Gem News International Gems & Gemology, Spring 2017, Vol. 53, No. 1

Jewelry Industry Summit

The second Jewelry Industry Summit was held in Tucson, Arizona, January 29–30. The meeting was a continuation of the first summit, held in New York in March 2016, though new initiatives emerged from the Tucson gathering.

Opening remarks by Doug Hucker and Jeff Bilgore (AGTA) were followed by three speakers from outside the gem and jewelry industry. Lisa Manley (Sustainability Strategy and Cone Communications, Boston) discussed exploring a company’s strengths, opportunities, and aspirations, calling sustainability “a team sport.” Thea Polancic (Conscious Capitalism, Chicago) spoke on imagining the industry’s future, citing specific companies that have used their leverage in their industries to make a difference in the world. Bob Mitchell (Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, Washington DC) presented on pinpointing possibilities for successful and sustainable business practices.

The majority of the summit was focused on committee updates from the first meeting and creating new initiatives to be worked on. Carried over from 2016:

  • Brian Cook (Nature’s Geometry, Tucson) is developing a model community for golden rutile miners in Bahia State, Brazil. A construction site has been chosen, and negotiations with the municipal government for lapidary equipment have begun. See this entry for more information.
  • The education committee, headed by Christina Miller (College Corner, Ohio) is creating a glossary that can help members of the industry and consumers understand the language of sustainability, ethical sourcing, and responsible practices.
  • The chain of custody and due diligence committee drafted guidelines for suppliers seeking responsible sources.
  • The harmonization team is charged with establishing best practices among the existing standards across industries. Under the lead of Mark Hanna (Richline, Providence, Rhode Island) and Richard Nehls (LA Rocks, Los Angeles), the team has collaborated with other organizations to learn from their challenges and successes.
  • #ResponsibleJewelryStories, the marketing arm of the summit, is led by Cleo Zancope Gnatek (Jane Taylor Jewelry, New York), Dana Bronfman (Dana Bronfman Fine Jewelry, New York), and Cecilia Gardner (New York). This team has created a website to share stories of responsible sourcing, ethical practices, and sustainability. Industry members interested in sharing their stories on this topic should contact
  • Members of the sales associate and consumer education team, led by Kevin Reilly (Platinum Guild International, New York), have developed an outline for training purposes and a proposal for content providers and potential sponsors.
  • The sustainability in jewelry committee, headed by Mike Pace (New York), has distributed a survey about perceptions of sustainability to 800 fine jewelry buyers who identify as “millennials.”
  • The team working to fight silicosis and industrial diseases among gemstone cutters, led by Eric Braunwart (Columbia Gem House, Portland, Oregon), is creating pilot programs with three NGOs as well as the AGTA.

Among the new initiatives proposed at the summit were an effort to find a safe, affordable alternative for mercury in gold mining; a development index to measure the positive and negative effects of the gem and jewelry industry on a nation’s economy; and a plan to build an agro-geo-ecotourism movement in Thailand. The location and dates of the next Jewelry Industry Summit will be announced later in 2017.

Jennifer-Lynn Archuleta is the editor of Gems & Gemology.