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Virtual congress closes with second Marketing & Education and Ethics session, looking at handling, regulation and securing of digital data in industry

ABOVE: The joint session of  the Marketing & Education Commission and Ethics Commission, looking at the ethical and legal implications of collecting, handling and securing digital data, on the final day of the Virtual CIBJO Congress, November 18, 2021.

Jonathan Kendall, President of the CIBJO Marketing & Education Commission.

Tiffany Steven, President of the CIBJO Ethics Commission.

Stephane Fischler, Chair of the CIBJO Technology Committee.

NOVEMBER 19, 2021

The final webinar of the Virtual 2021 CIBJO Congress 2021 was held on November 18, and it was the second of two open online events hosted jointly by CIBJO’s Marketing & Education Commission and Ethics Commission. As with the first session, it was again moderated by the commissions’  presidents, respectively Jonathan Kendall and Tiffany Stevens. It was prepared together with CIBJO’s Technology Committee, whose chair, Stephane Fischler, was also a panellist.

The focus of the session was the increasingly digital environment that the jewellery business is now operating in, and more specifically the implications, opportunities and potential dangers of working with big data, particularly where it is related to consumers at the retail end of the distribution chain.

With online trading platforms, artificial intelligence and experiential shopping and marketing fast being adopted by players in the industry, the jewellery business is being transformed. The panel discussed issues surrounding consumer data which, although it has become a valuable commodity, there has been little discussion to date about how it should be collected, securely stored and used.

The panel began with Mr. Kendall asking Miya Owens, Associate Counsel and Mediation Director, Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), about how the jewellery business goes about collecting consumer data. She, together with Ms. Stevens, had authored the just-released Ethics Commission Special Report, entitled “Traversing the ethical and legal minefield associated with collecting and handling personal data,” which can be downloaded by CLICKING HERE.

Ms. Owens said that retail jewellers collect data which directly identifies people with their names, IP addresses, and other identifiers when people visit websites. Some jewellery stores also install beacon devices to see where people drawn to and, and who which helps tell them decide on staffing needs and the most popular periods of the day for customer visits.

She said that jewellery businesses should be aware of data protection laws and their legal obligations in collecting and using data, adding that consulting with specialist lawyers would give a higher degree of protection.

She warned about the cost to retailers of not protecting if they are hacked, as well as the reputational hit to the company. “Make sure to do regular audits. Survey the data you are collecting and if there is a valid reason for having it, where you store it, and who has access to the data in your firm,” she said, adding that retailers should also consider insurance.

Mr. Fischler said it was important to note the difference between consent and trust, such as where people are asked to provide consent when visiting a website. “To really earn the trust of consumers there must be an assurance that the data be completely guarded.”

He suggested segmenting all of the company’s departments to make data more secure. “Talk to your competitors to see how they are handling the issue of data, and to Internet and security providers so you are able to stay on top of the data. Regarding the risk of a breach of data, I would advise keeping copies of your data offline. You need to be focused on the data and not allow huge caches of data to fall victim to ransomware.”

Erich Jacobs, President, Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT), described how the increasing use of data is allowing retailers to more effectively plan their inventory.

Meanwhile, Michael Donaldson, Facilitator, National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) JET Business Network, described his previous experience in the consumer goods sector in securing and analyzing data. “Market share is the battleground for retailers. They use it to guide decisions. Data is gold dust when used effectively; if not, it is just dust. An opinion without data is just an opinion, and if you don’t use data that you have collected, then it’s just data.”

Mr. Donaldson said he had been involved in the jewelry industry for the past 20 years and had been shocked at the lack of independent data available. “There was no appetite for jewellery data. There were many missed opportunities. There was no hard data outside of the big retailers with their electronic point of sale information.”

Mr. Jacobs spoke about the key opportunities for American jewellers in using data. “We are seeing the ability to manage inventory, and to better target your marketing.”

In answer to a question on what to do when you have too much data and how to prioritise it, Mr. Fischler replied: “It’s not an easy task. It’s up to you how to apply it to your business. I would advise never to be shy and to ask for advice. A lot of people have been afraid to get into data because they didn’t know how to use it. You have to use the data that your business produces, but you have to use it wisely.”

Mr. Donaldson pointed out that data does not always have to be of the most sophisticated type. “There are many types of data. Look at your stock and see how much of it you sold in years one, two and three and draw conclusions from that. Even DIY data can work. Know what you want from the data and your key performance indicators, but don’t have too many. Make sure to focus on your main points. Above all, don’t make the data support a preconceived idea.”

Asked what factors would lead to a reduction in data collection, Mr. Jacobs said that changing regulations would have an effect because they will get tighter. “There will also be changes in how cyber insurance is being underwritten; it will also become tighter with more demands by the insurance companies and reduced coverage.”

