ICA Ponders Its Role

Participants at the International Colored Gemstone Association’s ninth biennial congress looked not only at gemstones but also at the future role of the only organization that brings together miners, cutters, manufacturers, distributors, and dealers.

The congress, held in Sydney, Australia, April 29-May 3, included panel discussions and lectures by marketing experts. Marketing guru Bob Pritchard delivered a consumer-oriented presentation called “Marketing Gemstones and the Electronic Network,” which triggered lively discussions about the required ICA approach toward various levels of the market.

Other catalysts for discussion were presentations by Richard Orbach, owner of the New York-based colored gemstone Internet marketer Cherrypicked.com, who lectured on “Selling Trust: The Ethical Representation of Gemstones Online”; and Eric Braunwart of Columbia Gem House Inc., Vancouver, Wash., who spoke about “Branding: Gemstones, Companies, Associations.”

A guest speaker at the congress—who left as a full-fledged ICA member—was Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri, the new president of CIBJO. CIBJO is a confederation of national trade associations from 21 countries, representing manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers in jewelry, silverware, diamonds, pearls, and colored gemstones.

Cavalieri presented CIBJO’s new Blue Book, a guide to nomenclature for colored gemstones. He challenged ICA to take up associate membership in CIBJO to achieve complete harmonization between the organizations’ goals in the colored stones sector.

“ICA and CIBJO are natural partners,” said Cavalieri. “It may not yet be understood by all, but CIBJO is the world’s largest organization representing the global jewelry industry and trade. We unite more than three million companies that have a total turnover of more than $500 billion.

“Consequently, we also take the lead worldwide when it comes to defining the nomenclature for gems and jewelry. We do this because, for our business, consumer confidence is one of the most important things.”

Eliezri accepted Cavalieri’s invitation. ICA and CIBJO will cooperate closely in the future, he promised, and each organization would take associate membership in the other body so as to best facilitate collaboration.