News


7 June 2021

The diamond value chain:
from the Earth mantle to your jewel

#1: The formation of diamonds, unique creations of the Earth 

We are starting a new series on the diamond value chain, from the diamond formation to the ring on your finger. In this newsletter, we will present the essential first step: how are diamonds formed? 
 

Diamonds are a unique creation of the Earth. Their lasting legacy – they were formed deep within the Earth’s crust roughly from 1 to 3 billion years ago – makes them an exceptional natural product.  

Made out of pure carbon, their formation requires two important conditions: high temperature (around 1200° C) and high pressure. Under these two conditions only, carbon atoms will start to bond with each other and eventually grow large enough to produce crystals that we can see. Each crystal represents billions and billions of carbon atoms that together form a diamond.

Owing to their exceptional characteristics, diamonds represent beauty, eternity, strength, love and commitment. 

26 May 2021

Read the latest news from the EFJ

Our May newsletter is out! Here is what you can find in this edition:

  • Our letter to EU Commissioner McGuiness for an EU harmonised cash payment ceiling 
  • Our contribution to the EU public consultation on sustainable corporate governance  
  • The formation of diamonds  
  • How to improve the system of mutual recognition of goods for the jewellery sector?   

14 April 2021

Letter to EU Commissioner McGuiness: for an EU harmonised cash payment ceiling

The EFJ called Mairead McGuinness, EU Commissioner for Financial services & stability and Capital Markets Union, to integrate the harmonisation of cash payments ceilings in B2C transactions in the future legislative proposal on an EU single rulebook. This crucial measure could help fight money laundering efficiently.

Indeed, the current diverging thresholds existing in the European Union contribute to fueling money laundering by leaving the possibility to ill-intentioned people to choose countries with no cash payment limit to carry out cash transactions. It is worth noting that in the European Union, the range is broad with some countries having limits going from 1000 € to 15.000 € and others having none.

Read our letter to Commissioner Mairead McGuinness

9 April 2021

Towards mandatory due diligence considering the jewellery and diamond sector specificities

Discover our new infographic on due diligence!
We call on the EU Commission to take into consideration the specificities of the jewellery and diamond sector.

Click here to read our position paper on due diligence.

23 February 2021

Mutual recognition of goods: our suggestions to improve the system

The EFJ is participating today in the Commission Expert Group meeting on the accelerated mutual recognition of goods. We are presenting the current barriers preventing the free circulation in the jewellery sector. 

Many technical standards are not harmonised between EU countries,  such as fineness standards, weight exemptions, soldering, sampling, methods of analysis… and this is slowing down the jewellery trade. 

We propose some suggestions to improve the system: 

  • Member states must accept items produced in compliance with technical standards (ISO/CEN), where possible 
  • To set up an information exchange system between national inspection bodies to standardise their technical decisions 
  • The national Assay Offices would have to be mandatorily accredited with ISO 17025 
  • Only internationally standardized methods of analysis should be recognized for assaying items of precious metals 
  • The Commission should urge international standardization bodies (ISO/CEN) to produce standards for those aspects (e.g. sampling) which are not yet standardized 

Learn more on the subject

9 February 2021

Join the European Federation of Jewellery

Founded in 2013 by members from Belgium, France, Italy and Portugal, the federation aims notably to represent the interests of the European jewellery and gemstones sectors at the EU level, to exchange best practices among the members and to disseminate them among external stakeholders.

The EFJ provides its members with valuable resources designed to help them shape the debate around EU policies that may have an impact on their sector. In this respect, the EFJ keeps close contact with and provides first-hand information to policy-makers on different crucial topics notably due diligence, diamond terminology, anti-money laundering, international trade, and mutual recognition.

Today, the EFJ counts five members: UFBJOP (France), Art Nobilis (Belgium), AWDC (Belgium), Confindustria Federorafi (Italy) and the AORP (Portugal). Together, they represent over 60% of all jewellery articles manufactured and distributed in Europe.

