(Adds discussion on EU sanctions)
MILAN Oct 11 Italy's Bulgari BULG.MI added
its name to the list of jewellers boycotting gems from Myanmar
after a crackdown by the country's military rulers on
The world's third largest jeweller said on Thursday it had
told its suppliers to declare the origin of the stones they
provide, adding it had stopped buying stones mined in Myanmar,
formerly known as Burma, "some time ago".
"Even though the company has never bought gems directly in
Myanmar but only on the international markets, it has expressly
required (from) its suppliers guarantees of the geographical
origin of the precious stone," Bulgari said in a statement.
The move by the Rome-based jeweller comes after the 27
states of the European Union decided this month to toughen
existing sanctions against Myanmar and look at import and
investment bans on key industrial sectors, including gemstones.
The sanctions are due to be discussed by EU foreign
ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.
Bulgari's announcement follows one by Cartier, owned by
Richemont CFR.VX, which said it had stopped buying gemstones
such as rubies and sapphires which may have been mined in
Myanmar and told its suppliers to confirm stones are not mined
Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) stopped buying rubies from Myanmar in
2003 when the U.S. Congress enacted an import ban. The ban
includes a loophole that allows dealers to import gems from
Myanmar if they were cut and polished somewhere else.
Last month, Myanmar's military rulers sent in soldiers to
end the biggest pro-democracy protests in nearly 20 years,
rounding up and arresting scores of people. Official media say
10 people died in the crackdown, although Western governments
say the toll could be higher.
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in Milan and David
Brunnstrom in Brussels)