The European Parliament last week approved a draft regulation intended to prevent the minerals trade from funding conflict and human rights violations in Africa. If adopted, this “conflict minerals” law will oblige all but the smallest EU importers of tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold and their ores from conflict and high-risk areas to do "due diligence" checks on their suppliers, and big manufacturers will also have to disclose how they plan to monitor their sources to comply with the rules. Authorities in EU member states will be responsible for ensuring compliance by companies.
The Antwerp diamond industry this year is celebrating its 570th anniversary. A document recently discovered in the City Archive identifies the first signs of a diamond trade in the city dating back to 1447.
The Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) will honor iconic retailer Helzberg Diamonds with the Diamonds Do Good Corporate Legacy of Philanthropy Award, the organization writes in a press release. The retailer will be one of three honorees at DEF’s Diamonds Do Good Awards gala, June 4 at the Four Seasons Ballroom in Las Vegas. The award reflects the actions taken by a corporation to better the lives of the local community while making a difference at the global level.
The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), a committee dedicated to educating and regulating the ethics and integrity of the jewelry industry, has appointed Tiffany Stevens as its new president and CEO, reports JCK. She succeeds Cecilia Gardner, who held this post for 18 years, was general counsel of the World Diamond Council for 15 years and was involved in the Kimberley Process from the time of its inception in 2000.
The World Diamond Council (WDC) announced that the Board of Directors has named Ms. Marie-Chantal Kaninda as Executive Director effective March 1, 2017. Ms. Kaninda will be replacing Patricia Syvrud, who is stepping down on February 28th. Ms. Kaninda brings to the organization over 20 years of industry marketing and stakeholder engagement experience, having worked for companies such as Anglo Gold Ashanti, De Beers and Rio Tinto, mostly in Africa. A resident of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ms.
"When I joined the diamond industry 10 years ago, I discovered the significant contribution diamond mining makes to entire regions and communities, through local employment and investments, construction of infrastructure, and development of health and education programs. I would assume that most consumers today are not aware of the contribution diamonds make to the world. Diamonds matter to the livelihood of millions, and they matter to all of us who want to express to our loved ones the sincerity of our commitment. Not all is perfect, but it is good today, and it will be better tomorrow. I take pride in the fact that diamonds make the world a better place."
- Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the Diamond Producers Association (DPA)
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) was acknowledged for their grant to the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), an initiative dedicated to improving the social and economic conditions of artisanal, small-scale miners and their families.
“AWDC has been a longstanding and reliable partner,” says Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director of DDI. “Their support enables DDI to continue its efforts to formalize the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector in ways that benefit miners, their communities and local economies.”
Award-winning journalist Rob Bates raises some highly relevant issues in the wake of the announcement by Ashley Orbach - U.S. Department of State’s special advisor for conflict diamonds for the last three years - that she will be leaving the agency and her role as advisor. There was always going to be a sense of uncertainty concerning the U.S. stance toward the Kimberley Process and human rights in the mining industry under the unpredictable new administration, and the loss of continuity signalled by Orbach's departure may well add to it.
In a major blow to the already struggling jewelry sector in India, the government might cut the threshold limit for the requirement of the permanent account number (PAN) or Unique Identity Code (Adhaar Number) in urban, and Kisan Credit Card number in rural areas for jewelry or bullion purchases between Rs 50,000-100,000 ($740-1,480), writes Business Standard. The Budget, announced Wednesday, is likely to further tighten the noose around black money after the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 8, 2016.
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), which collaborates on responsible sourcing practices in the jewelry supply chain, has launched its, "New and improved self-assessment workbook to help kick-start 2017 for our members." RJC explains, "The self-assessment workbook helps members self-assess their performance against the RJC Code of Practices (COP).
Sustainability has entered the mainstream in a signficant way, with young companies often making it a prime selling-point while well-known retailers, consumer products giants, and tech firms cater to consumers who increasingly care about sustainability.
"As consumer expectations lean increasingly toward transparency, a brand’s dedication to sustainable business practices is more important than ever before," write Jen King for Luxury Daily in her report on the “Sustainability is the New Black: Consumers Expect Ethical Transparency” session at Luxury FirstLook: Time for Luxury 2.0 on Jan. 18. She writes, "Panelists from the jewelry, spirits and hospitality sectors discussed how their businesses approach corporate social responsibility.
