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AGTA, CIBJO and ICA Join to Adopt Colored Gemstone Disclosure Codes

AGTA ICA CIBJO Working Group Pictured (l to r.): Bear Williams, Terry Coldham, Douglas Hucker, Roland Naftule, Charles Abouchar, Benjamin Hackman, Kambiz Sabouri, Horiuchi Nobuyuki
Not pictured: Nilam Alawdeen, Vichian Veerasaksri
March 4, 2010: In recognition of the ever increasing importance of proper disclosure of gemstone treatments three major global organizations, the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO), and the International Colored Stone Association (ICA), have reached consensus on a global method of colored gemstone treatment disclosure within the trade.

The unprecedented cooperative effort came as a result of the growing recognition amongst the global colored gemstone industry of the need to harmonize the codes used on jewelry tags and commercial documents to indicate the particular treatment or modification that the gemstones may have undergone.

In 2007, at the CIBJO Congress in Capetown, South Africa, the Coloured Stone Steering Committee submitted a proposal to integrate a system of treatment modification codes on commercial documents and jewelry tags. The original coding system was developed by AGTA more than 26 years ago. Last year, an amended set of codes was approved at the CIBJO Congress in Istanbul, Turkey.

While both the AGTA and ICA have used codes to disclose treatments for decades, the systems of codes were not directly compatible. At the prompting of ICA Vice President Charles Abouchar, a task force composed of representatives from AGTA, CIBJO and ICA was formed and met this month in Tucson. The goal of the Task Force was to reach consensus on a global system of coding. At the Tucson meeting it was agreed that all three associations would implement the use of AGTA’s disclosure codes for colored gemstones, pending the approval of their respective Boards. The approval of these codes at the CIBJO congress in Munich completes the process.

“With the adoption of these codes by CIBJO and ICA, we have achieved an unprecedented level of cooperation amongst three bodies representing virtually the entire global colored gemstone community”, said Douglas K. Hucker, CEO AGTA, who is also a USA delegate and a member of the CIBJO Board of Directors.

ICA Vice president Charles Abouchar, also a member of the CIBJO Board of Directors, said the use of a single set of disclosure codes for colored gemstones would significantly increase the confidence retailers need to purchase colored gemstones in the global gemstone market. “One set of disclosure codes means there is no longer any ambiguity about how gemstones enhancements and treatments need to be disclosed in the industry supply pipeline.”

CIBJO vice president Roland Naftule, the first and founding ICA president and a former AGTA president said the decision was yet another important step toward a harmonized, global disclosure that will significantly increase confidence in the description of gemstones and in the colored gemstones themselves among jewelry manufacturers and retailers. He noted that the set of modification codes are not intended for describing treatments to the final consumer. "Consumers should be provided a full explanation of modifications, such as they are described in the CIBJO Coloured Gemstone Blue Book or the AGTA Gemstone Information Manual," he noted. "In any case, this achievement will ultimately improve consumer confidence in colored gemstones," Naftule emphasized.

The agreement to jointly adopt the modification coding system was reached at a meeting involving representatives of CIBJO, ICA and AGTA, which was held in Tucson, Arizona, USA, on February 3, 2010. The codes will now be listed in CIBJO’s Gemstone Blue Book for each stone.

The original coding system was developed by AGTA more than 26 years ago. The proposal that they be incorporated by CIBJO was first made at the 2007 CIBJO Congress in Cape Town, South Africa. Last year, an amended set of codes was approved at the CIBJO Congress in Istanbul, Turkey.


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