Parcelpaper - 't Partijbriefke NO.6
The training period for the new gemmologists will soon come to an end and will result in a shorter waiting period. Nevertheless, the HRD has decided to establish laboratories overseas...
COMITE GEMMOLOGISCH INSTITUUT
In 2004 the Institute organized more than 25 courses in foraing countries. In 3 years turn over and the number of students doubled.
The training period for the new gemmologists will soon come to an end and will result in a shorter waiting period. Nevertheless, the HRD has decided to establish laboratories overseas. At first sight this would appear to be a good policy to internationalise the certificate and could, according to some Antwerp manufacturers and dealers cause a boomerang effect. Let us not forget that some years ago the GIA had to shelve its plan to open a certificate office in Antwerp under pressure of New York diamantaires. The future will tell if this is such a good step. Once the certificate department has absorbed the backlog and the instructors leave to go overseas, will we again fall back to the old situation?
The Antwerp participants were enthusiastic and reported making contacts. Indeed we were asked ‘when is the next conference?’ Antwerp Facets has a new format at the request of the committee, A4 but more attractive.
MONDAY 8th. NOVEMBER
Following contacts made at the Paris conference the Federation of Dealers in Diamonds and Precious Stones will host a delegation of French jewellers on Monday November 8th. A visit to the HRD, the Beurs voor Diamanthandel, the Diamantclub van Antwerpen and a diamondpolishing workshop is foreseen. If you wish to participate at this function please contact Mrs.Brigitte Hamerlinck, secretary of our association, at 03-233 46 82.
The Beslan tragedy
Our Federation has taken the initiative to organise a fund raising appeal for the surviving children of the Beslan tra-gedy. A first appeal was held at the Beurs voor Diamant-handel and we thank the board of directors. E-mails have been sent to major companies. Those who wish to contribute may do so on following bank account: ‘SOS-BESLAN’ nr.674-5400460-90. As of 25€ the donation is fiscally deductible.
The 5th. C
At the 8th. European Precious Stones Conference in Paris the protocol was signed by the three partners: ICEM, the Federation of Dealers in Diamonds and Precious Stones and Global Witness. It is, above all, the latter that has caused some trepidation amongst Antwerp’s professional associations.
Our Federation started the 5th. C project over a year ago to improve our image. The last ten years we have been slandered and scandalised and this is our effective reply. If this had been an effort by a group of diamantaires surely the media would not have taken any notice. We needed credibility. We could not have obtained more credibility then by joining with the ‘prosecutors’.
ICEM, the international labour union, is our best partner in order to know the conditions in the mines. In some mines deplorable condition involving child labour are still considered normal, even in this 21st., century ‘forced labour’ is but another name for slavery. Diamond cutting factories where cutters work under terrible circumstances barely making enough to cover their minimum subsistence with no rest days and working 7 days per week 12 hours per day and, of-course, child labour are not acceptible any more.
We had one of the most wonderful professions in the world; our ancestors had been at the forefront of social advancements in Belgium and in Europe. The diamond sector was an example to be followed: the first 40 hours week, paid holidays, the social fund etc. Today fingers are pointed at us and we are accused of being extortionists and taking advantage of our employees. It is through the cooperation of the ICEM that we will be able to exclude these individuals; they do not belong in our group.
It cannot be denied that a few malfide diamantaires, not members of a diamondbourse, have enriched themselves with the civil wars in Africa. Although it only involved a small number of individuals it, nevertheless, scandalised the whole sector and was exposed by Global Witness. This NGO will be looking at us and immediately point out any missteps. Any diamantaires that wish to enrich themselves by following these malfide practices have no place in our organisation. Global Witness has no intention to harm us but will complain if these intolerable conditions occur. Their participation in our promotional campaign proves their goodwill.
Synthetic diamonds have now again appeared on the market, everyone will be confronted with it, regardless if you like it or not, avoiding it is not the solution. The bourses have received a number of complaints. Dishonestly polishing the girdle of a treated stone and therefore destroying the identification, filled cracks, HPHT, CVD and other manipulations whether on rough or polished diamonds will not receive our quality label. Leave these sorts of people to continue their fraudulent practices amongst each other.
The 5th.C is designed for jewellers and diamantaires who have signed the deontological code. But what is this much spoken of deontological code? What are the articles it contains? It is a code of conduct, evident, elementary for every decent diamantaire (fortunately this applies to most of us).
We do not force anybody. Those that find the code too strict or not suitable for them do not have to follow it. But, those that do recognise the code will be part of the big 5th C family.
This campaign will be directed at the consumer, to those who have doubt about purchasing a diamond. Is this stone a natural stone? Has it been treated? Is it false or manipulated? Was blood and tears involved in its production? Or, has it passed through money laundering practises or drug money or, indeed, terrorist gangs? Now that we have two impeccable partners of international reputation the end consumer will regain confidence in nature’s most splendid product: diamonds.
