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Sustainable Jewelry Options Discussed at UN Development Dialogue

It was held in New York on July 10.

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CIBJO Ethics Commission President Tiffany Stevens addressing the 2019 Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue at the United Nations in New York on July 10.

(PRESS RELEASE) MILAN, ITALY — Properly managed pearl farms offer real opportunities to individuals and communities living on small islands in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, both from an economic perspective and in terms of protecting the marine environment, said Tiffany Stevens, president of CIBJO’s Ethics Commission during the 2019 Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue, which was held at the United Nations in New York on July 10. Indeed, she added, for a cultured pearl farm to become an economically sustainable asset, it is essential that it also be operated in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Stevens, who additionally is president and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the New York-based organization that provides legal advice, education and self-regulation services to jewelers and other members of the American jewelry industry, was speaking at the gathering on behalf of CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri.

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The 2019 Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue, which took place at the United Nation in parallel with the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), focused on opportunities available to a group of 57 small-island developing states in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Caribbean, Mediterranean and South China Seas, examining how they may be advanced through multi-stakeholder partnerships. A “Tool Box” which includes a set of policy tools for designing, monitoring and reviewing SID partnerships was introduced at the event.

The 2019 HLPF theme is “Empowering people, ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”

“Properly managed, a pearl farm can continue producing quality products indefinitely, serving as a resource for national development through the taxes and royalties it provides, and at the local level as a source of gainful employment and community development, both directly and through the secondary economies its nurtures,” Stevens stated.

What has been learned over the years, she added, is that when it comes to cultured pearls environmental, social and economic sustainability are inexorably linked.

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“Over the course of its lifespan, the oysters of the most commonly used species are able to produce three cultured pearls,” she said. “The quality of these pearls will be a direct result of the conditions of the water in which the oysters are kept, and the length of the gestation period, during which nacre forms around the irritant nucleus that has been placed in the animal. If the environment is pristine, and the pearl is provided adequate time to mature under water, the chances of obtaining a higher-value product will increase substantially.”

But, she noted, the cost of maintaining an optimal pearl-farming environment can be substantial, meaning that it is essential that the pearl farmers receive an adequate share of the revenues they produce, in order to encourage them to operate appropriately.

Stevens pointed to a project that Cavalieri was involved in several years ago, sponsored by the Government of French Polynesia, to reverse what had become a downward spiral in the average quality of pearls being produced by the country. What was discovered was that for farmers working under economic distress there was little incentive to invest in producing a better product. They attempted to generate more income by cutting corners in the management of the marine environment, and by reducing the gestation period of the pearls. This meant a continuing reduction in the quality of the product and the environment.

The lessons learned from the Polynesian experience were applied when CIBJO was invited to consult with the Government of Fiji and the country’s Fiji Pearl Farmers’ Association in the creation of a national plan to increase the size of the island’s pearl sector, while optimising the benefits provided to the country and its people. “The plan that was drawn up called for a community-based, pearl farming industry to enhance the effectiveness of locally-managed marine areas, integrate coastal management and land and sea management programmes, while also creating meaningful employment and income-generating opportunities for indigenous communities,” Steven said.

Speaking to the gathering, the Ambassador of Fiji also referred to CIBJO’s support of sustainable pearl farming, insisting that all partnerships matter and no small-island developing states should be left behind.

To download a copy of Steven’s full speech to the 2019 Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue, click here.

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CIBJO Releases Responsible Sourcing Report

It describes principles applicable to all members of industry.

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(PRESS RELEASE) MILAN, ITALY — With fewer than nine weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the second of the CIBJO commissions’ special reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Commission, headed by Philip Olden, the report provides an overview of the first Responsible Sourcing Blue Book, which was approved in January of this year. It defines a universally agreed-to set of recommended responsible sourcing principles, which can be applied by all members of the greater jewelry industry.

“CIBJO has steadfastly stated that no ethical member or company in the jewelry business should be denied the opportunity to participate because, at any particular point in time, it lacks the financial capacity to meet the demands of a compliance system. At the same time, CIBJO does not accept the contention that a company with limited financial resources should be exempt from conducting any form of responsible sourcing due diligence,” writes Mr. Olden.

“The Responsible Sourcing Blue Book indicates what initial steps can be taken at minimal expense and effort, and proposes a program of continual improvement, which companies can apply at their own pace,” Mr. Olden adds. The system suggested is based on the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.

The special report also outlines a program that CIBJO’ Responsible Sourcing Commission has initiated with the Colored Gemstone Working Group, facilitated by The Dragonfly Initiative, involving the creation of an online toolkit that will provide supporting documentation to help companies address the Responsible Sourcing Blue Book guidance. It will be presented at the upcoming CIBJO Congress in Bahrain, and subsequently will be made available to the industry at no cost.

