October -November 2016 - Newsletter

To promote the understanding and appreciation of colored gemstones
Greetings from the ICA
          Below is our monthly newsletter, offering original content and very important colored gemstone news from around the globe.


ICA Ambassador's Report
Pascale Savigny - France
The Importance of Luxury Jewelry Brands

ICA in Hong Kong
-Report from the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair
... The Gems of our ICA Pavilion
-Celebration - the ICA Brasil Night Reception
-Board of Directors Meet

Intergem 2016 Showcases Renowned Local Artists

Gemfields Reports:
-Creates Three 'Influencer Movies' to Promote Color During New York Fashion Week
-Ruby Masterclass at Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair
-Emerald Sales of $10.7M at Jaipur Auction

Queen Victoria's Sapphire and Diamond Crown Staying in Britain - For Now

Alan Hart Speaks About Taking Over as Gem-A CEO

VicenzaOro Show Provides Colorful 
Trend-Setting Options

Greenland Authorities Sign Business Transfer Agreement
Over True North Gems Unit Bankruptcy 

Second Jewelry Summit to be Held in Tucson Ahead of AGTA Show
        - GILC to resume in 2018

President Obama Signs Termination of Burma Jade and Ruby Ban 

Myanmar Jade Prospectors Protest Against Arrests 

French Luxury Goods Firms Illustrate Importance of Luxury Jewelry Brands
by ICA Ambassador to France, Pascale Savigny
          France accounts for the largest concentration of luxury jewelry brands. They are part of three big groups: Richemont, LVHM and Kering. The big French jewelry names are renowned for their creativity and the quality of their jewelry manufacturing, along with their tradition and history.
According to French jewelry brand development directors, the success of the collections is due to the quality of the cutting, fitting, shaping and polishing of gemstones by highly skilled and experienced craftsmen. The high brand jewelry groups are in good health and their customers benefit from the competition among the different brands.
 These groups have also extended their domination of the sector by acquiring foreign luxury jewelry brands. LVMH now owns Bulgari, and Kering has acquired another Italian house, Pomelato, in addition to the Chinese luxury brand, Qeeling.
The clientele of the top houses, such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Piaget, and Chanel is still principally in the Middle East and the Gulf, followed by China, the USA where the French groups are not leaders apart from Cartier, while the Bulgari brand is strong.
With the improvement of the American economy, U.S. jewelry imports are increasing, and are seeing the best turnover for the past four years.
The medium-priced jewelry market has been shrinking almost everywhere in France where local sales have been affected by a significant drop in the number of foreign visitors due to fear of terror attacks. The domestic market is also significantly slower.
Jewelry brands have now developed a fast-growing segment, the so-called 'small jewelry lines', with pieces available worldwide and priced between $1,000 to $10,000. This range of jewels features lower-priced and smaller sizes of stones of a somewhat more commercial quality with the pieces all made in France.
French brands use more and more colored stones of all types, with a strong liking for emerald, followed by ruby and pink sapphire which remain in high demand.
Other colored stones in demand for setting in luxury jewelry are red spinel, and tourmaline - especially Paraíba and rubelite. Meanwhile, demand for colored diamonds is strong and steady.
French jewelry groups and houses succeed globally due to their global marketing and international reputation.
The big groups have set up a traceability system which is becoming a very important part of their criteria for working with colored stones suppliers.
The luxury world market is expected to slow down in 2016, a consequence of the continuing slowdown in China and Hong Kong, while the American market is suffering from the strength of the dollar and Europe is seeing lower tourist numbers.
Purchasing patterns are changing in France. Using social networks and new digital technology, consumers of luxury items now increasingly dictate where, when and how they make a commitment to buying luxury brands. They have become both critics and creators; they require a more personalized luxury experience, and expect to have the possibility of shaping the products and services they are consuming.
Luxury global French brands thus have to answer to the new demands of the market and emphasize value in order to satisfy the expectations of the new breed of consumers.

See you in Jaipur!

