Countries should designate locations where colored gemstones enter the market in a bid to ensure the integrity of the industry’s supply chain, according to World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) president Gaetano Cavalieri.
Cavalieri called for the introduction of monitored “chokepoints” — places at which goods pass during shipping. The system would benefit governments by creating legal pathways for artisanal miners, enabling them to enter the legitimate distribution chain instead of turning to the black market, he argued at the World Emerald Symposium in Bogota, Colombia, last week.
“Given the wide variety of colored gemstones and the massive number of small companies involved in their production and distribution, it is unlikely in the foreseeable future that a single regulatory umbrella body will be established for the colored-gemstone sector, like the Kimberley Process,” Cavalieri observed.
“But if the trade and government cooperate, on a country-by-country basis, it may be possible to establish a multitude of chokepoints, which can verify and certify the integrity of the gemstones in their respective regions of jurisdiction,” he added.
Those country-focused regulators would be similar to the national Kimberley Process authorities that currently verify diamond imports in each jurisdiction, he explained. Several nations are already interested in the idea, he noted.
Until now, regulators have mainly focused on diamonds and precious metals, and it’s time for colored gemstones to come on board, Cavalieri continued.
At the symposium, CIBJO presented guidelines for responsible sourcing, which Cavalieri believes could serve as a set of standards for future colored-gemstone verification. The event preceded the 2018 CIBJO Congress, which began Monday in Bogota.
Image: CIBJO president Gaetano Cavalieri. (The World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation)