

Nickel, conflict minerals and FTC Guides top Precious Metals Commission agenda

ABOVE: Karina Ratzlaff , Vice President of the Precious Metals Commission, who chaired the body’s meeting at the 2016 CIBJO Congress .

OCTOBER 28, 2016

The Precious Metals Commission featured a discussion on changes to regulations regarding use of nickel, particularly the EN1811:2011 standard which had caused concerns to the trade. CIBJO has lobbied for changes to the 2011 standard which came into force in January 2016. The Assay Office in Birmingham represented CIBJO in two international conferences on the issue over the past year since the last CIBJO Congress.

These included a Nickel Institute Conference in Brussels in June 2015 which proposed a clearer definition of direct and prolonged contact with the skin. There was a North American workshop on NACD (Nickel Allergic Contact Dermatitis) which is a growing problem in North America where there is no enforceable nick regulation, the commission members were told.

Moving on to the issue of conflict materials and the effect of the U.S. Dodd Frank Act, controlling sources of tungsten, gold, tin and tantalum to prevent illegitimate sources in the Congo, the meeting heard that the European Union (EU) is still in the process of discussing similar legislation.

A voluntary regime was proposed by the EU, but there is currently an impasse because members of the European Parliament called for radical changes last year, but the Dutch Presidency of the EU wants to avoid the huge administrative burden that it would cause to 800,000 companies.

No legislation has been proposed yet and the outcome is still unclear, Commission Vice-President Karina Ratzlaff explained. The new regulation will apply to tungsten, gold, tin and tantalum, and the conflict and high-risk areas would not be limited just to Congo, she said.

In addition, due diligence required would need to comply with Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standards. Smelters, refiners and large importers would be required to conduct due diligence. There would be no direct obligations for manufacturers, but they will be encouraged to report who their suppliers are.



Cecilia Gardner, the General Counsel for the Jewelers Vigilance Committee in the United States, gave the meeting a review of the progress in talks with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission which serves to protect American consumers. The FTC is revising its guides, and precious metals is of great concern to them, particularly relating to thickness of metal applications/coatings and karat quality mineral thresholds in alloys.

You cannot call a jewellery item made of an alloy containing gold as gold unless it contains at least 10 karats of gold, Ms. Gardner said. Consequently, some jewellers are creating trade names for such alloys because they cannot call them gold, and they are not allowed to tell consumers what is in the alloy under current guidelines. The JVC, however, believes that this is information that consumers need and jewellers should be allowed to tell consumers about the content.

The JVC feels the way to distinguish these alloys is to express the parts in percentages, but the FTC did not agree. The JVC submitted additional consumer perception data showing that consumers understand percentages and it is awaiting the FTC’s final decision, Ms. Gardner said.

Finally, the meeting heard that no requests or proposals to amend the Platinum Book have been put forward during the year.

Nickel, conflict minerals and FTC Guides top Precious Metals Commission agenda2017-12-07T11:56:27+00:00

Coloured Stone Commission discuss uniform treatment disclosure and possible opal guide

ABOVE: The Coloured Stone Commission in session at the 2016 CIBJO Congress.

OCTOBER 27, 2016

Meeting at the 2016 CIBJO Congress, members of the Coloured Stone Commission debated about moving towards uniform treatment disclosure, so that all are specific, rather some being general, as frequently is the case at present.

Coloured Stone Commission President Nilam Alawdeen noted that market realities made this a difficult task to achieve. There was also a lengthy discussion on gemstone treatment codes and how it would be possible to best apply them.

The consensus among commission members was to move ahead with a uniform disclosure proposal. It was agreed that Mr. Alawdeen will work on the proposal, together with Thomas Lind, CIBJO Sector A Vice President, and Charles Abouchar, Coloured Stone Commission Vice President.

The meeting also heard a presentation from Andrew Cody from Australia about a possible opal guide, which would be separate from CIBJO Gemstone Blue Book, an idea that was originally proposed at the 2014 CIBJO Congress in Moscow. It was stressed that such a guide would have to include all types of opal, from all regions of the world.

Mr. Cody gave a detailed explanation of the science and other aspects of opals, saying they are mined in relatively few countries, come in a wide range of types and are difficult to classify.

The opal industry in Australia, the largest source of opals and opal jewellery, would be pleased to produce the opal guide, Mr. Cody said.


There was also discussion on the issue of undeterminable treatments, for which mention of which are sometimes left out of gemstone reports. Commenting on the practice of not commenting or leaving a blank space on a gemstone reports, Mr. Alawdeen said he believed the trade would be better served if the word “undeterminable” was included on reports.

The commission also heard a review of the status of revisions to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Guide for the jewellery industry, and about the Open Forum on Sustainability and Responsible Sourcing in the jewellery industry, which took place in New York last March.

Coloured Stone Commission discuss uniform treatment disclosure and possible opal guide2017-12-07T11:56:28+00:00

Diamond Commission debates terminology for disclosing treatments

ABOVE: Udi Sheintal, President of the Diamond Commission, during the 2016 CIBJO Congress in Yerevan, Armenia.

OCTOBER 27, 2016

The Diamond Commission saw a lengthy debate on Annex B of the Diamond Blue Book regarding diamond treatments, and made numerous changes including adding new definitions.

These included descriptions and the display of imitations or simulants of diamonds, annealing, artificial products, artificial products which are not crystallised, artificially crystallised stones, fancy shapes and graining.

The Commission added the new ISO standard 18323:2015 Jewellery – Consumer Confidence in the Diamond Industry, as a normative reference in the Blue Books.

