New Partnership between ICA and CIBJO Augurs Well for the International Gem and Jewelry Trade and Industry

The 16th-Biennial ICA Congress due to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for the second time in 26 years, from May 16th-19th, 2015, at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo was inaugurated on Saturday, May 17th, 2015 by the Minister of Finance of the Government of Sri Lanka, Honourable Ravi Karunanayake, who represented the President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Hon. Maithripala Sirisena, in the presence of officials of the parent body and the local organizing committee of the ICA, and over 250 delegates from nearly 60 countries. Addressing the audience at the opening ceremony Minister Karunanayake said, the Government of Sri Lanka will extend its maximum support to develop the gemstone industry of the country, and expressed the hope that the participants at this international event would return to their respective countries with the message that there is a new democracy and a new spirit in Sri Lanka. He further said, “the Finance Ministry would do its utmost to promote the gemstone industry through measures such as tax exemptions and duty concessions, as well as the the input of the industry’s members as well.

Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance of the Government of Sri Lanka
Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance of the Government of Sri Lanka

The Minister further stressed, “We are not here to run a business, we are here to facilitate the opportunities for you to enhance your business. Our earnest desire is to cut the red tape off, to help you carry your gems wherever they are required with the least possible trouble.” The intention, he asserted, is to view positively the industry prospects instead of suspecting its actions and so on.”

ICA President Benjamin Hackman
ICA President Benjamin Hackman

The ICA’s 16th-Biennial Congress held in Sri Lanka incidentally also celebrates the organization’s 30th anniversary since its inception in 1984, which fell in a congress-free year in 2014. President of the ICA, Benjamin Hackman in his opening remarks said, “We can expect the Colombo Congress to be one of the best attended ever,” and added that the organization runs 17 annual shows around the world. He said, “Sri Lanka is known as the “Island of Gems,” historically the world’s greatest source of sapphires, plus an incredible variety of other gemstones.”

A.H.M. Imtizam, Chairman, 2015 ICA Congress Organizing Committee
A.H.M. Imtizam, Chairman, 2015 ICA Congress Organizing Committee

A.H.M. Imtizam, chairman of the local ICA organizing committee, in his welcome speech to the delegates, said, “Sri Lanka has practiced ethical mining for the past few decades and is the perfect location for a Congress of this calibre, where the norms of fair trade practices are recommended to the whole industry.” Continuing further, he said that the institution had also been instrumental in building consumer awareness by continually pushing the importance of identifying genuine products, noting that these practices had been incorporated into this country’s legislation in 1972, since the inception of the State Gem Corporation.

Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President
Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President

A significant development observed at the ICA’s 16th-Biennial Congress was the participation of Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO, The World Jewellery Confederation, the oldest international organization in the jewellery sector, having originally been established in 1926, that represents the interests of all individuals, organisations and companies earning their livelihoods from jewellery, gemstones and precious metals, and Nilam Alawdeen, President of the Colored Stone Commission of CIBJO. The partnership between the two leading organizations representing the international gem and jewelry trade augurs well for the future of the industry worldwide. In fact Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO was due to address the Congress on Monday, May 18, 2015 on the all important topic of the new partnership between CIBJO and ICA.

Nilam Alawdeen, Head of the CIBJO Colored Stone Commission
Nilam Alawdeen, Head of the CIBJO Colored Stone Commission

According to the revised schedule of speakers at the technical sessions of the three-day conference, the list of Gem and Jewelry industry experts who will address the technical sessions on the three days of the Congress from May 17, 2015 to May 19, 2015 are as follows :-


SUNDAY, MAY 17, 2015
1) Jack Ogden: Sri Lanka Legacy: History of Sapphires
2) Ken Scarratt: Global distribution of sapphire deposits
3) Gamini Zoysa: Sri Lanka gemstones, geology, occurrence and distribution of gem deposits
4) Chanaka Ellawala: Sri Lanka’s best kept secret (jewelry made in Sri Lanka )
5) Shane McClure: A new generation of sapphires from Kashmir
1) Richard Hughes: Padparadscha sapphire
2) Pornsawat Wathanakul: Alexandrite, the unique gemstone
3) Edward Boehm: Spinel, a royal gem
4) Joanna Hardy: Romancing the gem; the power of public splendor
Coaches depart for Mount Lavinia Hotel for “The Legend of Lavinia Theme Night”

MONDAY, MAY 18, 2015
1) Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO: CIBJO-ICA partnership
2) Dennis Campbell: Leadership, management and strategy directions for independent colored gemstone business owners
3) Dr Adolf Peretti: the importance of Ceylon sapphires in world markets
4) Nilam Alawdeen, President Colored Stone Commission, CIBJO: Nomenclature
5) Nirmal Bardiya: India today in the gem and jewelry trade and overall view of the industry
6) Jay Boyle: gemstone sales on TV and perception of current marketing supply
1) Prida Tiasuwan: the ASEAN consumer and free trade market
2) Victor Tuzlukov: Faceting as a factor of gem appraisal in tomorrow’s market
3) Saman Amarasena: Precision cutting for the watch industry – The Sri Lankan lapidary
4) Oded Ben Shmuel: Gemstone optimization, secret technology revealed
5) Faiq Rehan: the stone calibrating industry in Sri Lanka
6) Yu Xiaojin: China’s colored gemstone market development and trends
7) Kentaro Emori: Beryllium-diffused corundum in the Japanese market and assessing the natural vs. diffused origin of beryllium in sapphires
8) Jean-Claude Michelou: Disclosure -an update on behalf of Nobuyuki Horiuchi
9) Chungmanirat: the Thai gem trade
10) Letitia Mei Lai Chow: the marketing of colored gemstones

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
1) Ruben Bindra: Transparency in the supply chain and ethical practices
2) Cynthia Unninayar: Trends in designer jewelry, gems and fashion for 2015
3) Be Carla Pinheiro: South American gem and jewelry sector with a focus on Brazil as the major producer and consuming country
4) Andrew Cody: Australian Opal
5)Sinan Muhammed Muslim Salahudeen: Young enterprises in the modern gem and jewelry industry
6) P.G.R. Dharmarathna: Eco friendly mining
7) Panel Discussion featuring Chanaka Ellawala, Jay Boyle, Nilam Alawdeen, Santpal Sinchwala, Richard Hughes and Wilson Yuen. Sheriff Rahuman (moderator)
1) General Assembly of ICA members
2) Press Briefing
3) ICA board meeting
4) Cocktail Reception
Gala Dinner at Cinnamon Grand Hotel

The main congress is expected to be followed immediately by a post-congress, seven-day, island wide tour of Sri Lanka from May 20-26, 2015 that includes a tour of the gem mines of Sri Lanka and a visit to the main cultural heritage sites of the country.

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