Looking to the future, Mr. Donaldson said: “There will be a degree of reversal from online to bricks and mortar operations, as is happening at Blue Nile and Amazon because people making an emotional purchase want to see, hold and feel jewellery before purchasing. I also think that old fashioned jewellery retailers need to pay attention to the fact that affluent baby boomers are very different to Millennials and Gen Z who have grown up in a digital world and have different values. They expect retailers to have an opinion on sustainability and related issues. They won’t accept any excuses, and that is not going to decline in the future due to the march of technology.”

Similarly, Mr. Fischler commented that the new and younger generation of consumers have a different view on privacy. “There will be an explosion of information being collected by retailers and they will have to carefully decide how they use it,” he said.

The session closed with final words being delivered by CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri. Declaring the virtual congress to have been an unmitigated success, which allowed for the participation of hundreds who otherwise might not have attended the event, he said that, in the future, in-person congresses will return, but the virtual elements would need to be maintained as well, so as to provide as many delegates from around the world as possible the opportunity to participate as they did in 2021.

Dr. Cavalieri thanked, by name, the heads of all CIBJO commissions, committees and sectors, whose hard work and preparation he said played a critical role in success of the congress.

He then declared that the CIBJO General Assembly was now open. It will be formally be concluded at a hybrid in-person/streaming gathering in Vicenza, Italy, on January 24 and 25, 2022, hosted by the Italian Exhibition Group.

View the video recording of the open session of the CIBJO Marketing & Education Commission and CIBJO Ethics Commission, together with the CIBJO Technology Committee, on November 18, 2021.

By |2021-11-22T11:04:40+01:00November 19th, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on Virtual congress closes with second Marketing & Education and Ethics session, looking at handling, regulation and securing of digital data in industry

Gemmological and biological research are both spotlighted, as Coral Commission traverses the world

ABOVE: Hideki Kawamura reviewing  of the work of the Precious Coral Protection and Development Association of Japan (NPO), during the Coral Commission session on November 17, 2021.

Vincenzo Liverino, President of the CIBJO Coral Commission.

Rui Galopim de Carvalho, Vice President of the Coral Commission.

Kenneth Scarratt, Vice President of the CIBJO Coral Commission.

NOVEMBER 18, 2021

CIBJO’s Coral  Commission met in formal session at the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress on November 17, 2021. The meeting on Zoom was moderated by Commission President Vincenzo Liverino, assisted by Vice Presidents Rui Galopim de Carvalho and Kenneth Scarratt. With delegates and contributors from across the world, the session dealt with both gemmological and biological research into precious coral.

Mr. Scarratt presented a report on a study made by the ICA GemLab in Bangkok, which he heads, on describing the colour of the Mediterranean coral (Corallium rubrum). The goal of the project had been to devise a simple and easy methods of communicating colour descriptions.

After studying the colours of a significant number of samples provided by the trade, the ICA GemLab was able to discern 20 to 30 different shades. However, after considerable testing, it was proposed to reduce the number to five colour categories. These are “Deep Red,” “Red,” “Deep Pink,” “Pink” and “Light Pink.”

“We were trying to provide a color communication system that can be easily replicated by people around the world in the coral trade,” Mr Scarratt explained.

“We looked at hundreds of different samples. We tried to keep it as simple as possible. Each of the color samples shall be considered as the centre-point for every relevant colour descriptive term. We believe that this provides a good starting point.”

The Commission then heard an update on the work on coral research by the Monte Carlo Scientific Centre from Dr Sylvie Tambutté, which conducts research on marine, medical and polar biology. She explained that the marine department looked at the functioning of coral systems. The centre has coral culture rooms and 60 species in its tanks.

There are also experimental rooms where the temperature and light can be altered, as well as coral laboratories. “We can inspect very small pieces of live coral. We also look at tropical corals, and the effect of environmental parameters and bleaching. We look at all the organisms that live within coral, and at paleoclimatology and its effect on coral,” she explained.

Dr Tambutté said that the Monte Carlo Scientific Centre is a member of the secretariat of ICRI – the International Coral Reef Initiative – which has carried out 40 years of research and found that 14 percent of coral disappeared in the nine years up to 2018.

Hideki Kawamura then gave a review of the work of the Precious Coral Protection and Development Association of Japan (NPO). He spoke about the transplanting project of the Kuroshio Biological Research Foundation, which recorded a very successful survival rate of 99.1 percent. This was phase two of a wider project that began in 2016 aiming at the reforestation of the seabed with the local deep red “oxblood” Corallium japonicum and the pure white Pleurocorallium konojoi.

He also spoke on the issue of much older “fossilised” precious coral that comprises much of the current and historical catches in the Japanese waters. Radiocarbon dating of samples indicated ages of dead corals dating back as far as 5500 BCE. It was found that dead corals accounted for 86 percent of precious corals processed in Japan over the past 30 years.

Rui Galopim de Carvalho, Vice President of the Coral Commission, pointed out that CIBJO defines precious coral in a much more restrictive way than the wider scientific community. The jewellery industry restricts precious corals to those few species in the Corallidae family and the scientific community accepts in that definition all corals that may be used in adornments. This clarification is very important when interpreting the published literature on the subject, he stressed..

