Overview of the WJC and the CIBJO Blue Books

The World Jewellery Confederation goes by the initials CIBJO, which is the acronym for its name in French: Confédération Internationale de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfèvrerie des Diamants, Perles et Pierres. The primary focus of the organization is to encourage cooperation in the industry and to ensure consumer confidence in the jewelry industry as a whole. One of its main projects is the creation, updating and revision of the various parts of the CIBJO Blue Book, which is the definitive guide to diamond, precious stone and metal valuations. It is the most widely accepted valuation standard in the world.

Organizational Structure of the CIBJO

Membership in the CIBJO is organizational rather than individual. As an international federation, CIBJO draws from the input of jewelers, goldsmiths and traders of precious gems and stones who are actively involved in national organizations relevant to the jewelry and gemstone sectors and other groups that are involved with the industry.

The General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the organization while organizational governance resides with the 30-member Board of Directors. Representatives are appointed to each sector, which are Sector A for Gem Materials, Trade and Laboratories, Sector B for Jewellery Distribution and Sector C for Jewellery Manufacturing/Technology/Precious Metals.

Commissions are formed to focus on key issues revolving around particular topics. Active commissions include the Gemmological Commission, the Diamond Commission, the Pearl Commission, the Colored Stone Commission, the Precious Metals Commission and the Association Executives Networking Commission.

About the CIBJO Blue Books

The Blue Books are made up of different parts that relate to specific sectors, and each part is prepared by the relevant CIBJO commission. The CIBJO Blue Books contain the grading standards for the following:

  • diamonds
  • pearls
  • colored gemstones
  • precious metals

These standards are compiled and updated by member-representatives who have extensive knowledge and experience in their particular field.

These standards are rigorously studied and are based on a consensus formed from the expertise of commission members and certain individuals who are not part of the commission but possessing the right expertise. The Blue Books discuss specific nomenclature definitions. For instance, the CIBJO diamond guide provides the terminology and descriptions that serve as the guidelines for classification of diamonds and artificial products. Normative references are included in each Blue Book, and normative clauses are specific to description, manner of display and representation to ensure clarity. The stability of the diamond and gems market relies on reliable standards and uniform application of such standards.

The original CIBJO Blue Books consisted of the Diamond Book, Pearl Book and the Gemstone Book. The Precious Metals Book and the Gemmological Laboratory Book were added in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Blue Book contents are reviewed annually and reaffirmed or revised as needed. Using the most current version of the Blue Books are highly recommended.

Subscription to the standards set forth in the CIBJO standards is voluntary, but it is highly recommended that members of the industry use these guidelines at all stages of the sourcing and distribution chain. Written suggestions and notes for possible revisions are open to all parties regardless of their affiliation with laboratories or trade organizations.

Shane Thompson
Shane Thompson
Shane Thompson is 3rd generation jeweler and works at Windsor Fine Jewelers in Augusta, GA. His fields of work include marketing and diamond buying.
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