Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan officially opens 2016 CIBJO Congress

ABOVE: President Serzh Sargsyan, the Armenian head of state, delivering his address during the opening of the 2016 CIBJO Congress in Yerevan.

OCTOBER 26, 2016

The CIBJO 2016 Congress has officially opened at the Meridian Expo Center in Yerevan, Armenia, in the presence of the country’s president, Serzh Sargsyan.

Speaking to the gathering, President Sargsyan said he attached great importance to hosting the CIBJO Congress in Armenia, which has a long and illustrious jewellery-making history. “Throughout the centuries, Armenian jewellers around the world have had a great input into the development of the global jewellery industry,” he stated.

“Today, our republic considers jewellery making and diamond polishing to be among its priority industries. It is for that reason that we do our best to assist and promote these industries however we can,” President Sargsyan continued.

“Armenia has celebrated a National Jewellers Day for many years, and, indeed, there is a jewelers’ street in Yerevan which leads to the Meridian Expo Center which is home to the most significant jewellery exhibition center in Armenia. I welcome you all and thank you for coming from across the world to take part and I wish you a successful Congress,” President Sargsyan added.

It is the first time that a CIBJO Congress has taken place in a Central Asian country, and it is being hosted by the Armenian Jewellers Association (AJA).

Gagik Gevorkyan, President of the AJA and Advisor to the President of Armenia, also welcomed Congress participants in Armenia. “We are delighted to host this Congress for the first time. Armenia is an important diamond polishing and jewellery making center and we believe it is right that the CIBJO Congress is happening here,” he said.

At the conclusion of his address the Armenian President awarded CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri with a special medal of gratitude in honour of his and CIBJO’s contribution to the jewellery industry in Armenia and worldwide., Dr. Cavalieri accepted the award, emphasising that he was doing so on behalf of CIBJO, its members and the work done by the confederation.

In his address, Dr. Cavalieri welcomed participants at the congress, saying the warmth of Armenian people for foreigners was legendary. “This year, we gather for the first time in Central Asia, in the centre of a massive region and a growing jewellery industry and market.” He commented that there are 3 million Armenians in their home country, but another eight million throughout the world “and many of them seem to be involved in the jewellery industry”, he joked. He said that Armenia’s contribution to the Russian jewellery industry has been immense and it has also aided Armenia’s economy.

The CIBJO President praised Mr. Gevorkyan, saying: “As President of the Armenian Jewellers Association, he and his colleagues from AJA from around the world are making sure that the jewellery industry and trade in Armenia become a powerful economic engine, driving trade between this country and the world, and serving as a self-sustaining catalyst for national economic growth and prosperity.”

Dr. Cavalieri went on to say that CIBJO prides itself on forging new paths for the international jewellery and gemstone industries, looking over the horizon to areas that may not have previously been part of the public discussion. “There other representative bodies in our business, some of which are present here today, and many of which we cooperate with closely. They, too, play critical roles, but they are not quite the same, nor do they have all the responsibilities and commitments that CIBJO does.”

“CIBJO is the only organisation operating in the industry that considers its area of interest and responsibility to include the entire chain of distribution, from the mine to the consumer outlet, in every country and region where jewellery and gemstones are produced, manufactured and sold. There are no size restrictions in terms of the individuals or organisations we serve, meaning that our commitment to the wellbeing of the smaller player is as solid and absolute, as is our commitment to the larger players in the business,” he continued.

“Our job in CIBJO is to develop the standards, terminology, strategies and systems that will enable all individuals and companies to operate fairly and responsibly. These change over time, are influenced by economics and geopolitics, and particularly by technological developments. That is why the work of our sectors and commission is never done. Like all other representative organisations in our industry, CIBJO is dependent on the support and effort put in by its members. We appreciate that not all of them are able to contribute equally, and we are grateful that those who have more resources are often ready to take a greater share of the collective burden.

“But at the same time we are fiercely independent, and we will never allow financial expediency to prevent us from making what we believe is the correct and fair decision,” he commented.

Ahmed Bin-Sulayem, Chair of the Kimberley Process (KP) and Executive Chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, congratulated CIBJO on holding its Congress in Armenia and spoke of the strong relations between Armenia and the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Bin-Sulayem gave a review of the structure and work of the KP. He praised CIBJO in its continuous work to protect consumers which was similar to the work of the KP in protecting the integrity of diamonds.

Andrey Yurin, head of Russia’s state precious minerals repository, the Gokhran, said that Russia paid a great deal of attention to international standards that are recommended by CIBJO. These standards are being applied at Russian jewellery manufacturing plants, he commented.

“We thank Gaetano Cavalieri and CIBJO for the hard work they do for the international jewellery industry,” he said.

Andrey Zharkov, the President of Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA, said he was delighted that the CIBJO Congress was taking place in Yerevan. “I remember noticing the jewellery industry in Yerevan when I came here many years ago as a child. CIBJO has done great work in creating standards for the precious stones and metals industries. This allows for the production of high-quality goods. I must also praise CIBJO for its environmental work which is extremely important,” he said.

Mr. Zharkov told the Congress that ALROSA was heavily involved in the promotion of natural mined diamonds and in detecting synthetic diamonds, and expected its business partners to do likewise. He also spoke of the company’s work marketing diamond jewellery to younger buyers.

Also attending the opening session were Suren Karayan, Minister of Economic Development and Investment of the Republic of Armenia, and Adylbek A. Kasymaliev, Minister of Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic.

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