ICA Newsletter | March 2021
The ICA Newsletter is a monthly publication chock full of gemstone news, including reports from the country Ambassadors, industry news, the latest from auctions and laboratories worldwide, events and exhibitions in the trade and celebrities donning the best gem-set jewelry creations.
As the birthstone for March, it is the ideal color to usher in spring. 
New Colours of the “Niu” Year
Exclusive Interview: ICA President Clement Sabbagh

“We strongly believe in supply chain transparency, sustainability and fair practices as means to offer reassurances to the coloured gemstone consumers. We don’t see it as a trend but a reality.”

By Julius Zheng

February 12, 2021 marks the beginning of the Year of the Ox (“Niu”), the second Chinese zodiac representing hard work, honesty, patience, positivity and perseverance. The coloured gemstone industry is trying to seek a new way out while the Covid-19 continues to cast shadow.

Founded in 1984, The International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) is a non-profit organization and the only worldwide body created to benefit the global coloured gemstone industry. ICA is comprised of over 700 gem industry leaders from mine to market, including miners, gem cutters, suppliers, retailers, trade associations, gemological laboratories, academia, museums, and more, from 47 countries. The president of ICA, Mr. Clement Sabbagh is a second-generation gemstone miner, cutter and wholesaler. As an industrial leader and a business owner, he spoke candidly from his own observation on the new normal and new trends in 2021.

1)What will be the new normal and new trend in the B2B coloured gemstones trading in 2021?
Clement Sabbagh: As with many other industries, the coloured gemstone business has been adversely affected by the pandemic, especially since sales in our industry have always relied heavily on one-on-one interaction at on-site fairs or client visits.

Our industry is still adapting to what seems to be a “new normal” which we expect to prevail and grow in the coming months.

ICA Ambassador Report
ICA Ambassador to Canada Martine Lavoie
Dear ICA members,

In Canada, we are experiencing so many different situations. In Ontario and Quebec, all stores were closed from December 24th until January 8th . (Even longer in Toronto). But in the rest of the country, things were a little more "normal." People here tend to listen to the government rules, including an evening curfew after 8 PM. Cases of COVID are finally going down. However, vaccinations are slow, so we have to deal with that.

Fortunately, we still see business going well. For the same reasons as before; People are working from home, no travelling, no restaurants open, etc.…

Our company doesn’t suffer from not going to trade shows. We have amazing suppliers sending parcels of gemstones that we can look at. We return some gemstones, but often we even have the opportunity to keep many on consignment, for a long period of time. This practice has actually had a great positive impact on our business model. Our cash flow is much better because we buy in a much better way. Trade shows are good for exhibitors to discover new customers. They are good for buyers to get the pulse of the trade prices, learn about labs, and gemstone treatments, and network with people from all over the world. But sometimes as gem buyers we buy too much - that's a negative point.

We don’t travel on selling trips to all major Canadian cities as much as we used to, but we do ship on consignment every day with a very good success ratio of around 80%. When things are better, it will be a pleasure to see our clients in person once again. Human relationships are so important in this business. But we might only go once a year now, instead of twice a year.

As for retail stores in Canada, people are very creative. One of our clients was meeting her
customer, she in her studio and the customer outside the store talking on their phone through the
window, showing gemstones and discussing the project. In winter! But with a coffee. Amazing!
People are doing appointments one-on-one if possible, with zoom, on the phone, and sending
images by email.

We’ve heard a lot of our clients telling us about re-thinking their business model, and how the future
can be better in terms of sales and business mission, taking the time to THINK.

We also took the time to think about reorienting our stock needs. We’ve also created a web site
to sell our overstock and close-outs. This money is just sleeping in our office. And who knows what
the future will look like? It's always good to be one step ahead.

I also think that no matter what, you must always give fast and excellent service. Nothing will beat that.

As for business tools, I don’t know how we could go through this unbelievable time without the Internet, Instagram, and all of the existing technology!

And FedEx of course! 😊

ICA Congress Committee
China Congress to be September 2022
Shenzhen China 2022
Serious conversation involving the timing of our China Congress, including a close look at the mandatory 3 week quarantine travel restrictions into Hong Kong, convinced the ICA's Congress Committee to move the September 2021 Congress to September of 2022, allowing for travel restrictions to be lifted, speakers and attendees to feel more comfortable and safe to travel in and out of China.

