A delegation from Angola paid a visit to Antwerp this week as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to restructure and reform the functioning and reputation of its diamond industry, traveling to the diamond capital for consultations regarding implementation of the Kimberley Process (KP) regulations. The visit follows that of President João Lourenço to Antwerp last June, and the Belgian mission to Angola last November, spearheaded by Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, Didier Reynders.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) on Tuesday published its second sustainability report (available to download here), looking at the impact the umbrella organization for the Antwerp diamond industry has with regard to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), locally as well as internationally.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is enhancing its ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) program. As of May 1, the GIA will require all new and current laboratory clients to confirm the identity and ownership of their businesses, and to provide identifying information for all authorized representatives conducting business with GIA on their behalf. "These requirements are recognized globally and are not unique to GIA," reads a statement from the GIA.
Senior officials of the World Diamond Council (WDC) have provided an overview of the organization's revised System of Warranties (SoW), during two sessions on April 24 at the 13th Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) today launched its new Code of Practices (COP). The COP defines responsible, social and environmental business practices for companies in the jewellery supply chain and commits members to adhere to a robust set of comprehensive auditable standards. This marks the third iteration of the COP since the RJC formed in 2005, and reflects the evolving needs of the industry and demands of consumers globally.
Several diamond and jewelry industry sites are reporting that the U.S. State Department may be prepraring to strengthen and enforce disclosure requirements for all materials used in jewelry. State Department representaitives met with a coalition of industry leaders in New York to explain the new potential regulations. According to Rob Bates at JCK, "The United States believes that jewelry materials and other minerals are funding conflict and rogue regimes, specifically mentioning Iran, Venezuela, and certain countries in Africa, said attendees.
More than 400 compliance professionals from around the world gathered in London yesterday for the presentation of the international "Women in Compliance" awards, an honor that shines a spotlight on female compliance professionals. Trisevgeni Stavropoulos and Iris Leerdam, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre's (AWDC) two female compliance officers, took home the hardware for “In-house Compliance Team of the Year”.
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on March 1 adopted a resolution calling for a strengthening of the Kimberley Process (KP) to more effectively sever the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict, thereby contributing to the maintenance of international peace and, in particular, security and sustainable development in artisanal diamond-mining regions. The World Diamond Council has welcomed the adoption of a resolution, which was proposed by the European Union (EU) and ratified by consensus by the members of the 193-member UNGA body.
The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has introduced new national codes for rough (unworked) and cut (worked) synthetic diamonds and other synthetic gemstones based on the Harmonized System (HS) Code, the international nomenclature to classify traded products.
The Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), a subsidiary of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), recently signed a service agreement to join the MyKYCBank platform of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). DMCC Executive Chairman and DDE Chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem GJEPC Chairman Pramod Kumar Agrawal did the honours. The DMCC is the fourth trade body to join the MyKYCBank after the GJEPC, Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). The agreement enables DMCC members trading in diamonds, gold and precious stones to join the MyKYCBank platform.
The EU Plenary, which brings together the three pillars of the KP and its many stakeholders, was marked as a unique opportunity to advance the ambitious reform agenda set in 2017. Under the leadership of the EU, the KP discussed an agenda with three priorities: a deepening of the KP, including the reinforcement of the system of controls and the transformation of KP recommendations into minimum requirements; an expansion of the KP by broadening the definition of conflict diamonds; and professionalization of the KP by, among others, the establishment of a permanent KP secretariat.
The Central African Republic (CAR) has made an appeal to members of the Kimberley Process (KP), whose Plenary meeting commences in Brussels today, to engage with the country to increase its rough-diamond exports. The CAR government has asked the KP family to approve the compliance of nine additional mining zones in the Western part of the country - in addition to the five areas already approved in 2015 - and to formallize the decision taken at the KP Intersessional last June to reduce the approval period for rough-diamond exports to seven days.
Stephane Fischler, President of the World Diamond Council, spoke with Mines to Market. Some key takeaways [for the complete interview, click 'Read the full article']:
MtM: What is your idea of the ideal environment for the diamond industry to evolve in today’s scenario?