To download a full copy of the report, click here.

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Gemfind Digital Solutions Announces Launch of DiamondLink App E-Commerce Edition

It lets jewelers sell diamonds directly online from curated vendors.

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(PRESS RELEASE) DiamondLink, GemFind’s well-known retail diamond sourcing app that allows retailers to curate a list of diamond suppliers for shopping on their website, has announced the launch of its E-Commerce edition for WordPress, Magento 2.0 and Shopify platforms.

The E-Commerce Edition brings GemFind to a new level, enabling jewelers to sell diamonds from their vendors directly on their website. By using this new edition of GemFind, independent retailers can not only sell diamonds online, but also select diamond qualities they wish to put for sale on their website — fully utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) in the process. With Click reports jewelers have access to data analytics on who was looking at their diamond list and when. Multicurrency – enables jewelers to open their websites to international customers with automatic currency conversion.

“The DiamondLink E-Commerce Edition is something I have long been waiting for,” said Greg Dolkarian from Derco Diamonds in San Francisco. “Not only can I access diamonds from my own customized list of diamond companies, I can go head-to-head with web-based diamond companies in the online space and enhance the ease of purchase of diamonds for engagement rings for my customers.”

The E-Commerce edition of DiamondLink also allows retailers to sell diamonds in real time without owning them and includes availability for dropship options directly from several diamond companies to the consumer. “The DiamondLink E-Commerce edition enables retailers to compete at the same level with major diamond selling websites, while taking advantage of the unique customization of their diamond inventory, noted Alex Fetanat, founder and Chief Executive Officer of GemFind. “Jeweler-curated virtual diamond inventory, coupled with critical online tools, will develop significant traffic and sales.”

While retail jewelers have used DiamondLink for over 15 years, the E-Commerce edition brings a level of functionality and ease-of-use apps that will be available on Magento, WordPress and Shopify stores. This function, combined with GemFind’s other digital marketing tools that include RingBuilder, web development, social media, geofencing, and pay per click (PPC) management, provides jewelers what is essentially a virtual salesman added to their sales team.

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Plumb Club to Require Members to Join RJC

It’s the first organization of its kind with such a policy.

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(Press Release) NEW YORK – The Plumb Club announced that its members voted to require all new and existing Plumb Club members to become Certified Members of the Responsible Jewellery Council. The Plumb Club, a current RJC association member, is the first organization of its kind to require its members to follow the RJC Code of Practices.

The new requirement underscores The Plumb Club’s purpose to “connect its members and their customers and help shape the future of the jewelry industry.”

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The RJC will collaborate with current and future Plumb Club members to ensure they adopt the RJC Code of Practices and effectively communicate their RJC membership status to their customers and business partners.

“Our new By-Law confirms The Plumb Club’s vision of being a responsible supply side organization recognized for leadership, adding value, and positively impacting the jewelry industry,” said Michael Lerche, Plumb Club president. “We strongly believe that any jewelry retailer who buys product from a non-RJC member is taking a very serious and unnecessary risk. Buying product from a Plumb Club member will greatly mitigate that risk.”

“The Plumb Club’s actions set a clear leadership example for other trade associations and member organizations within the jewelry industry. The Plumb Club’s model of cascading RJC membership through its members is a model for other associations to confidently follow,” said David Bouffard, chair of the Responsible Jewellery Council. “At the RJC, we believe that building consumer confidence is not only important for the future of our industry, but is also an imperative that can be acted on today by joining the RJC.”

Both Lerche and Bouffard called for all current and perspective RJC association members to cascade RJC membership throughout their organizations.

“Having a standardized universal code of practices throughout our industry that the retailer, consumer and even our government, can rely upon to guarantee that these products are the most responsibly sourced and ethically produced in the marketplace is critical. Today, we call on the entire jewelry industry to support the Responsible Jewellery Council and work with us in finding a way for every supplier and retailer in our industry to become a member,” said Lerche.

“As Chair of the RJC, I ask other trade associations within our industry to follow the leadership of The Plumb Club: require your members to join the RJC,” exclaimed Bouffard. “The RJC has a team ready and willing to help your organization develop its own model of cascading RJC membership.”

All certified members of the RJC are able to point their customers and business partners to the RJC’s publicly available Code of Practices to validate how the products they buy and sell are responsibly sourced. The RJC verifies its Code of Practices through full membership of the ISEAL Alliance. RJC members must become certified against the Code of Practices through a third party, independent, certification process. The RJC Code is aligned with international standards from the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information about The Plumb Club, visit https://plumbclub.com/. For more information about the Responsible Jewelry Council, visit https://www.responsiblejewellery.com/.

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