RAPAPORT... Sustainability and corporate responsibility dominated discussions on the second day of the CIBJO congress that is underway in Moscow, with delegates debating how the industry can better meet legislative requirements along with the changing mindset of consumers.
Several reports were presented regarding positive sustainability across the jewelry production pipeline. For example, Dr. Laurent E. Cartier shared the results of three-year research report on the sustainability of pearl farming, which concluded that the process had a positive effect on marine life.
The general agreement of panelists was that the jewelry industry needs to do more to show and tell consumers these positive outcomes since shoppers are increasingly concerned about sustainability and environmental issues for products that they purchase.
The implementation of the U.S. Dodd-Frank act for the gold industry was widely discussed at CIBJO's commission meeting on precious metals. Dodd-Frank includes a conflict-mineral provision that requires U.S. public companies to measure risk and ensure that supply chains do not include minerals from conflict areas, primarily the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Industry participants confirmed that while those provisions are important for compliance measures, they felt that similar requirements for the European Union (EU) would be redundant. Michael Allchin, CIBJO's commission president for precious metals, said the current EU system authorizes inspections for refineries to comply with regulations on precious metals and then they list reliable companies. The other issues discussed concerned the practice of hallmarking items with precious and non-precious metals. While practices vary by county, industry leaders are pursuing ways to make the guidelines uniform.
Additionally, much of the work during the congress has been dedicated to integrating terminology changes to CIBJO's blue book for diamond, pearl and gemstones. "One of the biggest successes of the congress is that we managed to unify most of the books, " said Gaetano Cavalieri, the president of CIBJO
Still, terminology for colored gems needed further examination. "We really need to be on the same page when we talk about color to consumers and amongst ourselves," said Harry Levy of Levy Gems Co. CIBJO's gemological commission meeting devoted much attention to discussing proper terminology for pigeon-blood red and royal blue, for example.
Nilam Alawdeen, the president of CIBJO's colored stone commission, added, "The terms are a good marketing tool, but they are difficult to standardize because these colors are in the image of the mind."