DISCLOSURE, PROMOTION HIGHLIGHT ICA CONGRESS
The world’s colored gem industry leaders continue the debate on disclosure of gemstone treatment and agree to launch their first-ever joint promotion
by Robert Weldon, senior editor
The divisive issue of disclosure of gemstone treatments dominated the International Colored Gemstone Association Congress, held June 18-23 in Tokyo, Japan. ICA members agreed that full disclosure of treatments should accompany any sales transaction. But they couldn’t agree how it should be done.
Members also approved an ICA-sponsored consumer advertising campaign. The campaign is significant because it represents the first time ICA members from a multitude of countries representing an even larger diversity of gemstones have agreed in principle that organized gem promotion should begin immediately.
Also at the congress, Paolo Valentini of Italy, a founding member and past secretary and vice president, became president. He succeeded Sadaharu Fujita of Japan, who stepped down after two terms. Serving with Valentini are Vice Presidents Nilam Alwadeen of Japan and David Cohen of the U.S.
Members also had a chance to network, do a little business and relax. Attendance totaled 267 from 18 countries, down slightly from the last biennial congress, says Cheryl Kremkow, director of ICA’s GemBureau in New York City.
Gemstone enhancement: The most electrically charged issue, of course, was disclosure of gemstone treatments. “We’ve agreed that we need disclosure and some rules internationally,” said Fujita, the outgoing president. “We just haven’t decided what is the right and the wrong way. We need to create rules and agreements which will cover the whole world.
“Each of us must be big enough to put aside our selfish interests and begin to create greater credibility for our products.”
Ronny Totah, an ICA committee member, presented a disclosure proposal reflecting a consensus of opinion gathered from a series of member meetings. Their discussions had focused on guidelines used by the American Gem Trade Association and CIBJO, an international confederation of jewelry industry organizations. The proposal called for an enhancement code with four letters to describe gemstone treatments (see JCK, August 1995, page 20).
However, some members felt the system would cast certain treatments in a more favorable light than others. The most often cited example was emerald (oil treatments vs. epoxy impregnations).
In addition, some laboratory representatives said it would be impossible to determine the actual kind of treatment in certain stones without resorting to destructive tests.
“Better no decision [a `no’ vote] than the wrong decision,” said Vince Manson of the Gemological Institute of America.”
Rejection of the proposal means ICA members now will return to the drawing board in their effort to set a policy on how specifically to disclose treatment. Meanwhile, all members are still required to disclose any known treatments in full on invoices.
Promotion: A proposal to fund consumer gemstone promotions met with a better fate. “Delay in taking action [on a promotional program] will only result in ICA remaining a sleeping beauty or a never-grown child,” said Alex Trotto of Maestra SRL of Italy, who submitted the proposal. Trotto said a survey of ICA members found 77% were interested in a promotional program.
Dr. Eduard Gubelin, a renowned gemologist, also exhorted members to vote in favor of the program. “So far we’ve thrown stones into a pond, which has caused ripples that die on shore,” he said. “We need to move mountains! We must create an interest and a love among the public for gemstones &endash; like stamp collecting. We must learn from those professions where collecting is an active endeavor.”
A campaign focusing on ruby will be tested in New York City. ICA has solicited bids from several advertising agencies in metropolitan New York and will make a choice this month. Unofficial estimates place the cost of the program around $300,000, says Kremkow. If the test proves successful, a full campaign for all colored gemstones will follow.
Other activities: ICA members from Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand summarized mining activities in their countries. Members were particularly interested in new finds of sapphire, chrysoberyl and other gems in southern Tanzania.
Sales at ICA’s intertrade auction totaled US$1.4 million; a major lot of 13 sapphires totaling 27.70 cts. sold for more than $115,000.
The next congress will be held sometime in 1997 in Belo Horizonte, a city in Minas Gerais, Brazil. “We want this to be not just a Brazilian congress,” said ICA Director Marcelo Bernardes. “We hope to make it a South American congress by welcoming other important gemstone producing countries in South America &endash; especially Colombia, Bolivia and Uruguay &endash; to play an important role in the agenda.”
DIAMOND COUNCIL PRESENTS AWARDS
The Diamond Council of America honored graduates and member companies for outstanding achievements during a luncheon in June in Las Vegas, Nev.
Melissa Linn of Sterling Inc., Akron, Ohio, received the Myer B. Barr Award. The award recognizes the student with the highest combined average in the “Diamontology” and “Gemology” courses.
Five stores received the Paul J. Storm Award, which is named for the DCA’s first education director and recognizes businesses with the greatest percentage of DCA graduates. Honors are presented in two categories: six or fewer stores and seven or more stores. Recognized in the first category were Becker’s Fine Jewelers, West Hartford, Conn.; Gold & Diamond Source Inc., Clearwater, Fla.; and Sandy’s Touch of Gold Jewelers, Virginia Beach, Va. Honored in the second category were Armstong’s Diamond Center, Munster, Ind., and Rogers Jewelers, Evansville, Ind.
