The logos of two international jewellery organisations have been removed from the Jewelclaim website, the private business run by Diamond Dealers Club of Australia (DDCA) president, Rami Baron.
As previously reported, Baron’s Australian Jewellers Consortium, otherwise known as Jewelclaim, has operated since 1996 and, according to its website, has managed “hundreds of thousands” of jewellery claims.
Jeweller became aware that Jewelclaim – an insurance claims business – was using the imprimatur and logos of the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB).
Along with the logos, the website made the claim: “The Australian Jewellers Consortium maintains a direct relationship with the GIA, CIBJO and the WFDB. This global pool of knowledge and experience is priceless.”
However, Jewelclaim is not a member of the GIA, CIBJO or the WFDB and questions were therefore raised concerning on what authority the business had to use the international marks and logos, particularly in order to promote its private insurance business which is based in Sydney, Australia.
GIA, CIBJO deny knowledge
The GIA’s director of corporate communications Stephen Morisseau told Jeweller that the misappropriation of the association’s logo was taken very seriously.
“We are very protective of our logo and marks. Protecting consumers is our mission, and making sure that GIA is not misrepresented in any way is an important part of that,” he said.
He added that “Retailers who carry gems with GIA reports and GIA alumni can request logos for specific purposes. We have no record of a request from Mr Baron.”
Jewelclaim and/or Australian Jewellers Consortium are not jewellery retailers.
CIBJO’s director of communications, Steven Benson explained that CIBJO is a non-profit organisation that represents all participants in the international jewellery supply chain.
“We were not aware that the CIBJO logo was being used by JewelClaim,” he told Jeweller.
“As a matter of policy [CIBJO] does not grant permission for its logo to be used to endorse any products or services that it has not developed itself,” Benson added.
The GIA and CIBJO logos were removed from the Jewelclaim website after Jeweller published the initial story on the DDCA on Sunday (15 August).
An email three days earlier on Friday 12 August, raising questions about the conditions of their use remains unanswered by the DDCA president and WFDB executive committee member, however; it appears that no change was made to the website prior to the publishing of the aforementioned story.
WFDB logo confusion
While the GIA and CIBJO logos were deleted, the WFDB logo remains on the Jewelclaim website even though the business is not a diamond bourse and not an associate member of the WDBF.
Baron represents Australia on the WFDB executive committee by way of being president of the Diamond Dealers Club of Australia (DDCA).
As previously reported, he has been president of the DDCA for 14 years of its 15-year existence, despite operating in the insurance sector.
When first contacted, Sharon Gefen, head of public relations WFDB explained that individual companies are generally not members of the WFDB as it is an organisation of bourses.
She said, “So all member bourses may use the logo. We do have a few associate members, which are companies or organisations, and they also may use the logos.”
The WFDB has 29 members (affiliated bourses) and five associate members. These include ABN Amro Bank, retailer Chow Tai Fook, Malo Amit, a logistics firm, the Israeli Diamond Institute, and the Hong Kong Indian Diamond Association.
Despite Jewelclaim not being an associate member and despite initially advising that only bourse members and associate members can use the WFDB logo, confusingly Gefen has subsequently advised that “Rami Baron is a valued member of the WFDB executive committee, and is in close contact with the organisation”.
The “close contact” makes reference to Baron’s claim that he “maintains a direct relationship with the GIA, CIBJO and the WFDB” – arguably, something that could be claimed by many people. As a result of this “close contact”, Gefen added, “We see no problem in his [Baron] mentioning that fact on the Jewelclaim website”.
She did not specifically address the use of the WFDB logo, namely, whether the WFDB was previously aware its intellectual property was being used to promote a private business and/or, if permission had been specifically granted prior to the promotional use.
It’s clear that the GIA and CIBJO were not aware that their logos were being used in a marketing sense on the Jewelclaim website, and their swift removal would suggest that Baron/Jewelclaim did not have permission or authority to use them.
Notwithstanding the apparent contradiction over the use of its logo, Jeweller has since raised further issues with the WFDB that have come to light concerning the DDCA. In turn, the WFDB has advised that its office is closed for summer holidays and it will respond in due course.
As previously reported, the WFDB’s About Us page reads: “As the industry’s most important representative body, the WFDB advances the principles of trust, transparency and integrity among the members of the bourses and throughout the industry.” [bold emphasis added]
BEFORE & AFTER
Before: Screenshot of Jewelclaim’s website 12th August.
After: Screenshot of Jewelclaim’s website 16th August.