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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

Precious Metals Commission provides a global overview of sector, focusing on ethics, the environment, health and hallmarking

ABOVE: Sara Yood, Deputy General Counsel of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee in the United States, addressing the Precious Metals Commission on November 3, 2021.

Huw Daniel, CIBJO Precious Metals Commission President.

Karina Ratzlaff, CIBJO Precious Metals Commission Vice President.

NOVEMBER 4, 2021

CIBJO’s Precious Metals Commission met in formal session at the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress on November 3, 2021. The meeting on Zoom was moderated by Commission President Huw Daniel, assisted by Vice Presidents Karina Ratzlaff and Sara Yood, Deputy General Gounsel of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) in the United States.

Mr. Daniel led a thorough exploration of the main issues affecting the worldwide precious metals trade, from developments in the ethical and legal arenas, to sustainable development, an update on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s guides as well as the FTC’s decision to reduce gold purity below 10 karats, the review process in Europe regarding silver toxicity, and gold hallmarking in India.

The meeting began with Ms. Yood speaking on the “Changing Legal and Ethical Landscape” and the implications for how precious metals are labelled and marketed. She said governmental bodies have increasingly been focusing on mineral supply chains during the past several years due to anti-money laundering and terrorist financing risks, but also because of  an identified reluctance by governments in some countries to respect tribal land and prevent mining in those areas.

“The U.S. Treasury Department is very focused on supply chains and how illegal activity can run through them,” she commented.

She then spoke about the increased reliance of firms in the jewellery supply chain on recycled metal. She also mentioned the issue of some countries dominating the supply chain for minerals, such as China with cobalt, has pushed the new Biden Administration to look closely at how the United States can reduce its reliance on these supply chains.

Philip Olden, President of the CIBJO  Responsible Sourcing Commission, then spoke on the evolution of responsible sourcing to sustainable development and CIBJO’s response on the issue. He said use of the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Blue Book (CLICK TO DOWNLOAD), and more recently the Responsible Sourcing Tool Kit (CLICK TO ACCESS DEDICATED WEBSITE)that was introduced earlier this year should be encouraged. CIBJO now provides all the tools needed by firms to ensure that they are not aiding illicit trade in precious metals, he commented. “All national associations should ensure members are using and reviewing the resources. The Responsible Sourcing Blue Book has been the most reviewed of CIBJO’s Blue Books.”

Other developments mentioned by Olden included updates by industry bodies, such as the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), relating to silver and gold refiners which must adhere to the LBMA’s standards and correct management of internal bullion centres. “The LBMA recognises ongoing reports from civil society groups, the media and the Financial Action Task Force on the use of gold in particular, but also other precious metals in the funding of terrorism and illicit trading. We must support the work of these trade associations aiming to eliminate such activity,” he stated.

Mr. Olden also spoke about the pressures on the mining industry, which will find it increasingly difficult to secure financing, particularly for miners of minerals from which discretionary products are made, such as jewellery which accounts for most demand for gold.

“We should expect to see more members of our industry using recycled sources rather than mined. There is plenty of supply of gold, for example, with 200,000 tons of gold in ‘above the ground stocks.’ And there is lots more gold sitting in safes, vaults and drawers around the word so its possible we will see recycled gold as the major source of supply. We need to build our sourcing guidance for the industry to reflect these changes,” he stated.

Mr. Olden added that the industry is looking at tighter definition of recycled materials and there is growing pressure to extend responsible sourcing into the recycled market due to the growing trade in recycled materials, which is widespread in Europe and the United States, where some refiners only use recycled gold.

Ms. Ratzlaff mentioned that in Germany more than 90 percent of gold is recycled and that there is a low environmental impact due to strict German rules regarding recycling.

Mr. Daniels concluded the discussion by saying that the jewellery industry should be cautious about making green claims about recycling, as we would not want to become the target of a “dirty-recycling” attack, and must ensure that it works to retain consumer confidence in both mined and recycled metal.

Ms. Yood updated the commission on the latest developments regarding the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guides regarding advertising for jewellery, and many other industries in the USA. Following the election of the Biden administration there have been big changes at the commissioner level, which is very vocal about anti-trust issues, she said.

