Milan: With fewer than four weeks to go to the opening of the 2021 CIBJO Congress on November 1, 2021, the fifth of this year’s CIBJO Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO’s new Technology Committee, headed by Stephane Fischler, the report focuses on disruptive technological breakthroughs in the jewellery and gemstone industry and trade, for which in the words of the author “it is possible to talk about the way things were before the innovation and how they were afterwards.
As Mr. Fischler notes, for much of its history disruptive technological breakthroughs were concentrated in jewellery’s mining and manufacturing sectors, whereas the wholesale and retail trades continued to operate according to tried and proven business models.
That began to shift with the growth of the Internet as a sales tool and the start of social media marketing, but even then many remained apprehensive because of uncertainty whether consumers were ready to purchase high-priced items online. However, 2020 and the start of the global pandemic proved to be a gamechanger. “With trading establishments intermittently prevented from opening their doors because of COVID-19 lockdowns and, even when they were not, restricted in the number of people they could permit on their premises, online marketing and sales capacity became a necessity, rather than an alternative for the more tech-savvy,” he writes.
The changes taking place in the trade, and particularly at the retail level, have turned consumer data into one the industry’s most valued commodities, Mr. Fischler states. For an organisation like CIBJO, which is concerned with global practices, this raises new questions. “Standards need to be created for how [data] is handled. How should it be securely stored, analysed and ultimately used? These are discussions taking place across the tech-world, and issues of controversy confounding the industry, the public and government regulators,” he writes.
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.