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Laboratory-Grown Diamond Working Group becomes primary focus of Diamond Commission

ABOVE: Udi Sheintal (left) and Jean-Pierre Chalain, respectively President and Vice President of the CIBJO Diamond Commission, during the body’s session at the CIBJO Congress in Bahrain on November 18, 2019.

NOVEMBER 19, 2019

Laboratory-grown or synthetic diamonds and CIBJO’s new Laboratory-Grown Diamond Working Group was the main subject on the minds of participants in the meeting of the Diamond Commission.

President Udi Sheintal asked the audience how they believed the Diamond Commission should cooperate with the new working group.

“I want to understand how you see us working together,” he told the meeting. “I don’t dispute that synthetics are a product with a market and a future but I want clear rules of engagement about working alongside each other.

Opening up the discussion to the floor, Charles Abouchar said what was needed was a clear definition about how CIBJO will work with the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Working Group. “I would have a problem with a Blue Book for the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Working Group. I think it would be more appropriate if it was an annex to the Diamond Book and not a separate book.

Other comments from the floor were that although laboratory-grown diamonds are a product, a new book was not suitable; and that whether a Blue Book or a guide it should be clear that CIBJO nomenclature is fully applied.

Mr. Sheintal said that comments would be forwarded to Sector A as the next step. “We need to see what shape and form the working group will take. It must use an agreed terminology so that not to confuse the consumer” he said. “I urge a constant dialogue between the Diamond Commission and the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Working Group,” he said in closing the agenda item.

Sheintal also raised the issue of the Retailers Reference Guide since it is 10 years and it was felt that it was time to upgrade it. “We received comments regarding the diamond sections and prepared a new guide. We are all set with the new draft for editing and layout. I thank De Beers, Alrosa and HRD for sharing images,” he commented, adding that there will only be an electronic version. “We took out the parts on laboratory-grown diamonds because it is not a Blue Book, but rather a promotional tool and so we felt we should concentrate purely on diamonds.”

The final issue was HS customs codes for synthetic diamonds. Since no HS codes for rough synthetic diamonds existed, but only codes for unworked synthetics gemstones in general volumes of these stones being imported and exported could not be tracked. CIBJO and the Kimberley Process requested that codes be created, and the World Custom Association has decided that from Sept 1, 2022 there will be different HS codes for rough synthetic diamonds, as well as polished.

Prior to closing the meeting, Mr. Sheintal informed colleagues that 2020 is review year for the Diamond Blue Book and requested any amendments and changes from commission member during the course of 2020.

Finally, Mr. Sheintal gave the floor to Mr. Chalain, Vice President of the Diamond Commission, who announced that synthetic diamonds overgrown on top of natural diamonds have been reported. He advised all diamond grading laboratories, either working on very small scale or on very large scale, to take all the necessary measures so that these artificial products would be positively identified prior to grading. Such measures should include luminescence imaging.

By |2019-11-19T13:38:05+00:00November 19th, 2019|NEWS|Comments Off on Laboratory-Grown Diamond Working Group becomes primary focus of Diamond Commission

Sustainability crucial but customisation also vital, Responsible Sourcing Commission is told

ABOVE: The Responsible Sourcing Commission in session on November 19 at the 2019 CIBJO Commission. Chairing the session is Philip Olden, the commission’s president.

NOVEMBER 19, 2019

The Responsible Sourcing Commission held it first official session on the opening day of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Bahrain on November 19, after the body was formally established at the conclusion of the CIBJO Congress in Colombia in 2018.

Philip Olden, President of the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Guidance Commission, said the body was established with the primary aims of supporting and providing guidance to CIBJO members, especially manufacturers, retailers and distributors. It also aims to reinforce United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), protect the reputation of the industry to fulfil a care of duty responsibility. Many of the UN SDGs are applicable to our industry, he commented.

“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 path of continuous improvement.”

CIBJO published the Responsible Sourcing Guidance document in October 2018 to provide an assurance of responsible sourcing. It is based on OECD Due Diligence Guidance, supports the Kimberley Process (KP) and UN guiding principles on human rights, and follows the OECD 5 step framework for supply chain due diligence.

The Commission’s Blue Book was published in December 2018, and approved by the CIBJO Board of Directors. He said that a responsible sourcing toolkit being created together with the Dragonfly Initiative is due for completion by the end of the year.

