Author: Jeff Miller
RAPAPORT… The International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) joined a United Nations (UN) initiative to assist in developing a mechanism to trace and certify gemstones from their country of origin. The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) in cooperation with the Vienna International Justice Institute and ICA hosted stakeholders in Turin on April 9 and 10 to review case studies and begin to establish governance for tracking and certifying colored gems.
UNICRI contended that the global colored stone industry, which accounts for $10 billion to $12 billion per year, is extremely fragmented with a high degree of opacity. The easy portability of these stones provide a lucrative stream of revenue for organized criminal groups, but with a certification scheme, the UNICRI would establish a tracking system for colored gems which would be tied back to improvements in environmental, social and security measures, according to the groups.
Participants included representatives of jewelry brands as well as government stakeholders from Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Mozambique, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Brazil and South Africa detailed case studies related to their colored gemstone industry and precious metals supply chain.
ICA’s president, Wilson Yuen, addressed participants as an industry representative. “In the present context, tracking gemstones from their geographical origin with a realistic approach is an opportunity for the public sector, the gems and jewelry industry and the civil society to address together social, technical and environmental issues as well as illicit and criminal practices threatening our sector. This will undoubtedly enhance the transparency of the distribution chain and benefit all the stakeholders from mine to market and build up consumer confidence,” said Yuen.