MILAN, ITALY: SEPTEMBER 5, 2017 - With support growing for an international system that will monitor the responsible sourcing of coloured gemstones, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri has discussed possible alternatives that also will meet the requirements of smaller-scale miners. He did so during a visit to Colombia, in talks with representatives of the country's government and industry.
Dr. Cavalieri was visiting Colombia at the invitation of Jorge Martín, President of Expojoyas Colombia, the organizer of the country's leading jewellery and gemstone trade fair, and the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá.
CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri answering reporters' questions during his visit to the small-scale Porvenir emerald mine.
"What was apparent both from the thoughts expressed by officials from the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Colombia, as well as representatives of the local mining, coloured gemstones and jewellery trades, there is a readiness to consider a structured system that will help monitor the chain of supply, on condition that it does not compromise the basic interests of individuals and communities that are dependent on the revenues and jobs provided by small-scale mining," Dr. Cavalieri said.
"The task of developing a viable international system that can monitor the coloured gemstone industry, where upwards of 80 percent of rough output is produced by small-scale and artisanal miners, will be made considerably easier if we can do so with the cooperation of government, community and business leaders in the producing countries," Dr. Cavalieri continued. "After visiting Colombia, I am more convinced than ever that this is possible, but it will require maintaining a spirit of goodwill. Attempts to push through solutions without consulting the people on the ground, who ultimately will be those most affected, almost certainly will be counterproductive."
CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (centre) during a panel discussion with jewellery industry and business leaders in Bogotá. He is flanked (from left) by Patricia de Brugger; Jorge Martín, President of Expojoyas Colombia; Camilo Lievano, Business Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá; and Mario Fontalvo, Director of the Jewelry Cluster of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá.
During his four-day visit to Colombia, Dr. Cavalieri visited the Porvenir emerald mine, near the town of Chivor, which is 160 kilometres from Bogotá in the State of Boyaca. There he met with the small-scale mine's owner, the mayor of Chivor and local business leaders, who stressed the importance of the gemstone mining sector to the life and wellbeing of local inhabitants.
"It was an enlightening experience," Dr. Cavalieri said. "These are people who have a vested interest in the integrity of their business and also in continuing economic opportunities in their community. Increasingly they realize that the two are interlinked."
During his discussions in Colombia, Dr. Cavalieri stressed CIBJO's support towards attaining a viable and sustainable system for monitoring responsible sourcing in the coloured gemstone sector. He said that possible solutions will be discussed at the 2017 CIBJO Congress, which is scheduled to take place in Bangkok, Thailand, from November 5 though November 7, 2017.
CIBJO is the international jewellery confederation of national trade organisations. CIBJO's purpose is to encourage harmonisation, promote international cooperation in the jewellery industry and to consider issues which concern the trade worldwide. CIBJO's chief mission is to protect consumer confidence in the industry. Click here to visit the CIBJO website for more information.
Top Image: CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri (centre), during the visit to the Porvenir emerald mine in the State of Boyaca, Colombia. He is flanked (from left) by Rafael Daza Montenegro, the mine's owner; Carlos Perilla, Mayor of the nearby town of Chivor; Jorge Martín, President of Expojoyas Colombia; and Hugo Orlando Sanchez, a jewellery maker from Chivor.