In addition, some of the Diamond Book language was adapted or changed according to the definitions in the new ISO standard.


Commission Chairman Udi Sheintal said he was happy with the significant volume of work done on the Diamond Blue Book before the Steering Committee meeting took place.

“Members of the Diamond Commission Steering Committee did a tremendous amount of work before they arrived in Yerevan for the congress,” he explained. “As a result, we were able to review the book with many of the changes already widely discussed and agreed. That made it much easier to deal with all the issues.”

“We had an excellent in-depth discussion about the proposed changes and I was pleased to receive so many comments during the Diamond Commission meeting, which showed the strength of interest,” Mr. Sheintal said.

He added that there will be some changes to Clause 3 of the Blue Book – Classification of Materials.

“These new changes will be brought before the members at the 2017 congress,” he added.

Diamond Commission debates terminology for disclosing treatments2017-12-07T11:56:28+00:00

Marketing & Education Commission focuses on environmental impact

ABOVE: Moya McKeown (left) of Carbon-Expert, together with CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (centre) and Francesca Manfredi, General Manager of GECI. They are holding certificates attesting to having retired carbon credits as part of the CIBJO’s Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative for the jewellery industry. CIBJO retired carbon credits for 2015, and GECI, together with Osigem Srl of Milan, retired carbon credits for 2014.

OCTOBER 27, 2016

The need to improve a firm’s carbon footprint and environmental impact was the heart of the message given at the Marketing & Education Commission by environmental consultant Moya McKeown of Carbon-Expert.

“We set up this initiative because there is a lot of competition from other sectors and we want to see the jewellery market compete and show how they are reducing their environmental impact,” she explained. “Large international firms such as Nike are advertising to consumers about how they are operating with a reduced environmental effect, and so the jewellery sector needs to do the same. We are seeing this with the work of Tiffany & Co which is doing its part to reduce its environmental impact.”

Ms. McKeown said that another important element relating to reducing a company’s carbon footprint comes from research provided by the Luxury Insights Report which showed that Millennial clients (people aged from 20-35) are concerned about the environment, and are prepared to spend more on products from firms with a track record in cutting their impact.

Ms. McKeown also spoke about CIBO’s Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Measurement Initiative carbon management programme, an ongoing effort to enable firms to reduce their environmental impact.

She advised that there are several practical steps that firms can take to be more environmentally aware, such as checking their energy usage and making their staff aware of this. Another simple step is to look at paper purchases and usage, and the amount of travel that staff members do. However, she said that firms will not be able to improve in all their operations and they should focus on what is possible from a practical perspective.

She told the meeting that the CIBJO Congress is again carbon neutral as it was last year, and also mentioned firms in the jewellery sector that are taking steps, through the CIBJO initiative, to measure and offset their carbon footprint. These include Crossworks Manufacturing in Canada, the Gemological and Certification Institute (GECI) and Osigem Srl in Italy.

Ms. McKeown presented certificates to CIBJO, GECI and Osigem during the congress, attesting that each have had their carbon footprints measured and retired equivalent carbon credits.

Marketing & Education Commission focuses on environmental impact2017-12-07T11:56:28+00:00

Ethics Commission places emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility

ABOVE: Ethics Commission President Cecilia Gardner (right) and Ethics Commission Vice President Udi Sheintal.

OCTOBER 27, 2016

CIBJO’s Ethics Commission President Cecilia Gardner began the session by reviewing the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) course, developed by CIBJO together with Branded Trust of Australia. The course is now available online, and is accessible through the CIBJO website.

“I would urge you to encourage all of your members about thinking about how they can incorporate CSR in their business activities,” she said. “The course is in six parts of approximately 40 minutes each and there is a nominal fee. I assure you it is time well spent. Promote it to your association members, as it is very much targeted at people who are engaged in aspects of the jewellery business. It is a very basic course, and a good starting point.”

The next issue on the agenda was The Jewellery Industry Summit 2016, which took place in New York City in March and which Ms. Gardner was a key organiser. “CIBJO was very much involved in it and was one of the sponsors. It was an open forum for discussing sustainability in the jewellery business. It looked to create broad based awareness and activities that can bring about supply-chain guiding principles, relating to sustainability. Industry professionals also set up workshops and it was a very dynamic and interactive event,” she explained.

The Jewellery Industry Summit aimed to identify strengths and opportunities for the jewellery trade to sustain and improve its supply chain, and also envisioned how the industry will look in 20 years if all players engage in responsible business practises. It also considered specific actions that could be taken in the short and long terms, Ms. Gardner told the meeting.

The second summit is due to take place in Tucson, Arizona, next year immediately preceding the AGTA Gem Fair.


The issue of synthetic diamonds was discussed. There is heightened concern regarding the disclosure of such stones, Ms. Gardner said. “I have been asked repeatedly as General Counsel of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) if a general reassurance from suppliers regarding such goods is sufficient in law for a retailer if he sells items which are then discovered to have synthetic diamonds set in them,” she stated. “I give the same answer that I have been giving for the past 18 years – no. The only protection is to engage in a quality assurance program. Synthetics are still a small part of the market, but they are increasing and this issue is being addressed by all the international diamond organisations.”

She suggested that jewellers take a piece of jewellery apart, check if there are real diamonds set in it and keep a record of their inspections. “You can then tell clients that you have guarantees from suppliers and that you check on a regular basis,” she said.

Ms. Gardner concluded with comments about the Ethics Commission providing information to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for its guides, about what kind of conduct would be considered as deceptive when trading jewellery in the United States.

Ethics Commission places emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility2017-12-07T11:56:28+00:00