The FTC will be reviewing green guides relating to all industries in 2022, especially on green and environmental claims for products. She mentioned how in 2019 the FTC wrote to lab-grown diamond and diamond simulant makers about their advertising and environmental claims. “So, the guides are very important and firms must be in line with them.

“In addition, the definition of ‘recycled’ might be at play in the guides. In the U.S. there are no recognized definitions in the guides about sustainability. From what we have heard the FTC is interested in that. The FTC’s jewellery guides were last revised in 2018 and must be done every 10 years,” Ms. Yood said.

Ms. Ratzlaff spoke on the current review process in Europe for the classification of silver toxicity and the implications due to the large use of silver in jewelry, watches and silverware. She said the classification could have an impact on alloys containing silver.

She added that if silver does get so classified then the implications are quite severe for silver products in Europe. “We need to wait for the results of the review and then press our governments to support us,” she stated.

Mr. Daniels provided the commission a review of the Indian government’s requirements for gold hallmarking. The Bureau of Indian Standards has issued new rules with a timeline for when they should be adopted. Previously, there was no mandated requirement for the hallmarking of gold in India, but the changes are due to the vast informal gold sector in India, having varying degrees of compliance. Mandatory hallmarking is being carried out in three phases, he said, adding that the government has pushed back the mandatory hallmarking start from August 2021 to November 30.

“The Indian jewellery industry has been active in voicing concerns on the one hand as well as in cooperating. Companies in the organised trade, such as large corporations are already in compliance. It is more of an issue for the informal trade which the government would like to bring in to closer compliance and avoid issues such as under-karating. The industry is expecting a huge amount of paperwork and backlogs are likely,” he said.

Ms. Yood spoke about the FTC’s reduction of gold purity to below 10 karats in its revised jewelry guides in 2018 and how CIBJO should respond. “This move has not had a sea-change effect and I would not recommend challenging it. It would take a lot of money and resources to find consumer data to present to the FTC on the issue. I would wait till the 2028 guides revision.

“Some firms have raised concerns, but there has been no big push. JTV pushed for the FTC move,  to be able to sell its lower-cost products and Indian close-out jewellery of 9-karat goods. The FTC’s justification for the move was to balance the commercial concerns against the 1st amendment in the U.S .,which says the government cannot prevent free speech,” she stated.

Wrapping up the meeting, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri said that it would be best to respond to the FTC by working with the JVC for a harmonised response, adding that CIBJO is at the disposal of the JVC on the matter. He also pointed out that the world is going in a clear direction regarding ethical behaviour and sustainable development.

“Our industry and especially CIBJO is far ahead of many other industries in the world in these respects. Our presence is recognised by the bodies of the UN and its senior officers. We are recognised as one of top five organisations in the world working to bring about the 2030 agenda of Sustainable Development Goals,” the CIBJO President said.

By |2021-11-08T09:12:01+01:00November 4th, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on Precious Metals Commission provides a global overview of sector, focusing on ethics, the environment, health and hallmarking

CIBJO releases new edition of Retailers Reference Guide, downloadable free of charge from dedicated website

NOVEMBER 4, 2021

With the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress nearing the end of its first week, the World Jewellery Confederation has launched a new website, which will serve as the platform of the second edition of the CIBJO Retailer’s Reference Guide, the valuable in-store resource for sales staff in retail jewellery outlets. Comprehensively updated, the Guide is being made available in interactive PDF format, and can be downloaded free of charge from the website.

The dedicated CIBJO Retailer’s Reference Guide website is located on the web at: www.cibjo.org/rrg/.

The CIBJO Retailer’s Reference Guide was first released in printed format in 2011, and was immediately praised as an indispensable resource for sales staff in retail jewellery stores. It provided them with a simple but comprehensive understanding of the fundamental elements of diamonds, gemstones, pearls and precious metals. The primary goal was that they use the knowledge and the Guide itself to educate, inform and inspire jewellery consumers.

The updated edition of the CIBJO Retailer’s Reference Guide is now all-digital. 154 pages long and richly illustrated, it has two sections: a quick reference guide called Key Facts, and five chapters, covering in greater detail the key jewellery elements, namely Diamonds, Gemstones, Pearls, Precious Metals and Responsible Sourcing. The chapter on Responsible Sourcing is a new addition.