Fischler: The ideal scenario for the diamond industry, as for any industry, is a combination of positive tension on the 'supply and demand' side and growing consumer desire for the product. That is the theory.
On Saturday, February 17, 2018, India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) released a statement on the incidents that have recently come to light with regards to the alleged fraud committed by two members of the Council. They state: "The Nirav Modi/Gitanjali Gems incident is of concern to the entire Gems & Jewellery industry. The Industry strongly condemns any sort of unlawful & illegal actions by any individual, trade or otherwise.
The U.S. sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, one of the biggest individual mining and diamond investors in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in what it calls a clampdown on human-rights abusers and corrupt actors, write Thomas Biesheuvel, Mark Burton, and William Clowes for Bloomberg Politics. The U.S. Treasury said Gertler has used his close relationship with the country’s president, Joseph Kabila, to amass a fortune through corrupt and opaque deals.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), representing the largest diamond trade hub worldwide, and diamond mining company De Beers today announced at the KP Plenary in Brisbane that they are discussing a potential collaboration in De Beers’ recently announced blockchain platform. De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said that in recognition of the crucial issue of confidence in the diamond industry and the changing expectations across the value chain, the company has been investing in a platform to create, "the first traceability platform to span the entire diamond value chain ...
The World Diamond Council (WDC), an industry group focused on preventing conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate global supply chain and protecting the value of natural diamonds, today called for an open discussion around Kimberley Process reform at the KP Plenary meeting to be held in Brisbane, Australia December 9-14, 2017.
The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) has undertaken a sensitization initiative for border communities in the Mano River Union (MRU) region - which comprises the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire - to raise awareness of the Kimberley Process requirements and strengthen local capacity to monitor the flow of diamonds.
Today, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) have announced they will join forces in rolling out an industry-wide Know-Your-Customer (KYC) exchange platform, MyKYCBank. The MyKYCBank platform, which had been launched by the GJEPC through an independent subsidiary, provides a centralized platform for companies in the industry to complete and manage their KYC in line with global standards. Users can easily and quickly share their own KYC data among trade connections as well as banks and othe
In the midst of a five-day Belgian State visit to India, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) - umbrella organization for the Antwerp diamond industry - joined hands with its Indian counterpart, the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), to host a roundtable discussion today (Nov. 9) in Mumbai concerning the contributions of the diamond industry to social and economic development.
At the start of Positive Week, an initiative run by Positive Luxury to encourage environmental practises in business, Jo Blake, head of communications at De Beers' brand Forevermark, argued that the regulations that govern diamond mining allow the practice to be more eco-friendly and sustainable than synthetic diamonds, which are hardly regulated at all. “The [synthetics] industry is not particularly regulated in comparison to the natural diamond mining," she said.
JCK's Rob Bates writes about a recent anti-money laundering compliance oversight that cost Richmont - through one of its Cartier stores - $384,000 in a settlement with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). "On four separate occasions between 2010 and 2011, an individual purchased jewelry from Cartier boutiques in California and Nevada", but the Cartier shops involved neglected to identify the company to which the jewelry was shipped - Shuen Wai Holdings Limited in Hong Kong - as being on the blocked list.
In response to Global Witness’ recent report, “An Inside Job”, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) stated today it denounces the NGO’s accusations that European sanctions may have violated by the sale of Zimbabwean diamonds, originating from the Chinese-owned Anjin mining company, in Antwerp between December 2013 and September 2014.
The Ministry of Mines, Energy and Hydraulics of the Central African Republic (CAR) has issued a press release categorically rejecting the allegations contained in Global Witness' report, "Game of Stones", which detailed the NGO's investigation into diamond smuggling from CAR.
A new investigative report by Global Witness shows how smugglers are using social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to get diamonds linked to the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) out of the country and into international markets. Representatives went undercover by creating a social media profile for a fictitious diamond buyer that claimed to be based in Antwerp but operates internationally. They managed to speak to several dealers who promised easy access to CAR’s diamonds.
