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CIBJO General Assembly elects CIBJO officers for next two years, concludes 2017 congress

CIBJO’s newly elected senior officers. President Gaetano Cavalieri (centre) is flanked from left by Marc-Alain Christen, Chief Financial Officer; Roland Naftule, Vice President; Corrado Facco, Vice President; and Eli Avidar, Vice President.


November 7, 2017

As is the custom of the World Jewellery Confederation, a gathering of the organisation’s General Assembly, representing all the member associations and commercial bodies, concluded the 2017 CIBJO Congress.

The three-day congress, running from November 5 through 7, and preceded by three days of steering committee meetings, had brought to Bangkok from around the world some 150 official delegates and a total about 300 participants, and covered a wide range of issues. There was a strong focus on responsible sourcing, Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability, particularly in the coloured gemstone sector.

For CIBJO, 2017 is an election year, and the CIBJO General Assembly elected Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri to another two-year term as President. For the first time, three Vice Presidents were elected: Roland Naftule of the United States, Eli Avidar of Israel, and Corrado Facco of Italy. Marc-Alain Christen of Switzerland was reconfirmed as the organisation’s Chief Financial Officer and a new Board of Directors was elected, also for a two-year term.

Addressing the members, the CIBJO President delivered a detailed report of the previous year’s activities, covering the ongoing work of the Secretariat and Administration; relationships with other organisation, including United Nations agencies; CIBJO’s education programme; and visits and meetings that had taken place since the 2016 CIBJO Congress.

The General Assembly also provided the opportunity to recognise industry bodies that had taken part in the CIBJO’s Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative, and Moya McKeown of Carbon Expert, CIBJO carbon foot-printing and offsetting consultant, was present to hand out certificates to industry bodies that had achieved carbon neutrality, including CIBJO itself for the fourth year running.

As the only jewellery industry body with special consultative status in the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council, Dr. Cavalieri reiterated the World Jewellery Confederation’s commitment to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were declared in 2015 with a target date for completion of 2030. He read from a letter he received a day earlier from a senior UN official:

“At the United Nations, we are aware of the fact that, since it was granted a Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, CIBJO is fully committed to encourage and educate its members to work in close line with the principles and goals of the United Nations. For this reason, I would like to congratulate you for ensuring a soft and effective transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

“Our goals of peace and of sustainable development are common. In that context, I encourage you to continue your efforts towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. CIBJO has already proven that, through its activities, it is promoting sustainable industrialization through SDG 9 as well as new inclusive and economic opportunities, as referred in SDG 8. These opportunities are important vehicles for achieving SDG 1 calling for the eradication of poverty. I know how your efforts are fruitful in that matter, especially since the predominant rough distribution hub, in the diamond industry, is now managed in the producing countries rather than being exported for processing in the other countries – a significant step forward for developing countries.”

“I would like to extend my encouragements as you are also actively working to achieve SDGs 14 and 15 for the protection of our oceans and our lands. We share the idea that responsible environmental management is beneficial in more ways. As for the jewellery and gemstones area, sustainable use of physical environment and biodiversity contribute to the quality of your products and thus, to the economy and the industry.”

“The United Nations values your commitments. Working in such area requires understanding the great assets of diversity, of inclusion and of cultural interaction. I wish to express my confidence that by educating your members on diversity and ethics, CIBJO will continue to be a SDG enabler.”

By | 2017-11-14T13:08:28+00:00 November 8th, 2017|NEWS|0 Comments

Sector A told changes to Blue Books only to take place every three years

Sector A President Roland Naftule addressing the meeting. He is flanked by the sector’s two vice presidents (from left), Thomas Lind and Gerard Grospiron.

November 7, 2017

Sector A is the division in CIBJO that covers all gem materials, and in particular oversees and coordinates the work of the Diamond, Coral, Gemmological, Pearl and Coloured Stone Commissions. The sector president Roland Naftule, who also is a Vice President of CIBJO, began the annual gathering of the sector by thanking all the commission presidents, and most importantly CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, for all their hard work.

“There is a lot more work that goes on throughout the year than what we see at the annual congress, so I also wish to thank all the steering committee members,” Mr. Naftule said.

The Sector A President brought up a proposal to keep the commissions’ Blue Books unchanged for two, or possibly three years. He said they should be alternated so that not all five books would come up for revision at the same time. “If there are important changes that need to be made ,then we will make exceptions, and commissions will be able to bring them up any year. But, in general, working on them annually makes the situation overly complicated, and also creates a burden for countries who wish to have the documents translated into their languages.”