Outgoing President Francis Call of Call Jewelers, Phoenix, Ariz., received the Lode Van Bercken Award for his service to DCA. The 50-year-old award is named for a diamantaire in the 15th century who legend says invented diamond polishing.
Call was succeeded as DCA president by John Lilly, president of Lilly’s Crown Jewelers Corp., Beckley, W. Va. Serving with Lilly are Jeffrey Lazarow of Rogers Ltd., Middletown, Ohio, first vice president; Robert Love of Love’s Inc., Rock Hill, S.C., second vice president; Terry Chandler of Michelson Jewelers Inc., Paducah, Ky., secretary; and Steve Holden of Sterling Inc., Akron, Ohio, treasurer.
Newly elected to three-year terms on the board of directors were Jeffrey Comment of Helzberg Diamonds, North Kansas City, Mo.; Barry Lustig of Lustig Jewelers, Chicago, Ill.; and Steve Robbins of Robbins Bros., Los Angeles, Cal. Re-elected to three-year terms were Ronald Robbins of Robbins 8th and Walnut, Philadelphia, Pa., and Jeffrey Zimmer of Reeds Jewelers, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
JA & AFFILIATE LEADERS DEVELOP OBJECTIVES
Officials of Jewelers of America and its affiliates outlined their objectives during recent discussions of their needs and goals.
JA’s new mission statement is “JA will concentrate on helping its members be professional and profitable and will do this by being responsive to members’ needs.”
The statement was developed at a long-range planning meeting of 20 jewelers and JA staff members.
“When I first began conducting JA’s long-range meetings eight years ago, the mission was to `improve the industry,'” says Sherman Titens of the Titens Consulting Group in Kansas City, Mo., who acted as facilitator at the meeting. “Over the past five years, there has been an increasing emphasis on trying to satisfy members’ needs. The members are definitely the focus of JA today, and communication is key.”
Meanwhile, a meeting of 75 JA state affiliate leaders resulted in some new objectives for JA:
Increased interdependence among affiliates.
Strengthened leadership skills for all participants.
A team approach to JA problem-solving.
“It was my goal to get state leaders to combine critical thinking, decision-making and action-planning in order to solve their own programs at home,” says Titens.
Among specific requests by affiliate leaders were more flexibility on choosing convention speakers, more training for leaders on lobbying and a focus on increasing membership.
The group acknowledged that “leadership begins with us,” says Titens, and agreed to put together job descriptions for board members, to use a how-to book prepared by JA and to communicate more often with the JA staff and other state directors.
“The most important thing was the networking that occurred on an informal basis,” says outgoing JA Chairman Michael D. Roman. “There was indeed a spirit of goodwill that prevailed at the end of the meeting which we all intend to keep alive.”
JA LAUNCHES IMAGE CAMPAIGN
Jewelers of America has developed a new image campaign called “Mark of a Professional Jeweler.”
The campaign is designed to let consumers know they should look for a Jewelers of America “J” symbol on a jeweler’s door. “It tells you that we’re true professionals with the skill and knowledge to help you make the perfect selection of quality jewelry for you and everyone you love at prices to fit any budget,” says one of several ad slicks prepared for the campaign.
Other ads show a diamond under the headline “Flawless Reputation,” pearls under the headline “Pearls of Wisdom” and a bangle under the headline “Gold Standard.”
The campaign includes a booklet titled “What You Should Know About Choosing a Professional Jeweler” and a counter card with the “J” symbol and the words “The Mark of a Professional Jeweler, Jewelers of America.” Several videos also are being developed for the campaign.
“JA’s new image campaign will help instill in the public confidence and trust in JA members,” says Eileen Farrell, JA communications director. “It promotes the jeweler as someone who is knowledgeable and trustworthy. It also encourages the purchase of jewelry from JA member jewelers.”
Jewelers of America, 1185 Ave. of the Americas, 30th Fl., New York, N.Y. 10036; (800) 223-0673 or (212) 768-8777, fax (212) 768-8087.
WJA BASH DRAWS 350
The Women’s Jewelry Association’s Third Annual Bash, held during the JCK International Jewelry Show in June, drew a record crowd of 350 jewelers and guests.
Officials said it was the largest WJA event ever held in the West.
Sponsors were Andin International Inc., Aurafin Corp., B.A. Ballou & Co., Braunstein, Citizen Watch Co., Diamond Promotion Service, Eichhorn, European Gemological Laboratory of Los Angeles, Gucci Timepieces, Movado Watch Corp., Nancy B. & Co., Mova-MWI, Oro d’Autore, Princess Pride Creations, Rockson Jewelry Manufacturing Co., Simon Sobie & Co. and Raymond Weil.