The CIBJO Retailers Guide is divided into two sections: a quick reference guide called Key Facts, and five chapters, covering Diamonds, Gemstones, Pearls, Precious Metals and Responsible Sourcing. It can be accessed or downloaded as a single unit, or by section or chapter.

Like the original, the new edition of the CIBJO Retailer’s Reference Guide was compiled, edited and produced by CIBJO’s Marketing and Education Commission, headed by Jonathan Kendall, working closely with the President of CIBJO’s Sector A, Roland Naftule. They collaborated with CIBJO’s other commissions, as well as with numerous industry experts. Among them were Robert Weldon, Director of the GIA Library, Jonathan Muyal, Orasa Weldon and other GIA staff members, who contributed text and images for the Gemstone chapter, which at 74 pages long is longest section of the Guide.

Using the website, users can access online the full CIBJO Retailer’s Reference Guide, or its six sections individually. Alternatively, they can download them onto their computers or mobile devices, so that the Guide can be referenced and displayed offline. The interactive PDF format allows for easy navigation through its sections and pages.

“The typical user are jewellery sales representatives, who interact directly with consumers in the store,” explained Jonathan Kendall. “Using a countertop computer or a tablet, they are immediately able to answer and elaborate on almost any question that the consumer may have about an item of jewellery, or the metals and gems of which it is comprised.”

“The Guide is beautifully designed, but it was never intended to be simply a coffee table book,” said Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President. “It is first and foremost a sales tool, because it nurtures informed consumers, and informed consumers are confident consumers. We invite people to visit the new website, download the CIBJO Retailer’s Reference Guide at no cost, and then use it.”

Examples of pages from the various sections and chapters of the CIBJO Retailer’s Reference Guide.

By |2021-11-08T09:17:14+01:00November 4th, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO releases new edition of Retailers Reference Guide, downloadable free of charge from dedicated website

Diamond Commission adds new ISO diamond grading standard as a normative reference in CIBJO’s Diamond Blue Book

Udi Sheintal, CIBJO Diamond Commission President.

Jean-Pierre Chalain, CIBJO Diamond Commission Vice President.

NOVEMBER 3, 2021

Following a forced delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CIBJO’s Diamond Commission met for the first time formally in almost two years on November 2, the second day of the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress. Almost 50 delegates logged into the Zoom session from across the globe.

The meeting was moderated by the commission president, Udi Sheintal, assisted by commission vice president Jean-Pierre Chalain.

2020 had been originally scheduled as a review year for CIBJO’s Diamond Blue Book, and, although 12 months late, amendments and other changes were at the heart of the body’s session during the 2021 congress.

In September 2020, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) had published International Standard 24016, which specifies the terminology, classification and methods to be used for the grading and description of single unmounted polished diamonds over 0.25 carats in weight. CIBJO had earlier granted ISO permission to use PAS (Publicly Available Specification) 1048, as a primary foundation for drafting the new ISO standard. It is based on the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book and relates to terminology and classification of grading polished diamonds that were developed by CIBJO with the support of the German Standards Institute (DIN). Mr. Chalain serves as the convener of TC174 Working Group 2, overseeing the ISO project.

Commission President Sheintal said the ISO 24016 standard relating to grading polished diamonds would now be included as a normative reference in the Diamond Blue Book, and noted that the ISO 18323, originally published in 2015 and specifying a set of permitted descriptors for the diamond industry that are meant to be unequivocally understood by consumers, had been reconfirmed till the next review period in 2025.

Both Mr. Sheintal and CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri paid special tribute to Rudi Biehler, the veteran diamond industry leader from Germany and a long-time commission member, who played an invaluable role in the development and acceptance of the original PAS standard, which formed the basis of the newer ISO standards.

CIBJO members then reviewed amendments to the Diamond Book that were discussed previously in the Diamond Commission Steering Committee. This included specifying that “Diamonds, as all minerals, are created by nature without human intervention,” in the notes of the diamond definition.

Udi Sheintal noted that all of the CIBJO Books will now include reference to CIBJO’s status in the UN Economic and Social Council, and the role played by the gem and jewellery industry in promoting sustainable development, and also the harmonising role of the Blue Book series in strengthening consumer confidence in jewellery and the jewellery industry.

Barring an urgent need to make any immediate amendment, CIBJO’s Diamond Blue Book will next be subject for review in 2025.