Moya McKeown, of Carbon-Expert Ltd , then gave an update on the work of CIBJO’s Jewellery Industry Greenhouse Gas Measurement Initiative. She explained to members the importance of reducing carbon footprints how it can be relatively easily and inexpensively achieved.

Mr Liverino urged members to take part in the carbon free initiative. “In addition to saving money, you can also communicate to the industry and consumers that you are working in the right direction,” he said.

By |2021-11-22T08:56:38+01:00November 18th, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on Gemmological and biological research are both spotlighted, as Coral Commission traverses the world

Sustainability and its place in the Pearl Guide hold the attention of the CIBJO Pearl Commission

ABOVE: The Pearl Commission Steering Committee in session before the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress.

Kenneth Scarratt, President of the CIBJO Pearl Commission.

NOVEMBER 18, 2021

CIBJO’s Pearl Commission, meeting in formal session during the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress on November 17, 2021, held a comprehensive discussion on the issue of adding a pearl sustainability section to the CIBJO Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls. It followed what Commission President Ken Scarratt said was a lengthy debate and unanimous approval of the proposal in the Pearl Steering Committee. The issue was also approved by the commission.

Mr. Scarratt serves as president of the Pearl Commission alongside vice presidents Shigeru Akamatsu, Jacques Branellec and Peter Bracher.

Released in 2020, the CIBJO Guide for Classifying Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls is a 62-page illustrated document that provides an overarching view of natural and cultured pearls, from both seawater and freshwater sources. In its current format, it highlights the important parameters by which pearls’ appearances can be described and assessed in terms of physical dimensions and quality. Compiled by the CIBJO Pearl Commission, it is designed to serve as a reference point and a source of information for both the general public and the jewelry trade. The guide can be downloaded free of charge from the CIBJO website by CLICKING HERE.

“There is a working group that is ready to create a roadmap and to share information that everyone can understand,” said Mr. Scarratt. “The time is right to create such a document.”

Commission member Laurent Cartier said that people have been interested in the subject for the past several years, and the present moment was right for CIBJO to address it. “In the Steering Committee, it was suggested that the sustainability section would be a small part of the Pearl Guide and what it means for production of all kinds of pearls in a general way. We are not setting standards or policing, but rather aim to provide a good overview of what sustainability means for the pearl trade,” he stated.

“We have a shortlist of people who can start on it right after this meeting,” Mr. Scarratt said. “We would be happy to include a few more members who feel that they could bring a meaningful contribution. We are looking for people with a passion and knowledge of the subject. They do not necessarily have to be pearl traders, as long as they have knowledge about sustainability.”

Shigeru Akamatsu, Vice President of the CIBJO Pearl Commission.

Jacques Branellec , Vice President of the CIBJO Pearl Commission.

Peter Bracher, Vice President of the CIBJO Pearl Commission.

Pierre Fallourd told members that the idea came about several years ago because companies have gone in different directions with their claims and stories regarding their pearls. It was felt that the time was right for a sustainability section to be produced and that CIBJO provided the right platform and would bring structure and order. “It would be great if there are scientists who have produced papers on bio-diversity, sustainability and other related issues on oysters. We would be happy to share this information,” he said.

Coral Commission President Enzo Liverino suggested that the Mont Carlo Scientific Centre might be able to help. The institute, which a specializes also in marine biology, already supports the work of the Coral Commission.

“All growers have their own idea and concept about sustainability, so it is important that CIBJO shows a clear direction,” remarked Commission Vice President Akamatsu.

Meanwhile, on the issue of amendments to the Pearl Blue Book, Mr. Scarratt told the commission that the steering committee had not put any forward at this stage, because they are due in 2022. However, he noted that commission member Gina Latendresse had pointed out that, while Lobatus gigas (also known as Strombus gigas) was added to the book in the present edition just two years ago, it has now been renamed as Aliger gigas (also known as Strombis gigas).

“We will move for amendments next year, but Strombus gigas will not disappear because it is so well known,” he said.

Referring to Pearl Guide, which had originally received approval for publication following the 2019 Congress in Bahrain, Mr. Scarratt said: “I’ve heard many positive comments and feedback. There has been strong interest in having it translated into several languages, including Italian, Portuguese, Arabic and French, with the Thai translation having already been done. The other translations are in progress or we are about to begin the process.”

Toward the end of the session, it was reported that Mr. Akamatsu would soon be replaced by Ryuichiro Machizawa in all issues relating to the Japanese representation to the Pearl Steering Committee and Commission. But it was noted that Mr. Akamatsu, who has served for many years as a vice president, will remain a highly valued and contributing member.  Mr. Scarratt paid tribute to his  dedication to the commission’s work.

Mr. Machizawa spoke of his pleasure in joining the Pearl Steering Committee and Commission and providing information about developments in Japan.

