Helping Those Who Help Us

Jewelers, as we’ve discussed before, are a generous bunch, not only in our own communities but also through the Jewelers’ Charity Fund for Children and other worthy industry causes.

Two industry associations that I particularly want to give ongoing kudos for their very important work are the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.

Under the leadership of Cecilia Gardner, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee has grown far beyond its original role of industry watchdog. This is some big dog, and this dog has not only a formidable bark but, when necessary, a formidable bite as well.

When Cecilia took the helm of JVC, few if any of us could have imagined how it would be called upon to address terrorism and brutality. It’s a far more global role than the work the JVC always did—and still does—combating underkarating, false pricing, and gem treatment disclosure and working with the Federal Trade Commission. Cecilia’s sage counsel has helped steer this industry through the murky waters of African politics and is helping to guide us through the critical steps required to comply with the federal anti-terrorism Patriot Act. Her contributions are a vital part of helping to ensure that our industry will do its best to stop terror in its tracks—or, at the very least, to the best of our abilities, make sure we’re not unknowingly aiding and abetting it.

A little closer to home, the work of John Kennedy and the Jewelers’ Security Alliance deserves equal praise. While fighting global terror is a behemoth task, fighting and working to prevent violence against individuals in the jewelry industry isn’t any simpler. The complex network of South American gangs that stalk and prey on traveling salespeople and others may have a narrower agenda, but it’s no easier to penetrate and eliminate than the armies of thugs in Africa or the terrorists of the Middle East.

But thanks to John’s tireless efforts and fruitful relationships with the FBI and law enforcement agencies across the nation, our industry has seen a significant drop in crimes against traveling salespeople and other jewelers during his tenure of more than a decade. Unfortunately, while the number of incidents has greatly decreased, the use of guns and other violent means to achieve nefarious ends has increased. Much like the terrorists, the criminals in our industry have raised the bar. But through both Kennedy’s and Gardner’s work, we as an industry are continually stepping up our efforts to fight against horror, violence, deception, and any kind of wrongdoing.

On a more cheerful note, the Jewelry Information Center also deserves praise. A rising tide lifts all boats, and its efforts to bring a greater awareness of jewelry to the fashion world and the world at large have been important to all those who design, make, and sell jewelry. For years, we as an industry lagged far behind our peers at the National Cotton Council of America, the American Dairy Association, and many other industry-based marketing organizations … but no more. One television program at a time, one fashion page at a time, Elizabeth Florence and her team—with help from Jewelers of America—are encouraging all Americans to add more sparkle to their lives.

Please help these worthy associations help you. Membership in any of these organizations costs less than a nice dinner for two. By eating at home just three more nights out of a year, you can help save a life, thwart a thug, and make everyone aware that jewelry is a good thing, a joyful thing, and a socially responsible purchase.

hschupak@reedbusiness.com