“This change will give us time to work on many other projects, and also give us the opportunity to create newly recommended condensed blue books, in addition to having the more detailed official Blue Books. They will be shorter versions that can more easily be used by retailers,” Mr. Naftule said.

It was agreed that the Gemstone Book and the Diamond Book will not be changed for the next three years, but the Coral Book and Pearl Book will be up for revision in two years, and then every three years thereafter. The Gemmological Book will be changed next year and every three years thereafter.

Mr. Naftule read excerpts from a speech he delivered at the 1983 International Precious Stones Congress in Tel Aviv, which he felt remained pertinent today. The speech had dealt with international cooperation, and the problem of communication in coloured stones, which was causing a lot of confusion in the trade and among consumers at the time. It also referred to treatments of gemstones, including irradiation, oiling, and heat-treatments, and the possibility of a media backlash if this was not dealt with properly.

“Communication is understood to mean language in the broadest sense of the word,” Mr. Naftule said, reading from the 1983 speech. “In biblical days, people wanted to know what God was and built the Tower of Babel to find the answer. To punish them for their sin, God made them speak different languages to one another. They had the tools, materials and technology necessary, but lacked the prime ingredient: communication.”

“The carpenter could not communicate with the mason; the mason could not communicate with the stone cutter, and so on. We, too, have the tools, materials and technology to reach our goals, but like our biblical ancestors, we lack communication. We must respond to a changing reality to succeed in our industry. We must build a strong foundation, one of cooperation and communication with reliable information gathered through a systematic application of research methods,” he said.

“Not much has really changed in 34 years and that the problems we are having today are similar to the ones we had then,” Mr. Naftule said, asking “How can Sector A better serve CIBJO?”

It was suggested that more manufacturers, dealers, and retailers should be encouraged to join CIBJO, where congress participation currently is weighed too heavily in favour of gem-related products and gemmologists. Although we are well known in our own circles, in China, for instance, few people in the industry knows of us, and that is also true in the United States, said Mr Naftule.

He also told the meeting of the establishment of two new committees: an Industry rules enforcement committee, which would work under the Ethics Commission; and a CIBJO industry courses development committee which would be under the Marketing and Education Commission. A pilot version will be launched within the Coral Commission and will later be presented to other commission steering committees to see how it can be adapted to their bodies.

At the end of the meeting, Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association President Boonkij Jitngamplang thanked CIBJO for holding the Congress in Thailand. “Our aims are in line with CIBJO on a whole range of industry issues, and we are looking forward to working closely with CIBJO in the future,” he said.

By | 2017-11-15T10:53:23+00:00 November 8th, 2017|NEWS|0 Comments

CIBJO Coral Commission reports on creation of Coral Guide for the Italian Customs organisation

Coral Commission President Vicenzo Liverino (right) in conversation with Rui Galopim De Carvalho, the commission’s newly elected Vice President, during the body’s session in Bangkok at the 2017 CIBJO Congress.


November 6, 2017

The CIBJO Coral Commission has produced a guide for the classification and identification of coral materials for the Italian Customs organization, reported commission president Vicenzo Liverino during the body’s meeting at the 2017 CIBJO Congress.

“This was because they don’t know how to classify precious coral, so we prepared it,” Mr. Liverino said. “It helps the government.” The new guide is available in English, Italian and Thai, but it may also be translated into German, French and Japanese. Prepared during the course of the past year, the content is compliant with edition of the CIBJO Coral Blue Book prior to this congress.

“It is not for retailers, as it is too complicated, but rather for customs organisations and governments,” Mr. Liverino explained.

During the Coral Commission session in Bangkok, Mr. Liverino reported that very few changes had been made to the Coral Blue Book over the past year and during its steering committee meeting, because a great deal of work had been done on it the previous year.

A movie was screened during the session about the repopulation of precious coral in protected zones in Japanese deep waters, which was a project undertaken by local NGOs.

Mr Liverino congratulated Justin Hunter from Fiji and the Japanese representatives for their work in coral protection. “They are going ahead with these projects of coral repopulation and there is already a big difference with growth in the protected areas.” He also announced that Justin Hunter has been added as a member of the Coral Commission Steering Committee. Also, an Italian diver’s association will become part of a project that the CIBJO Coral Commission is developing for the sustainability of both common and precious coral.

Rui Galopim de Carvalho spoke about Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability. Inspired by an online course on cultured pearls promoted by the Cultured Pearl Association of America, the Coral Commission will gather a group of members who will decide what type of curriculum should be included in a 60 to 90-minute online course to educate retailers on coral as a product, as well as to convey CSR and sustainability matters, he said.