The World Diamond Council (WDC), an industry group focused on removing conflict diamonds from the global supply chain and protecting the value of natural diamonds, today announced that current president Andrey Polyakov will be resigning by the end of the week. Current WDC Vice President Stephane Fischler will become acting President effective July 1, 2017. Mr Fischler will serve in this capacity until the end of the term of this Board, at which time he will start his two year term as WDC President.
"Those 238 grams are believed to be the most rigorously documented export of small-scale gold in history", writes The Globe and Mail. They are referring to 238 grams of gold that Canadian NGO Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) purchased from small-scale mining sites in eastern Congo as part of a pioneering new system of gold exports called "Just Gold", initiated to generate a new form of highly detailed sourcing data.
Thursday June 8, the US House of Representatives approved legislation to erase a number of core financial regulations put in place by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, as Republicans moved a step closer to delivering on their promises to eliminate rules that they claim have strangled small businesses and stagnated the economy, writes the New York Times.
Arriving at Antwerp’s splendid 19th century Central Station, with its marble staircases, iron and glass vaulted ceiling and gilded details, shoppers visiting Antwerp are filled with high expectations about the jewelry boutiques awaiting them in the world’s diamond capital. For years these expectations were quickly dashed, as consumers were confronted with myriad uninviting and less-than-reputable jewelry shops once they left the station. Where to turn?
To elevate the KP to the next level of effectiveness, we must look beyond administrative issues and make sure that responsibility and expertise go hand-in-hand in the coming years. We took a strong step forward in this regard at the meeting by rigorously and constructively questioning all aspects related to the origin of the diamond product that consumers ultimately purchase. It is in all of our best interests to continue this productive dialogue so that we can continue to deliver on our promise to eradicate conflict diamonds from the supply chain.
Following the end of year 2016 in which poor sales performance and management changes were overshadowed by the reemergence of allegations of rampant sexual harassment and discrimination, Signet Jewelers is clearly making an effort to polish its i
JCK's Rob Bates conducted an in-depth and personal interview with Cecilia Gardner, who recently stepped down after 18 years as president and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to compliance with laws pertaining to the jewelry industry.
Back in February, the Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) hosted the "Diamond Financing 2017: New Opportunities, New Realities" seminar coinciding with the 2017 Presidents Meeting, the biannual gathering of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). Avi Krawitz reports on the proceedings: "The bankers still view diamonds as a high-risk sector. Representatives from the diamond trade, meanwhile, feel there has been significant progress in improving the industry’s level of compliance, transparency and so-called bankability.
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.
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.
"No, this is not a joke - I wish it were." So begins Chaim Even-Zohar's latest Diamond Intelligence Briefing, which uncovers a bizarre oversight involving the U.S. Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA): it does not officially exist at all. Rather, USKPA's Director and General Counsel Cecelia Gardner told Zohar the organization has been operating under a DBA ("doing business as") name, while the full name is "U.S. Kimberley Process Authority Institute" (USKPAI) ... but this as well has ceased to exist.
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).
In his latest Diamond Intelligence Briefs, “Keeping Stock of U.S. Kimberley Process Certificates”, industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar takes another hard look at the U.S. rough diamond trade and the country’s half-hearted approach when it comes to implementing Kimberley Process (KP) certification standards domestically.
The Israel Diamond Exchange and Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association sent a letter to Israeli traders Diamond companies in Israel have been granted another two months to voluntarily disclose their assets, inventory and unreported income to the Tax Authority, writes Rapaport News. The trade organizations informed their members that firms have until the end of February to submit the full report of disclosures, as long as they declared their intention to do so by December 29.
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 Administrative Decision [AD] on the Central African Republic [Temporary Suspension] of May 23, 2013 was modified by the 2015 AD of July 17, 2015 concerning the defining conditions for Central African Republic’s (CAR) resumption of trade in rough diamonds from “compliant zones”. Under the supervision of the Kimberley Process Monitoring Team, a forensic audit needs to be conducted of the rough diamond stockpiles held in the CAR per the criteria set forth in the KP's Operational Framework Agreement.