Building on the excellent results achieved in the past years, we would be glad to gather more members. If you are interested, please contact us at melanie.lamaison@alienoreu.com so that we can present the EFJ’s activities and explore the areas of common interest.

You can find more information about the EFJ’s objectives and commitments in the leaflet, or on this website.

4 February 2021

The EFJ contributed to the EU public consultation on Sustainable Corporate Governance

The EFJ’s contribution to the European Commission public consultation on Sustainable Corporate Governance has just been submitted. You can read on our website the updated version of the position paper on mandatory due diligence.

17 December 2020

What are the different steps to make a jewel?

Jewellery is an ancient form of art that evolved through the centuries to become the most elegant and sophisticated expression of beauty. Each jewel is the sum of the technical skills of many different artisans who excel at their profession. The EFJ is committed to protect these different metiers as they embody the essence of European know-how.

Making a jewel is a very cautious process, requiring four different steps. Discover them below:

  1. Jewellery design: the first step in the creation of beauty

    The first step in the creation of a jewel is the design. A jewellery designer is traditionally highly trained in the architectural and functional knowledge of materials, fabrication techniques, composition and market trends. Hand-drawing is the most common method in jewellery design, however, thanks to technological development, new designers are also able to use computer design programs.

    In the design phase, all details of the jewel need to be carefully taken into consideration from the materials and precious stones to be used and their characteristics to the number and placement of said stones. The designer is also responsible to draft the marketing strategy for the jewel or the collection and is thus the main link between the production and retail phase. 

Once the jewel design is finalised, it is time to the manufacturer to turn it into reality…

2. Jewellery manufacturing: flawless jewels from the hands of utmost skilled craftsmen

Once the design is finalised, the manufacturing part begins. This crucial step consists of different stages all executed by highly skilled artisans.

First of all, the sketch is reproduced into a model, usually made of a special jeweller’s wax. However, in recent years this procedure is also being done via 3D printing machines that can quickly create a wax or a resin model. Regardless of the technique used by the manufacturer, the model needs to be perfect in every aspect and many little handmade adjustments are needed to make sure that the final piece will be flawless.

During the final step, the wax model is cast into a precious metal such a gold, silver or platinum. Casting is a very delicate procedure that is usually done by an experienced professional.

At the end of this step, the metal dries into the desired shape and the jeweller can perform the final refinements before other artisans set the precious stones and ensure maximum brilliance through polishing. 

3. The art and techniques of gemstone setting
Once the structure of the jewel is ready, it is time to set the gemstones and this can be done via different techniques depending on the design of the piece and the characteristics of the gems.

The prong setting is one of the most popular stone setting techniques and is commonly used for engagement rings because it allows to show off the gems at best and ensure the maximum sparkle. The prongs are the small metal pieces which keep the stone in place. Solitaire diamond jewels usually have 4 or 6 prongs, but it is possible to realise jewels with only 2 or more than 20 prongs.

The bezel setting is the oldest known technique and in this case, the gemstone is surrounded by a metal border which holds it in place.

In the channel setting, small gemstones are set next to each other in a channel strip and the metal on top is pushed over to keep the gems in place.

The other most popular gemstone setting techniques are the bead setting, the pavè setting and the burnish setting and each of them has different variations.

Gems setting is a complex art performed and handed down by master setters. Their challenging job is to secure the gemstones to the jewel in the least invasive way in order to enhance the design of the jewel as well as the brilliance of the stones.

4. Polishing: the final touch
Once your stone is set, your jewel is almost ready to be worn. It still needs to be polished in order to remove uneven or rustic surfaces and make it shine. A great finish can elevate the work to the next level. 

The jewel should first be prepared for the polishing phase. Marks, scratches and fire stains should be taken out. Needle files help remove the excess of metal and solder, while sanding will smooth the surfaces. The jewel is now ready to be polished. The tools and techniques for this last step depend on the desired effect and the material.  

The polisher is the main tool used by jewellery makers. The discs on the polisher can have many different formats. This very precise technique requires much attention, if the jewel is not put on the right spot, it might be severely damaged.