“This is a very user friendly and engaging type of video format and could be used for other commissions. This would be a good way of showing what we are doing, at CIBJO, on a laptop and mobile devices. We haven’t yet decided on the content. During the year the Coral Commission will discuss and brainstorm the idea to create an example that will be ready for next congress. The Marketing & Education Commission was in favour and supportive,” he said.

By | 2017-11-16T12:12:46+00:00 November 7th, 2017|NEWS|0 Comments

Free online course and Fiji Pearl Development Plan focus of Pearl Commission

Justin Hunter, who presented the plan for  environmentally and socially sustainable pearl farming in the Pacific Ocean island nation of Fiji.

November 6, 2017

Two presentations – one on a course for the public and the jewellery industry based on work by the Cultured Pearl Association of America and the other on the Fiji Pearl Development Plan for cultured pearls – were at the heart of the Pearl Commission’s meeting. The session was chaired by the commission’s vice president, Olivier Segura, in the absence of Pearl Commission President Kenneth Scarratt, who was unable to attend that day.

A presentation entitled Pearls as One was given by Jeremy Shepherd, who is CEO of Pearl Paradise, and Treasurer and Marketing Chair of the Cultured Pearl Association of America. He started out by explaining that only about 10 percent of jewellery retailers in the United States carry cultured pearls. “We believe this is due to a lack of education. Consumers rely on their jewellers to make buying decisions, and they are receiving a lot of misinformation, which is affecting their buying decisions.”

“When I started selling online 20 years ago, I saw there was a,lot of incorrect information. I started a website called Pearl-Guide that is completely non-commercial with lots of info. I also set up a forum that now has 7,000 members – consumers, retailers, academics, wholesalers and pearl farmers. Mostly aged between 25 to 45,” he said.

Mr. Shepherd explained that the Cultured Pearl Association of America has set up Pearls As One, a course on cultured pearls with 10 modules and four quizzes taking about two weeks to complete, which provides a great deal of information. Students are given the opportunity to ask questions and make comments and interact with an instructor online, he said. The course has been translated into French, Spanish, German, traditional Chinese, Russian and Japanese, and is also being translated into Italian and Vietnamese,.

“We are able to update it in real time because it is online. People can take the course in their own time. We believe that education has the power to change the industry for the better, so we are giving it away for free,” he stated.

Coral Commission Vice-President Rui Galopim said he had completed the course and said he would recommend that every retailer do the same, to understand what they are doing and to be able to convey the product’s message. “It has sales tips on how to present pearls and how to sell them. I encourage everyone here to do the course. It is an excellent user experience. As a result we are thinking of doing something similar for the Coral Commission.”

Following Mr. Shepherd’s presentation, Justin Hunter presented the Fiji Pearl Development Plan for cultured pearls, established by the Fiji government and the Fiji Pearl Association, to enhance the effectiveness of locally managed marine areas, integrated coastal management and land and sea management programmes, which will  bring about meaningful income for local communities. Hunter added that CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri came to the UN to promote the sustainable programme.

“We want to preserve our Fiji marine ecosystems. This is critical for our planet especially in light of climate change and mitigating its impact. Warmer water makes sea life move to cooler temperatures and you end up with a vacuum of sea life. Pearl farms require pristine water conditions so any decline in water quality hits oysters first, so pearl farms are important regulators of water quality. We hope for tangible benefits as we become stewards of our seas,” Mr. Hunter said.

“This is about social and economic sustainability. We need to find a balance between creating marine protected areas and creating a way to provide income for the local communities. The aim is to create an internationally recognized product acknowledged as sustainable luxury, for buyers who know the product helps communities and the sea,” he concluded.

By | 2017-11-20T11:49:32+00:00 November 7th, 2017|NEWS|0 Comments

Precious Metals Commission focuses on compliance with EU and U.S. legislation

Karina Ratzlaff (second from right), the Acting Precious Metals Commission President , and Huw Daniel (right), the incoming commission president, joined on the podium by John Henn and Tiffany Stevens.

November 6, 2017

With the European Parliament passing ground-breaking legislation earlier this year, which is designed to control the flow into the EU of gold from countries beset with conflict, CIBJO’s Precious Metals Commission looked at the new regulations and their potential impact, comparing them to legislation passed in the United States seven years ago, as part of the Dodd Frank Act.

Since former Precious Metals Commission President Stella Leyton had stepped down from her position as Chief Executive at the Birmingham Assay Office, Karina Ratzlaff has taken over as Acting President.

She introduced Sakhila Mirza, Executive Board Director and General Counsel of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), who spoke about the LBMA’s lobbying work with legislators regarding the gold market in Europe and globally.

