ICA Congress 2015 Concludes in Sri Lanka

Colombo: The 2015 Congress of the International Colored Gemstone Association concluded yesterday in Sri Lanka with a panel discussion that covered all the key themes discussed in different sessions over the previous two days. In his concluding address, ICA President Benjamin Hackman praised the organizers for creating an exceptional event.

The panel discussion agreed that there was a need to bring about harmonization among the major laboratories regarding use of descriptions like Pigeon’s Blood Red and Royal Blue while preparing colour grading reports, but concluded that although it was a worthy aim, it was unlikely to come about in the near future.

However, there was widespread agreement among all panelists that complete disclosure was vital to ensure consumer confidence and a rise in sales. The retail sector needs to be more proactive in providing details about the gemstone jewellery it is offering for sale since that would put consumers at ease and enable them to make informed purchasing decisions.

This theme had been raised in a presentation earlier in the day by American Gem Trade Association President Ruben Bindra on transparency in the supply chain and ethical practices.

Some of the other important presentations on Day 2 and 3 of the Congress included country reports from major gemstone producing and manufacturing centres. Among these were Carla Pinheiro, from the Jewelers and Watchmakers Association of Rio State on South America, particularly Brazil; former ICA President Andrew Cody on the opal industry in Australia; Nirmal Bardiya with an exhaustive review of the state of the coloured stone industry in India; and Chanaka Ellawala, AEC Saman Amarasena and Faiq Rehan on different aspects of the industry in Sri Lanka and its aim to generate $1 billion in sales of gemstones. There were also presentations on the coloured gemstone market in China,

In other special presentations, Jay Boyle, senior buyer at Jewelry Television in the United States, provided a different perspective on the coloured gemstone trade; Prida Tiasuwan, Chairman of Pranda Jewelry Public Co. Ltd, spoke on the issue of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which aims to create regional economic integration of 10 South east Asian states by the end of 2015; Oded Ben Shmuel, from Sarine Technologies, on the company’s Allegro system for mapping and cutting of gemstones in order to increase yields; Sinan Muhammed Muslim Salahudeen from Sri Lanka on the impact that the younger generation can have on the trade; and by journalist Cynthia Unninayar on trends this year in designer jewellery, gems and fashion.