Mr. Olden said there was a range of challenges, such as fragmented supply chains and different levels of sophistication.

The jewellery industry has been the focus of scrutiny by civil society groups and government so it was incumbent on the jewellery industry to show that it is taking steps to protect the reputation of the industry and has a duty of care. CIBJO has provided simple guidance for industry to carry out due diligence. “We are there as a roadmap, not a standard or certification system, since not everyone has the ability to implement all the guidance immediately.”

The first panel member to comment was Tiffany Stevens, CEO and President of the U.S. Jewellers Vigilance Committee (JVC) who provided an update on the U.S. industry. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guides relate to jewellery advertising in the United States, and doesn’t relate to ethical supply chains. “Responsibility and sustainability in America is done by the big retailers who can write their own guides,” she said.

As for the JVC, it asked the FTC regarding consumers who want to buy ethically sourced jewellery and it pointed the JVC to the FTC’s Green Guides that apply to all industries that make any environmental claim.

“As climate change has gone mainstream, we see that responsibility and sustainability are taking a foothold in the US. Not so much in jewellery but in fashion and food. I would say that you must be compliant with federal anti-money laundering laws. If you are a foreign firm selling more than $50,000 of goods you are subject to U.S. laws. I would also say to pay special attention to California which is leading the country in consumer protection regulations.”

Iris van der Veken, Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council, explained that the body was founded in 2005, and now has 1,200 member companies, from mining to retail. It has recently added the coloured gemstones and silver businesses to its membership.

She spoke about the key messages being trust is the ultimate currency since consumers care and want to understand how a product is made. Building trust required an integrated approach. “The modern world is transparent, so people want to know where materials are from. She also spoke about the importance of transformative partnerships.

Felipe Morgado, UN Global Compact: said the SDGs asked firms to commit in areas of human rights, labour, anti-corruption and the environment which are the main themes behind the 17 SGDs.

“The UN provides the framework for companies to integrate the SGDs in their business models. The UN Global Compact Academy gives access free to all employees about how to work sustainably,” he said.

Assheton Carter, of The Dragonfly Initiative said most business are small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) especially in the jewellery industry. Being traceable right back to the mine is not easy. “The expectation to provide traceability is a high bar. Millennials have high expectations in this respect, but are not so willing to pay the high prices that this entails.

“Although we have to move to standardisation, small businesses don’t have big budgets for experts or the same carbon footprints as bigger firms so this needs to be tailored to their operations. We have created standards for small firms that are customisable. This is all free and will be on the CIBJO site by the end of the year. We have to be practical and adapt to the situation the ground.”

The Dragonfly Initiative, through the Coloured Gemstone Working Group that it facilitates, is currently working with CIBJO on a toolkit to help smaller companies implement the guidelines outlined in the Responsible Sourcing Blue Book.

Lea Ravnkilde Moller, Orbicon WSP, an expert in climate adaptation and urban development from Denmark said that sustainably development can be very difficult but that they should be able to adapt to some, or all, of the 17 SGDs. “One size fits all is not possible, so you can adapt it to your particular context.”

Marco Carniello of the Italian Exhibition Group and Michel Loris-Mellikof, CEO of BaselWorld, agreed that trade shows can be the platform for conveying messages and connecting with SMEs which are important to trade fairs. T

There must also be real commitment, said Mr. Carniello. “The IEG became an active participant in the UN, showing that we are not just hosting panels we embrace commitments to make a difference to the industry.

Mr. Loris-Mellikof added: “We must be realistic about what we require from our exhibitors. We are working with CIBJO to define objectives.”

By |2019-11-19T14:39:24+00:00November 19th, 2019|NEWS|Comments Off on Sustainability crucial but customisation also vital, Responsible Sourcing Commission is told

Legacy of Bahrain’s historic pearl industry highlighted during 2019 CIBJO Congress opening

ABOVE: The panel discussion, chaired by DANAT CEO Noora Jamsheer, which highlighted the natural pearl revival plan supported by the government of Bahrain, during the opening session of the 2019 CIBJO Congress on November 18, 2019.

NOVEMBER 19, 2019

The 2019 CIBJO Congress kicked off at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18 under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa who is the country’s Prime Minister. The three-day conference opened to a packed hall and heard about Bahrain’s historic pearl industry.

