Assistant Secretary of State to Kick Off Diamond Panel at JA New York

Jose W. Fernandez, the assistant secretary of Economic and Business Affairs, will kick off the July 29 panel “Living Up to Diamonds” at the JA New York Show. The session runs 1 p.m.–2 p.m. at the Javits Convention Center.

The panel will discuss the important projects that help jewelers support diamond communities, source responsibly and protect consumers’ confidence in diamonds.

Assistant Secretary of State Fernandez—the top U.S. official overseeing government policy related to the Kimberley Process—has been a strong proponent for positive change and responsible sourcing in the diamond and jewelry industry since being nominated by President Obama in 2009.

“Assistant Secretary Jose Fernandez’s appearance underlines the need for the jewelry industry to take a proactive leadership role in ensuring our products are sourced in a responsible manner,” said JA president and CEO David J. Bonaparte in a statement. “Jewelers of America is honored to have him jumpstart this important discussion.”

Bonaparte also will appear on the panel along with Dr. Benjamin Chavis, senior strategic advisor of Diamond Empowerment Fund; Cecilia Gardner, president, CEO, and general counsel of Jewelers Vigilance Committee; Ngomesia Mayer-Kechom, manager of international programs for Diamond Development Initiative International; and Martin Rapaport, chairman of Rapaport Group. The session will be moderated by Whitney Sielaff, publisher and editorial director of National Jeweler.

Media are invited to attend the session, which will be located in the Jewelers of America education classroom on the show floor.