The LBMA has a Good Delivery List of refiners who can sell gold into the London market. A company that does not comply cannot sell in London or many other markets. “Every bar of gold has gone through a responsible sourcing programme. London has 7,500 tonnes worth $298b of gold in their vaults,” she explained.

“It is vital to us that the gold sold in London is conflict free and is not tainted by issues such as human rights, anti-money laundering or terrorism. Our guidance is based on OECD guidelines.”

Ms. Mirza spoke about the EU law regarding conflict minerals and said the LBMA’s aim is for its members to be ahead of it when it comes fully into force in 2021.

She said the law focuses on conflict and high-risk areas but has not named jurisdictions yet. The EU may put out guidance by the end of this year, she added.

Meanwhile, Tiffany Stevens, President and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, provided the U.S. perspective on conflict minerals legislation.

She said that the Dodd-Frank Act calls for publicly listed firms to provide reports on where they were buying gold.

Francesca Angeloni, the Business Development Manager Europe Jewellery and Watch Industry of UL, described a tool that UL is developing with CIBJO to help importers of gold into Europe to become compliant with the new EU regulations.

CIBJO European Jewellery Guild President Bernadette Pinet-Couq was introduced and she provided brief details on her position, which includes her providing input on behalf of the jewellery industry to the European Union, in order to ensure that the trade’s views are taken into account.

“There will be an intervention on the ISO 9202 Platinum Standards to revise the acceptance of fineness to less than 850,” said Karina Ratzlaff.

Huw Daniel, CEO of the Platinum Guild International and new president of the Precious Metals Commission, gave a brief update on the arguments and intentions behind that intervention.

Ms. Ratzlaff updated the commission on possible changes on elements like nickel, lead and borax which are either listed in REACH or put recently on the Candidate List of REACH. There are special requirements to be followed when goods are sold in EU member states, she said.

By | 2017-11-15T10:44:25+00:00 November 7th, 2017|NEWS|0 Comments

Ethics Commission provides update on industry forum initiating grass-roots sustainability projects

Tiffany Stevens, President and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) in the United States, the new President of the CIBJO Ethics Commission.

November 6, 2017

Tiffany Stevens, President and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), and Sarah Yood, counsel with the JVC, provided an update on the Jewellery Industry Summit, an open forum on sustainability and responsible sourcing, which held its second annual meeting at the Tucson gemstones show in February together with the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA). Ms. Stevens has taken over the presidency of the commission from her predecessor at the JVC, Cecilia Gardner.

Attendees from 14 different countries gathered as a follow-up to the first summit in New York in March 2016 to discuss collective action on strengthening a sustainable and responsible supply chain, she said.

There were 175 attendees from many sectors, including trade associations, governments, jewellery designers, lawyers, non-governmental organisations and others. Mining sector representatives were missing, but organisers are addressing this issue. The second annual summit was more focused than the first edition.

Ms. Stevens said another issue on the agenda of the Jewellery Summit was an effort to eliminate silicosis from small gem cutting facilities.

Ms. Yood said that one outcome of the summit was the creation of the Jewellery Development Index, which is being developed by students in the United States to assess the comparative impact of the jewellery industry on people’s lives. The students are studying the effects of gold mining in Peru and diamond mining in Botswana. They are investigating both positive and negative impacts on health, human rights and other factors. The aim is to supply the data to other organisations and perhaps to a research institute at a later stage.

Ms. Stevens spoke about the issue of synthetic diamonds and the non-disclosure issue, as well as claims by some synthetic diamond manufacturers regarding advertising and the environmental impact. She said the JVC was still trying to receive clarification from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on these issues.

By | 2017-11-15T10:39:51+00:00 November 7th, 2017|NEWS|0 Comments

IDC Book to be harmonised with CIBJO Blue Book as single international diamond guide

Udi Sheintal, President of the CIBJO Commission.

November 6, 2017

Diamond Commission President Udi Sheintal informed the Diamond Commission meeting at the 2017 CIBJO Congress that an agreement had been reached with the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), according to which  the International Diamond Council’s (IDC) book of diamond nomenclature will be harmonised with CIBJO’s Diamond Blue Book, in order to create a single directory of diamond nomenclature for the global diamond trade.

“This decision means the CIBJO Diamond Book  will serve the whole diamond industry and be the only book for the trade,” he told the audience. Following the agreement of the Diamond Commission Steering Committee, he proposed that the full commission ratify the agreement, which it did unanimously.

Another major issue on the agenda related to synthetics. “For years, we have worked and done important work on the Diamond Blue Book, but my feeling is that we are missing representatives of the synthetic diamond firms, so that we can both work according to agreed terms,” said Mr Sheintal.