The guests of honour at the opening included HE Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister; and Chairman of Mumtalakat, Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund which owns the congress host, DANAT; HE Jawad Al Arayedh, Deputy Prime Minister; HE Wael Al Mubarak, Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs; HE Shaikh Fahad bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, Director General, Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister.

Khalid Al Rumaihi, CEO, of Mumtalakat, Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, said that that it established DANAT, Bahrain’s Institute for Pearls and Gemstones in 2017 as part of country’s effort to diversify the economy through the revival of the 5,000-year-old pearling sector, ending the reliance on oil.

He spoke of Bahrain’s pearl history going back thousands of years and which was a central part of the country’s heritage. He described how it had been an important source of trade from Roman times until the start of the 20th century. Bahrain and the Gulf region had been the only stable supplier to world markets despite oyster fishing starting elsewhere.

In the 1920s, Bahrain’s population was 74,000 and 20,000 people were involved in the pearling economy. However, it came to standstill in the 1930s due to the development of cultured pearl industry in other countries and the country’s shift to an oil-dependant economy.

Yaser Alsharifi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of DANAT, welcomed CIBJO and its global jewellery trade experts for staging this year’s congress.

He spoke about the pearling history of the last 4,000 years and Bahrain’s plan to preserve the pearl history by education, research and using innovative technologies. “Bahrain and CIBJO can work together to preserve the pearling industry. As leaders of the industry, we are at the forefront of ensuring sustainable responsibility and a legacy for the coming generations,” he said.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri said that Bahrain, just like Colombia where the 2018 Congress was held, also has a long jewellery legacy. Bahrain has the world’s longest operating jewellery trade due to its history dating back to Neolithic times.

Dr. Cavalieri spoke about the changes that have taken place at CIBJO where, almost 20 years ago, members were distinguished jewellers, but mostly European, male and middle-aged and older. “The resemblance between them and the industry we claimed to represent was becoming increasingly vague. What I said then was, if we were not prepared to change, and become more like the jewellery industry as it existed at the turn of the 21st century, we were destined to become irrelevant and possibly obsolete.

“Nineteen years later, if you look around you, you cannot help noticing that CIBJO is more reflective of the industry that we serve. There are still Europeans in the room, as there should be, but also Indians, Chinese, Arabs, Africans, Australians, Pacific Islanders and North and South Americans. There also are more women, but not as many as there should be. We have improved certainly, but still not achieved perfection.

“CIBJO, which is the most important body in the industry providing terminology that is understood in the same way by everybody, and creates rules and standards that are common across the globe, is the common thread that keeps us all together. Not only is CIBJO relevant, but in our evolving industry it is more relevant than ever. But for CIBJO to remain relevant we also have had to ensure that the range of subjects on our agenda reflect the most important challenges facing our industry.”

Delivering a keynote address, Professor Enrico Giovanni from the University of Rome’s Department of Economics and Finance, who is a former Minister of Labour in Italy and was a senior official at the OECD. He gave a comprehensive overview of economic trends, including population growth and the pressure that this creates on limited resources, and how they are affecting climate change.

“We have seen population numbers rise continuously,” he said. “This translates into pressures on governments and industry to raise production of food and other products. Unfortunately, this comes at a great cost in terms of the effect on the world’s climate and we are seeing the price that is being extracted.”

“We live in a world overflowing with people where the emphasis is on raising GDP, consumption and economic activity, but this is leading the world towards increasing instability, depletion of natural resources and a degrading environment, while developing nations are still aiming to lift people from poverty. We have to find a way of fitting in these competing claims while still working to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals,” he said.

Comparing the pearl legacy of Bahrain with Colombia’s emerald industry, Charles Burgess, President of EMS, owner of the Muzo mines in  Colombia, spoke about the 2018 CIBJO Congress in Bogota. He gave an overview of the emerald industry in Colombia in the past and the changes that have taken place through the work of his company and others.

“What pearls are for Bahrain, emeralds are for Colombia., Mr. Burgess said.

“We do not only mine the emeralds, but also have state-of-the-art gem cutting and polishing facilities. The importance of transparency and traceability cannot be overstated. When we arrived there 10 years ago, there were problems of violence, workers not being paid, poverty, damage to the environment, a human cost with no public services or steady employment.”

“We realised we couldn’t operate in this way. Buyers want information about the gems and the way workers live and any environmental costs.