A second technique is to use polishing compounds which have minuscule abrasive particles held together in a binder. There are many kinds of these compounds which can be applied with a brush. 

The barreling machine or barrel polisher consists of a barrel shaped container which sits on top of a motor and is rotated. The jewellery pieces are placed inside the barrel, with steel shot, water, and barreling solution. The barrel rotation will polish the jewels. 

After the designing, manufacturing, gemstone setting and polishing, the jewel is now ready to be worn! 

15 December 2020

Our December newsletter is out!

We just sent out our December newsletter! Discover more on:

  • Our contribution to the New EU Consumer Agenda
  • A call for a harmonised cash payment ceiling
  • Our position on mandatory due diligence
  • The jewel polishing phase

9 october 2020

Our contribution to the new EU consumer agenda: the case of diamond terminology

On the 6th of October, the European Federation of Jewellery sent its contribution to the European Commission on the consultation on the New EU Consumer Agenda.  The EFJ is committed to contributing to the current reflection of the European Commission in order to shape an ambitious European consumer policy up to today’s challenges and wishes to flag the issue of diamond terminology in this position paper.

Read the position paper

2 October 2020

Our infographic on cash payments is out!

The EFJ urges the European Commission to put forward an EU initiative aimed at harmonising the limits for cash payments in business-to-consumer transactions by proposing a proportionate ceiling which takes into consideration the different necessities and sensibilities of EU citizens.

See our infographic to understand our position:

Download the infographic

Read more on the subject

8 September 2020

New position paper on mandatory due diligence

On the 29th of April, Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, announced to the European Parliament Responsible Business Conduct Working Group that the European Commission plans to propose a legislative initiative on mandatory due diligence in 2021. Commissioner Reynders further specified that the legislation will be cross-sectorial and will include enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance and access to justice for the victims.

The European Federation of Jewellery (EFJ) supports the idea of an EU-wide cross-sectorial legislative framework on due diligence and is ready to take a proactive role in the decision-making process.

Read our entire position paper here

6 July 2020

We just sent out our July newsletter!

Want to know more on diamond terminology, the COVID-19 impact on the jewellery sector, or the first online diamond trade show? 

Read our newsletter!

26 June 2020

Why should there be a clear terminology differentiation between natural and laboratory-grown diamonds ?

The European Federation of Jewellery calls on the European Commission to develop a legislative proposal aiming to differentiate natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds and to ensure consumer protection through full product disclosure at both customs and retail level.

Our infographic tells you why:

Download the infographic

Read more on the subject


25 November 2019

Launch of Due Diligence Ready!

Programme to support your minerals and metals supply chain due diligence efforts

The European Federation of Jewellery welcomes the launch of Due Diligence Ready!, a new European Commission online tool that will benefit your company.

Due Diligence Ready! is dedicated to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with minerals and metals in their supply chains, notably tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. Available in 7 languages, it helps SMEs perform due diligence effectively and ensure responsible sourcing. For those of you impacted by regulatory requirements, for example by the EU’s ‘conflict minerals’ regulation which will enter into force on 1 January 2021, the initiative will help you comply with your legal obligations.

Via the Due Diligence Ready! online portal, you can access materials to guide you through conducting your due diligence in a simple and efficient way, including:

  • A series of educational webinars, breaking down key concepts
  • ‘Frequently Asked Questions’
  • A glossary of terms
  • A toolbox of useful resources related to due diligence

We encourage you to make good use of the Due Diligence Ready! portal. This will place you in a stronger position to comply with legal requirements, meet market demand and consumers’ expectations for responsible sourcing in minerals and metals.

Follow the initiative on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook

 

The European Federation of Jewellery contributed to the creation of the Due Diligence Ready! platform as the Federation was a member of the Advisory Board set up by the European Commission.

Download the communication


12 November 2019

Entry into force of the new European customs code for synthetic diamonds

The European Federation of Jewellery (EFJ) welcomes the publication of the new European customs code for synthetic diamonds. This code, introduced in the European combined nomenclature (Chapter 71), will enter into force as from 1st January 20201. It will be applied until 1st January 2022, when the HS6 customs code, which was recently adopted by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), will be applied at the European level.