By |2021-11-22T09:11:19+01:00November 18th, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on Sustainability and its place in the Pearl Guide hold the attention of the CIBJO Pearl Commission

Coloured Stone Commission considers proposed changes to definitions and descriptions of treatments in the CIBJO Blue Book

ABOVE: Coloured Stone Commission in session during the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress on November 16, 2021.

Charles Abouchar, President of the CIBJO Coloured Stone Commission.

Nilam Alawdeen, Vice President of the CIBJO Coloured Stone Commission.

Emmanuel Piat, Vice President of the CIBJO Coloured Stone Commission.

NOVEMBER 17, 2021

CIBJO’s Coloured Gemstone Commission met in formal session on November 16, 2021, during the second week of the CIBJO Congress, and conducted a wide-ranging and vigorous discussion about suggested changes to a variety of subjects in the Coloured Stone Blue Book, among them proposals relating to the definition of treated gemstones, the list of gemstone treatments, surface waxing, fissure filling with oil, fissures filled with resin, and others.

The meeting was moderated by the commission president, Charles Abouchard, whose vice presidents are Nilam Alawdeen and  Emmanuel Piat.

There was also a discussion about information requirements for treated gemstones and for informing consumers about the treatments carried out on the stones set in jewellery. More specifically, the commission discussed whether price tags should include information about the stone being offered for sale.

Mr. Abouchar spoke of the differences between Japan and Europe where a detailed description is not provided or required on jewellery pieces in Europe. “We are looking for a way of getting it right for everyone if possible. We have not yet found a solution that can be applied around the world. Let’s look at this again to see if there is a better way,” he said.

“There is also the issue of having so many sales platforms today. Many adverts do not show the price of the jewelry item but are more of a branding exercise for the company,” Mr. Abouchar added.

Sector A President Roland Naftule, which is responsible in CIBJO for all the commissions and committees covering gem materials, said members should be absolutely sure about the changes that they agree to because the topics debated, particularly regarding the use of oil in gemstones, have been discussed frequently in the past. “I would like to point out that a great deal of work goes into the Coloured Stone Commission Blue Book as compared to some other Blue Books, which are less complex. That has always been the case,”he stated.

“I have been working on it for close to 50 years,” Mr. Naftule continued. “People expect a lot more precise information these days. Younger people want to be sure about what they are buying,  so we must take this into account all the time. It’s a living document that can be changed and it’s important that our members, wherever they are, know about it. I would ask anyone using it and seeing an issue that needs to be addressed to let the commission know. We will never get full acceptance across the world but there are general changes that all can agree to.”

Mr. Abouchar said that comments received at the meeting would go back to the steering committee and nothing would be accepted until agreed by Sector A and then the board of directors. “Only then it will go online. Until then, the old Blue Book will be online. We hope to have new version available as soon as possible in 2022.”

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri gave a brief explanation of the due diligence done in CIBJO and the decision-making system that is employed, for the benefit of new CIBJO members and observers of the proceedings. He described how debates are held and decisions passed up to the Sector A Commission and finally to the CIBJO Board of Directors.

“It is important to explain the reason for the discussions that our commissions hold at Congress is due to commitment to upholding consumer confidence. CIBJO’s authority in the industry is a function of the due diligence that is done – in the commission steering committees, commissions, sectors and the Board of Directors – every time there is an amendment or addition to a Blue Book,” he said.

By |2021-11-22T09:29:59+01:00November 17th, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on Coloured Stone Commission considers proposed changes to definitions and descriptions of treatments in the CIBJO Blue Book

Harmonization of terminology for responsible supply chain management focus of Joint Session of Marketing & Education and Ethics Commissions

ABOVE: The joint session of  the Marketing & Education Commission and Ethics Commission, featuring  on right of screen (clockwise from top left) Jonathan Kendall, Tiffany Stevens, Feriel Zerouki, John Henn, Gaetano Cavalieri, Richard Hughes, Jared Holstein and Edward Johnson.

Jonathan Kendall, President of the CIBJO Marketing & Education Commission.

Tiffany Steven, President of the CIBJO Ethics Commission.

Feriel Zerouki, Chair of the CIBJO Jewellery Industry Supply Chain Nomenclature Committee.

NOVEMBER 16, 2021

In the first of two 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress open sessions hosted jointly by CIBJO’s Marketing & Education Commission and Ethics Commission, which took place on November 15, 2021, panellists discussed the difficulty of creating universally agreed-to nomenclature for the management of responsible supply chains.

Moderated by the respective presidents, Jonathan Kendall and Tiffany Stevens, the commissions looked at the issue of sustainability in the jewellery and gem sectors, from the marketing, educational, ethical and legal perspectives, and more specifically focused on the language used in the industry in this respect. They were assisted by Edward Johnson, moderator of CIBJO’s Jewellery Industry Voices webinar series, and CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri also participated.