The producer, the diamantaire and the jeweller will no longer have to blush because his product is ‘pure’ with no suspicion of white washing. It will be possible to trace the origin from mine to jewel. The jewellers associations have asked the question of what with their old stocks? The 5th.C is designed for the jeweller who has signed the deontological code and who is supplied by diamantaires who know the origin of their stones and have the 5th.C label. A long reliable chain where ethics play an important role. It is normal that stones purchased, perhaps ten years ago, will not be taken into account. It is the present and future that counts.
We must admit that the reactions of the international press have surprised us. We did not realise that the media, voice of the people, was so sensitive to this subject. Our sector has always found itself threatened by the press ‘they are out to destroy our profession with all these scandals’. Yet, the press could not have been more positive with our initiative. The media and the authorities could not have been more relieved at this ‘ at last a positive signal from the diamond world’ We are on the right track and all those that wish to join us in this grand project are welcome. It will be worth it.
The 8th. European Precious Stones Conference
The two days conference “Diamonds, Dream and Reality” was a great success. The organisers had hoped for 200 participants but, finally, no less than 480 attended.
Papers covering a variety of subjects were presented, all of which were of a high quality. Mrs Christine Boquet, managing director of the St. Eloi Syndicate, France’s most important jewellers association, dealt with economic aspects whilst Yves Moritz, publisher of the country’s most important trade magazine “Le Bijoutier” gave an overview on diamond jewellery sales in France, the economic situation and the prospects for the future.
On the scientific side Professor Jean Marie Dereppe gave a summary of the latest developments in synthetic diamonds, diamond manipulations, laboratory research through spectrography and Raman, photolumency and magnetic resonance. Dr.Hänni of the SSEF in Basel gave the jewellers some indications on how to recognise manipulated diamonds using a 10X loupe and some basic gemmological equipment. Maxime Blanchaert, engineer at the R&D laboratories of the H.R.D, explained the diamond research at their facilities. Since several years this centre produces pure scientific research in order to be able to follow the evolution in this field and they work closely with the certificate department. Major rough producers were also present such as Alrosa, which controls 80% of the Russian production and Rio Tinto which is becoming the most important mining company with many promising mines in Canada.
Derek Palmer of the D.T.C, gave a colourful presentation on marketing and their SOC policy. Emphasis was given to the quality of promotion, emotion and dream that diamonds evoke.
A young talented and already well-known designer, Lorenz Baümer of the Place
Vendôme, talked about his new fresh ideas and artful creations in combination with Internet. Indeed, a new generation of designers is born.
An important aspect which confronts the diamond and jewellery sector, is security and transportation of valuables. Michel Houry, CEO of Brink’s France, is the best placed person to put our minds at ease. The procedures and guarantees involved made a very professional impression. The banker has become a partner in our industry in which financing of stocks and purchasing of raw material play an important role. Freddy Hanard of the ABN-AMRO, one of the most active banks in the diamond, precious stones and jewellery sector enlightened us with his diagnostic view on the situation.
This exceptional day ended with a brilliant Gala, “the Dream”. It was a dream in the presence of HRH Prins Lorenz of Belgium and HRH’s the Archduke Christian and the Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria, HRH Prince and Princess Michel of Bourbon Parme, Duke and Duchess d’Andlau Hombourg, HRH Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein, HRH Princess Sophie de Ligne, HRH Prince and Princess Alexander of Yugoslavia and HH Prince Aziz Toussoum and, of-course the host, Prince Jean of Luxembourg, President of the Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and Honorary President of the Federation of Dealers in Diamonds and Precious Stones.
The House of Nathan presented a fashion show with spectacular jewellery from the famous Place Vendôme jewellers. A speech by Minister Didier Reynders pointing out the economic importance of the diamond and jewellery business to both countries ended the evening.
The presence and interest shown by the international press confirms the success of this event. TV crews from ATV, VTM, and VRT, Kanaal Z from Belgium and A2 and RTL from France as well as CNN International and CNN Asia, BBC and ITARTAS from Russia were present. It can be said that practically all the newspapers and magazines have reported on this event. Many European radio stations reported on the conference and gala.
It was an initiative of the Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Dealers in Diamonds and Precious Stones, which fascinated both the French and the Belgian diamantaires.
Open door day at the WTOCD (Scientific and Technical Research Centre of the HRD)
On October 3rd., it was open door day at many firms throughout Flanders and, rightly so, also at the WTOCD. The research centre was visited not only by those involved in the diamond industry but also by many people fascinated by diamonds. The organisation was perfect and every ‘facet’ of the diamond industry was professionally explained. All the secrets concerning new manufacturing technique, imitations, synthetics and manipulations was revealed so that everyone left the research centre with much useful information. An excellent piece of PR work that, unfortunately, takes place only once a year.
Our director Claude Nobels will participate on the trade mission with Prins Philip. If you like, as member, to give some publicity about your company contact N° 04188.8.131.52.
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