Fred Mouawad (left) of the jewelry house of Mouawad, as well as Chairman and CEO -  Synergia One Group of Companies, and Chang Hatta (right) of Hatta New World Co. Ltd., shake hands as friends and business partners in a new Bangkok based gem laboratory.The lab is currently under construction and is acknowledged by and associated with ICA.
ICA in Hong Kong

Report from the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair

Business was slow at the September Hong Kong Fair, but that didn't stop our ICA members from showing off their best. The good news being talked about was that US President Obama was intending to lift all trade restrictions regarding Burmese ruby and jadeite. The actual signing of that sanction wouldn't happen for another three weeks, but the word was getting around and future business was being planned.   

The Gems of our ICA Pavilion

          Here are some of the beautiful gems our members were showing.
On display at Abouchar S.A. Diastar were spinels, rubellites, garnets, peridots, sphenes, beryls and a host of other fine quality gems.

Gabriel Acuna of Esmeralda Gems Inc showing top quality Colombian emeralds.

Saboo Fine Jewels (HK) with top quality ruby.


Tourmalines from Stones International srl


DOJI Gold and Gems Group from Hanoi showing beautifully rich red rubies from Vietnam.




Sanjay Phophaliya of AG Color with award winning tanzanite.

Stunning Lightning Ridge opal from Aurora Gems Pty Ltd.


Celebration - the ICA Brasil Night Reception

Press the Play button above to watch the video of images.


Board of Directors Meet

           Your ICA Board of Directors met in Hong Kong to discuss the business of ICA. On the agenda were topics including the new Laboratory associated with ICA (see image above), memberships, trade show participation, revisions of the bylaws, the direction for InColor magazine and the ICA Newsletter, as well as a special report on the 2017 Jaipur Congress.

It was also a celebration of marriage for Clement Sabbagh.  


"More than a show"

Focused on Local Gem Artists

INTERGEM, the pioneering business platform for the worldwide gemstone community, is focused on local gem artists. "The unique expertise of the INTERGEM is based on an outstanding concentration of internationally-renowned companies, specialists and institutions in the immediate area," declares the fair's Managing Director, Kai-Uwe Hille.

Amongst other features, the fair, which was held this year from 30 September to 3 October, underscores this position with an informative and exciting support and trade programme. For example, there was the "Living Legends" exhibition, in which internationally-renowned local artists such as Manfred Wild, Tom Munsteiner, and Helmut Wolf displayed their masterpieces. Another presentation, entitled "Gemstone Carving", placed a spotlight on the art of the engraver. They too are masters of a craft for which Idar-Oberstein enjoys a worldwide reputation. A further example of the importance of Idar-Oberstein and the fair as its calling card is the Forum Design. Jewellery and gemstone designers display their creative visions here.
Best of cutting quality and design.
Photo: Karl Faller, Kirschweiler

          In addition, experts at the INTERGEM provided interested visitors with pioneering know-how and practice-oriented solutions for all questions regarding the processing, evaluation and marketing of gemstones. For example, the Deutsche Gemmologische Gesellschaft - German gemological society - staged a workshop on the "Practical recognition of synthetic diamonds."

Because distinguishing between synthetic stones and diamonds is one of the major challenges facing the diamond sector at this time. The gemological examination is based on several stages, involving microscopy, UV luminescence and spectroscopy. These methods, together with table-top devices developed specifically to employ them, were presented exclusively at the INTERGEM 2016.

The centre of excellence at the fair also featured exciting themes. Nsaio6 - new jewellery from Idar-Oberstein, under this motto the students and graduates of the gemstone and jewellery course at Trier University of Applied Sciences in Idar-Oberstein presented select pieces at the INTERGEM to mark the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the course.

At the stand of BBS Technik Harald-Fissler-Schule Idar-Oberstein third year goldsmith apprentices presented their latest pieces, under the motto "Craftsmanship is a golden foundation."

Vintage opal.
Photo: Richard Hans Becker, Idar-Oberstein

          Above all, however, the INTERGEM remains a fair where leading cutters and traders can offer exclusive gemstones that are scarcely available on the world market. "This density of beautiful and rate items is certainly unique," says Kai-Uwe Hille. "I don't know of any other event in Europe that offers such a concentration of rare, high-quality gemstones and gemstone jewellery." One focal point this year was the range of Paraibas, a much-sought-after tourmaline variety that is becoming increasingly harder to find - but which is included in the range of numerous exhibitors.