“I suggest that Gaetano Cavalieri reaches out to the synthetic diamond manufacturers to look into possibly bringing them into CIBJO, although I don’t know yet in what format that would be,” he said.

In response to a question from Acting World Diamond Council President Stephane Fischler as to whether there are any specific terms of reference for the discussions, Mr Sheintal said: “We are simply reaching out at this stage. Everything is open and I want to see them working with the same nomenclature. This is just the start and that is why I am not calling for a committee or formal group, but rather just reaching out.”

Also discussed were the Harmonised System (HS) codes for synthetics. It was reported that, at this stage,  only India and China so far have such codes for monitoring synthetic imports and exports. Some other countries have applied to the World Customs Organization (WCO), but, because this body moves rather slowly, the codes have not yet been received.

“We want the national organisations to lobby their government to put some pressure on the WCO to make the change. And, while it takes time, they should also lobby their governments to make the amendments locally, to enable the monitoring of import and exports of synthetics, as China and India have already done,” Mr. Sheintal said.

“We will disseminate information about how India and China managed to obtain the codes, to help with the lobbying,” he stated.

By | 2017-11-16T11:33:49+00:00 November 7th, 2017|NEWS|0 Comments

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha officially opens CIBJO’s 2017 Congress

General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister of Thailand, delivering his opening address to the 2017 CIBJO Congress.

November 6, 2017

General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister of Thailand, officially opened the 2017 CIBJO Congress, accompanied by Mrs. Apiradi Tantraporn, Thailand’s Minister of Commerce, and Mr. Sontirat Sontijirawong, the country’s Deputy Minister of Commerce.

The congress itself was officially hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, through the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) and the Gem and Jewellery Institute of Thailand (GIT).

In his speech that opened the session, which drew more than 300 participants, including a massive presence of both the foreign and Thai press, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri said that, although the official opening was taken at the mid-point of the 2017 Congress, this was due to the privilege of having the Prime Minister of Thailand and his government’s Minister of Commerce officially open it.

“Here in Thailand, the jewellery industry ranks third nationwide after automobiles and electronics, generating 371 billion baht, or about $10.3 billion in income per annum, with almost 16,000 businesses employing 1.3 million people,” Dr. Cavalieri told the audience. “Coloured gemstones, we have been told at this congress, make up $670 million in revenue, or 12 percent of total world sales.”

“Bangkok’s readiness to host forums like the CIBJO Congress, and what it represents, is a key step in consolidating Thailand’s prominent position in the region and the world, particularly in a market that increasingly is demanding that the products it buys can be clearly shown to have been responsibly handled along the entire chain of distribution, and that purchases of luxury products have social significance as well as monetary value,” he said.

“CIBJO is strongly supportive of the strengthening and growth of the Thai gemstone and jewellery centre, for we believe that it should be a foundation stone of the development of our business in Southeast Asia and beyond. We see no conflict in our working to promote and support national industries, because we believe very strongly in the principle that a rising tide raises all ships,” he added, as he thanked the Prime Minister and members of his government for agreeing to open the 2017 congress.

Thailand’s Prime Minister said it was an honour to welcome CIBJO members and host the 2017 Congress. “This congress is very important for Thailand and serves as an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and experience, and to promote the Thai gemstone and jewellery industry from the upstream all the way to the downstream sector. There are so many people involved in the industry in my country. This is a skilled workforce and the numbers of workers are continuing to grow. We want to expand and strengthen this industry.”

“We need to take care of the people in the value chain to make sure that nobody is left behind, especially the lower income workers, and we also want to ensure transparency and good governance. Thailand is committed to improving our products and to becoming a global jewellery hub in the next five years, and I hope we can grow stronger together and enable Thailand to secure this vision,” General Chan-o-cha stated.

The Prime Minister said that among Thailand’s advantages were highly skilled cutting and polishing workers, which goes back many generations. “We maintain a contemporary design with a Thai identity, and we have good quality control to ensure quality.”

“The government has passed measures to enable Thailand to stand out as a major power, and the government pledges to support the jewellery industry. There will be tax exemption for certain goods to enable us to develop as a hub, as well as benefits for those using certain machinery. This will help the country to produce higher quality goods. We will strengthen our human resources throughout the pipeline, reduce poverty and bring income to as many workers as possible, and create a more aggressive campaign for our goods at home and abroad, so that tourists feel more confident about the jewellery on offer in Thailand,” the prime minister stated.

Thailand’s Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn told the opening ceremony that one of the objectives of hosting the CIBJO Congress was to help promote the image of Thailand as a hub for the gemstones and jewellery industries in accordance with the government’s development plan, by showing them what the country has to offer.