“Common sense and good business practices guided us. As a result, we have never had any problems with government or local authorities. We have modern labour methods, formal employment structures in the area, no cash transactions due to drugs industry and money laundering, mine to market traceability, taxes and royalties paid in full, and the local community is a full partner and we have changed social conditions for the better,” he concluded.

Hanifa Mezoui, AICESIS (the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions) Permanent Representative to UN and ECOSOC spoke about the importance of Bahrain’s pearl trade. Bahrain has been an active member of the UN’s work for human development and was 43rd out of 189 countries.

“People living in poverty in Bahrain is zero and they are entitled to a wide range of basic services.”

She added that CIBJO has shown great commitment to sustainable development by its work with ECOSOC, especially in the protection of seas and land.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman DMCC, spoke about the work of the UAE in the Kimberley Process, especially when he was Chair in 2016 and travelled widely throughout Africa discovering the specific issues affecting African diamond producers.

He said that cultured pearls have also been a challenge to the UAE, which also has  sought to diversify its economy.

Ernie Blom, President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) spoke about CIBJO’s commitment to the entire spectrum of the jewellery industry – from precious metals, diamonds and gemstones to marketing, ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility and much more.

Mr. Blom also mentioned “the close cooperation between the WFDB and CIBJO that has proven to be so valuable, especially in recent years regarding our united stand on various challenges facing the industry. In light of the questionable advertising of the lab-grown diamond manufacturers in recent times, I believe that the necessity for us to work together has never been greater so that we can counter these claims and prevent consumer confusion regarding synthetics and diamonds. I have the greatest respect for CIBJO’s work, and I know that Gaetano feels the same way about the WFDB. We see eye-to-eye on the leading issues of our times and that allows us to enjoy close cooperation.”

By |2019-12-01T08:29:45+00:00November 19th, 2019|NEWS|Comments Off on Legacy of Bahrain’s historic pearl industry highlighted during 2019 CIBJO Congress opening

CIBJO Congress 2019 opens in Bahrain with focus on climate change and environmental sustainability

ABOVE: CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (third from right), with the guests of honour during the opening ceremony of the CIBJO Congress 2019, from right: HE Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister; and Chairman of Mumtalakat, Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund which owns the congress host, DANAT; HE Jawad Al Arayedh, Deputy Prime Minister; HE Wael Al Mubarak, Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs; HE Shaikh Fahad bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, Director General, Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister.

NOVEMBER 18, 2019

The 2019 CIBJO Congress has opened in Bahrain, with a call on the jewellery industry by CIBJO President Gaetano to take action on climate change, which he said was not an issue specific to the sector, but it is the “most important story of our time.”

“There is a tendency, when faced by a challenge of this magnitude, to feel that we as individuals are helpless,” Dr. Cavalieri continued. “But if each of us does nothing, the march towards inevitable environmental catastrophe will continue. However, if each of us acts, and then that is multiplied over and over and over, company by company, industry by industry, it may be possible to stave off disaster. It is the least we can do.”

The CIBJO Congress opening ceremony took place in the presence of HE Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, the Bahrain Deputy Prime Minister who also serves as Chairman of Mumtalakat, the country’ sovereign wealth fund, under which operates DANAT, Bahrain Institute for Pearls & Gemstones, the host of the congress; HE Jawad Al Arayedh, a Bahrain Deputy Prime Minister; HE Wael Al Mubarak, Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs of Bahrain; and HE Shaikh Fahad bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, Director General, Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister.

Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, address the opening session of the 2019 CIBJO Congress by video.

Lise Kingo, the Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, which is represented for the first time at a CIBJO Congress, addressed the gathering in a video message. In terms of global warming, she said, the world is at a pivotal moment.

“The good news is that we have the innovation, the tools and the expertise to turn the situation around, and transform the crisis into an opportunity,” Ms. Kingo stated.

“What we need now is leadership. That is why we at the UN Global Compact are asking business leaders to step up and commit to setting science-based targets, which are aligned with mitigating the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.”

In term of action, the CIBJO President urged companies active in the jewellery industry to sign into CIBJO’s Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative. It is designed to help companies within the jewellery and gemstone industries understand their environmental impact, reduce it, and protect themselves and the sector as a whole, as well as our planet.