The support programme at this year's INTERGEM also focused on the Paraiba tourmaline. Dr. Claudio Milisenda, Managing Director of the German Foundation for Gemstone Research (DSEF), presented a paper on Paraiba tourmaline and use of the spectrometer to reveal the copper that gives the stone its attractive colour.

Photo: Intergem
Gemfields Reports:
Ruby Masterclass at 
Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair

Three 'Influencer Movies' to Promote Color During
New York Fashion Week

Emerald Sales of $10.7M at Jaipur Auction

Ruby Masterclass at  
Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair

Gemfields held a seminar during the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair where it provided information to the industry about the gemstones mined at its Montepuez mine in Mozambique. Among the issues covered were how the gemstones were formed, their origin, history, various qualities, treatments that are possible, classifications, markets for the stones, manufacturing centers, and laboratories.

Having compiled what it describes as "the most comprehensive master set of rubies" ever put together, Gemfields' aim is to make the Masterclass an exhaustive course covering all aspects of the business. It came about following calls for standard and consistent training in colored gemstones and was compiled together with industry figures. The course is available at basic, fundamental and advanced levels.

Gemfields Creates Three  'Influencer Movies' 
to Promote Color During New York  Fashion Week

Gemfields has teamed up with three 'influencers': beauty blogger Amanda Steele, Cipriana Quann of Urban Bush Babes and international blogger Chriselle Lim on a branded content series premiering Sept. 9 to coincide with New York Fashion Week (NYFW).
The women are featured discussing the importance of color in fashion along with their own personal styles. The films will be launched at a VIP event on Sept. 9, and will be streamed live on M2M, as part of its In Conversation series. They will also feature on Gemfields' web site and social media platforms. The movies aim to build on Gemfields' 'Ruby-Inspired Stories' campaign and are part of the mining company's overall strategy to build awareness of colored gemstones.
The In Conversation series will be shown in conjunction with the 'Ruby-Inspired Stories' campaign, Gemfields' own collection of short films on the precious gemstone that was released earlier this year, and will also appear in a global advertising and social media campaign slated for this fall.

Gemfields Reports Emerald Sales
of $10.7M at Jaipur Auction

Gemfields reported auction revenues of $10.7 million for emeralds sold at an auction held in Jaipur, India, from September 26-29, with $3.28 per carat for the specific auction mix offered. Of the 4.05 million carats offered, 3.27 million carats were sold (81%). The 23 Kagem auctions held since July 2009 have generated $437 million in total revenues. A total of 30 companies placed bids in the auction, the first of Kagem production in the current financial year. The auction saw 15 of the 19 lots offered being sold.
The auction also saw the sale of $400,000 of amethyst, with an average realized price per carat of $3.73 cents. Of the 13.6 million carats offered for sale, 11.6 million carats were sold (86%).