The work of a new CIBJO body, the Jewellery Industry Supply Chain Nomenclature Committee, was highlighted and presented by its Chair, Feriel Zerouki. She explained that it has been developing clear and distinct definitions for terms that are frequently used interchangeably in the industry, like “source,” “origin” and “provenance.” Ms. Zerouki is the Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, at the De Beers Group.

“We started noticing some years ago that the nomenclature was not right,” Ms. Zerouki said. “With the pandemic allowing us to attend many online conferences, it became clear that people in panels were talking about the same topics, but using different terminology in discussions on marketing, traceability and other industry subjects. We would like everyone in the industry to talk in the same way.”

She said that the issue of nomenclature had to apply to precious stones and metals because consumers buy finished jewellery products not the individual elements. “There is a clear lack of harmonization across the entire supply chain.”

She explained that the committee that she chairs includes all the heads of CIBJO’s commissions and has been meeting for more than a year. “It is difficult to get alignment, but we all understand the need. The focus is on consumer confidence, so we want to be aligned.”

Jared Holstein, Owner, D’Amadeo in San Francisco, spoke about a similar project with which he has been involved following the Jewellery Industry Summit of 2016 in the United States. “Education is a challenge if people are using different terms,” he said. “It leads to confusion among industry members and consumers.”

“We have a working group made up of a number of members of the jewellery trade,” he said. “In 2019 we published the first 10 definitions. We tried to be accurate, relevant, brief and understandable to lay people. It’s a continuous process because there is a growing list of terms which change over time.”

John Henn, owner of Henns Family Jewellers, a specialty retailer in England, spoke about a similar project in the United Kingdom run by the National Association of Jewellers. “There are many new people entering our industry all the time and many don’t know about our CIBJO discussions, and the names and terms allowed. The NAJ is next year due to publish a document to give all jewellers in the U.K. information, so that they follow the right protocols,” he said.

“People looking for taglines for laboratory-grown diamonds, for example, don’t research the subject enough and don’t know what the names should be, meaning that nomenclature that is not allowed is being used. I am not sure everyone is trying to do the right thing. Many people are bending the rules and pay only a very small penalty. People who are misleading the public should be punished much more,” he stated.

Speaking on the issue of how to prevent companies from making false claims, Mr Henn said: “I’d like to see industry organisations naming and shaming firms that are not toeing the line. Some firms are slipping though the net.”

Richard Hughes, owner of Lotus Gemology, who is based in Bangkok, commented on the issue from the grading labs point of view. “There are some labs that are in it only for the money. It’s difficult to police what all the labs are doing. Where there is a big business advantage, then unfortunately people will go down that route,” he said.

“There have been some industry groups that have tried to discuss nomenclature questions, but the results have been less than perfect. The issue of treatment disclosure, for example, has been discussed for more than the 40 years that I have been in the trade, and it is still going on. There is a lot of backsliding where labs use codes on their reports rather than full descriptions, which they only put in small print on the back of the reports. At Lotus Gemology, we have tried to find a way around this by colour coding our reports. But we fight an uphill battle because many labs in Bangkok continue to use codes rather than openly-stated comments,” he said.

Ms. Zerouki pointed out that said the meaning of the word “origin” has changed over the years. “Origin only gives location, but the important point is how it was sourced and whether it is in line with OECD responsible sourcing guidelines,” she stated.

She warned against generalizations based on geography. There are “bad actors” everywhere, she said. “It’s the actors themselves not the products. The situation in certain states is bad and we need to engage regarding these issues with the actors involved. You don’t just cut off a country.”

Mr. Holstein was asked if, due to online shopping, there is an even greater need for definitions. “I do believe that is the case because we saw a big rise in jewellery sales during the pandemic and that led to an explosion of advertising claims. Anything that causes consumer confusion is bad.”

“We all representatives of the industry in our group,” he said, referring to the initiative that he is part of, developing supply chain nomenclature in the United States. “We would be interested in getting input from upstream stakeholders to receive a full understanding of the thoughts of people up and down the supply chain,” he stated.

For her part, Ms. Zerouki urged that all efforts to develop harmonized nomenclature be coordinated, ideally under the umbrella of the effort currently underway in CIBJO. “We brought the project to CIBJO because of its global reach,” she said, saying that its ability to provide the perspective of all part of the jewellery industry was also vital.

“The consumer is not only concerned about the diamonds, the gold or the coloured stones,” she reiterated, “but rather the entire jewellery product.”

By |2021-11-22T09:52:59+01:00November 16th, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on Harmonization of terminology for responsible supply chain management focus of Joint Session of Marketing & Education and Ethics Commissions

CIBJO releases Ethics Commission Special Report, focusing on legal challenge of handling consumer data

NOVEMBER 16, 2021

With the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress in its second week, the tenth and last of this year’s CIBJO Special Reports has been released. Prepared by CIBJO’s Ethics Commission, headed by Tiffany Stevens, and co-authored by Miya Owens, Associate Counsel at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) in the United States, the report looks at the growing challenge of collecting, securing and handling big data, and especially personal data harvested both online and offline from jewellery consumers.