InColor Magazine Gets New Publisher
The International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) has announced that its quarterly
publication, InColor, will now be published by Befindan Media, publisher of Jeweller, a
business-to-business magazine for the jewellery industry.

Established in 1984, the ICA is the peak international body promoting the global colored
gemstone industry. InColor will undergo a redesign and relaunch, with the tagline, ‘Celebrating
gemstone beauty’ under new publisher Ms Angela Han.

ICA president Clement Sabbagh said, “ICA is delighted to be working with Befindan Media who,
with their renowned expertise and experience, will ensure InColor maintains its standing as a
leading publication for the colored gemstone trade.”

Discussions about the new venture first began in late 2019. The process included a thorough
review by Befindan Media to analyze the international colored gemstone market and InColor’s
reach and readership.

“InColor has been a vitally important part of ICA’s communication since 2004,” Mr Sabbagh

“Having a publisher like Befindan Media will greatly enhance our flagship publication by
ensuring that we continue to provide the industry with the most interesting and colorful
content from the leading gemstone experts around the world.”

Ms Han, who acquired Jeweller in 2020, believes the two publications are great stablemates.
“Jeweller already has a prestigious worldwide reputation and authority, and with the addition
of InColor to our portfolio, we believe we can help take the ICA and its magazine into a new

“While our magazine is based in Australia, our website jewellermagazine.com recently reached
the #1 position in the world for jewellery trade publications, according to Alexa, and there is
no doubt that InColor will benefit from our strong position,” Ms Han said.
Alexa is an Amazon company that measures and reports global rankings of website readership
and traffic.

Ms Han explained that InColor has been redesigned with an exciting new masthead and look,
and will be “an amazing showcase for beautiful gemstones”.

“InColor will continue to be mailed directly to all ICA members and affiliated bodies and we
have developed a new, large database of well-targeted readers, gemstone buyers and
jewellery designers,” Ms Han said.

More information:
International Colored Gemstone Association
Gary Roskin │ Chief Executive Officer
gary@gemstone.org │ +1 212 620 0900
Befindan Media
Angela Han │ Publisher
info@jewellermagazine.com │ +61 3 9696 7200
Tradeshow Updates
UPDATED Trade Shows
Scheduled, Rescheduled, & Cancelled

Vicenzaoro January Show
 rescheduled for Mar 12-16, 2021 - CANCELLED
Tucson Gem & Mineral Show TGMS
 - scheduled for Feb 9-12, 2021 - CANCELLED
Tucson GJX & AGTA Shows
 - scheduled for Feb 2-7, 2021 - CANCELLED
Naples Art, Antique & Jewelry Show
 - scheduled for Feb 19-23, 2021 - CANCELLED
Inhorgenta Munich Show - February/April
 - rescheduled for Apr 14-19 2021 - CANCELLED

International Jewellery Kobe (IJK) Show 
- on schedule for May 13-15, 2021
 - both at AWE - rescheduled for July 2-6, 2021

InformaMarkets Jewellery & Gem ASIA HK
- on schedule for June 24-27, 2021

JCK LAS VEGAS 2021 - June
 - rescheduled for August 26-30, 2021
HardRock Summit DENVER 2021
 - on schedule for September 18-21, 2021

InformaMarkets Jewellery & Gem WORLD HK (AWE)
- on schedule for September 17-21, 2021
ICA Recipient of JCK Industry Fund Grant, 2021
The JCK Industry Fund Committee announced on February 18th, 2021, the recipients of its annual JCK Industry Fund grants. This year, 2021, grants awarded include ICA, the International Colored Gemstone Association.

ICA places this grant money into its Gems Keep Giving Fund, for future projects to support artisanal miners and their families, to help them prosper and grow in a safe, sustainable and inclusive environment.

" 'Gems Keep Giving’ (GKG) is an initiative set up by ICA to support artisanal gemstone mining and cutting communities around the globe," notes Damien Cody, chairman of the GKG committee. "As the name implies, those involved in the gemstone industry now have a way of giving back to those in our industry who are most in need. By giving we are not only changing lives for the better but we are also helping to make our industry more sustainable."

With Gems Keep Giving, there are no administration costs. 100% of monies raised by the Gems Keep Giving fund will be utilised for the defined projects. ICA warmly welcomes assistance from socially conscious corporate sponsors, foundations and donors who will see that through the GKG fund their generosity can really make a difference to the lives and communities of some of the less fortunate people in our gemstone community.

And thanks to JCK's Industry Fund grants, the Gems Keep Giving fund is getting off to a terrific start.