The official opening session closed with a set of reports by key industry leaders, including Sean Gilbertson, President and CEO of Gemfields, the world’s leading coloured gemstone supplier; Ernest Blom, President  of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB); and Stephane Fischler, President of the World Diamond Council and Chairman of the Antwerp World Diamond Council (AWDC).

Mr. Gilbertson spoke of the role of Gemfields’ as the coloured stone industry’s largest gemstone producer, and the challenges and rewards of being a major mining firm. He spoke about the financial payments that his company has paid Zambia ($103 million in eight years, or 21 percent of revenue) from earnings at the Kagem emerald mine; and $73 million to Mozambique in four years, or 26 percent of revenue. He also spoke about Gemfields’ CSR projects in education, agriculture, health and conservation

Mr. Blom’s speech concentrated on the importance and value of the close cooperation between the WFDB and CIBJO. “At the very heart of the WFDB’s work is to protect the interests of our bourses and their individual members,” he explained. “But, just as importantly, we aim to protect the consumer by ensuring that diamonds are traded fairly and honestly. These are not just words, but very real facts. CIBJO carries out a very similar function for jewellery industry members from across the pipeline, boldly setting the agenda for the trade on carbon-free operations and Corporate Social Responsibility, for example, as well as representing the industry at meetings of national and international parliaments, the OECD, the United Nations and other important organisations.”

Mr. Fischler spoke about the WDC’s work in defending the integrity of diamonds through the Kimberley Process. “CIBJO has been at the forefront of responsible practices and consumers have to be confident about their jewellery purchases. We realise that the world is not perfect and there are dangers of diamonds being used to finance terrible atrocities, such as are happening today in the Central African Republic. The WDC focuses on lessening those risks, but we have no power to bring about change or protect people at risk or change legislation. We must have stronger actors in the pipeline and encourage responsible practices. We will continue to ensure that raw materials used in jewellery making will benefit the whole pipeline through sustainable development. More can, and must be done,” he said.

By | 2017-11-14T15:57:50+00:00 November 7th, 2017|NEWS|0 Comments

CIBJO Marketing & Education Commission releases jewellery industry employee recruitment and retention guide

Marketing & Education Commission President Jonathan Kendall announcing the launch of ‘People Our Greatest Asset,” the latest CIBJO guide, which looks at building a winning team of employees in the jewellery business.

November 6, 2017

Meeting at the 2017 CIBJO Congress in Bangkok, CIBJO’s Marketing & Education Commission has released its latest industry guide. Authored by the commission’s President, Jonathan Kendall, the 60-page book is called  “People Our Greatest Asset,” and it focuses on how to build and retain a winning team of employees in the jewellery industry.

“This is a staff motivation and retention guide for jewellers,” said Mr. Kendall. “Working together in harmony is best for retail jewellers, but also for every other organisation in the industry,” he stated.

The publication contains self-contained guides and templates for application to businesses, as well as insights from industry figures from around the world. It will shortly be made available for downloading on the CIBJO website.

Mr. Kendall started his presentation with the “Green Initiative,” in which he said a range of organisations had become involved, and expressed his hope that more would do so. Mr Kendall showed a movie by Future-Fit, a non-profit organisation working with businesses on green initiatives on transforming business. By 2050 it is predicted that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish, it stated. Business needs to step up. We must rethink how we do business, expand our horizons and stop the disruptive changes taking place.

Mr. Kendall said he wants to spread CIBJO’s greenhouse gas measurement and offsetting programme, which was launched in 2014, across the whole jewellery pipeline. “The world is changing so quickly. “We are poisoning ourselves. I would like to encourage more organisations associated with CIBJO to sign up,” he said.

Environmental consultant Moya McKeown of Carbon-Expert said the main purpose of the programme is to help firms understand their environmental impact and secure the long-term future of firms in the jewellery sector.

She said that companies could fairly easily measure their carbon footprint by looking at their operations overall. This includes the amount of electricity used in their buildings, fuel used by company cars and distribution vehicles, and in other operations in the supply chain.

She suggested taking a 12-month period in line with the firm’s financial year, in order to start the process of becoming carbon neutral. After calculating the carbon footprint, firms can achieve carbon neutrality by retiring carbon credits that they have purchased from authorised projects.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kendall quoted figures showing that 13 percent more people will buy from firms committed to social responsibility values, while packaging that is environmentally friendly will also attract customers. “We must take action and rely on ourselves, and not rely on others. We all want change, but there are always barriers in the way. You have to overcome them to make a difference,” he said.

