ICA Congress in Brazil showcases how to make fair trade a reality
irrespective of a global certification scheme in place in the gem trade
New York, NY, May 6, 2011 - Whether or not the colored stone industry is able to make a certification scheme like diamond’s Kimberley Process a reality should not preclude gem traders from executing practices that can ensure the legitimacy of its products through the supply chain, advocate speakers at the International Colored Gemstone Association’s 14th Biennial Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Tackling traceability, members of the gemological laboratory community shared their take on this complicated issue given the variety of gem types, origins within each type and the role labs can play in identifying gem footprints. “Origin identification not only provides historical reference and value basis, it’s becoming increasingly more important for traceability,” says Thomas Hainschwang, managing director GGTL GEMLAB, Geneva, Switzerland. He reports greater demand for these services that have shifted from a purely commercial aspiration to an ethical one.
Dr. Dietmar Schwarz, research manager for the Gubelin Gem Lab in Lucerne, Switzerland concurs: “As consumer awareness has increased in recent years, geographic origin reports have also become more important for those wishing to avoid politically or ethically challenged producer countries.” In fact, Hainschwang adds that by proving goods originate from ethically responsible sources, gems get new added value, equating to higher demand and acceptance in the market.
Hainschwang cites the use of infrared spectroscopy, UV-Vis-NIR spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence, microscopic examination, luminescence imaging and other physical properties like inclusions, growth features and chemical characteristics—showing the differences between emeralds from Colombia and other producing nations like Brazil and Zambia.
Discussions during the ICA Congress in Brazil focus on how the
colored gemstone industry can be successful in fair trade initiatives
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 4, 2011 - An impressive lineup of speakers, during the International Colored Gemstone Association’s Congress in Rio de Janeiro, shared insights and success stories that highlighted how the colored stone industry can advance fair trade concepts for the benefit of everyone along the supply chain.
The types of challenges faced by the diamond industry are not completely foreign to the colored stone business. Several years ago, the tanzanite industry faced scrutiny. In recent years, concerns surround rubies from Burma, embargoed by the United States to create economic pressure on the military junta there.
But unlike diamonds, tells Jean Claude Michelou, ICA vice president, there is no centralized marketing and market price control; a variety of gems come from hundreds of countries with myriad cultures and standards; and 80% of production is erratic at best, lacking investment capacity, and performed by artisanal miners in third-world countries.
Yet despite these trials, there are many initiatives underway that are making a difference. One success story in establishing protocols and dealer warrantees, however, was achieved for tanzanite in 2002, by a coalition of industry groups and representatives of the tanzanite trade, in partnership with government and NGOs, to address industry issues.
Douglas Hucker, CEO of the American Gem Trade Association, shared the steps undertaken to fortify export documentation and create a set of policies to ensure the legitimacy of the supply chain. He notes that what made the task easier than it might have been for a gem like ruby is the fact that tanzanite is only found in Tanzania.
Cooperation agreement signed during final day of ICA Congress in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 4, 2011 - The International Color Gemstone Association is partnering with UBM Asia to fill a void in the trade for a design competition open to color stone cutters and carvers and gem-set jewelry designers the world over. To forge their commitment to this international endeavor, ICA and UBM Asia signed a cooperation agreement during the final day of the Association’s Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to launch the first International Gem Cutting & Jewelry Design Competition.
While there are regional competitions recognizing the talents of artists working in color gemstones, there has been no international contest—until now! Representing 47 countries in its organization, ICA is the ideal group to lead this initiative. In kind, UBM Asia has extensive reach in markets from Japan to Turkey, as the organizer of the leading jewelry fairs in Hong Kong, China, Japan, India and Turkey, among them the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, world’s largest jewelry fair, and owner of Jewellery News Asia and JeqwelleryNetAsia.com.
ICA Congress attendees learn of current programs and long-range
strategies that will drive business in the future
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2011 - A lot has changed in Brazil since the International Colored Gemstone Association held its first Biennial Congress in Belo Horizonte in 1997. Today, as the group meets in Rio de Janeiro, delegates learned about Brazil’s thriving trade from mine to market, which is expected to experience even more growth over the next two decades.
A full day of presentations by industry and government officials enlightened Congress attendees of just how much Brazil’s industry has expanded, as well as the current and long-range strategies that will drive business in the future. With a US$2 trillion Gross Domestic Product, Brazil ranks as the eighth largest economy in the world, sixth largest in purchasing power allowing it to be a key participant in the world economy.