"As a leading member of the U.S. Jewelry industry, we are writing to express our support for Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the corresponding Securities and Exchange Commission’s Conflict Minerals Rule.
Tiffany & Co. has unveiled a short film on its diamonds, highlighting their journey through Tiffany's vertically integrated supply chain from mine to their studio in Antwerp, from Antwerp to the company’s polishing workshops in Mauritius and their final journey to New York. The film gives the viewer unprecedented access inside from inside three critical junctures of the journey from responsible mining to sorting, marking, cutting, polishing, grading, setting – and finally, the famous Tiffany Blue Box®.
Diamond industry analyst Avi Krawitz presents his thoughtful analysis of the year that was in the diamond industry 2016: "The Year Trust Returned to the Diamond Trade".
The 50TH Annual General Body Meeting (AGM) of The Gem & Jewellery Export Council (GJEPC), held on December 20, 2016, took some significant decisions, according to a press release. For one, the body approved changes in its code of ethics, necessary to complete the process of the GJEPC induction as a member into the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). The AGM also approved the formation of the Trade Disciplinary Committee (TDC) by the GJEPC, together with the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) and the Mumbai Diamond Merchants’ Association (MDMA).
The United States Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA) has elected Jerry Ehrenwald, president and CEO of the International Gemological Institute (IGI), to its Board of Directors. The authority controls the use of Kimberley Process certificates for rough diamond exports from the U.S. “We look forward to working with Mr. Ehrenwald and the IGI staff to fulfill this meaningful mission for the U.S. rough diamond industry,” said Dr. Martin Hochbaum, executive director and member of the USKPA board, in a statement.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), representative body for the Antwerp diamond community, has does something different for Christmas this year. Instead of season’s greetings gifts or cards, 16 diamond ambassadors rolled up their sleeves and volunteered at the local Antwerp charity project “Moeders voor Moeders” (Mothers for Mothers), an organization which helps young families facing financial difficulties. AWDC will share its season’s greetings video from their day at Moeders voor Moeders on social media.
Dorothée Gizenga, international development expert and human rights advocate, has been appointed to the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest honor. "She is the founding executive director of the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) and has dedicated her work to international development and the eradication of blood diamonds," reads the announcement.
On the occasion of Botswana’s Golden Jubilee Anniversary celebrating 50 years of independence, De Beers partnered with Career Diversity, Standard Chartered Bank Botswana and Leadership 2020 to host the inaugural W Summit, on October 13 in Gaborone.
Cameroon is allowing conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic to cross over its borders and into the legal supply chain due to poor controls, smuggling and corruption, Partnership Africa Canada said in a report published today.
The London Diamond Bourse (LDB) has announced that it is now a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). This makes LDB the first diamond bourse in the world to join the standards and certification organization. The LDB said its council of management unanimously voted to apply to join the RJC and will now undertake an independent audit to achieve full RJC certification, LDB said in a statement.
Last Friday, Antwerp World Diamond Centre and the Government of Flanders hosted a seminar on innovation in diamond financing at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. A standing-room only crowd packed the stately Reynolds Room in Burlington House, surrounded by a series of 20th-century British impressionist paintings appropriately titled "Reinventing Landscape", and reinventing the diamond financing landscape is precisely what AWDC has in mind: "Innovation is driving the financial industry forward at an unprecedented pace.
Diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan breaks down the rough diamond valuation system that was one of the key topics this year in Kimberley Process (KP) discussions. The heart of the issue is whether a method can be hashed out so that rough diamond producers receive a "reasonable" (read 'fair') price for their rough diamond parcels on the international market. The solution suggested is that rough diamonds would be valuated by converting the transaction prices retailers and jewelry makers pay for polished diamonds into rough prices, minus the manufacturers' costs and margins.
Today proves our determination to strengthen our efforts to prevent armed groups around the world from using trade in minerals to finance their activities and propagate conflict. This regulation will put into practice the EU's commitments to this effect. At the same time, no additional red tape for European companies that trade respecting the rules, while EU citizens can be assured that their purchases do not affect human rights in conflict-ridden countries."
- Peter Žiga, Slovak Minister in charge of trade and President of the Council, on EU reaching landmark agreement on conflict minerals regulation.
