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Last updateTue, 30 Jun 2015 2am
Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

The North Carolina Jewelers Association (NCJA) ann...

Schnack’s Fine Jewelry turns 150

Schnack’s Fine Jewelry turns 150

Not many jewelry retailers can say their store ope...

From Vicenza with Love: At Oro International, Italian family values shine

From Vicenza with Love: At Oro International, Italian family values shine

Fifty years ago, Qurino Ruzza, with 20 years as a ...

Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade has been a leading fine jade jewelr...

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Jewelers Mutual presents honors at National Sale Conference

Jewelers Mutual presents honors at National Sale Conference

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company recognized its top agencies and agents during the annual awards ceremony held at their National Sale...

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Jewels from a True Veteran: Life lessons that will help your business today

9 HOURS AGO
Jewels from a True Veteran: Life lessons that will help your business today

Israel Levy of Levy Creations is truly a veteran - not only of the jewelry industry, but also serving two tours of duty in the Navy. It’s no wonder that for over 45 years, Levy has been the kind of man that many look to as mentor. If you know “Izzy” you’ve experienced his unique charisma and an unen...

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Jewelers Mutual introduces “For All Its Worth” campaign

9 HOURS AGO
Jewelers Mutual introduces “For All Its Worth” campaign

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual, the only insurer specializing exclusively in jewelry insurance in the U.S. and Canada for more than 100 years, has announced the launch of a new ad campaign for consumers as well as the jewelry industry.

The campaign called “For All Its Worth,” features in its consume...

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From Jewels to Tools: Ivan Levi to speak on enhancing business practices at RJO Show in August

9 HOURS AGO
From Jewels to Tools: Ivan Levi to speak on enhancing business practices at RJO Show in August

(HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.) - The jewelry industry has seen changes in the way business is being done since the advent of the Internet, and especially since the economic downturn began in 2007. Ivan Levi’s quest to find answers to questions about these changes led him to discover how one specific, yet easy...

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Rings of Strength collects over $60,000 for JFC

9 HOURS AGO
Rings of Strength collects over $60,000 for JFC

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers for Children (JFC) held the 3rd Annual Rings of Strength Tour on Thursday, May 28, at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino in Las Vegas, NV. More than 125 participants assembled at 5:30 a.m. to either walk or run 5K, or bike one of two courses, a leisurely 15K route or a challenging 50K r...

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Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

6 HOURS AGO
Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

The North Carolina Jewelers Association (NCJA) announced that Brad Padgett, an independent jeweler and native of Jacksonville, North Carolina, is the new president of the statewide association. His two-year term of office as the organization’s president began May 16.

Padgett graduated with a B.S.B.A....

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Two Houston jewelers named Distinction Winners in Houston Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence

6 HOURS AGO
Two Houston jewelers named Distinction Winners in Houston Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence

(HOUSTON, Tex.) - Houston Jewelry and Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon were among the businesses recognized at the annual Houston Better Business Bureau Awards of Excellence held in May. Both businesses were named Distinction Winners, a designation awarded to businesses that maintain a superior commitment to...

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In tune with the times? New Unisex Ring Collection keeps the beat

6 HOURS AGO
In tune with the times? New Unisex Ring Collection keeps the beat

Designed by Elaine of Esprit Creations

New to SJTA and the Atlanta Jewelry Show, family business Esprit Creations has been successfully manufacturing and wholesaling fine sterling silver jewelry with genuine gemstones for over 2 decades. Standing apart from the ordinary, their wide selection of exclu...

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Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

7 HOURS AGO
Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade has been a leading fine jade jewelry wholesaler/supplier/designer in the United States since 1976. The company specializes in all natural (type “A”) jadeite jade fine jewelry, designed in-house by their exclusive designer Kristina and MK design team. Mason-Kay Jade is excited to intro...

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Analyzing the aftermath - the JADE Act

Embargo on gemstones originating from Myanmar, formerly Burma is nothing new. But the backlash, and divisive commentary in the wake of the latest officially implemented ban is bound to polarize many members within the gem trade. And oddly enough, all those voices have a point - and a valid one.

Aimed at penalizing the Burmese ruling junta through embargo, the US government had banned products coming from Burma since 2003. However the broad language of that earlier sanction permitted the importation of Burmese-origin gems that were cut or polished elsewhere. On July 30, 2008 President George Bush signed into law the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act, restricting the import of precious Burmese gems and stones.