By |2021-11-08T09:18:08+01:00November 3rd, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on Diamond Commission adds new ISO diamond grading standard as a normative reference in CIBJO’s Diamond Blue Book

CIBJO releases Coloured Stone Special Report urging a holistic approach to ethical sourcing in sector

NOVEMBER 3, 2021

With the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress already underway, the eighth of this year’s CIBJO Special Reports has been released. Prepared by CIBJO’s Coloured Stone Commission, headed by Charles Abouchar, the report looks at issues related to ethical sourcing, and how the principles of responsible supply chain management can be implemented without disenfranchising artisanal and small-scale miners, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

“With the overwhelming majority of rough coloured stones produced by ASM, which in turn channels its supply through a complex trading network that has developed organically over literally hundreds of years, the coloured stone industry is the most fragile structurally in all of the jewellery sectors,” Mr. Abouchar writes. “But literally millions of people rely on the income it generates, many of them living in some of the least developed and most poverty-stricken areas of the world.”

“If we try to impose our ethical value system without integrating the opinion and perspective of the local populations, we are likely to be regarded as imposing a new form of colonialism. This would be counterproductive,” the CIBJO Coloured Stone Commission notes. “Nobody should discount making the utmost effort to have the sourcing of our rough supply be as ethical as possible, but the complex realities of the artisanal mining sector means that we must be nuanced in implementing ethical rules.”

“In my opinion, we need to take a holistic view when developing ethical supply chains,” Mr. Abouchar continues. “In order to meet consumer expectations, we also need to cater to the expectations of those at the supply end, and the communities in the cutting centres as well. Initiatives that fully integrate local populations in the solution are the only way to develop sustainable and ethical sourcing programmes.”

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 Coloured Stone Commission’s special report, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

By |2021-11-10T10:39:06+01:00November 3rd, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on CIBJO releases Coloured Stone Special Report urging a holistic approach to ethical sourcing in sector

The 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress gets underway, highlighting jewellery industry’s role in society and the environment

ABOVE: The  panel discussion during the Responsible Sourcing Commission session on November 1, 2021, featuring (from top) Mark Hanna of the Richline Group, Commission President Philip Olden, RJC’s Iris Van der Veken, Nature’s Geometry’s Brian Cook, and Chie Murakami of Diamonds for Peace.

NOVEMBER 2, 2021

For the first time in its 95-year history, CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has launched its annual congress online rather than in a physical location, with an Opening Ceremony followed by a session of the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Commission, during which a strong emphasis was placed on the jewellery industry’s obligations to society and the environment. The Opening Session took place on November 1, 2021.

“In congresses gone by, I have looked out over a crowded conference hall or auditorium when I said these words of welcome,” said CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, greeting the congress delegates. “Today, like all of you, I am seated at my desk looking at my computer, just as I have done almost each day for the past 20 months.”

The period of the coronavirus has proven to be an inflection point for the industry, the CIBJO President stated. “There are moments in the human experience where we all realise that it will be possible to define life before the event differently to life as it is after the event. The COVID-19 pandemic is one of those,” he said.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri greeting congress delegates.

“Do not misunderstand me,” he continued. “I do not believe that all-virtual congresses, where we gather while remaining isolated in our homes or offices, are our destiny from now on. I am confident that in the not-too-distant future we will be able to set aside most, if not all of the restrictions we now live with. Indeed, there is a very good chance that the next CIBJO Congress will be in-person rather than exclusively online.”

“But the tools, modus operandi and methods that we have adopted, initially as coping mechanisms, have changed the way we live and do business. In many respects they are more efficient, more effective and more able to deliver immediate results than those we used before the crisis. Now that we know how to use them, there is no going back,” Dr. Cavalieri said.

For an organisation like CIBJO, he stated, which brings together jewellery, gemstone and watch associations and companies from around the world, the adoption of online and digital technologies led to a period of increased activity, and a level of productivity and achievement that most probably is greater than at any time in the organisation’s history.

Keynote speaker Patrick Lötscher, Head of the Watch Industry Standards Department at the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH.


Delivering the keynote address during the Opening Ceremony was Patrick Lötscher, Head of the Watch Industry Standards Department at the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, which brings under its umbrella many of the world’s most famous watch brands.

A new member of CIBJO, the Swiss organisation is at the vanguard of a process to unite the watch and jewellery sectors within the confederation. The two industries use many of the same raw materials and share supply lines and retail distribution outlets.