The founder and CEO of Gemological Science International (GSI), Mark Gershburg, has decided to step down as director of USKPA, writes Stacey Hailes of the National Jeweller. The USKPA, US Kimberley Process Authority, is an organization that works closely with the U.S. government in order to prevent conflict diamonds from circulating with legitimate trade.
We endorse the need for an ‘on-the-ground’ approach in countries which have been subject to sanctions. As a result, this should not be limited to the area of generic policy-setting, rather, there needs to be concrete push towards establishing workable structures through which issues can be managed in a sustainable way, such that it allows people in sanctioned countries to continue to make a living without not having to engage in illicit trade to survive. In the same spirit, we have constantly been advocating for the establishment of a Permanent Secretariat in the UN for the KP. As the PAC study correctly notes, the actual rough diamond production of Cameroon is extremely small; 250 carats per month on average over the last 3 years. The larger picture is the illicit trade coming from CAR. In particular, when we consider that 1 out of 4 people in CAR live directly or indirectly from mining diamonds, we must ensure that we are not inhibiting or starving a population by making rules, procedures and guidelines that will prevent them entirely from being economically active.
- UAE KP Chair, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, in response to PAC’s latest report about conflict diamonds from CAR entering international markets via Cameroon.
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.
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.
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.
Last week's surprise announcement that the Indian government was imposing a ban on denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes has already has already started to unleash a profound impact on the diamond industry and beyond. On the one hand, industry insiders are saying that payments in Surat would come grinding to a halt for at least the next two to three months owing to paucity of cash funds, and defaults as such would rise.
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
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.
In his latest Diamond Intelligence Briefing, "A Fraud in Progress... A Criminal Conspiracy to Default Hits Indian Exporters", industry insider Chaim Even-Zohar unravels a massive case of fraud perpetrated by a rogue diamond broker and US-based buyers against Indian diamond suppliers, currently estimated at $35-50 million.
The Namibian newspaper has raised concerns that a new government independent sales company called Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia), which is designated to sell stones worth over an estimated US$150 million (N$2.1 billion) per year as stipulated by a 10-year agreement between De Beers and the Namibian government, is allegedly operating without the desired level of transparency when it comes to selling Namibian resources.
By Chaim Even-Zohar. Reprinted from Diamond Intelligence Briefs by special arrangement. Click here to read the first article.
The Kimberley Process (KP) has declared three new ‘compliant zones’ in the Central African Republic, meaning diamond exports from those regions can resume after a suspension of more than two years, writes Rapaport News following a statement by the KP. The KP’s monitoring team approved shipments from the sub-prefectures of Boda, Carnot and Nola in the west of the country on September 19, the KP announced. KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem has communicated the decision to all KP participants and observers.
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?
HRD Antwerp has found grading discrepancies at the HRD Antwerp in Mumbai lab involving a limited number of diamonds which were submitted by one specific client. HRD Antwerp said in a statement that it maintains a continuous and rigorous system of internal controls. "As HRD Antwerp is adamant in upholding its excellent reputation in terms of quality, integrity and controls, the company has taken immediate and swift action. HRD Antwerp has filed an official complaint with the local authorities and legal action against all parties involved, both internally and externally, has been taken.
Responding to claims by illegal diamond miners searching for stones outside De Beers' property in Kimberley, South Africa, that De Beers is a willing buyer of their diamonds, Corporate Communication Manager Tom Tweedy yesterday denied any involvement on the part of the company, emphasising that the purchase or sale of such diamonds would be in violation of the Kimberley Process (KP).
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.
Andrey Polyakov, President of the World Diamond Council and Vice-President of ALROSA, sat down for an interview with Interfax (translation published exclusively by Rough-Polished), covering everything from the work and mission of the World Diamond Council (WDC), the Kimberley Process (KP), the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) and consumer demand for complete information about jewelry, to the possibility of ALROSA joining the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), setting up a diamond tracking program in China and the consumer markets in India, Brazil and the United States