The report is released two days ahead of the final session of the two-week virtual congress on November 18, which will be a joint session of the Ethics Commission and CIBJO’s Marketing & Education Commission, together with CIBJO’s Technology Committee. It will consider the issues covered in the report, and is entitled “Dealing with personal data in the digital and online jewellery trading environment.” To register for the session PLEASE CLICK HERE.

The need for data in the jewellery industry is growing exponentially, as it is in other business sectors, as companies shift more of their activities online and employ targeted marketing software and employ social media to reach consumers. A Harvard Business Review article, quoted by the report, says that organisations with data-driven operations can outperform their peers by an average of 5 percent in productivity and 6 percent in profitability.

But, with the proliferation of data collection, there is a concurrent increase in laws and regulations worldwide promulgated to address the corresponding risks. “While the legal landscape related to data use and protection is rapidly changing, all businesses should be cognisant of the relevant laws and regulations in all jurisdictions where they have physical and digital ties,” the report states. “Gone are the days of only complying with the laws of jurisdictions where a business has a physical presence.”

The report provides an overarching view of developing legal and regulatory frameworks being constructed in various countries and regions, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, which it describes “as the toughest privacy and data security law in the world,” which also is applied extraterritorially, “meaning it may apply to a business located outside of the EU, so long as it offers goods or service to EU customers or monitors the behaviour of EU-based website visitors through web tools such as tracking cookies.”

The comprehensive Ethics Special Report concludes with five specific recommendations for the jewellery sector, designed to minimise the dangers of misusing or mishandling customer and employee personal data.

CIBJO congresses serve as the official gathering place for the World Jewellery Confederation’s global membership, and are also the venue for the annual meetings of CIBJO’s sectoral commissions, where amendments can be introduced to the organisation’s definitive directories of international industry standards for diamonds, coloured stones, pearls, gem labs, precious metals, coral and responsible sourcing, known as the Blue Books.

The CIBJO Congress is also where the programme of World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation (WJCEF), relating to responsible and sustainable activities in the industry and CIBJO’s ongoing cooperation with the United Nations and its development programme is reported upon.

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

By |2021-11-16T09:14:38+01:00November 16th, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO releases Ethics Commission Special Report, focusing on legal challenge of handling consumer data

CIBJO releases Coral Special Report focusing on gemmological and scientific research

NOVEMBER 10, 2021

With the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress already underway, the ninth of this year’s CIBJO Special Reports has been released. Prepared by CIBJO’s Coral Commission, headed by Vincenzo Liverino, the report looks predominantly at research being conducted in the sector, both by gemmologists developing a colour description system, and scientists seeking to revive coral reefs, as well as dating the age of historical stocks and resources.

Mr. Liverino describes a research project to define and describe the colour variations of Mediterranean coral, Corallium rubrum, which was first proposed at the CIBJO Congress in Bahrain in 2019, and subsequently undertaken by the ICA GemLab in Bangkok. It was coordinated by Kenneth Scarratt, a Coral Commission Vice President.

“The goal was to devise a simple and easy to communicate colour description system that would assist both the trade and jewellery consumers,” Mr. Liverino explains.

Among the scientific research efforts examined in the report is a project being conducted by the Kuroshio Biological Research Foundation and the Precious Coral Protection and Development Association in Japan, to transplant coral branches grown in a laboratory back into the ocean. “[I]t it hoped that this will eventually result in the reforestation of the seabed with full sized precious corals within several years,” Mr. Liverino writes.

Another set of research projects has focused on the determining the age of dead coral resources, extracted both from the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic and off the coast of Japan. Carbon-14 dating has shown that much of the material used in precious coral jewellery production to be older than 400 years old, and some dating as far back as 7570 BCE. Indeed, a study by Koshi University in Japan indicated that more than two thirds of precious corals in the Japanese market were not harvested from living colonies.

The CIBJO Coral Commission President urged members of the jewellery industry become carbon neutral, reducing their environmental footprint in the face of global warming and ocean acidification. “Precious corals, reef corals, marine and terrestrial biodiversity and our own survival are at stake. It is our duty to do our share, just because it is the right thing to do,” Mr. Liverino wrote.

CIBJO congresses serve as the official gathering place for the World Jewellery Confederation’s global membership, and are also the venue for the annual meetings of CIBJO’s sectoral commissions, where amendments can be introduced to the organisation’s definitive directories of international industry standards for diamonds, coloured stones, pearls, gem labs, precious metals, coral and responsible sourcing, known as the Blue Books.

The CIBJO Congress is also where the programme of World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation (WJCEF), relating to responsible and sustainable activities in the industry and CIBJO’s ongoing cooperation with the United Nations and its development programme is reported upon.