ASA ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT
Max G. Koeper, ASA, of Los Angeles, Cal., was elected president of the American Society of Appraisers at a recent conference in Denver, Colo. He succeeds Richard A. Kaufman of Portland, Ore.
Koeper, a senior manager with Deloitte & Touche LLP in Los Angeles, is an accredited senior appraiser with more than 30 years of experience in the valuation of machinery and technical specialties and real property.
He said his presidency will take a “back-to-basics approach in an effort to assure maximum membership benefits, educational offerings for appraisers and service to the public.”
ASA has 82 chapters in the U.S. and abroad and represents all categories of property valuation, including gems and jewelry. American Society of Appraisers, P.O. Box 17265, Washington, D.C. 20041; (800) ASA-VALU.
AGS TO RESUME JEF MANAGEMENT
The American Gem Society will resume management of its Jewelers Education Foundation beginning Sept. 1.
Charlotte Preston, a certified association executive, had been executive director of JEF since 1988 and continued in that role on a contract basis when she left AGS to begin her own consulting service in 1993. Her original one-year contract was extended to two years.
“Charlotte Preston has done an outstanding job for us,” said JEF President David Rotenberg. “In light of a new offer from AGS to help us with a very generous arrangement, all parties consider this shift in management opportune.” He commended Preston for increasing speaking engagements for JEF Foundation Fellows from 10 in 1992 to 22 in just the first half of 1995. “This will likely be the first year JEF is able to reach more than 2,000 attendees in one year,” he said.
JEF Foundation Fellows may be booked through the AGS marketing department by calling Glory Looper at (702) 255-6500.
CANADIAN ASSOCIATION CONSIDERS GEM LAB
The Canadian Gemmological Association is studying the possibility of creating a gemstone grading laboratory. Following a preliminary feasibility study, association officials now are seeking the opinions of members of CGA and the Canadian Jewellers Association. Results should be known this fall.
CGA also announced it is represented on the CJA’s new Appraisal Guidelines Committee. The committee was formed recently to outline the minimum requirements necessary for the appraisal of gems and jewelry in Canada.
Meanwhile, CGA is setting up its own library of gem books, journals and magazines. Donations are welcome.
Canadian Gemmological Association, 1767 Avenue Rd., North York, Ontario, M5M 3YB; (416) 785-0962.
CIBJO DELEGATES DISCUSS CONCERNS
Representatives of four U.S. trade associations discussed common concerns with more than 100 of their counterparts from 22 countries at the annual congress of CIBJO (International Confederation of Jewelry, Silverware, Diamonds, Pearls and Stones). The congress was held May 5-8 in Athens, Greece.
Representing the U.S. associations were Matthew Runci, executive director of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America; Michael Roman, chairman of Jewelers of America; Thomas Dorman, executive director of the American Gem Society; and Nanette Forester, president of American Lapidary Artists, representing the American Gem Trade Association.
“By maintaining a dialogue with our peers in other countries, we help to shape a coordinated international strategy to deal with subjects as varied as trademark infringements and disclosure of gemstone enhancement,” says Roman, outgoing chairman of the U.S. delegation. (The chairmanship now passes to the American Gem Society.)
CIBJO delegates debated a wide range of issues in sector committees. For example, the manufacturing sector committee moved ahead with work begun last year on protection of intellectual property rights. CIBJO’s Education Commission announced it and MJSA will sponsor a Technology Day at MJSA’s Expo Providence in 1996. The commission will help MJSA to set up seminars and speakers for the full-day program on emerging technologies and processes in jewelry manufacturing. In addition, Jose Hess of Jose Hess Inc., New York, N.Y., was reelected to a two-year term as president of the manufacturing sector.
The stone dealer and retail sectors and the Coloured Stone Commission considered amendments to CIBJO’s Gemstone Book concerning enhancement. Proposed changes would strengthen the requirement that enhancements be disclosed at each step of the supply chain &endash; all the way to the end consumer. Subcommittee recommendations will be reported at next year’s CIBJO congress.
The executive committee voted to admit China to full membership. It also announced the 1996 congress will be held in April in Vienna, Austria, and the 1997 congress in Las Vegas, Nev., in conjunction with the JCK International Jewelry Show.
TWO GROUPS TOUR TIMEPIECE MUSEUM
Members of the Horological Society of New York and the National Institute of Watchmaking recently toured the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, Conn.
The museum’s collection comprises 1,700 clocks and 1,600 watches. The tour included small-group guided tours of the museum galleries and time for questions and answers.