The EFJ and its membership strived for the adoption of this new European customs code, which will facilitate the monitoring of synthetic diamond flows in Europe, thus allowing better compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

Although legitimate, synthetic diamonds fundamentally differ from natural diamonds. The EFJ therefore welcomes the acknowledgement of the difference between natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds by the European Commission through the new customs code. Given these fundamental differences, the EFJ deems it essential as well to legally oblige retailers to duly inform consumers about the nature of the product they are selling. The EFJ will therefore continue to advocate the establishment of a European legislation differentiating natural diamonds from synthetic diamonds at retail level in order to ensure consumer protection through full product disclosure.

Download the communication


25 October 2019

Constructive MEPs support the policy priorities of the EU jewellery sector

We had fruitful meetings with many MEPs willing to respond to the challenges of the European jewellery sector” declared Bernadette Pinet-Cuoq, President of the European Federation of Jewellery (EFJ). At the beginning of this term, these challenges are numerous: diamond terminology, mutual recognition, international trade, harmonisation of cash payment thresholds and sustainable value chains for minerals.

A delegation of the EFJ had the opportunity to meet more than 20 MEPs from different political groups in order to engage with them and to inform them on the way the European diamond and jewellery business is structured.

Establishing European legislation that clearly differentiates natural diamonds from synthetic diamonds, thereby protecting consumers by obliging retailers to unambiguously disclose the nature of the jewellery products they are selling, will be the Federation’s top priority in 2020. Significant steps to enhance consumer protection within the EU have already been taken with the New Deal for Consumers under the Juncker Commission. Since 40 million Europeans have indicated to have voted in the EU elections because of the importance they attach to consumer protection policies, the EFJ hopes that this subject will remain high on the agenda of the European institutions.

Strengthening the EFJ by welcoming new members from countries with an active jewellery industry is another priority objective, as this would allow the EFJ to speak with an even louder voice towards European decision-makers.

The members of the Federation will meet for the next EFJ General Assembly in spring 2020 in Milan, the Italian capital of design and artistic creation.


The European Federation of Jewellery mobilised and ambitious in this year of European elections

The General Assembly of the European Federation of Jewellery (EFJ) took place in the prestigious setting of the buildings of the French Union of Jewellery, Silverware, Stones and Pearls (UFBJOP) in Paris on the 1st of April. An exciting visit to the Haute École de Joaillerie (Higher School of Jewellery Arts) opened this day full of discussions. A few figures suffice to show the history and fame of the oldest jewellery establishment in the world: 151 years of existence, 600 students and 12 workshops.

Under the auspices of Bernadette Pinet Cuoq, President of the UFBJOP and EFJ, the discussions allowed for further reflection about the full application of the mutual recognition principle for European jewellery products. Such an application would significantly facilitate the free circulation of jewels throughout the European Union.

International trade was another topic. The EFJ reaffirmed the importance of maintaining an open European trade policy towards third countries and is currently working to identify the main tariff and non-tariff barriers that prevent the European jewellery sector from reaching 60% of consumers in the world.

2019 will also signify a year of change, as the European elections will substantially modify the political landscape. The EFJ will be equal to this challenge with the development of a new awareness and communication strategy. The members of the Federation will notably meet the newly elected Members of the European Parliament in October in Strasbourg.

At the dawn of the advent of a new European Parliament and a new Commission, the EFJ remains more mobilised than ever. “The European jewellery sector is faced with a growing number of challenges. We decided today to include the issue of synthetic diamond in our mandate. The EFJ will advocate for the implementation of a specific customs code to differentiate synthetic diamond from natural diamond.” concluded Ms. Pinet Cuoq.


Successful day of meetings with EU policy-makers in Brussels

The critical priorities of the European jewellery sector were at the centre of several meetings held on the 21st of February 2018 between a delegation of the European Federation of Jewellery (EFJ) and several European Commission’s representatives.

