Milan: With the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress already underway, the ninth of this year’s CIBJO Special Reports has been released. Prepared by CIBJO’s Coral Commission, headed by Vincenzo Liverino, the report looks predominantly at research being conducted in the sector, both by gemmologists developing a colour description system, and scientists seeking to revive coral reefs, as well as dating the age of historical stocks and resources.
Mr. Liverino describes a research project to define and describe the colour variations of Mediterranean coral, Corallium rubrum, which was first proposed at the CIBJO Congress in Bahrain in 2019, and subsequently undertaken by the ICA GemLab in Bangkok. It was coordinated by Kenneth Scarratt, a Coral Commission Vice President.
“The goal was to devise a simple and easy to communicate colour description system that would assist both the trade and jewellery consumers,” Mr. Liverino explains.
Among the scientific research efforts examined in the report is a project being conducted by the Kuroshio Biological Research Foundation and the Precious Coral Protection and Development Association in Japan, to transplant coral branches grown in a laboratory back into the ocean. “I hoped that this will eventually result in the reforestation of the seabed with full sized precious corals within several years,” Mr. Liverino writes.
Another set of research projects has focused on the determining the age of dead coral resources, extracted both from the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic and off the coast of Japan. Carbon-14 dating has shown that much of the material used in precious coral jewellery production to be older than 400 years old, and some dating as far back as 7570 BCE.
Indeed, a study by Koshi University in Japan indicated that more than two thirds of precious corals in the Japanese market were not harvested from living colonies.
The CIBJO Coral Commission President urged members of the jewellery industry become carbon neutral, reducing their environmental footprint in the face of global warming and ocean acidification. “Precious corals, reef corals, marine and terrestrial biodiversity and our own survival are at stake. It is our duty to do our share, just because it is the right thing to do,” Mr. Liverino wrote.
CIBJO congresses serve as the official gathering place for the World Jewellery Confederation’s global membership, and are also the venue for the annual meetings of CIBJO’s sectoral commissions, where amendments can be introduced to the organisation’s definitive directories of international industry standards for diamonds, coloured stones, pearls, gem labs, precious metals, coral and responsible sourcing, known as the Blue Books.
The CIBJO Congress is also where the programme of World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation (WJCEF), relating to responsible and sustainable activities in the industry and CIBJO’s ongoing cooperation with the United Nations and its development programme is reported upon.