Queen Victoria's
and Diamond Crown
Staying in Britain - For Now
Queen Victoria was known for her deep love of colored gemstones - and since Britain ruled half the world during her reign, getting her hands on some legendary precious gemstones was not a problem. Prince Albert designed her a sapphire and diamond crown for their wedding in 1840. The crown is now put up for sale with an asking price of £5 million, plus £1 million VAT ($6.5 million plus $1.3 million in taxes), and the national treasure was at risk of leaving the UK since the owner has requested an export license.
As a temporary measure, the UK Culture Minister, Karen Bradley, has put an export ban on the bejeweled item until December, in the hope that a UK buyer will acquire itor declare an intention to raise the funds to do so. Just 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) wide, the small crown is set with 11 sapphires set in gold, along with diamonds mounted in silver. Goldsmith Joseph Kitching made the crown for £415, with a brooch to match. Queen Victoria wore the crown for an official state portrait in 1842 and, poignantly, wore it to the State Opening of Parliament in 1866 which she attended for the first time after the death of her husband.
Alan Hart Speaks About Taking Over
as Gem-A CEO
Gem-A's recently appointed chief executive officer, Alan Hart, spoke with Professional Jeweller magazine about the challenges of his new position less than two months after taking over, along with his priorities and plans for the future of the UK gem institute.
VicenzaOro Show Provides Colorful
Trend-Setting Options
The VicenzaOro show took place from September 3 to 7, providing a wide range of precious gemstone jewelry options. The organizers,  Fiera di Vicenza, were pleased with the foot traffic at the show which has been reorganized over the past year. The show featured 1 ,300 brands from 35 countries. The main theme of the show was 'The Golden Touch', with sub-themes including product excellence, national and international products, Corporate Social Responsibility, distribution, new trends in the industry and the marketplace, international aspects and communication. The fair featured a new area called NOW (Not Ordinary Watches), with exhibitors showing innovative brand and designer watches made in Italy and across Europe.
Greenland Authorities Sign Business Transfer Agreement Over True North Gems Unit Bankruptcy
True North Gems Inc. said that it has been advised by the trustees in bankruptcy for True North Gems Greenland A/S (TNGG) that the bankruptcy estate has reviewed and considered the binding offers received and has entered into a business transfer agreement with the successful bidder.
True North made a bid which was unsuccessful. The trustees have not identified the successful bidder to True North. True North is further advised that the agreement entered into with the successful bidder is conditional on the Greenlandic authorities' consent to the assignment of the key licenses.
True North is TNGG's largest creditor. The trustees have advised True North that creditors of the bankruptcy estate will, on an ongoing basis, receive information of the status of the bankruptcy proceedings in accordance with the requirements set out in the Bankruptcy Act in Greenland.
True North Gems Inc. said that True North Gems Greenland A/S (TNGG), the company's operating unit in Greenland, has started voluntary bankruptcy proceedings under the Bankruptcy Act in Greenland.
TNGG's main asset is the Aappaluttoq Ruby and Pink Sapphire deposit and mine in S.W Greenland. The company owns 76% of the outstanding shares of TNGG, LNS Denmark APS (together with its affiliates, the LNS Group) owns 17%, and Greenland Venture A/S (Greenland Venture) owns 7%.
"True North management have worked relentlessly over the last year with various financing groups in an attempt to secure the necessary funding," the firm said in a statement. "The company has also been in negotiation with the other major creditors and interested parties of TNGG to enable TNGG to continue operations. These initiatives have proved unsuccessful and TNGG was unable to re-capitalise in sufficient time to meet its September 2016 expenses. Therefore the board of TNGG instructed TNGG management to initiate proceedings for voluntary bankruptcy."
The Greenlandic Court has appointed trustees who will administrate on behalf of TNGG regarding the Aappaluttoq Mine and the associated mine license and assets. The Trustees will inform TNGG's creditors about any proposed material actions respecting TNGG or its assets. True North is TNGG's largest creditor, the LNS Group is TNGG's second largest creditor and Greenland Venture is the third largest creditor.
True North will provide further updates as information becomes available.

Second Jewelry Summit to be Held in Tucson Ahead of AGTA Show

ICA's GILC to resume in 2018

          The Jewelry Industry Summit, an open forum on sustainability and responsible sourcing, announced its second meeting would take place Jan 29-30 at the Tucson Convention Center. An updated website and information about registering for the event is located at http://www.jewelryindustrysummit.com/. Interested parties can also review the outcomes of the March 2016 summit, learn more about plans for the 2017 event, and discover resources and information related to sustainable business practices and responsible sourcing.

GILC: Being held at the same time and place as the ICA's GILC, AGTA had asked ICA if they wouldn't mind putting the GILC on hold this year while the Summit takes place. The ICA agreed, and so there will be no 2017 GILC. The ICA is taking this opportunity to prepare for the 2018 GILC.    
The Tucson Summit will pick up where the first summit, held in March 2016 in New York, left off. That meeting concluded with a list of projects that various attendees committed to continue beyond the Summit. The projects included: aligning and coordinating various existing standards; researching consumer attitudes; educating sales associates; and communicating industry accomplishments to the wider public. There was also a commitment to tackle specific supply chain issues, such as helping gem cutters in developing countries who need education and equipment to avoid silicosis, a disease that occurs from inhaling stone dust.
The 2017 Jewelry Industry Summit will once again be an interactive, working meeting, with large and small discussion groups assisted by professional facilitators - rather than a full agenda of speakers. This format contrasts with many conferences, in that its central driver is attendee participation. The summit says its purpose is "to maintain an industry-wide conversation that invites all stakeholders to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and possibilities related to responsible sourcing in the jewelry industry supply chain."
The summit's goals are to:
  • Generate broad-based awareness of facts related to the jewelry industry supply chain and responsible sourcing, and explore what works and what does not.
  • Learn about and review progress on current industry-wide initiatives and developments related to sustainable business practices and responsible sourcing. 
  • Develop shared visions for key stages of the jewelry industry supply chain that support the broader industry vision for sustainable business and responsible sourcing.     
  • Design prototypes of tools and strategies that enable businesses in the supply chain to make progress through continuous improvement.


