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WFDB Re-Elects Ernie Blom, Debates Industry Challenges at 37th World Diamond Congress

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(Press Release)
ANTWERP, BELGIUM – The World Federation of Diamond Bourses’ (WFDB)
presidents and bourse members worked through a packed agenda at the 37th World
Diamond Congress last week, discussing a wide range of issues directly affecting their
members at the 30 affiliated diamond bourses across the globe. WFDB President Ernie
Blom was unanimously elected for a third consecutive two-year term, and Israel
Diamond Exchange President Yoram Dvash was elected as vice president.

Blom said he was delighted with the debates and decisions taken in Dubai at the
biennial meeting of the WFDB and International Diamond Manufacturers Association
(IDMA). The three-day Congress provided the approximately 200 delegates with the
opportunity to discuss at length the issues affecting the global diamond sector under the
theme of “Transparency, Responsibility, Sustainability,” he commented.

"I have attended many Congresses, and this was definitely up there among the top
events," says Blom. "There was an excellent atmosphere and a positive feeling that
change for the better is happening after a difficult past year. This was seen in the very
high level of attendance, with every session being full. I was delighted with the deep
level of commitment and seriousness. The delegates are very concerned with the state
of the industry and were determined to debate issues fully. This enabled us to make
decisions based on a full airing of the views of our members.”

On the agenda were the challenges of financing, price lists, synthetics, the policy of
producers, supply chains and traceability, anti-money laundering, transparency in
business, tenders, as well as other issues.

Among the major steps taken by the WFDB was the creation of an international Young
Diamantaires group. To this end, a group of younger members of diamond firms from the main diamond center – including Israel, India, Belgium, the U.S., South Africa and Australia – will communicate on a regular basis. The aim is to provide mutual encouragement regarding the challenge of leading the diamond industry into the future, as well as a platform for the discussion of relevant issues for the mutual benefit of members.

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Underlying all the discussions, both formal and informal, was the clear understanding
that the global diamond sector has to further increase the transparency of its operations
and the integrity of the global diamond supply chain in order to maintain consumer
confidence in diamonds and jewelry. However, members stressed that the diamond
trade works according to the highest levels of industry self-regulation and that it should
be proud of its achievements.

Blom explains: "We have a huge amount of which we can be proud. I stressed that rather than being on the defensive, we should rather go on the offensive in showing our deep commitment to working transparently. How many other industries have taken the steps that the diamond industry has taken over the last 15 years to prove its commitment to making its operations visible to all and with a concern for the people who mine those diamonds in difficult conditions? The answer is very few, if any.

"Our members work according to wide-ranging rules and regulations that ensure that
diamonds are totally free of any possible suspicion, including U.N. resolutions, the
Kimberley Process national legislation, anti-money laundering regulations, Know Your
Customer programs, and the WFDB Code of Conduct and chain of warranties
requirements. The Federation’s members do not currently endorse any private initiative,
but we would like to put on record that we respect the right of all individual diamond
companies to make agreements and implement protocols with other parties as they see
fit, and that, together with the WFDB’s rules and regulations that our members
stringently follow, we are striving to guarantee a transparent supply chain. Furthermore,
the WFDB is in ongoing communication with its affiliated diamond bourses to implement and enforce all relevant rules and regulations.”

The next WFDB and IDMA Presidents Meeting in 2017 will be hosted by the Bharat
Diamond Bourse, while the 38th World Diamond Congress in 2018 will be hosted by the
Israel Diamond Exchange.

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CIBJO President Delivers Keynote Address on Traceability Standards at Jewelry Summit

It specifically focused on their significance for the growth of the business in China.

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(PRESS RELEASE) MILAN, ITALY — CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri has delivered the keynote address at the International Jewelry Standardization Summit in Shanghai on November 8, 2019, which was held in parallel with the Second China International Import Expo that is taking place in the city. In his presentation, he focused on the importance of origin traceability standards for the future of the jewelry sector, focusing specifically on their significance for the growth of the business in China.

The summit was co-organized by the China Gem & Jade Exchange, which recently joined CIBJO as a national association member. It was one a number of conferences being held during the China International Import Expo, in which the Chinese government is seeking to promote the opening of the giant Chinese market to the international trade.

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Full traceability is very difficult in the jewelry sector, and is generally limited to a small number of companies that control the full range of production, from the mine through retail, the CIBJO president said. There are also a growing number of technological solutions, many of them using blockchain, where every time a gemstone, jewelry component or full item of jewelry changes hands, the transfer of ownership or custody is recorded.

“These are all exciting developments, but currently they are effective with only a small number of the materials flowing through the chain of distribution,” Dr. Cavalieri said. “Consequently, if we are going to talk about systems that encompass the bulk of materials that we handle, we have to look for administrative solutions. This means creating paper trails, or more appropriately for the world in which the live, digital trails.”

“What we essentially are talking about is doing due diligence. In other words, carrying out a series of acts that essentially verify that all the parties supplying you have also done the appropriate due diligence,” he continued.

CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri being recognized by Simon Chen, executive vice president of the China Gems & Jade Exchange, during the International Jewelry Standardization Summit in Shanghai on November 8, 2019.
Describing a number of the existing due diligence systems being used in the industry, including those mandated by law, like the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, national Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regimes, the Dodd Frank Act the European Union’s conflict minerals regulations, as well other industry enforced systems, some of which require third-party auditing, Dr. Cavalieri introduced CIBJO’s new Responsible Sourcing Blue Book of standards and guidelines, which was approved at the beginning of this year.

“Like the other CIBJO Blue Books, the standards and guidelines contained in the proposed CIBJO Responsible Sourcing document are recommendations, as opposed to conditions of membership,” he stated. “However, they should come to serve as benchmarks for responsible sourcing systems developed and applied by industry organizations and commercial bodies worldwide, and by governments.”

“An operating principle of the Responsible Sourcing document is that it will be inclusive, meaning that there is an expectation that the standards, guidelines and systems that it describes can reasonably be applied by all members of the industry, irrespective of size or financial capacity, Dr. Cavalieri stressed.

“Does this trace every component in an item of jewelry back to that specific part of the world in which it was sourced?” Dr. Cavalieri asked.

“No, it does not, and given the structural complexities of an industry such as ours, it is unlikely that any such system, covering most if not all the jewelry in the value chain, will ever be created,” he said. “But what it does is help create system by which every participant becomes a link in a chain of trust. Together we provide the commitment to integrity that our consumers require. This will work on one condition, and that is we all play our part. And to that we need common standards, which apply in China, as they do in Italy, or in any other part of the world.”

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GIA Announces 2020 Classes

New to the 2020 schedule are expanded courses available in China.

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(PRESS RELEASE) CARLSBAD, CA – Aspiring gem and jewelry professionals interested in studying diamonds, colored stones, pearls, jewelry design or other specialties in the gem and jewelry industry can now view the Gemological Institute of America’s global 2020 class schedules. The schedules and other details, including tuition and fees by location, are available at GIA.edu/gem-education/campuses.

“GIA’s robust and experiential gemology and jewelry education prepares people starting a new career or looking for the next step in their profession for success in the gem and jewelry industry,” said Duncan Pay, GIA vice president and chief academic officer. “GIA diplomas and certificates are instantly recognized as world-class professional credentials.”

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New to the 2020 schedule are expanded courses available in China through Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and Peking University Resource College.

GIA schools are located in major gem and jewelry centers around the world, with many of the courses taught in local languages. Distance education courses are also available online. US$2 million in scholarships are available for on-campus and distance education courses. The next scholarship application period will begin Feb. 1, 2020. For more information visit GIA.edu/scholarships.

Over the course of GIA’s 88 years, the Institute has educated more than 365,000 professionals worldwide. The GIA Graduate Gemologist diploma program, which focuses on gem grading and identification, is the industry’s highest professional credential.

For press inquiries, contact Nellie Barnett at nbarnett@gia.edu or +1 760-603-4184.

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WJA Debuts Negotiable

The new benefit builds members’ ability to bargain effectively in the workplace.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has debuted a new benefit for its members, called Negotiable, in connection with WJA’s Gender Equality Project. The learning program offers a collection of resources – videos, assessments, worksheets, and more, which can help its members build their ability to negotiate a promotion, a better vendor contract, or higher sales.

Data shows that women make the vast majority of purchase decisions in the jewelry industry and that women’s increased involvement and leadership in every sector of the jewelry trade will lead to better consumer engagement and business outcomes.

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But earlier this year, the Gender Equality Project found in its survey on workplace practices that 30% of employee respondents (who were over 90% female) said they had been deprived of equal opportunities for advancement; and 38% said they have been affected by pay disparity.

To help members begin to bargain better for promotions and equal pay, or with vendors and in sales situations, WJA contracted with Negotiable, using funds from a 2019 JCK industry grant. Negotiable works to train members in the skills needed to work through problems, ask for what they need, and gain relevant professional development experience.

Negotiable’s videos teach basic bargaining skills, with assessments that help users leverage their strengths. Worksheets prepare them for a real-world negotiation, and include role plays they can practice with others. Users can also return to the learning platform to review and refresh the skills they learned for subsequent negotiations.

“We know that surveys of women in the U.S. show that, on average, women receive less training, mentoring, and advice on negotiating than men. WJA believes in the power of education to boost confidence in our members and to fuel positive career transformation,” says WJA Executive Director Jennifer Markas. “Negotiable’s good practices help women increase the likelihood they’ll be more successful in every facet of their careers, from promotions and equal pay, to better sales and vendor contracts.”

Negotiable notes that scholars have not found evidence to suggest that women are worse at negotiating than men. The learning platform’s own research also suggests that, with coaching, practice, and experience, women report just as much satisfaction and success with their negotiations.

“We’d like to once again thank the JCK Industry Fund for this very useful grant,” says WJA President Jenny Luker. “A key WJA goal is to help women in the jewelry and watch industries advance and develop professionally and this new benefit is central to our mission.”

WJA is providing access to Negotiable free to members on a first-come, first-served basis, in lieu of the normal $89.99 cost of a subscription. To learn more, go to https://www.womensjewelryassociation.com/negotiable, and view the introductory video about the service. If interested, members can log in, enter their names, email addresses, and chapter locations, and then receive instructions for access.

To join WJA, click here. For more information, contact Membership Coordinator Rachel Jurisz, rachel@womensjewelryassociation.com.

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