Brazil’s jewelry sector represents 15,000 companies—12,000 of which are retailers, 2,150 manufacturing fashion/plated jewelry, 900 producing gold and silver designs, and 450 that cut and polish gems. Nearly three quarters of the industry is comprised of small and medium sizes companies. Sales for all gem and jewelry sectors in 2010 totaled US$6.5 billion ($2.8 billion of which was retail), with exports totaling US$2.2 billion, up from US$1.7 billion in 2009 (exporting four times more than it imports).
“Brazilian brands are being recognized worldwide for their unique design, sensibility and charisma,” describes Hécliton Santini Henriques, president of the Brazilian Jewellery and Gems Trade Association (IBGM). He sees Brazil’s opportunity between premium-priced couture and lower-cost classic jewelry.
In the past 20 years, IBGM has changed the benchmark for Brazilian design by raising awareness through such actions as design competitions, greater worldwide exhibition exposure, and partnerships with private and public entities to improve how the trade does business. In fact, technical schools like Senac College in Rio offer a growing list of courses from design and goldsmithing to lapidary and entrepreneurship.
Conference Agenda Devotes First Day to Brazilian Jewelry Industry
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2, 2011 - Brazil, host to the 14th Biennial Congress for the International Colored Gemstone Association, welcomed delegates and guests to Rio de Janeiro Brazilian style with a traditional steakhouse dinner at Porcão Rio’s on Flamengo Beach
Monte Carlo Joias, a leading retail jeweler with 30 locations in Brazil, 15 of which opened in the past two years, sponsored the event—showcasing Brazilian cuisine, music and dancing. The jeweler is a wonderful example of the rising strength of the local market in a growing nation forecasted to experience tremendous development over the next decade. It is known for its use of Brazilian gems in designs that are both timeless and daring, of exceptional quality and affordable prices.
Opening day discussions are devoted to exploring Brazil and its role in the industry. A country cited by Goldman Sachs to be among the four most dominate economies by 2050, along with Russia, India, and China (BRIC countries).
Brazil produces 100 different gem types, exporting about 80 percent of production. But its local market for color continues to grow with its middle class. Also, presentations will highlight innovative cutting techniques and the unique ways Brazilian jewelry manufacturers are using their native stones in design.
The Congress, hosted by IBGM, the Brazilian Gems & Jewelry Trade Association, is being held at the hotel Sofitel on Copacabana Beach. Presentations begin today, May 2 and will conclude on Wednesday, May 4.
For more information:
ICA Executive Director
ICA Honors Past President, Paolo Valentini &
Brazilian Gem Trade Promoter, Hecliton Santini Henriques
Delegates meet for biennial Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil early May
New York, NY, April 18, 2011 - The International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) will honor one of its own, founding member and past president, Paolo Valentini, with a lifetime achievement award for his service to the gem trade. The group will also recognize Hecliton Santini Henriques, president of the Brazilian Gems and Jewellery Trade Association (IBGM), for his work promoting color. The contributions of both men will be celebrated during ICA’s 14th biennial Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 1-4.
A magnificent and extremely rare emerald and diamond tiara, circa 1900, formerly in the Collection of Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck. Est. $5-10 million (CHF 4.5-9 million). Photo: Sotheby's.
GENEVA.- David Bennett, Sotheby’s Chairman of Jewellery for Europe and the Middle East, today announced that Sotheby’s will sell the most valuable emerald and diamond Tiara to have appeared at auction in over 30 years in its sale of Magnificent and Noble Jewels in Geneva on the 17th May 2011. Estimated to sell for £3.1-6.2 million (CHF 4.5- 9 million / $5-10 million), the Highly Important and Extremely Rare Emerald and Diamond Tiara is composed of 11 exceptionally rare Colombian emerald pear-shaped drops which weigh over 500 carats in total, which may well have originally adorned the neck of a Maharajah. These emeralds are also believed to have been in the personal collection of Empress Eugénie. read more...
By Sivaramakrishnan Parameswaran
A Sri Lankan jewellers' organisation claims to have solved an enduring secret surrounding the engagement ring of royal fiancee Kate Middleton.
The famous sapphire at the heart of the ring came from a mine in the centre of the country 35 years ago, the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association says.
Royal jewellers Garrard refused to comment on the claims.
Prince William gave the ring to Miss Middleton in October. It was first worn by his mother Princess Diana in 1981.
A spokeswoman for Garrard told the BBC that the origins of the precious sapphire and blue diamonds in the ring - and their value - remained a closely guarded secret. read more...