Two investment bubbles, 340 years apart, provide living proof of Edmund Burke’s famous observation that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Rough diamond broker and founder and president of N.Rothmann, Nurit Rothmann recounts the history of two remarkably similar speculative bubbles: the spectactular rise and sudden collapse of the tulip market in 1637 and the rough diamond market in the late 1970's and early '80s. Reprinted here by special arrangement.
The Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary held in UAE this week concluded with the announcement that that it has appointed the European Union as its Chair for 2018. The EU will assume responsibility as KP Vice Chair in 2017 with Australia as Chair, and India will be the Vice Chair in 2018 when EU becomes the organisation’s Chair. Consequently, in 2019 India will become the KP Chair.
As the 2016 Kimberley Process Plenary comes to a close, the World Diamond Council (WDC) and its president Andrey Polyakov applaud the positive steps taken in 2016, the initiatives undertaken by KP Chair UAE during the plenary itself, and look forward to the continued success of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme under the leadership of the new KP Chair, Australia.
The 2016 KP Plenary kicked off yesterday in Dubai as KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem welcomed representatives of 81 governments and industry organizations. First day activities included a third diamond valution forum addressing the elusive question of how to provide fair value for diamonds from Africa and achieve a formalized approach to valuing diamond resources.
The UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair), Ahmed Bin Sulayem, will host a special forum on synthetic diamonds and their impact on the future of the diamond industry on November 14 in conjunction with the annual KP Plenary. Bringing together representatives from 81 countries, the global diamond industry and civil society, the event will discuss a number of key issues facing the industry.
World Diamond Council (WDC) members representing every sector of the diamond trade, from producer to retail, will join together from November 13 to 17 to promote dialogue in the Kimberley Process (KP), and discuss mechanisms for greater industry inclusion at the organization's Plenary Meeting in Dubai, the WDC said in a statement. “The WDC reaffirms its commitment to assist all parties in their efforts to have a productive dialogue at this year’s Plenary and we are dedicated to supporting the KP’s tripartite structure put in place more than a decade ago,” stated Andrey Polyakov, president o
As announced in a press release, the UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair), Ahmed Bin Sulayem will host a one-day ‘KP Chair Special Forum’ on rough diamond valuation on 13 November, coinciding with the KP Plenary Session between 13 and 17 November 2016. The event will discuss key issues facing the industry with participants from 81 countries, as well as industry players from across the supply chain. This is third forum of its kind hosted by the UAE KP Chair.
The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) is celebrating its 90th anniversary this week in Armenia. Describing itself as the “United Nations of the jewellery business,” CIBJO represents the interests of all individuals, organizations and companies earning their livelihoods from jewelry, gemstones and precious metals. CIBJO is the oldest international confederation of national jewelry trade organizations. Its purpose is to encourage harmonization, promote international cooperation in the jewelry industry and to consider issues which concern the trade worldwide.
Last Friday, September 30, the second of three rough diamond valuation forums initiated by the current Kimberley Process (KP) Chair, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, was held in Antwerp.
Diamond companies, especially the small and medium-sized firms who make up the bulk of our membership, cannot easily access financing. Diamond manufacturing and trading companies need to finance their operations, however with banks facing higher capital requirements, risk aversion and increased regulatory burden, the financing they make available to diamantaires has fallen significantly in recent years and that has meant reduced operational flexibility and increased vulnerability to market movements for diamond companies.
- Ernie Blom, President of World Federation of Diamond Bourses, on the need for the industry to demonstrate its transparency and dependability to financial institutions as well as consumers.
JCK's award-winning news director Rob Bates sat down for a chat with Internet radio program "The Daily Beat" on Breakthru Radio (BTR) to talk all things diamonds, and in particular the Kimberley Process and diamonds in American culture.
BTR: What effect did the movie Blood Diamonds (2006) and reports after that have on the diamond industry?
"On concluding the second ‘Africa Dubai Precious Metals Forum’ in Accra, KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem met with H.E. President John Dramani Mahama to discuss Kimberley Process matters and to share the KP Chair Mid-Term Report," writes Emirates 24/7 News. Ghana is a full KP member, has the 11th largest reserves of diamonds in the world and is the 14th largest producer in Africa.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre’s “Diamond Pavilion” at the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair today was the scene for the world premieres of two new initiatives: AWDC’s “Diamonds & Antwerp, It’s in our DNA” campaign, and HRD Antwerp’s rebranded diamond grading certificates.