The 2021 Industry Fund Grant Recipients:
  • Diamonds Do Good
  • Gem Legacy
  • International Colored Gemstone Association
  • Jewelers Security Alliance
  • Jewelers Vigilance Committee
  • Mercury Free Mining
  • & Women’s Jewelry Association

Christie’s Gets Colorful with New York Auction
The trio of jewels, called the Perfect Palette, comprises a 2.13-carat, Fancy Vivid blue diamond, estimated at $2 million to $3 million, Christie’s said Tuesday. Also included are a 2.34-carat, Fancy Vivid orange diamond and a 2.17-carat, Fancy Vivid purplish-pink diamond, both with a high valuation of $2.5 million. Each will be offered as a separate lot at the April 13 sale, the auction house added.

Other notable items are ...

AGTA Cancelled Plans for April Tucson GemFair
But Schedules Las Vegas August & Denver September!
In a recent press release, the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) announced that it has canceled its’ plans to reschedule the AGTA GemFair™ Tucson show for April 2021.

“The AGTA Board of Directors has been working diligently to reschedule our Tucson GemFair,” said Douglas K. Hucker, AGTA CEO. “After much discussion with our exhibitors and buyers, it was determined that producing a Tucson show would not be viable this year.”

ICA had cancelled all plans to attend the Tucson gems and minerals shows this past February, even though there were about a dozen smaller shows that planned to remain scheduled.

While ICA was watching AGTA carefully, we determined early on that April was just not going to happen for us. However, that could not be said for AGTA.

AGTA's latest press release announces that they will be exhibiting in Las Vegas and in Denver. "We are excited to announce the production of two shows for 2021. The AGTA GemFair™ Las Vegas show will take place August 24 – 26, 2021, at the Encore Resort. This will be a one-year location. We are working closely with Emerald, who brokered the show space on our behalf, as well as the Encore Resort and local health officials, to ensure we meet all safety regulations for the event. This change of date and location also gives us the opportunity to hold our Las Vegas event at the same time as COUTURE and the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry and Watch Show (LVAJWS), which are being held at the Wynn Las Vegas."

The second show from AGTA will be a new one – AGTA GemFair™ Denver will take place September 18-21, 2021, in conjunction with the Hard Rock Summit (HRS). AGTA GemFair™ Denver will be an integral part of Sparkle & Joy, a section of HRS dedicated to fine gemstones, fine jewelry, and extraordinary gemstone objects. "We are still working on final details for this show, so more information regarding the Denver show will be available soon."

Are Trade Shows Going to Happen in 2021?
In a February article in Rapaport's Diamonds.net online magazine, a look back at 2020 may predict what will happen in 2021.

News reporter Joshua Freedman writes, "Three weeks in March 2020 underscored how fast the situation could change during Covid-19. On the third of the month, JCK announced that its annual Las Vegas shows would take place as usual in late May and early June, despite the outbreak. On the 17th of the month, it called them off.

"What happened in between was unprecedented. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic on March 11. US industry events got canceled. Diamond bourses around the world started to close their trading halls. And the state of Nevada ordered all nonessential businesses to close to the public for 30 days, forcing JCK’s hand."

As we see the March HK Show move to July, the June JCK Show move to August, with travel restrictions in Hong Kong extended through September 31st, the question remains, "Can we expect normal in-person trade show activity any time soon?"

Time to Start Advertising Again!
Advertising opportunities have opened up in the ICA's website.

"Our Gems by Gems pages are the most popular on the site," notes Gary Roskin, ICA's CEO, "so we felt now was the right time to open it up for our members to advertise."

Log onto the ICA website, www.Gemstone.org, and check out the dozens of gemstone information pages in our Gem by Gem listings.

As our Facebook and Instagram posts gain more and more in popularity, we have been experiencing more readers on the site.

Please find out for yourselves. See what this might do for you.

To purchase an Ad, simply log onto the gem page where you want your Ad, and follow the prompts. You can purchase your Ad space directly from the website.

US Sanctions Block Myanmar's Gemstone Exports
Three gemstone companies from Myanmar have been sanctioned due to their links to the military regime.

 US President Joe Biden has blacklisted three gemstone companies in Myanmar because of their links with military regime that ousted state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi as leader earlier this month.

The country produces 90 per cent of the world's high-end rubies, many of its most expensive sapphires, and it supplies China with much of its jade.

