Istanbul Chamber of Jewelry and WJH sign MOU

Istanbul: The Istanbul Chamber of Jewelry (IKO), a leading jewelry trade organization in Turkey, and the World Jewelry Hub, the first dedicated business center in Latin America for the diamond, colored gemstone and jewelry sectors, have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding, according to which the two sides will cooperate in the growth and development of the jewelry industries and markets and Turkey and Latin America.

The MOU was signed by Norayr İsler, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Istanbul Chamber of Jewelry, and Eli Izhakoff, Chairman of the World Jewelry Hub, during the Presidents’ Meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), which took place this week in Tel Aviv, Israel.

With close to 4,000 members, IKO is a leading representative body of the jewelry industry and trade in Turkey, which saw its exports grow by 28 percent in 2014 to stand at $4.5 billion. The organization provides a range of administrative, professional, economic and educational services, all of which are intended to benefit the Turkish jewelry sector, and to raise its profile internationally. At its initiative, the Diamond Dealers Club of Turkey was established, and the new bourse has formally applied for membership in the WFDB.

With its Phase I building already in operation, WJH is a business center in Panama City serving the specialized needs of the diamond, colored gemstone and jewelry sectors in Latin America and internationally. It is home to the Panama Diamond Exchange (PDE), Latin America’s only WFDB-affiliated diamond bourse, and has been recognized as a Gemstone and Jewelry Free Zone by the Government of Panama. WJH’s Phase II , building, which will feature an iconic, state-of the art office tower, is scheduled to open at the end of 2017.

“There is a natural synergy between our two centers,” said Mr. Izhakoff. “As one of the world’s top five gold jewelry producers, Turkey’s jewelry industry is an easy fit for Latin America, and WJH is uniquely equipped to enable its members’ entry into the market. We also are an important a source of gemstones, precious metals and finished jewelry produced in Latin America, and this expands the range of possibilities for the Turkish jewelry sector.”

“This is a very significant agreement, because in many respects our two organizations represent the future growth of the international gemstone and jewelry industries,” said Mr. İsler. “Turkey, as a market in its own right, but also as a springboard into all of Eastern and Central Asia, is a channel to a region that is already important, and is likely to increase in volume and value significantly during the coming years. At the same time, Panama is set to become the access point to Latin America, one of the world’s most exciting growth markets.”

As a part of the MOU, IKO expressed its interest in establishing a physical Latin American presence in the World Jewelry Hub complex in Panama City.