While jewellery is a luxury product and non-essential to those who purchase it, the jewellery and gemstone sectors are industries that are essential to the economic and social development of economies and communities around the world, said CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, speaking today at the 15th Rendez-Vous Gemmologiques de Paris in the French capital.
The gathering, which was hosted by the Association Française de Gemmologie, and moderated by its President, Didier Giard, selected this year to review gemstone mines and mining districts around the world, considering the ethics of sustainable development of mining territories and their populations.
"The jewellery business and the revenue it generates are critical to the economic fortunes of many countries around the world, and especially those where diamonds, gemstones and precious metals are mined," Dr Cavalieri stated, in his address to the opening session. "In those places it is able to create sustainable economic opportunities, which in turn promote and support positive social development."
"Jewellery, which is typically classed as a luxury product, is to many people symbolic of conspicuous consumption. However, if we would be able to instill in the public consciousness the understanding that, when you purchase an item of jewellery, you also are contributing to the economic wellbeing and social advancement of people living in underdeveloped areas, then the significance of buying and receiving jewellery is elevated - from one of purely personal value to one with societal value as well," the CIBJO President said.
In his speech, Dr Cavalieri referred to a synthetic diamond producer from the United States, which features a message on its website from the actor Leonardo DiCaprio stating that, by buying a man-made diamond, one will be "reducing the human and environmental toll of the diamond industry by sustainably culturing diamonds without the destructive use of mining."
"Now, in and of itself, that statement by Mr DiCaprio about the human toll of diamond mining is problematic," Dr Cavalieri said. "After all, if the only way we can protect people in Africa and elsewhere from the consequences of mining is by cutting them out of the diamond production business entirely, it is indeed a sad state of affairs."
During the afternoon session Dr Cavalieri participated in a panel discussion about traceability, ethics, and the sustainable development of mines and mining districts. The other panelists were Charles Chaussepied, a Piaget director and the former Chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council; Bertrand Pancher, a Member of the French Parliament; Jack Cunningham, Group Sustainability Manager at Gemfields; and Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, CEO of Boucheron.
During the afternoon session Dr Cavalieri participated in a panel discussion about traceability, ethics, and the sustainable development of mines and mining districts. The other panellists were Charles Chaussepied, a Piaget director and the former Chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council; Bertrand Pancher, a Member of the French National Assembly; Jack Cunningham, Group Sustainability Manager at Gemfields; and Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, CEO of Boucheron.
Mr Pancher presented a medal to Dr. Cavalieri on behalf of the French National Assembly, in honour of his contribution to the international jewellery industry, and in particular for the key role that he has played in advancing the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility in the jewellery business.