The ICA Congress 2013, Changsha, China

Last Updated: 15th May 2013

ICA Congress 2013 - Changsha, China



Katya and I were very privileged to be invited to attend the 15th Congress of the International Colored Gem Association (ICA) in Changsha, China over the last couple of days.

ICA is a non-profit organization in the global colored gemstone industry promoting development of the colored stone industry. The ICA Congress is held once every 2 years, alternating between different hosting countries. The 16th Congress will be held in 2015 in Sri Lanka.

The Congress is jointly organized by the ICA, GAC, NGTC, Hunan Department of Commerce and Changsha Municipal Government, and jointly undertaken by the Changsha National Economic and Technical Development Zone and Changsha Municipal Bureau of Commerce. The theme of the ICA Congress is “Gathering international resources and exploring the Chinese market”, which attracted about 300 delegates including 108 high-end colored stone resource providers, miners, traders and cutters, the top international gemstone testing organizations, gemology training organizations and experts from the industry from more than 30 countries and regions global wise, plus of course Katya and Jolyon Ralph from gemdat.org.


The Opening Ceremony


At the opening ceremony distinguished guests, such as the deputy secretary-general of Hunan People’s Government Huang Weidong, the executive vice-president of Gems & Jewelry Trade Association of China Sun Fengmin, the ICA president Wilson Yuen, the director of Hunan Provincial Department of Commerce Xie Jianhui, the member of the standing committee of Changsha Municipal Committee of CPC, and the vice mayor of Changsha Zhang Yingchun, poured red wine into an ice sculpture to declare the event open.


Chinese dignitaries at the ICA Congress


The deputy secretary-general of Hunan People’s Government Huang Weidong sincerely thanked ICA for its efforts made for China, especially Changsha Hunan’s gemstone industry development. He said, having the 15th ICA Congress and the International Gemstone Cultural and Creative Industrial Park in Changsha is a great international opportunity for Hunan.

The International Gemstone Cultural and Creative Industrial Park is located in Changsha National Economic and Technical Development Zone, and is planned to take 1,000 Mu of land (66.67 hectares). By 2017 the park is expected to include more than 200 internationally branded enterprises, create more than 100,000 jobs, form a 30 to 50 billion RMB worth industrial operation, build a hundred billion RMB worth industrial cluster, and make the gemstone industry into an important "industrial symbol" for Changsha. The park will include the industrial supporting facilities such as show rooms for gemstone designs, a gemstone warehouse and logistic park, a comprehensive bonded port and a gemstone trade center, etc. Internationally-known and respected organizations such as GIA and GUBEILN have announced their intention to come to the park and build their vocational training bases in China.

The Congress consisted of five days of activity, including a mine tour for delegates arriving on the Sunday or Monday, and two days of full conference activity with over 20 presentations. Simultaneous translation was provided in both English and Chinese via radio headsets.


Dr. Visut Pisutha-Arnold from the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand giving his presentation



Delegates at the ICA Congress


Following the historical tradition of the “Poster Design Contest” from the previous ICA Congresses, the Changsha ICA Congress also displays the excellent poster designs from its global members - well over 100 posters were displayed. The winning design has not yet been announced but we will post it when it is made public.


Katya admiring the poster display



One of the many poster entries



Another poster entry



And another


Dr. Lu Taijin, Chief Researcer, Beijing Institute, National Gems and Jewelry Technology Administrative Center (NGTC) gave a presentation about the Geographic determination of major colored gemstones.


Discussing inclusions in Emerald as indicators of source origin.



Trace element analysis of spinels from different sources.


Bill Larson gave a presentation on Burma.


Will and Bill Larson


Dr Qiu Zhili, Director of Gemstones Research and Grading (Assessment) Center of Sun Yat-Sen University talked about the development of the colour gemstone market and the tax structure of China.


Dr Qiu Zhili's presentation


Andy Lucas, Product Manager at GIA, gave a presentation on Education: from Source to Counter, where he described how gem education should be encouraged at every level in the gem industry, from miners to retail staff, and also how a better educated consumer becomes a better customer.


Andy Lucas' presentation


Vincent Pardieu from GIA Bangkok was meant to be giving a presentation entitled "Gemstone sources for the 21st century: Challenges and opportunities", however a few days before the congress he broke his arm in a mining accident and was unable to attend. In his place Kenneth Scarratt, Director of the GIA Laboratory gave the presentation.


Kenneth Scarratt giving his presentation


Francis Cui, CEO and co-founder of colored-stone.com.cn and ICA Ambassador, gave a presentation on "How to develop colored stone business through the Internet"


Francis Cui presentation


Marcelo Ribeiro, Director of the Belmont Mine, a large emerald deposit being worked on a significant scale for gem emerald in Brazil gave a very interesting talk "Emeralds: Key aspects from source to market".


Marcelo Ribeiro's presentation


Hecliton Santini Henriques, President of IBGM (Instituto Brasileiro de Gemas & Metais Preciosos) talked about "Brazil - the land of precious stones".


This hypnotic agate was one of the slides in the presentation on Brazil


A.H.M. Imtizem, Vice Chairman of the Sri Lankan Gem and Jewellery Association gave a presentation on "Current Gem and Jewellery Industry in Sri Lanka". It seems the Sri Lankan government has done a great deal to simplify the process of import and export of gems in and out of Sri Lanka, helping to encourage significant growth in the sector.


A.H.M. Imtizem's presentation on Sri Lanka


Marc Brauner, Co-CEO of IGI Worldwide gave a presentation on Jewelry Certification and Imaging, covering two different areas - the difficulty of certifying mounted stones and the challenges this gives, and the importance of high quality gemstone images in advertising, giving many examples of mainstream gem advertising where the actual gemstone is very poory represented.


Marc Brauner shows a particularly problematic Ruby that had to be unmounted to be certified correctly


Daniel Nyfeler, Managing Director of Gubelin Gem Lab talked about "Treatment Disclosures on Coloured Gemstones - an update" - concentrating particularly on Emerald.


Treatment Disclosure of Emeralds - Daniel Nyfeler's presentation


The final presentation was by Eng. Benjamin J. Mchwampaka, Assistant Commissioner for Minerals of Tanzania. He outlined changes being made to the legal structure for mining and gem exports, and invited everyone to Tanzania for the Arusha International Mineral and Gems Fair.


The last presentation


I would like to thank the organizers of the ICA Congress and the organizers of the Changsha Mineral and Gem Show for inviting us and for sponsoring our visit to China. The next report will be about the CMGS show, which will run over the next five days.




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