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

By |2021-11-10T11:05:05+01:00November 10th, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO releases Coral Special Report focusing on gemmological and scientific research

Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee discusses guidance document and debates way forward for new jewellery category

ABOVE: The Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee in open session on November 4, 2021. To the right,  from above, are speakers: Session moderator Edward Johnson, Edahn Golan, Andrey Zharkov, Sara Yood and Wesley Hunt, the committee chair.

Wesley Hunt, Chair of the CIBJO Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee.

NOVEMBER 5, 2021

The second open session of the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress was a webinar featuring the CIBJO Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee, which is chaired by Wesley Hunt. It took place on November 4, 2021.

The event was moderated by Edward Johnson, who also the regular moderator of CIBJO’s popular webinar series, Jewellery Industry Voices. Panel members in addition to Mr. Hunt included CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri; Andrey Zharkov, Founder, Ultra C, a laboratory-grown diamond jewellery company; Sara Yood, Deputy General Counsel at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC); and industry analyst Edahn Golan.

Established in 2019 at CIBJO’s congress in Bahrain, from a working group created two years before that, the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee has members of both the laboratory-grown diamond and natural diamond sectors, has developed a guidance document designed to support the incorporation of the laboratory-grown diamond sector into the overall jewellery industry, as a separate product category, with equal opportunity but different to the natural diamond sector.

To this end the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee created a guidance document, which was approved by the CIBJO Board of Directors in June 2021. The main elements of the document were presented by Mr. Hunt, after which followed a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Johnson. The guidance document can be downloaded by CLICKING HERE.

Mr. Hunt explained that one of the most important factors for the committee was to find a way to create guidance for the whole global industry in a manner that was respectful to both the laboratory-grown diamond and natural diamond sectors. He outlined the six main sections of the document, which include the scope of the guidelines, references, principles for describing laboratory-grown diamonds, due diligence, detection technology, and laboratory-grown diamond product specification reports.

“The main lesson that I learned on the committee was we all had to try to put our commercial objectives aside and to empathise with people on the other side of the debate, and this is what allowed us to move ahead with developing the guidelines,” he said.

“Our primary goal was to protect consumer confidence and to ensure consumers have full information about the products they are being offered. We agreed that ‘Laboratory-Grown Diamond’ was the preferred term for the product as it will help create consistency across the globe and for consumers to have an understanding of it. The description and due diligence sections also state that firms which deal with both types of products should not, across the whole process, mix natural diamonds and both laboratory-grown diamonds and ensure they are separately processed throughout.”

Mr. Hunt said that in the field of branding, firms dealing with both types of stones should give them clearly different brand names to prevent consumer confusion. Similarly, in marketing, companies should not make environmental claims about their stones or their competitors, unless they can be credibly proved by an independent third party. “There have been so many unsubstantiated claims across the world that this was of particular importance,” he stated.

Mr. Zharkov, a member of the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee and its original working group, said that when his company started its operations in 2017 there was a relatively low level of awareness of laboratory-grown diamonds. “The market now is much bigger and more developed, he said.

On the work of the committee, Mr. Zharkov commented that mutual consideration and compromises were very important. “We didn’t blame each other and attack the products, but rather worked to retain confidence in all types of diamonds.”

Mr. Zharkov commented that the laboratory-grown diamond market is under-regulated at present. “Currently there is not much transparency because the market is not mature enough. Environmental and sustainability issues are also cloudy with unsubstantiated claims. I expect many more regulations in the coming five years. If you do not comply with sustainability issues you will not be able to sell in most of the key consumer markets. Diamond companies in general are not mentioning their carbon footprint, but in the future consumers are going to require even more accountability,” he stated.

Ms. Yood told the webinar that, in the United States, jewellery advertising is regulated by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines. “The word ‘diamond,’ alone, implies a natural diamond. For laboratory-grown diamonds, there are three ways to describe them: laboratory-grown/created-diamond /manufacturers name-created diamond. The word cultured alone cannot be used but it can be used in conjunction with one of the three other allowed terms.”

Edahn Golan, of Edahn Golan Diamond Research & Data, said there is increasing interest in laboratory-grown diamonds and sales are rising in the United States. “The share of laboratory-grown diamond sales at specialty jewellers has grown from 2.5 percent to about 5 percent now, and that has been steady since January. We found that one of the main issues was how jewelers handled the conversation with consumers about natural diamond s or laboratory-grown diamonds. Consumers really expect retailers to be up front about the options. Being honest and open is critical. For the most part this is a product sold in America, and is not seen so much in other consumer markets.”

On the subject of prices of laboratory-grown diamonds, Mr. Golan said that in India they are “nose-diving”. He added that using prices related to natural diamonds, such as the Rap list, as a benchmark was inappropriate. “Laboratory-grown diamonds being sold at a discount of 90 percent to the Rap list. There is a continued supply from rough growers as India moved to laboratory-grown diamond manufacturing so there is a lot of inventory and that further cut prices. In addition, more and more retailers are buying HPHT manufactured diamonds, which are cheaper to make and buy than CVD. However, they are sold to consumers as just laboratory-grown diamonds, because they don’t know the difference between HPHT and CVD.”

