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Multifaceted Russian ‘Golden Ring’ Extravaganza Combines Jewellery with Joy-rides
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By: Pooja Agarwal
Jul 21 2008 1:45PM
Reference: 2232  

The last week of June is a precious time for the regions of the middle zone of Russia when the nights are sensationally bright and days are amazingly long. When the rye is gradually ripening in vast fields and the tastiest mushrooms are poking the ground in the woods. When magnificent river Oxbows covered with water lilies let the fish jumping freely in the sunset beams and the birds’ frolic songs fill the cool air in the early mornings before the sun rises… And this time is very special for Kostroma, the city founded by Yuri Dolgorukiy in 1152, just five years later than Moscow.

Golden Ring of Russia Strikes Roots:
It started when Alexey Sherbina, editor-in-chief of “Jewelers Review” and Flun Gumerov, President of “Almaz Holding” group – both keen soccer fans and players – thought it might be a good idea to hold a mini-soccer tournament in Kostroma between the teams of jewellery producers. Viktor Shershunov, the Governor of Kostroma region and the whole administration showed a sincere support to this idea. The first tournament took place in summer 2000. Since then the Kostroma festival “Golden Ring of Russia” is growing from strength to strength each year.

Second Congress of Jewellery Market Participants:
The Second Congress of jewellery market participants of Russia was held during the festival. The forum has become a hallmark event in the life of the jewellery community of Russia. It addressed the issues currently worrying the Russian jewellers, the solutions of which would influence the success of the jewellery industry in Russia.

A Real Threat:
Flun Gumerov, President of Almaz Holding company, poignantly put many such problems forward, in his keynote address. “The main issues among the others are processing of Russian gold abroad. The products made from Russian customer-owned raw materials in other countries should be treated as import production in Russia due to all their attributes, but they are not. They then oust ‘successfully’ the goods of the Russian jewellers from our domestic market. This is a real threat to the existence of Russian jeweller industry itself,” Gumerov explained.

Gumerov insisted to include into the Congress Resolution a special paragraph about urgent limitation of ores export for processing abroad as “the whole national industry depends on this decision. The custom duties on any imported jewellery goods ought to be fixed indispensable – this is the other necessary law should be enacted,” he explained.

Assay Supervision Problematic:
One of the major problems of the jewellery industry is caused by the State Assay Supervision Chamber and its reforms. Gumerov underlined that the players of this market are expecting real reforms in this field and not just minor changes, but legislatively consolidated reforms. Iliya Fomin, one of the directors of Almaz Holging Group, ardently supported him and named “the impermissibly long periods of time the goods stay in the Assay Supervision Department for hallmarking” as the sole restraining factor of his enterprise’s further development.

Pavel Tokarev, the Principal of Art School of Ores Processing in Krasnoe-on-Volga (Kostroma region) raised a question in need of address for his students who go on to work after their course at various manufacturing units. “One of the oldest schools giving the industry the best specialists also needs modernization and major overhaul,” commented Tokarev as one of the significant points in his speech.

Emulate India, China:
Alexey Scherbina, Editor-in-chief of magazine “Jeweller Review” and the President of “The Golden Ring of Russia” festival touched some sensitive issues concerning the Government. At the edge of Russia’s entry to WTO, he expressed his doubts that Russian authorities would be able to protect the interests of domestic manufactures. “While India, China, Thailand and other countries have been liberating their own jewellery sectors from redundant bureaucratic formalities step by step, our officials demand to present economic substantiations over and over again as though it is their mere duty,” elaborated Scherbina.

Age Old Acts Should be Replaced:
It was discussed that out-of-date tables of rates and classifications which are still the statutory acts should be replaced or recalled, otherwise the jewellery producers have to act according to some documents which date back to the middle of the last century. A separate point of settling this problem was included into the Congress Resolution.

These were the key questions and problems discussed at the Second Congress of jewelry market participants of Russia.

New Additions to Gold Ring:
Every year something special and new is added to the Russian festival’s significance. Today it’s a multilayered, polyschematic, wide-area functional event. It binds almost everything what jewellers are interested in: seminars, lectures and discussions, trading and sales on one hand and sports, relaxation and picnics on the other. As such, the local media has named the festival as the most prominent regional event of the second half of June 2007.

Silver Shallop Highlighted:
The main feature of the Festival this year was the Second Congress of jewellery market participants of Russia. A new contest of jewellery design, “Silver Shallop: Recognition of Jewellers’ Capital” got a vigorous start at this festival. Its aim to distinguish the best jewellery products of the year amongst items that figured in other professional and industrial contests during the last year in Russia and former Soviet Republics. Actually the emblem on the Kostroma’s escutcheon is a golden shallop.

Entertainment Galore:
And as for the entertaining part of the festival it was filled with engrossing sport matches and contests, sightseeing excursions around the city and some parts of Kostroma region, fishing, picnics, boat trips along the Volga river and many other recreational events which help businessmen to communicate with each other freely.

India Seeks More Cooperation:
Colleagues from India who represented the Gem & Jewelley Export Promotion Council, greeted the Congress participants and sought their cooperation in finding new ways to come together with a motive to build stronger business ties between Russia and India.

Kostroma – Jewellers’ Capital:
One of the main ideas spoken by different participants of the festival many times was that Kostroma is really the capital of jewellers. This was underlined not only by producers from Kostroma but jewellers from many other regions as well.

This is the region with rich traditions of jewellery crafts, which were spreading beyond the regional limits since XVI century and became widely popular at the beginning of XVII. Thus, Kostroma has all rights to claim for the title of Jewellers’ Capital. If we take the whole turnover of Russian gold products, we’ll find out that 24% of them are manufactured in Kostroma. And over 35% of the national gross amount of silver jewellery is produced in this region as well. Impressive, isn’t it?

New Brand Promotion:
Viktor Shershunov, the Governor of Kostroma region, confirmed that a project of new brand promotion is going on – Kostroma as the jewellers’ capital - and his administration is working on it.

Permanent Exhibitions of Jewellery:
One of the outstanding buildings of the architectural ensemble of Kostroma’s centre is the Fire Tower. Its rooms would be used as well for permanent exhibitions of jewellery crafts as part of the campaign. Also, a new contest was thrown open for an architectural project as it was felt that the region needs a structure, which should symbolize Kostroma as the Jewellers’ Capital. It is proposed to be located at the major city entry point. These are some main parts of the Kostroma brand promotion.

Rare Multifaceted Combination:
The Jewellers Festival in Kostroma can be conclusively called an extraordinary event - a rare combination of business, art, communication and jewellery.

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