Updated: Jan 18
THE WORLD JEWELLERY CONFEDERATION CONGRESS 2019 - MANAMA, BAHRAIN
WHAT IS CIBJO?
Describing itself as the “United Nations of the jewellery business,” CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, represents the interests of all individuals, organisations and companies related to the jewellery, gemstone and precious metals industries. CIBJO was established in 1926, making it the oldest international organisation in the jewellery sector.
CIBJO is represented in 40 countries globally, covers the entire jewellery, gemstone and precious metals sectors vertically, from mine to marketplace, and horizontally within each of the component sectors in the various production, manufacturing and trading centres.
With the involvement of the United Nation, CIBJO established in 2008 World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation (WJCEF), whose mission it is to finance and administer educational programmes to promote the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility throughout the greater jewellery industry worldwide.
WHAT IS THE MISSION OF CIBJO ?
CIBJO serves to protect its constituents from factors that threaten the confidence of consumers in the jewellery industry, as well as factors that threaten the confidence of consumers in the jewellery item itself. CIBJO acts to uphold consumer confidence by supporting initiatives and programmes that address threats such as conflict diamonds and coloured gemstones, money laundering, questionable gemmological and assaying standards and fraudulent hallmarks, health issues as they may arise in the mine or factory, environmental issues and employment practices in particular particularly if children are involved.
The harmonisation of industry standards has been a critical element of CIBJO’s mission and has stood at the heart of its effort to protect consumer confidence. To advance the goal of universal standards and terminology within the jewellery industry, CIBJO developed its Blue Book system which involves a definitive international set of standards for the grading, methodology and nomenclature of diamonds, coloured gemstones, pearls and other organic materials, precious metals and gemmological laboratories.
Our CIBJO badges & Nilam Alawdeen with Charles Abouchar at the Coloured Stones Commission
PRE-CONGRESS & CONGRESS - WHAT DID WE LEARN?
This year, more than 120 delegates, national associations, panel or commercial members coming from more than 40 countries were present.
The first day, we were invited to visit the DANAT Laboratory, the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones, who were our host for the event. Danat Institute was created in 2017 by SAR Prince Salman ben Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain. DANAT is very involved in Bahrain’s ancient pearling history and work with the goal of protecting its heritage.
We then continued with the first meetings of the pre-congress. The pre-congress are the first 2 days of the congress where the steering committee meetings are held. These committee meetings are where the more in-depth and often animated discussions take place. They are closed to the public, open only to the members and delegates.
The first day was one of the most intense days, the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA) requested that the word « cultured » in the nomenclature « cultured pearl » be removed. As you can imagine, the debate was passionate, at times, explosive. The proposition has been denied by the Commission with the term “Farmed” in consideration.
The Pearl Commission also agreed on the denomination of “seed pearls” as natural saltwater pearls with a diameter inferior to 2 mm produced in natural pearl sac, whatever the producing mollusc. Pearls from 2mm to 4mm will be called Keshi cultured pearls.
GEMMOLOGY & COLOURED STONES
The harmonisation of colour terminology is a big issue. Last year a guidance document that aims to better map out the color designations used to describe certain colors of rubies and sapphires, i.e. Pigeon Blood & Royal Blue.
It was decided that the Gemmological Commission will work in conjunction with the Coloured Stone Commission to better define gemstone varieties (i.e. Beryl vs. Emerald, Pink sapphire vs. Ruby) and to better separate scientific fact (weight/measurements/mineral species) from opinion (origin/treatments/ tradenames) on laboratory reports.
General vs. specific disclosure, another animated debate about how detailed an item should be described whether it be in the press, an advertisement or to the client. The preferred method is that the full detailed description be mandatory at the point of sale before the actual transaction.
A presentation of the first draft of the online “Mini Book”, website with a simplified version of the gemstone (and potentially others) Blue Book intended for stone buyers, retailers or sales representatives, especially easy to use when traveling as it is in a user-friendly and easily accessible format.
ETHICS & RESPONSIBLE SOURCING
A big topic at CIBJO was the UN « 17 sustainable goals » with which CIBJO is proud to comply with. You can read more about it here:
Amongst others, Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and Tiffany Stevens, CEO of the Jewellery Vigilance Committee (President of the CIBJO Ethics Commission and member of the CIBJO Board of Directors) were speaking on the Ethics and Responsible Sourcing panel.
A « Responsible Sourcing Toolkit » was developed with Assheton Carter from the Dragonfly Initiative for SME’s and should be available by the end of 2019.
DIAMONDS AND LABORATORY-GROWN DIAMONDS
A big concern was to ensure a smooth collaboration between the Diamond Commission and the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Working Group, which was later voted to become a Commission. The commission will have members of both groups and will later decide if there will be a Laboratory/Synthetic Diamond Blue Book or simply an addendum to the existing Diamond Blue Book.
The European Union has created customs tarif codes for rough and polished synthetic diamonds, effective January 2020.
A special presentation was made by the Gemmological Association of Hong Kong (GAHK), and Kent Wong, Managing Director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group asking CIBJO to specify Fei Cui as a trade name differentiating it from vast term Jadeite. No decision was made about this.
The last afternoon of the congress is the Board of Directors Meeting. CIBJO president Gaetano Cavalieri, three vice-presidents from the USA, India and the United Kingdom were re-elected along with the 26 other board members including our very own Swiss delegates: Charles Abouchar (also re-elected President of the Coloured Stone Commission) and Marc-Alain Christen (CFO). Also re-elected as vice-presidents of B Sector (Retail) and the Diamond Commission were Adrian Meister (Meister, Zurich) and Jean-Pierre Chalain (Head of Diamond Department & Deputy Director of SSEF laboratory.
CALL FOR MEMBERS!
CIBJO and specifically the Coloured Stone Commission needs members from the trade; gem dealers, brands and retailers. Should you be interested please write to us firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can put you in touch. Please remember that everyone at CIBJO is there on a voluntarily basis with the goal of bettering our industry.
GlitteratiGirls Melissa & Faye with Iris Van der Veken at CIBJO gala dinner & the Swiss delegation front & centre.
What an enlightening and enriching experience!
We were able to be a to be part of the Swiss delegation because of our work as part of the Ethics Working Group for the ASNP (Swiss Stone Dealers Association) with its president Charles Abouchar. We were genuinely excited to be a part of this and loved our first (and hopefully not last) CIBJO congress, so much so that we were front and centre in the first row of every commission! We met a lot of interesting people, and the people of Bahrain could not have been more welcoming and friendly. We were not expecting there to be many women at CIBJO, and while roughly only 20-30% of the room was female, it was more than we expected which was a pleasant surprise. All in all, it was a great experience we felt proud and privileged to be a part of.
For more detailed information, see the links below for some of the the commission reports:
To learn more about CIBJO https://www.cibjo.org/
Follow CIBJO on Instagram @cibjo_communications