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri said that the establishment of the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee was important to him in light of changes in the market, and had been welcomed by the CIBJO board. The committee had produced a “living document,” which can be adjusted and updated as technology changes and as consumer confidence requires.

View the video recording of the open session of the CIBJO Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee on November 4, 2021.

By |2021-11-08T08:43:39+01:00November 7th, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee discusses guidance document and debates way forward for new jewellery category

Gemmological Commission examines issues related to Fei Cui and variety names

ABOVE: Hanco Zwaan, President of the CIBJO Gemmological Commission, addressing the body’s Zoom session on November 3, 2021.

Hanco Zwaan, CIBJO Gemmological Commission President.

Claudio Milisenda, CIBJO Gemmological Commission Vice President.

Thanong Leelawatanasuk, CIBJO Gemmological Commission Vice President.

NOVEMBER 4, 2021

CIBJO’s Gemmological Commission met in formal session at the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress on November 3, 2021. The meeting on Zoom was moderated by Commission President Hanco Zwaan, assisted by Vice Presidents Claudio Milisenda and Thanong Leelawatanasuk.

At the heart of the discussion of the Gemmological Commission  was the establishment within CIBJO of a new working group, to to create a single, clearly defined and universally accepted set of standards, practices and nomenclature of Fei Cui, which is a trade name common in the Asian markets relating to to fibrous polycrystalline aggregates, composed solely or principally of the minerals jadeite, omphacite and kosmochlor, or any combination of the three. While not as popular in Western markets, as jewellery category worldwide Fei Cui ranks second only to diamonds by value.

Mr. Zwaan reminded the meeting that at the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Bahrain, members of the Hong Kong delegation gave a presentation on Fei Cui terminology and sought to present their testing standards to the world. They had asked CIBJO if they could evolve into an accepted international standard.

“In CIBJO we had said we should probably consult other people in the trade in order to gather their opinions, because, although the term is well-known in Asia, it is not so much known in the West,” said Mr Zwaan. As a consequence, a survey of industry opinions was conducted a document was put together. Mr. Zwaan reported on its findings.

“Fei Cui is an Asian trade name which may be spelled and pronounced differently depending on the Asian country,” he said. “Fei Cui is understood to be jadeite jade throughout Asia, according to a Chinese national standard. However, industry members and consumers should be aware that in some Asian markets the term Fei Cui is used more loosely, and it is therefore vital that, if the name Fei Cui is used in sales, it shall be clearly stated which minerals are being referred to.”

The CIBJO board decided to try to create a universal standard and announced a new working group including Hong Kong members. It will have its first meeting after the CIBJO Congress, said Mr. Zwaan.

Roland Naftule, President of Sector A, said Fei Cui is very important in Asia, especially in China and Hong Kong, and as the second most important category in terms of revenues generated after diamonds is why the Hong Kong delegation was concerned and felt the necessity for the name to be used globally. “But it must be recognized that the term is almost unknown in the West. It is known as jadeite in Western countries, and that’s why the special committee was established, to find a solution to what is a very serious challenge,” he stated.

The issue of Variety names was also discussed at length. During the session, a comment was made by a delegate in Asia that the price of stones may differ according to the name it is given. A normal jasper gets a very high price when it is called a Snake Egg and labs are asked to describe it that way on their certificates, but it cannot be included on the lab report as a description.

Mr. Zwaan said that there are many misnomers on the market for stones. He described how, for example, gems which supposedly have healing powers are sold with unusual names in the Netherlands. So along with the list and definitions of gem varieties and trade names that the Committee on Varietal Names (CVN) is working on, it might be useful to have a list of misnomers as well.

In other business, Mr. Naftule  said that changes to the Gemmological Blue Book had been delayed for one year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The changes were to have been made this year, but this was not carried out because we did the Diamond and Coloured Gemstones Blue Books. Changes to the Gemmological Blue Book will be carried out next year, so members should prepare themselves now if they have modifications that they would like to propose. I recommend starting the changes early. Members need to get any information necessary to Hanco as early as possible.”

Wrapping up the meeting, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri said he recognised the “incredible job that this commission is doing.” He commented that CIBJO relies on the work of the commission’s gemmologists who are scientists in this area. “You are driving the future of this industry because people come to you for advice and certificates. You have great responsibility, and you exercise it responsibly. This is critical because CIBJO has a global reputation for transparency and responsible activity. “

“I would also like to let our friends from China know that we are working on moving forward with the committee. Fei Cui is at the top of our list, and we will establish it as soon as we can. I will be chairing it, and the committee will meet at the end of this year or the start of 2022,” the CIBJO President stated.

By |2021-11-08T08:54:45+01:00November 4th, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on Gemmological Commission examines issues related to Fei Cui and variety names
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