Mr. Lötscher spoke of the Switzerland’s watch industry’s struggle against counterfeiters, who in 2019 sold considerably more fake Swiss-brand watches that the 20.7 million genuine Swiss-brand watches that were sold that same year, costing the sector billions of dollars and more than 3,000 jobs.


The Responsible Sourcing Commission’s session was moderated by the body’s President, Philip Olden, who asked his panel of guests if enough was being done by the industry on the subject of responsible sourcing, and if not what else should be done.

Opening the session, Mr. Olden mentioned that CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Commission’s Blue Book (CLICK TO DOWNLOAD) was the most downloaded of all such documents since the start of the pandemic, and reported that in April 2021 CIBJO launched an online Responsible Sourcing Toolkit, “which will enable members of the industry to do due diligence on their supply chains.”

The Responsible Sourcing Toolkit can be downloaded from the CIBJO website free of charge, by CLICKING HERE.

Among the panellists was Lila Karbassi, Chief of Programmes at the UN Global Compact, which unites some 14,000 firms and organisations from a wide range of industries, working to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Speaking to the CIBJO delegates, she called on the jewellery industry to do its part in the campaign against climate change.

“See if your targets align with science,” she stated. “By 2030 you need to reduce emissions by almost half, and by 2050 significantly more. We look forward to validating company results, and we hope many firms from the jewellery industry will join us and create a momentum for the industry overall to be on track regarding climate change.”

Panellist Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council, described the jewellery industry as being at a “tipping point.”

“We have to get everyone on this journey,” she stated. “How do we bring all members of the supply chain along? This is the challenge. We need to step up a gear and show collectively the good impact of the business.”

Panellist Chie Murakami, the founder of Diamonds for Peace, an NGO based in Japan, said that the commitment to responsible sourcing is largely “a Western thing, which needs to be spread to other parts of the world”. She mentioned visits to jewellery stores in Tokyo where no members of sales staff could provide firm answers on the issue of the sourcing of the jewellery.

She also spoke about diamond smuggling in Liberia, where her organisation is active. “The government does not have the resources to monitor this sufficiently,” she said. “It patrols mines looking for illegal activities, with inspectors that often are unpaid volunteers. The government needs more resources.”

Lila Karbassi, Chief of Programmes at the UN Global Compact, in discussion with Philip Olden, President of CIBJO’s Responsible Sourcing Commission.


Panellist Mark Hanna, Chief Marketing Officer at the Richline Group, which is part of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway corporation, said that today, more than ever before, “we need to pay attention to the 3Cs: climate, carbon and circularity.”

“All firms should have a social purpose,” he said. “We need a strong and planned way of dealing with this. Harmonisation is critical and I believe there is a will across the industry to work together, so that both large and small firms can share information.”

Mr. Hannah said that the use of recycled materials is important to the issue of sustainability. “There’s nothing more recyclable than gold but any product that reduces waste and uses ecologically friendly materials is good for the world and the industry,” he stated.

Brian Cook, the owner of Nature’s Geometry, who also was a panellist, said the jewellery industry is now more attuned to consumers, “because they have the buying power to make us listen.”

“Consumers want to see real action and transparency,” he said. “They want to know what is really going on.”

The jewellery sector has capacity to be an effective leader,” Mr. Cook added. “We transcend religion, race and culture and that makes us a model for other trades. It gives us the opportunity to show we are doing good for the planet. We need to find a way to harmonise our efforts.”

“Multilateralism, which in our community means coordinating the activities of the various sectors and the different national associations and companies, is essential to progress being made in the jewellery and watch industries, particularly where it comes to fulfilling our obligations to support and protect society and the environment,” said CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, concluding the session. “What we have demonstrated today is that everyone is provided an opportunity to speak their mind, but we then have to find common ground and move to action.”

By |2021-11-08T09:24:10+01:00November 2nd, 2021|NEWS|Comments Off on The 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress gets underway, highlighting jewellery industry’s role in society and the environment

CIBJO release 02-11-2021

The 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress gets underway, highlighting jewellery industry’s role in society and the environment

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By |2021-11-02T15:16:44+01:00November 2nd, 2021|Press Releases|Comments Off on CIBJO release 02-11-2021
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