Some observers claim the previous sanctions had a loophole. Others argue it was no loophole - that the earlier ban simply expressed a different set of parameters for gemstone importation. So, unlike the former embargo, the JADE Act ban now clearly states that Burmese-origin jadeite and ruby, including those which have undergone “substantial transformation” elsewhere, are to be banned from coming into the US. The only exception would be Burmese gems brought in for ‘personal consumption.’

While the industry contemplates these new developments, the global gemstone community already voices disparate opinions. Director of Public Affairs for Jewelers of America (JA), Peggy Jo Donohue assured that JA will make certain that its members clearly understand that no rubies or jade mined in Burma may be imported legally into the U.S. And, Donohue added, to be certain, “Jewelers should seek written assurance from their suppliers that they will not knowingly supply these banned gems.”

The comprehensive nature of the JADE Act, spelled out in lengthy legalese, may appear to be a daunting task when it comes to sorting it all out. But the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) has streamlined this concern with information clearly spelled out on their website for those interested - www.jvclegal.com.

It’s impossible to prove some stones have been in the US prior to the implementation of the JADE Act, certain dealers worry. Old stock - really old stock - may not have the paper trail that the current legislation demands in order to sell existing stock that may have come from Burma - or not. Proving the origin is a hotly debated topic where this new ban is concerned.

Some people mistakenly believe the determination of origin, not how long it has been in the US, is at least a done deal. Inclusions and fluorescence clues some feel, are fail-safe and will tell if a ruby originated in Burma. Not so fast, warns Christopher Smith, vice president and chief gemologist, of American Gemological Laboratories (AGL).

Burmese rubies are found in three major deposits; the Mogok Valley, Mong Hsu and Namya Zeik. Yes, it’s true that a number of indicators can assist in separating ruby from Burma and ruby from other sources around the world. These indicators are various inclusion and spectroscopic features, internal growth structures, and chemical composition. Still, since there are ruby deposits in other locales whose geologic environs almost mirror that of Burma, in many instances, “distinguishing these sources from Burma ruby can range from straight forward to very difficult.”

Noted ruby and sapphire authority Richard Hughes believes that the statistics involving the sale of Burmese ruby are grossly misleading. “Claims that the junta earns $300 million a year from the sales of gems are based upon gross gem auction proceeds, but in reality many of the lots sold at auction are owned by private parties, not the junta,” Hughes states.

Time will tell whether this law which intends to send a punitive message to the brutal ruling junta of Myanmar achieves its desired effect. No one, as Douglas Hucker, CEO of American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) understands it, wants to see the innocent victims of this legislation become the fall guy to this ban. “My concern,” Hucker stressed, “is that this Bill is going to hurt the wrong people like the artisanal miners, instead of the junta.”

jarrett-nov

 

La Pierre Precieuse, Montreal, offers fine Cambodian ruby as an alternative to the banned Burmese ruby.
Photo courtesy of La Pierre Precieuse. Burmese Ruby crystal, courtesy of Will Heierman, www.corunduminium.com.

 

The ripple effect of the Burmese ban spreads to Thailand, and surrounding nations which traditionally cut these stones. Gem dealer Bill Larson, president of Pala International, spends a great deal of time in Asia. “These are independent (Burmese) miners who supply the Thais; and the dealers all come to Thailand unofficially,” Larsen points out. So he feels that ruby sales do not enrich the Burmese government. “Who it will affect are the thousands of Thais in the cutting and jewelry industry.”

Montreal based gem dealer Pramendra Baid, of La Pierre Precieuse, Inc., sees a closer-ranged unintended consequence. Baid forecasts a flood of Burmese goods having entered the US ahead of the ban enforcement, resulting in an unwanted price hike for Burmese goods. The residual challenge, Baid predicts will be in serving the upper tier of the market. Nothing else quite looks like Burmese ruby, he says. Ruby from other countries lacks the color saturation and clarity as fine Mogok ruby. Baid also foresees difficulties with implementing the new documentation requirements for Canadian based importers and manufacturers who sell to the US because “origination documentation for previously purchased rubies (both Burmese and non-Burmese) will be difficult if not impossible to obtain.”

In the end, all of these well founded concerns are mitigated by the cohesive unity of trade members not wishing to support a government whose human rights abuse records are so abysmal. And the various voices all make their point. JA Director of Public Affairs Donahue affirmed, “Until genuine democratic reform becomes a reality in Burma, such sanctions are necessary to send a clear message from American jewelers to the ruling military regime.”

Graduate Gemologist and Registered Master Valuer Diana Jarrett is also a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA). She’s a frequent lecturer at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett serves as Colored Stone Editor for Rapaport Diamond Report; with other works regularly appearing in trade and consumer publications. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit her website: www.dianajarrett.com.


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