Sanctions now prohibit Myanmar Ruby Enterprise, Myanmar Imperial Jade Co. Ltd., and Cancri Gems & Jewellery Co. Ltd from doing any business in the US or with US companies.

 Further sanctions are ...
ICA Members Speak On Current Events in Myanmar
While many in the gem industry call the recent military coup in Myanmar (formerly Burma) a terrible tragedy, they also fear what will happen to the country’s gemstones in its wake.

On Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned three gemstone and jade companies—Myanmar Ruby Enterprise, Myanmar Imperial Jade Co., and Cancri (Gems and Jewellery) Co.—it said were connected to the country’s military. That means those three companies are not allowed to do business in the United States, or with U.S. companies.

One ongoing hurdle is that the gemstone sector in Myanmar remains opaque. Because the country’s laws prohibit the export of loose gemstones, most Burmese gems are smuggled into Thailand, says Kennedy Ho, chairman of the Bangkok-based Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences, who is in regular touch with people in Myanmar.

Tiffany in Technicolor
A dazzling high-jewellery collection uniting past and present kicks off a new era for the LVMH-owned house
by Vivienne Becker

It’s a colourful new chapter at the fabled US jewel house that was bought by the LVMH group for $15.8bn earlier this year. In the first collection to launch since the completion of the purchase, and a near-total overhaul in leadership, Colors of Nature has drawn on the original jewels and drawings of former Tiffany & Co designer Jean Schlumberger, as well as showcasing Technicolor pieces that reinforce the house’s historic reputation for unearthing coloured stones.

The discovery of new varieties of gemstones has been a game-changing phenomenon in the jewellery world, and many of these momentous discoveries have been thanks to Tiffany.

Member Resources & Initiatives
It is intended that members who undertake this accreditation process will understand more fully their duty of care within the gem and jewelry supply chain. It is designed to be a practical self-audit and a voluntary pledge on responsible sourcing.
We want to make a difference by providing timely and effective assistance which will focus on the key areas of concern: safety, human rights, fair work, inclusiveness, environmental impact, resource sustainability and community amenity.
Images of colored gems from around the globe, plus all aspects of the colored gem industry including mining, cutting, manufacture, gemmological research, education, marketing, design and retailing.
In the hopes to be of service to members, the ICA has put together this small compendium of resources related to COVID-19 and its challenges and opportunities.
How the Colored Stone Market Is Making Up for No Tucson
It came as a surprise to no one that Tucson wouldn’t be the same this year. The city’s annual colored gemstone shows were, after all, just one of numerous trade events derailed by COVID-19 over the past year.

GJX and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show were canceled for 2021. AGTA GemFair Tucson has also cancelled, even after valiantly trying to open in April.

There are a handful of gem shows still slated to take place in April.

According to a few wholesalers posting in a gemology forum on Facebook, demand from buyers to attend a spring show is there, driven by the need to restock after a strong holiday season.

Jewelry Designer Elsa Peretti Has Died
Elsa Peretti, the Italian-born jewelry designer who revolutionized the industry with her biomorphic designs inspired by bone fragments and pebbles, has died, age 80.

Peretti is arguably the most successful woman ever to work in the jewelry field.

Vogue described her work as “carved, pure—irresistibly touchable—it has been called jewelry as sculpture, sculpture as jewelry, and the most sensuous jewelry in the world.”

The Latest Issue of GAMMA - ICA|GemLab

In this issue of GAMMA, you will find a wealth of information under the headings, “Around the Trade”, “Gemmology” and “Domestic Notes”.  

You will read about an emerging and currently popular colour in sapphires of how the women are making a significant mark in gemstone mining in Africa, an interview with jewellery designer Carina Hardy who is taking an unusual and indeed unique approach to women’s jewellery design, the last days of the Argyle diamond mine, the meanings behind gemstone weights and measures and the proper application, fascinating inclusions and other data on  emeralds from Zambia and great pointers towards identifying heat treatment in sapphires.

Gembridge Announces Ambassadors Many are ICA Members

Digital coloured gemstone trading platform Gembridge is pleased to announce that it has established a global ambassador network of distinguished industry figures to expand the business. The network, which includes many of the world’s most respected gemstone dealers, will aim to establish Gembridge as the preferred marketplace for coloured gemstones worldwide.

“The ambassador’s role is to promote and grow the business of Gembridge in their part of the world. As we grow, they will become shareholders in the business,” Gembridge CEO Nick Marrett said. “The ambassadors will be champions of our new marketplace where international trade is more affordable and secure, and access to high quality coloured gemstones is universal.”

