The first meeting of the CIBJO Precious Metals Commission took place during the CIBJO Congress in Cape Town on 14th March and the basic parameters for the Commission were established.
CIBJO, also known as The World Jewellery Federation, is a worldwide organization, recognized by the United Nations. Its purpose is “to encourage harmonisation, promote international cooperation in the jewellery industry, and to consider issues which concern the trade worldwide. Foremost among these is to protect consumer confidence in the industry.”
As part of this objective the Precious Metals Commission has been tasked with outlining standards for precious metal in the jewellery industry worldwide.
About seventy delegates attended the meeting where it was agreed that the Precious Metals Commission should produce a ‘Blue Book’ of international guidelines for Precious Metal, in line with those which already exist for diamonds, coloured stones and pearls. An international Working Group was formed which will report back to the next CIBJO Congress in Dubai in 2008.
The definition of Precious Metal in relation to the jewellery, watches and silverware industries was restricted to gold, silver, platinum and palladium.
The most contentious issue was that of the tolerance to be allowed in metal finenesses and this resulted in some lively debate. Vice President of the Commission, Michael Allchin, Chief Executive of The Birmingham Assay Office strongly advocated negative tolerance, as required by the UK Hallmarking legislation, which gives the consumer the best possible protection.
However this standard is currently only observed in a few countries worldwide and there was much discussion as to the necessity for and practicality of this requirement. It was finally agreed that while the CIBJO Blue Book should recommend no negative tolerance, this requirement would be superseded where national law defined tolerance levels.
Michael Allchin said after the meeting “We made good progress today and have established the basic rules and parameters for the Precious Metals Blue Book. CIBJO are clearly committed to delivering responsible practices and consumer protection throughout the jewellery industry and the regulation and definition of good practice for Precious Metals is a crucial element of this.”
The volunteers who form the Precious Metal Working Group are: Gianni Cacchione ( President) – Italy; Michael Allchin (Vice President ) – UK; Stuart Grice – USA; Carole Grouesy – France; Michael Oboler – Australia; Jack Ogden – UK; Karina Ratzlaff – Germany; Bernard Stern – South Africa; Angel Ramon-Solanilla – Peru.