This second successful day of bilateral meetings covered a broad range of topics, notably conflict minerals, international trade, cash payments and synthetic diamonds.

In particular, the Federation reiterated its willingness to closely cooperate with European and international Institutions to proceed with a swift implementation of the Conflict Minerals Regulation and to make sure that SMEs can easily adapt to the new rules.

Moreover, during several meetings with different representatives of DG Trade, the EFJ stressed that the economic growth of the sector is severely hampered by obstacles to free trade and especially by the persistent tariff and non-tariff barriers applied by third countries on EU jewellery products. In the respect, the Federation encouraged the Commission to maintain its ambitious commercial policy in order to improve the EU access to key foreign markets.

The Federation had also a second exchange of views with DG ECFIN regarding a potential harmonisation of cash payment limits at the EU level. Finally, they put forward some proposals to DG Justice to tackle the challenge of the increasing production of synthetic diamonds.

The fruitful meetings confirmed the EFJ commitment to become a proactive and trusted actor on the European scene and allowed more in-depth exchanges on crucial themes.


The EFJ publishes a new position paper on limits in cash payments

The European Federation of Jewellery (EFJ) published a new position paper on limits in cash payments to feed into the debate around the EU initiative on restrictions on payments in cash launched by the European Commission last year.

The EFJ position paper highlights several issues related to the lack of harmonisation of cash payment limits at EU level. The most notable concern for the sector is the different maximum thresholds for cash payments in business-to-consumer transactions. Moreover, cash restriction limits often differ also within the Member States creating unjustified discriminations between residents and non-residents. These differences lead to a lack of equal level playing field and generate unfair competition between EU Member States, which goes against the EU Internal Market principles.

The EFJ paper also underlines that cash remains the preferred form of payments in the Euro area because it protects the users’ privacy and personal data, it is universally accepted, costless and flexible. Moreover, cash allows the immediate closure of payments while electronic transactions might be cancelled and are more exposed to external constraints such as technical problems or hacking.

With this position paper, the EFJ urges the European Commission to put forward an EU initiative aimed at harmonising the limits for cash payments by proposing a proportionate threshold which takes into consideration the different necessities and sensibilities of EU citizens.

The position paper can be downloaded here.


The EFJ meets with representatives of the European Commission

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On the 21st of April, a delegation of the European Federation of Jewellery (EFJ), headed by its President, Bernadette Pinet Cuoq, had a series of successful meetings with several representatives of the European Commission. The objectives were to raise awareness about the sector and its main challenges as well as to exchange on several key issues: COSME, the European support programme for SMEs, the EU policies in favour of creative industries, conflict minerals, market access and opening of third countries’ markets and cash payment limits.

Regarding the implementation of the newly adopted EU conflict minerals regulation, the EFJ reiterated its commitment to work with the European Commission, the OECD and the other stakeholders to enhance the due diligence responsibilities of its members.

An ambitious and proactive approach was also defended during the high level meeting with the Cabinet of Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs. The EFJ advocated the adoption of a European harmonisation of cash payment thresholds in order, notably, to achieve a level playing field between the economic actors on the European territory.

The representatives of the European Commission welcomed warmly the EFJ and were happy to get information on this high value sector. This first day of fruitful meetings set the foundation for a deeper involvement of the Federation in the European scene.

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L’EFJ s’est réunie à l’occasion de la foire de Bâle sous la Présidence de Madame Bernadette Pinet Cuoq, en présence de Fatima Santos, Secrétaire générale AORP, de Monsieur Jan Orye, Président d’Ars Nobilis et avec la participation de Madame Licia Mattioli, membre de la Cofindustria et de Monsieur Charles Chaussepied, Vice-Chair du Responsible Jewellery Council.

L’EFJ a eu le plaisir d’accueillir un nouveau membre, Monsieur Cédric Berruex, représentant  de l’Association Romande des Métiers de la Bijouterie, et de valider le plan d’action pour les semaines à venir avec les rencontres.

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EFJ position paper on international trade

Access the position paper here.