“As an organisation, CIBJO first measured and offset its carbon emissions in 2013, and committed to continue with this policy, serving as a role model for the industry, with the intention of encouraging members to follow its lead. The 2015 CIBJO Congress in Salvador, Brazil, was the first jewellery industry event ever to be fully carbon neutral, and every congress since then, including this one in Bahrain, has and will be carbon neutral,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

In term of action, the CIBJO President urged companies active in the jewellery industry to sign into CIBJO’s Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative. It is designed to help companies within the jewellery and gemstone industries understand their environmental impact, reduce it, and protect themselves and the sector as a whole, as well as our planet.

“As an organisation, CIBJO first measured and offset its carbon emissions in 2013, and committed to continue with this policy, serving as a role model for the industry, with the intention of encouraging members to follow its lead. The 2015 CIBJO Congress in Salvador, Brazil, was the first jewellery industry event ever to be fully carbon neutral, and every congress since then, including this one in Bahrain, has and will be carbon neutral,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

Delegates and guests of honour during the opening session of 2019 CIBJO Congress in Bahrain.

In his address, Dr. Cavalieri pointed out other key subjects that will be addressed during the three-day congress in Bahrain. One is helping create an international standard for Fei Cui, which is the Chinese term for a range of jade compositions, of which the best known is jadeite. With a market size that is comfortably in excess of $8 billion per annum, “it is fair to say that, after diamonds, Fei Cui products make up the most valuable sector in our worldwide industry,” the CIBJO President stated.

The Chinese and Hong Kong industries are interested in advancing international standards for Fei Cui in cooperation with CIBJO, and in a special session at the congress in Bahrain on Tuesday, November 19, a delegation will present its case.

During a later session at the 2019 congress on November 18, the Laboratory Grown Diamond-Working Group will present a proposed guidance document, design to create responsible trading standards for the new product category, which will simultaneously protect consumer confidence both in laboratory-grown and natural diamonds.

“The only ground rules that were provided to the working group was that it members needed be committed to defending the interests of consumers by being absolutely transparent about the identity of the products being sold, and there should be general agreement that neither the natural diamond or laboratory-grown diamond sectors should advance their respective interests by disparaging those of the other,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

The 2019 CIBJO Congress is taking place in Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, November 18-20. 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, Gemmological and responsible Sourcing Blue Books, which are industry’s most widely accepted directories of uniform grading and business standards and nomenclature, are discussed and updated.

By |2019-11-18T17:15:11+00:00November 18th, 2019|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO Congress 2019 opens in Bahrain with focus on climate change and environmental sustainability

CIBJO Congress 2019 set to kick off in Bahrain on November 18, agendas and related documentation now online

NOVEMBER 15, 2019

With the 2019 CIBJO Congress set to open in Manama, Bahrain, in three 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 2019 CIBJO Congress will take place in Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, November 18-20, with pre-congress meetings on November 16 and 17.

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.

Hosting the CIBJO Congress 2018 is DANAT, the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones.

By |2019-11-15T12:18:14+00:00November 15th, 2019|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO Congress 2019 set to kick off in Bahrain on November 18, agendas and related documentation now online

CIBJO releases Coral Special Report, focuses on global warming effects and conservationism

‘Heart,’ carved from Mediterranean Coral (Carallium rubrum) by Jan Fabre. From the Liverino Collection, Torre del Greco, Italy. It was the first time that coral was used as a primary medium in a contemporary piece by the renowned artist. © Jan Fabre 2019

NOVEMBER 6, 2019

With fewer than two weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the ninth and the last of this year’s CIBJO commission Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Coral Commission, headed by Vincenzo Liverino, the report is dominated by environmental topics, and in particular the efforts by the industry to address the impact of global warming. It also reports on the worldwide effort to protect biodiversity and the various coral species.

As the report notes, no precious coral species are considered endangered by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, although four varieties are listed in Appendix III, which requires the relevant authorities in each country to determine that specimens were acquired legally. The four Appendix III-listed precious coral species are Aka or Oxblood coral (Corallium japonicum), which lives in Japanese waters; Momo or Angel’s Skin coral (Pleurocorallium elatius), which can be found off the coasts of Japan and Taiwan; Pure White or Shiro coral (Pleurocorallium konojoi), which lives in Vietnamese waters; and Midway coral (Corallium secundum), which lives mainly off the coast of the U.S. State of  Hawaii.