Tony Brooke, Gembridge Chairman, added, “Each ambassador will help to build confidence in Gembridge, integrating the platform into the working heart of our industry. Strategically, our ambassador network will not only span the world, but also connect it.”

The Gembridge ambassadors include (in alphabetical order):
Elke Berr, Edward Boehm (co-chair of ICA's GILC), Evan Caplan (chair of ICA's Admin Committee), Guillermo Galvis (ICA member), Jean Jureidini, Prashant Kothari (ICA member), Duncan McLauchlan (ICA Treasurer), Joe Menzie (ICA Past President), Jean-Claude Michelou (ICA Editor-in-Chief InColor Magazine), Armil Sammoon (ICA Ambassador Sri Lanka), and Manuela Soares (ICA member).

Van Cleef and Arpels Invisible Set Jewels

Van Cleef & Arpels vaunts a rich history of pioneering innovation, perfecting unique techniques through immense savoir-faire indicative of the maison’s spirit of creation.

The Mystery Set finely illustrates the luxury jeweller’s ability to combine vivacity with sparkle while inviting curiosity.

First patented in 1933, the Mystery Set technique showcases the beauty of gemstones as metal gives pride of place to glittering plays of light. The effect of rendering the precious metal invisible is the absolute accentuation of the gems. Distinct hand-picked stones are selected not only for their specific colour, size, clarity and cut, but also to complement their counterparts in a symphony of beauty and artistry. In the hands of the masterful craftsmen at Paris’ 22 Place Vendôme, gemstones take on radiant movement, voluminous dimension and enhanced brilliance.

Survey Says: Sapphire Is King for Both Trade and Consumers

Consumers expressed a particular interest in colored gemstones, especially sapphire, according to a recent industry survey.
Forty-six percent of all consumers surveyed said they’ve bought sapphires in the past, followed by ruby and emerald (both at 41 percent) and then amethyst (35 percent).

Additionally, 40 percent of consumers specifically between the ages of 23 and 40 chose sapphire as their favorite gemstone, followed closely by ruby and emerald, with half of the group having purchased sapphire jewelry before.

When asked their preferred shade of blue sapphire, 46 percent chose the darkest shade they were shown, followed by the medium blue at 40 percent and light blue at 14 percent.

Consumers also expressed interest in ...
March Birthstone: Aquamarine
As the birthstone for March, it is the ideal color to usher in spring. This year, aquamarine is also the color of fall fashions: Marine Blue is one of the top ten Pantone Fall Fashion colors this year, and it made a splash on the runways of the fall ready-to-wear shows.

As a gem, aquamarine is accessible, beautiful and wearable – it can take a few knocks without chipping or scratching. Aquamarine is a greenish blue to blue green variety of the mineral species beryl. Emerald is also a beryl, but with trace amounts of chromium (and sometimes vanadium) which make green to bluish green in color.

ICA Office Update
March 2021

Greetings from the ICA
Since we are all continuing to conduct business in the midst of a global pandemic, we reached out to our Ambassadors to find out how they are doing, and if we could share their methods to keep working.

Our Canadian Ambassador, Martine Lavoie replied with some very candid answers to questions such as:
1 How are you able to maintain any business without in-person Trade Shows?
2. Are you also online?
3. Are you making lots of phone calls, texting, using WhatsApp, or WeChat?
(see her responses above)
Our Ambassador to Thailand, Kennedy Ho, and our GILC Co-Chair, Edward Boehm, were both interviewed by Rob Bates at JCK Magazine. (See that interview above - ICA Members Speak ....)
Here at ICA, we are doing all of the above, including Zoom meetings with the full Board of Directors, and the Congress Committee. (See our Congress report above.)

We have also spent months inhouse updating the ICA website, and continue to tweak the site with some powerful Association Management software. Many of you have logged in and made changes to your member directory listing – good for you! We would like to see more of that. And while you are online, don’t forget to pay your dues, add your picture, your company logo, a the link to your website, and complete the Accredited Ethical Member process!
We are looking forward to seeing you all at the ICA Congress in Shenzhen China in 2022! Yes, September of 2022!
As always, if we can help with anything from the office, do not hesitate to contact us directly.
On behalf of the President, the Board of Directors, and the ICA office staff (Claudiu, Cecilia, and Maggie),
Best wishes, keep healthy and stay safe,
Gary Roskin
Chief Executive Officer