De Beers' Tango Extension Project a proposed open pit diamond mine being explored as a way of extending the life of Victor Mine, located in the James Bay Lowlands of northern Ontario, approximately 90 km west of the coastal community of Attawapiskat First Nation. They are undertaking engineering studies and pursuing environmental approvals for the development of this mine, supported by existing Victor Mine infrastructure, and will be consulting with local communities and First Nations as part of that process.
The World Diamond Council (WDC) gathered in New York City last week for the organization’s 12th Annual General Meeting (AGM), focusing on its proposed new Strategic Plan to guide the organization’s work through 2020 as it continues to serve as the industry voice in the KP. Hosted by the United States Jewelry Council (USJC) and with the support of Signet Jewelers, ABN Amro Bank, De Beers Group, Brinks, UL and JCK, more than 100 representatives from the diamond industry, government, civil society and media came together to study new proposals
Diamonds Unleashed, a “profits with purpose” company with a social mission solely dedicated to the causes of women, has joined forces with Serena Williams – one of the brand’s distinguished ambassadors – to launch a collection this fall exclusively on HSN, announced Diamonds Unleashed by Kara Ross today in a press release. The Diamonds Unleashed for Serena Williams jewelry collection will debut September 12, 2016 during New York Fashion Week. It will accompany Serena Williams’ new fall collection on the runway during her fashion show.
Jean-Marc Lieberherr is CEO of the Diamond Producers Association, formed in May 2015 by seven of the world’s leading diamond companies to maintain and enhance consumer demand for, and confidence in diamonds. Lieberherr joined Rio Tinto’s diamond business in 2005, "a life-changing move", he tells us. With the official launch of DPA's "Real is Rare. Real is a Diamond." campaign to take place in early October, Lieberherr lays out his vision of the DPA and responds to some questions on key issues in the diamond industry.
After years of discussion between the Antwerp diamond industry and the Belgian Government, in 2015 it was decided to introduce the “Diamond Regime” tax system, pending European Commission approval. Today the EC announced that the fiscal regime does not constitute State aid, and gave the green light to what has come to be known as the "Carat Tax". Implementation of this new tax regime will put an end to complex discussions between the Antwerp diamond industry and tax authorities on the control and valuation of diamond traders' stock.
ALROSA, the world leader in diamond mining, has become a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) since 11 August 2016, writes RJC in a press release. "Consumers around the world are giving great importance to the origin of diamonds in jewelry. We believe it is important to demonstrate to the consumer that diamond mining is a socially responsible business that creates jobs, supports local communities and cares about the environment.
The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) yesterday announced that it has received a $30,000 grant from the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) to support the second year of programming at the mobile school in the mining village of Kankala, of the Kasai Occidental province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Diamond Empowerment Mobile school was one of the first two in DDI’s “Sending Schools to Kids” remedial education program – offering children the opportunity to leave the mines and go back to school, w
Communities in the Marange diamond mining area have called on the newly-established Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) to halt operations, alleging it is worse than the previous mining firms, writes NewsDay. The government earlier this year terminated the operations of nine diamond companies following their failure to renew operating licences.
The Indian government has deferred granting permission to mining giant Rio Tinto to open a diamond mine in Madhya Pradesh, saying the plan endangers a dense forest area and a tiger corridor between the Panna Tiger Reserve and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, writes Live Mint. The project for forest clearance has been pending since 2014. Rio Tinto says there are 53.7 million tons of diamondiferous Kimberlite ore at the site, containing an estimated 34.2 million carats of diamon
We at ABN AMRO support initiatives that create more insight into the value chain, its key players, engages with the right side of the market and excludes areas which show less transparency or no willingness to learn and improve. We see other banks doing the same more and more. In the end there will only be credit lines available for companies with good corporate standards and track record, whether they are small or big doesn't matter ... We expect more consolidation and certain companies going out of business. It's a healthy development, where only strong and modern companies can survive, particularly those that look at innovation and diversification.
- Erik Jens, Head of Diamond & Jewellery Clients - ABN AMRO, on diamond industry initiatives to promote transparency, sustainability, CSR & responsible sourcing, interview with Rough-Polished.
In a major, even historic development, the United States will be guaranteeing loans to diamond manufacturers in Botswana. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government's development finance institution that, "mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy", has today issued a press release announcing a financial partnership to provide access to credit for Botswana’s diamond cutting and polishing industry.
