2019 Jewelry Industry Summit
The third Jewelry Industry Summit, held in Tucson February 2–3, revealed the successful implementation of several initiatives mapped out since the conference’s inception in 2016.
Opening remarks by summit chair Cecilia Gardner and AGTA’s Doug Hucker were followed by a session on mining communities. In a presentation on sustainable mining, Assheton Stewart Carter (The Dragonfly Initiative) discussed incentivizing improvements while managing environmental, social, and governance risks and needs at artisanal and small-scale mines. He explained how the Dragonfly Initiative creates partnerships with other organizations that can provide research, funding, and other assistance on the local level. This was followed by the Dragonfly Initiative’s Vivien Johnston, Fiona Wellington of Myne, and Mahumood Alam Mahsud (Fine Cut Lapidary)—all by video chat—describing their efforts to create an emerald cutting and polishing center to employ and empower Pakistani women. Tom Cushman (Richfield Investor Services) recounted issues with sourcing gold in Madagascar, while Toby Pomeroy provided insights into the Mercury Free Mining Challenge, a quest to create a safe and effective alternative to the use of mercury by artisanal and small-scale gold miners. The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, or IRMA, an organization dedicated to creating and sharing financial value for mines that achieve best practices, was introduced by consultant Christina Miller and Lara Kortizke of IRMA. Two breakout sessions occupied much of the first afternoon: one on creating an industry-accepted glossary (see www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/spring-2019-gemnews-jewelry-summit-glossary-initiative), and the other on building a business with responsible sourcing principles. This was followed by a lively discussion on the benefits and drawbacks of blockchain between Mike Pace (Connected Jewelry), Robin Gambhir (Fair Trade Jewellery Co.), Carrie George (Everledger), and Mark Hanna (Richline).
Day two provided a synopsis of the Jewelry Development Impact Index by Patricia Syvrud of the University of Delaware’s Minerals, Materials and Society program, as well as a discussion with Doug Hucker and Patricia Syvrud on the silicosis abatement program sponsored by GemHub, AGTA, and the Minerals, Materials and Society program. Steven Benson (CIBJO) reported on the release of CIBJO’s Blue Book on the responsible sourcing of gemstones and precious metals, available as a free download from www.cibjo.org. Brian Cook (Nature’s Geometry) provided an update on the Bahia Brazil Golden Initiative, a cooperative of rutilated quartz miners in the Chapada Diamantina region of Bahia State, Brazil. Patricia Syvrud spoke with Charles Lawson (Lawson Gems International) on the outcomes from four years of gem and jewelry training for women sapphire miners in Sakaraha, Madagascar. The day ended with a screening of the gold mining documentary River of Gold, with a speaker panel consisting of producer Sarah duPont,Torry Hoover (Hoover and Strong), Toby Pomeroy, and Tom Cushman.