October 7, 2016

WASHINGTON - Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order terminating the national
emergency with respect to Burma, revoking the Burma sanctions Executive Orders, and waiving other statutory blocking and financial sanctions on Burma. As a result, the economic and financial sanctions administered by the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) are no longer in effect. These steps fulfill the announcement made by President Obama during the visit of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, stand as a testament to the far-reaching changes that Burma has undergone in the past few years, and are intended to support efforts by the civilian government and the people of Burma to continue their process of political reform and broad-based economic growth and prosperity. 

"Burma has made significant strides in recent years, including choosing a civilian-led,
democratically elected government," said Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. "Lifting economic and financial sanctions will further support trade and economic growth, and Treasury will continue to work with Burma to implement a robust anti-money laundering regime that will help to ensure the security of its financial system."

Termination of the Burma Sanctions Program

Executive Order (E.O.) ______ of October 7, 2016,"Termination of Emergency With Respect to the Actions and Policies of the Government of Burma," terminated the national emergency,
revoked E.O.s 13047, 13310, 13448, 13464, 13619, and 13651, and waived financial and
blocking sanctions in the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts)
Act of 2008. As a result, the economic and financial sanctions on Burma administered by OFAC are no longer in effect. This includes the following impacts, among others:

 All individuals and entities blocked pursuant to the Burmese Sanctions Regulations
(BSR) have been removed from OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked
Persons (SDN) List.

All property and interests in property blocked pursuant to the BSR are unblocked.

The ban on the importation into the United States of Burmese-origin jadeite and rubies,  and any jewelry containing them, has been revoked.

 All OFAC-administered restrictions under the Burma sanctions program regarding
banking or financial transactions with Burma are no longer in effect.

 OFAC will remove the BSR from the Code of Federal Regulations.

 Compliance with the State Department's Responsible Investment Reporting
Requirements is no longer required by OFAC's regulations and is now voluntary.

The termination of the Burma sanctions program does not impact Burmese individuals or entities blocked pursuant to other OFAC sanctions authorities, such as counter-narcotics sanctions. They remain on the SDN List, and their property and interests in property remain blocked. Further, pending or future OFAC enforcement investigations or actions related to apparent violations of the BSR when in effect may still be carried out.

Banking with Burmese Banks

This Executive Order terminates all OFAC-administered restrictions and authorizations under the Burma sanctions program pertaining to banking with Burma. This includes the OFAC general licenses issued in 2012 and 2013 that authorized certain correspondent account activity with Burmese banks.

In 2003, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) found Burma to be a
"jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern" under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT
Act. As a result, FinCEN issued a prohibition on U.S. financial institutions from maintaining
correspondent accounts for Burmese banks. The 2003 finding remains in place, but FinCEN is
issuing an administrative exception today to suspend the prohibition so that U.S. financial
institutions can continue to provide correspondent services to Burmese banks, subject to the
appropriate due diligence requirements. This exception is based on Burma's progress in
improving its anti-money laundering regime and its commitment to continue making progress to address money laundering, corruption, and narcotics-related activities. FinCEN intends to
rescind its action in its entirety when Burma has made sufficient progress in addressing these

Myanmar Jade Prospectors
Protest Against Arrests

More than 2,000 people protested against the arrest of seven jade prospectors in Hkamti township following a government crackdown on people found in possession of illegal gemstones. One of the protest leaders said everyone in Hkamti and gemstone traders across Myanmar should be arrested since the definition of illegal mining covered many people apart from the gemstone mining companies. The demonstration aimed to show that arresting jade scavengers without creating other job opportunities leads to the elimination of livelihoods for many people.
Under the country's Gemstones Law, anyone found in possession of raw gemstones apart from licensed companies, may be charged and face a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. Exploration licenses are only granted to large mining companies for 10-year terms and to medium-sized companies for five years. There is no provision in the legislation to grant licenses for small mining plots.