In the report, Mr. Liverino writes about a CIBJO initiative involving the identification of precious coral species using new DNA sequencing technology. This is being done in cooperation with the Federico II University in Naples, Italy, and in particular with the support of Professor Di Cosmo. DNA fingerprinting, the Coral Commission President explains, will allow members of trade to comply with current environmental legislation and international regulations, and also to meet conservationist concerns in the consumer markets.

The special report also discusses carbon-14 dating of precious coral and a range of educational tools that have been developed by the Coral Commission for use in the industry.

Concluding the report, Mr. Liverino urges members of the sector to sign on to CIBJO’s Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative, as part of the worldwide effort to address the devastating effects of global warming. “It is essential that industry recognize that carbon neutrality requires more than simply awareness, but actions as well. Carbon auditing is a first step and the CIBJO initiative in an important support mechanism,” he writes

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

By |2019-11-06T10:59:30+00:00November 6th, 2019|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO releases Coral Special Report, focuses on global warming effects and conservationism

CIBJO releases Pearl Special Report, looks at environmental challenges and opportunities

OCTOBER 30, 2019

With fewer than three weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the eighth of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Pearl Commission, headed by Kenneth Scarratt, it looks at the growing impact of environmental and conservationist factors on the pearl sector, noting that these pose challenges but also provide opportunities for the industry.

A case in point is the Philippines, where Mr. Scarratt notes that climate and environmental changes have had a significant effect on pearl production. These relate to greater fluctuations in water temperature, ocean acidification, and the changing of the plankton profile, which has affected the survival rate of certain batches of oysters, as well as the overall growth rate.

“These changes present both challenges and opportunities. Obviously, the main challenge is the lower volume of production that will be available for distribution to the global market. On the other hand, this also serves as an opportunity because, with the lower biomass density, comes the potential to achieve a higher quality output,” he notes.

The report also looks at natural pearls. While rare, nowadays they most commonly are a by-product of the seafood industry, and in this respect could be subject to restrictions imposed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna (CITES), as is the case with the Queen conch, off the coast of Mexico.

One country where fishing specifically for natural pearl-producing oysters still takes place is Bahrain, the venue of 2019 CIBJO Congress. The waters around the island nation have been producing natural pearls for some 4,000 years and continue to do so to this day, in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colours, writes Mr. Scarratt, who also notes that this is the only type of pearling that takes place in the kingdom.

The oyster variety located off the waters of Bahrain is Pinctada radiata, which is the same type of oyster being used to culture pearls at two facilities in the United Arab Emirates. A consequence of the production from the UAE is that one should no longer automatically assume that a pearl’s Pinctada radiata origin determines that it is natural, Mr. Scarratt notes.

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

By |2019-10-30T11:33:35+00:00October 30th, 2019|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO releases Pearl Special Report, looks at environmental challenges and opportunities

CIBJO releases Gemmological Special Report, considers process of separating measurable facts from opinion

OCTOBER 23, 2019

With fewer than four weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the seventh of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Gemmological Commission, headed by Hanco Zwaan, it considers measures that should be taken to ensure that a person reading a laboratory report understands what information is measurable fact and what information represents the opinion of the gemmologist.

“Dividing the report so that there is a section with test results and a section with interpretations or opinions may cause even more confusion. The more prudent policy could well be what some laboratories already do, and that is clearly stating on their report that specific results – such as those dealing with origin—are in fact opinions,” Mr. Zwaan writes.

The readiness of many gem labs to assign variety names to gemstones, despite there currently not being universally accepted gemmological standards for those names, is particularly controversial, and has been driven more by commercial interests rather than science. “The general attitude has been that, as long as new variety names were not in conflict with science, logic, or other, already given names, they could be accepted,” he notes.

“Conflict with commercial interests are fraught with problems,” Mr. Zwaan continues, citing the case of Paraiba tourmaline, which most commonly is recognised by its distinctive colour, but some insist also needs to have been sourced in the Brazilian state of Paraiba. This means that similarly coloured tourmaline from Mozambique and Nigeria should not share the same variety name.

“Does that make Paraiba tourmaline a variety or brand?” he asks.

“What we do know is that, historically, once a brand or trading name becomes widely accepted in the public sphere, it is more likely to be used as a variety name. This in itself is a compelling enough reason to define variety names precisely,” the President of Gemmological Commission states in the special report.