By | 2017-11-14T16:05:13+00:00 November 6th, 2017|NEWS|0 Comments

In presence of Thai prime minister, CIBJO President endorses Thailand’s central role in jewellery and gemstone industry

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri addressing the session opened by the Prime Minister of Thailand.

November 6, 2017

Speaking at the 2017 CIBJO Congress session opened by the Thai Prime Minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, and in the presence of Mrs. Apiradi Tantrporn, the country’s Minister of Commerce, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri strongly endorsed the future role of Thailand in the international industry, and pledged CIBJO’s cooperation, noting that it does so to “support the growth and development of the gemstone and jewellery for all of us.”

The following is the full text of his address.

His Excellency General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minster of Thailand; Her Excellency, Mrs. Apiradi Tantrporn Minister of Commerce; CIBJO members, colleagues and friends,

It is my very great honour to welcome you all to the 2017 CIBJO Congress. As we all are aware, it is almost the midpoint of this year’s gathering, but the privilege of being able to greet the Prime Minister of Thailand and his government’s Minister of Commerce, and to present to them a cross section of the leadership and the brain-trust of our great industry is reason enough to delay the official opening of congress, so that our schedule could meet with theirs.

Most importantly, today’s event provides us the opportunity to formally thank the Government of Thailand, and in particular the Ministry of Commerce, for hosting our congress this year. It was a gracious decision, but first and foremost also an expression of Thailand’s official support for one of its most important export industries, and an expression of the Thai government’s readiness to support the world gemstone and jewellery trade.

As most of you know, a CIBJO Congress is not a commercial event. There are no gemstones or jewellery on sale. We gather each year to talk about rules and regulations, standards and ethics, and strategies for the years ahead. We do so out of the firmly-held belief that, in order to succeed in business, we have to conduct our affairs in a manner that is beyond reproach, and we need to see over the horizon. The subjects we address, make that possible.

We have no illusions. Jewellery and gemstones are luxury products that consumers purchase because they want to, and not because they have to. For us there is no margin of error. If we lose the confidence of our consumers, and in so doing undercut the value of our product, we will not remain in business, let alone prosper.

But, while gemstones and jewellery are non-essential products, the same cannot be said of the gemstone and jewellery industry. Precious metals, diamonds, coloured gemstones, pearls, finished jewellery and more make up a global business that currently is worth about $325 billion per annum, playing a major role in the economies of countries around the world, including both developing and developed nations.

In Botswana, for example, traditionally one of Africa’s most stable economies and democracies, diamonds account for one quarter of GDP, approximately 85 percent of export earnings, and about one-third of the government’s revenues. In India, the world’s sixth largest economy, the gemstones and jewellery industry contributes between 6 percent and 7 percent of the country’s GDP. Five percent of exports from Belgium, the world 13th largest exporting country, is made up of diamonds and other gemstones, and in Israel, the share of diamonds in the export total is 28 percent. Here in Thailand, the jewellery industry ranks third nationwide after automobiles and electronics, generating 371 billion baht, or about $10.3 billion in income per annum, with almost 16,000 businesses employing 1.3 million people. Coloured gemstones, we have been told at this congress, make up $670 million in revenue, or 12 percent of total world sales.

In so many respects and in so many countries, the gemstone and jewellery business is most definitely an essential part of the economy, and that is why the work that is done in CIBJO and at CIBJO Congresses is so important. What we do here affects the lives of people and nations around the world.

There are very few cities that have hosted a CIBJO Congress more than once, and only one during the period that I have been president. This, of course, is Bangkok, which was the host of the CIBJO Congress in 2004. Needless to say, we are delighted to be back in this beautiful city and country.

A great deal has changed in the past 13 years, and this is particularly relevant to the jewellery and gemstone industries in Asia. During the period in question, the dominant feature has been the rising strength of China, which became the world’s second largest market, and in time will most likely become the first. India, another Asian nation, may one day compete with the United States for the number 2 spot.

However, there is another Asian economy that, to many in the jewellery industry, is still operating under the radar. Nonetheless, it should be spoken about on same level as China and India. I refer to the ASEAN Economic Community, which is a market of 625 million people and a collective GDP worth about $2.5 trillion. If ASEAN were a single country, it would already be the seventh-largest economy in the world, the third largest in Asia, and, according to Euromonitor, by 2030 the third largest economy worldwide as well.

Thailand is home to ASEAN’s second largest national economy, after Indonesia. Its other members include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

For members of the jewellery industry, the undisputed entry point into the ASEAN Economic Community is Bangkok, and that puts Thailand into a very powerful place, on condition that it is able to defend its market position in the region.