The World Diamond Council (WDC) today has elected Stéphane Fischler as Vice President and Ronald (Ronnie) VanderLinden as Treasurer. Udi Sheintal is to remain as Corporate Secretary. At the first meeting of the term, WDC’s Board of Directors elects officers from among its members for two-year terms. Stéphane Fischler, a founding and charter member of the WDC since its inception in 2000, was also recently re-elected President of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, an appointment he has held since 2012.
New De Beers Group CEO, Bruce Cleaver, has highlighted the importance of relationships with all the company’s partners, saying they are the “cornerstone of the business”, the company stated in a press release citing his blog for the company website. Mr Cleaver, who took up the role on 1 July, said: “De Beers holds a unique position with consumers, our rough diamond customers, governments, communities and retailers ...
The Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF), whose Diamonds Do Good Initiative seeks to tell positive stories behind diamonds by highlighting the collective good works of the diamond and jewelry industries in diamond communities and areas where the industry does business, has announced the launch of the “Diamonds Do Good” video messaging campaign – a series of three sixty-second videos. The videos will rotate on global websites such as Vogue, The Ne
Rio Tinto is focusing its global diamond sales and marketing initiatives on tracked jewelry collections "with a clear and transparent chain of custody, from the mine to the market" particularly aimed at the younger generation who want clear information regarding the provenance of gems. Simon Trott, managing director of Rio Tinto Diamonds, said: “Increasingly the value of a diamond is tied to where and how the diamond was mined, how it was cut and polished and the process of bringing it to sale.
With the 37th World Diamond Congress starting today (Monday) and the Kimberley Process intercessional meeting that follows in Dubai, IDEX Online Deputy Editor David Brummer spoke to the World Diamond Council (WDC) about its role in the diamond industry and its relationship with the Kimberley Process.
According to the company's 10th annual Report to Society publication, investment by The De Beers Group of Companies in skills training for the local workforce and social projects increased 13 percent to US$52.5 million in 2015. De Beers also improved its environmental performance, with reductions in energy consumption and carbon emissions.
The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), an organization dedicated to improving the working conditions and lives of artisanal diamond miners, is announcing the launch of the Maendeleo Diamond Standards (MDS), the organization anounced today in a press release. Maendeleo, the Swahili word for development and progress, is a fitting designation for standards that will ensure respect for human rights, for the environment and for community well-being, according to Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director.
At the end of March, Apple released its third Conflict Minerals Report. Often these reports get praised when companies describe themselves as having achieved a “conflict free” status. Apple’s report, however, chooses not to use this description, and we think that’s a good thing. This term ... can be misleading. The reality is that supply chains, particularly in conflict-affected and fragile states, are fluid and ever-changing. This means that even the most well-managed supply chains are not immune to the possibility of contributing to human rights abuses or corruption. It’s for this very reason that we don’t believe that supply chains or the final products should be definitively described as “conflict free” ... The most important [thing] isn’t a passive “conflict free” label; it is the evidence that companies are actively, continually checking their supply chains to look for red flags and risks, and when necessary, taking the appropriate steps to address these problems.
- Global Witness blog, "Why it's a good thing that Apple isn't declaring its products conflict free"
"Very few speak of the good diamonds have done for some of the poorest people in the world," write Mark Boston and Vinod Kuriyan in a blog article on GemKonnect. "Of the positive influence on communities in literally every single continent barring uninhabited Antarctica." With the world's attention grabbed by evils such as terrorists, people traffickers, sex slavers, and drug cartels that destroy millions of lives, good deeds don’t get the sort of publicity that evil does.
De Beers' CEO Philippe Mellier says the company's commitment to the country of Namibia and their partnership through Nabdeb remains firm even in challenging times the diamond industry experienced last year, reports The Namibian. He said despite volatility in the market throughout 2015, De Beers believes that the sector's outlook is promising, with Namibia playing a key role in its future.
De Beers Namibia Holdings will make N$10 million (US$650,000) available over five years to support the programme run through UNAM’s southern campus at Keetmanshoop, with UNAM providing administrative support. The programme aims to complement the Government’s efforts to support Namibian children in marginalised communities to fulfil their academic potential. At least 50 per cent of the beneficiaries will be girls. For 2016, 87 students, 60 of them girls, have been selected for support. They will receive help with costs related to tuition fees, books and accommodation.