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

By |2019-10-23T08:33:51+00:00October 23rd, 2019|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO releases Gemmological Special Report, considers process of separating measurable facts from opinion

CIBJO releases Ethics Special Report, examines international frameworks and proper disclosure

OCTOBER 16, 2019

With fewer than five weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the sixth of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Ethics Commission, headed by Tiffany Stevens, it covers a variety of topics, including the increasing number of international conventions with which members of the jewellery industry are expected to comply, and recommended processes of disclosure.

“Responsible business standards being applied in the jewellery industry are meshing further and further with those used internationally, and with frameworks that govern other industries around the globe. It is important that jewellery industry companies fully understand their responsibilities under these complex sets of expectations, and they communicate them effectively and directly with their supply-chain partners and ultimately the consumer,” Ms. Steven writes.

“A few key systems to keep in mind include the OECD frameworks, with special attention to the organisation’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict Affected and High-Risk Areas, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the FTC Jewellery Guides in the United States, ISO standards, the World Diamond Council System of Warranties, and the perhaps-evolving definition of “conflict” under the Kimberly Process,” she continues.

Government scrutiny of the jewellery supply chain’s adherence to ethical business practices is becoming increasingly common, the CIBJO Ethics Commission President notes, citing a recent meeting of jewellery industry leaders with officials of the U.S. State Department,  where the industry was counselled to abide with standards for managing risks to women in the minerals, responsible sourcing and jewellery supply chain, as well as complying with Anti-Money Laundering and other measures to prevent malign activity.

Noting that it is the consumers’ right to know how the how their jewellery and its components affected the environment and the lives of people as it journeyed along the supply chain, she states that being forthright, fully descriptive and making all disclosures clear and easy to understand is imperative.

“When seen globally, we have at our disposal an amazingly complex system of frameworks, definitions and semantics,” Ms. Stevens writes. “But as a trade we should aim for the simplest, most direct forms possible when communicating with consumers, and these should be standard in the sales representative’s in-store pitch to a potential customer, on invoices, on social media and online – wherever products are bought and sold.”

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

By |2019-10-16T09:02:50+00:00October 16th, 2019|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO releases Ethics Special Report, examines international frameworks and proper disclosure

CIBJO releases Coloured Stone Special Report, looking at technology’s impact and challenge of variety names

OCTOBER 9, 2019

With fewer than six weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the fifth of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Coloured Stone Commission, headed by Charles Abouchar, the report looks at opportunities provided by new technologies, and also at the vexing issue of gemstone variety names being used for marketing purposes, with few if any agreed to gemmological standards.

“One would surmise that, with the pace of technological advancement today, the challenges facing the coloured gemstone sector would be lessening in number,” Mr. Abouchar writes. “But, as we discover time and time again, both technology and human ingenuity have a tendency to create new challenges and transform old ones. We have our work cut out for us.”

“However, as an organisation committed to instilling ethical business practices, technology enables us to reach out to our colleagues in ways that once were not possible,”  he continues, noting that over the past year CIBJO has made two landmark guides available to the industry – the “Do’s and Don’ts,” which provides easy-to-understand guidelines for industry professionals about the rules and methods for the accurate disclosure and description of natural materials, treated materials and artificial products, as well as recommendations about information that should be requested from suppliers; and the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Blue Book, which recommends procedures by which all participants in the jewellery supply chain may undertake supply-chain due diligence. Both can be downloaded at no cost from the CIBJO website.

Describing unsubstantiated coloured gemstone variety names as the “biggest challenge our trade is facing right now,” Mr. Abouchar notes that there are numerous instances of the same descriptive names being assigned according to different standards, each time in accordance with the individual guidelines of various gemmological laboratories.

“Starting with more classical descriptive terms, like ‘pigeon blood’ and ‘royal blue,’ some laboratories began developing their own nomenclature, creating new descriptive names for a wide range of colours. Apparently, this is a mutually beneficial business strategy for both the laboratories and the dealers,” he writes.

Surmising that technology may eventually provide a solution to the problem, it is nonetheless imperative that the industry act quickly before consumer confidence is compromised. CIBJO’s  Coloured Stone Commission will work in close collaboration with the organisation’s Gemmological Commission to establish standards and parameters for variety names, he notes.

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

By |2019-10-15T18:16:28+00:00October 9th, 2019|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO releases Coloured Stone Special Report, looking at technology’s impact and challenge of variety names
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