Given the size of the Thai gemstone and jewellery sector, its many years of experience, wealth of knowledge and expertise, not to mention its proven ability to consistently mass produce high-quality material, Bangkok’s hold on the position of primary ASEAN jewellery and gemstone trading centre would seem a foregone conclusion. But as many or us in the jewellery business know well, there are no reliable foregone conclusions. Our history features numerous stories about once dominant manufacturing and trade centres that saw their positions dwindle and decline.

Bangkok’s readiness to host forums like the CIBJO Congress, and what it represents, is a key step in consolidating Thailand’s prominent position in the region and the world, particularly in a market that increasingly is demanding that the products it buys can be clearly shown to have been responsibly handled along the entire chain of distribution, and that purchases of luxury products have social significance as well as monetary value.

The subjects that are discussed here, in the general sessions and in sessions of our various commissions, concern exactly those elements that are required to ensure an orderly and responsible trade in the 21st Century, and a socially conscious industry that realises its potential to provide social and economic opportunities in the countries where we are active.

Representatives of the Thai gemstone and jewellery sector have long had a distinguished presence in CIBJO, heading our commissions and helping formulate the rules, procedures and terminology that are used the world over. I call on them and a new generation of young Thai jewellery and gemstone professionals to continue this valuable work, which not only contributes to a better jewellery industry and trade, but helps ensure that this country strengthens its leadership position in the region and the world.

CIBJO is strongly supportive of the strengthening and growth of the Thai gemstone and jewellery centre, for we believe that it should be a foundation stone of the development of our business in Southeast Asia and beyond. We see no conflict in our working to promote and support national industries, because we believe very strongly in the principle that a rising tide raises all ships. I personally have worked with the industries and government of a variety of countries, among them Colombia, Peru, Sri Lanka, French Polynesia, Fiji and Italy, of course, with the goal of ensuring that, not only does the jewellery and gemstone sector meet its potential from a national perspective, but that its leads to growth and new opportunities regionally and internationally as well. Just this past September, we established the CIBJO European Jewellery Guild, which will be specifically charged with serving the specific interests of the jewellery and gemstone sector in Europe, particularly in terms of its relationship with the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament. There, too, we have a valuable role to play.

A little more than a year ago I spoke at a gathering here in Bangkok, focusing on the position of the Thai gemstone and jewellery sector. I did so in the presence of the Honourable Minister of Commerce, Mrs. Tantraporn.  I would like to repeat what I stated toward the end of my address.

From the world’s industry’s perspective, the Thai gemstone and jewellery must embody six elements to fulfill the potential that it already has:

  1. It must be recognised as the primary gateway to both the jewellery markets and the jewellery and gemstone suppliers in all countries of the ASEAN bloc.
  2. It must operate as an all-service gemstone and jewellery trading and production centre with a world-class business infrastructure.
  3. It must remain the world’s leading coloured gemstone trading and production centre.
  4. It must hold its position as a leading manufacturing centre for major jewellery brands and suppliers.
  5. It must be, as it has in the past, a leading centre for gem and gemmological research, services and education.
  6. And most importantly, it must be recognised as a centre that complies with ethical business practices, where the principles of transparency, traceability, Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability are of primary importance.

When I spoke yesterday, during the session about Corporate Social Responsibility in the jewellery sector, and the day before that during the World Ruby Forum, I discussed the essential framework that is required to demonstrate that coloured gemstones have been responsibly sourced and handled, throughout the chain of distribution. A viable system, I said, will need a cooperative effort involving the industry and those governments that have a vested interest in defending their coloured gemstone assets.

One of the most difficult challenges facing members of the coloured gemstone trade is ensuring the integrity of goods entering the pipeline, when more than 80 percent of rough materials are produced by artisanal or small-scale miners. It is a near-to-impossible task, especially for smaller lapidaries, jewellery manufacturers and retailers, who may be several stages removed from the mining phase.

But if government is prepared to assist in verifying the integrity of the miner, examining, sealing and certifying the goods according to an agreed-to protocol, it could help provide a viable solution to one of the most difficult challenges facing the trade. In this way, the government can ensure that it is obtaining proper benefit from its natural wealth, artisanal miners are able to participate in the legitimate trade, and members of the coloured gemstone and jewellery industry are better able to achieve true traceability.

We would be delighted to work with government in formulating the protocol that can make this happen.

Mr. Prime Minister, Madame Minister, CIBJO will do what we can to ensure that Thailand realises the great opportunities that stand before it. We do so not only to support you, but to support the growth and development of the gemstone and jewellery industry for all of us. Your success will be ours as well.

We thank you for your hospitality and generosity.

By | 2017-11-15T10:57:29+00:00 November 6th, 2017|NEWS|0 Comments
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