Diamonds / Gold / Industry / Webinars

IAC’s Conference on Gold and Diamonds Opens Today


The Initiatives in Art and Culture’s (IAC) 11th annual conference on gold and diamonds gets underway today.

Titled “New Realities, Future Promise,” the three-day conference, which is being held virtually, is focusing on the emotional power gold, diamonds, and jewelry represent for the consumer, while also exploring responsible sourcing and practices and environmental and social awareness.

Lisa Koenigsberg, founder and president of IAC, said in a statement: “The challenges of 2020 resulted in the development by IAC of a robust digital initiative, and this year’s conference marries the digital approach of 2020–21 with the breadth and depth that has characterized our annual in-person event. We are honored to welcome an extraordinary roster of speakers who will, in various formats, address the mandates of our time and the demands of the future.”

Opening day features a few panels on the twin topics the conference is highlighting. The panel “Global Expectations: Language, Legislation, Regulation, and Transformation” will be moderated by gem and jewelry consultant Katherine Andrews. Panelists include George Cajati, foreign affairs officer at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs’ Office of Threat Finance Countermeasures; Tiffany Stevens, CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee; Mark Hanna, chief marketing officer of Richline; and Iris Van der Veken, executive director of the Responsible Jewellery Council.

At noon, JCK’s own news director, Rob Bates, moderates “Transparency: Diamond Origin and the Consumer.” Panelists include Anisa Costa, chief sustainability officer of Tiffany & Co.; Eira Thomas, CEO of Lucara; Cathryn Ramirez, GG executive director, alumni development and continuing education, at GIA; David Block, CEO of Sarine Technologies; Allison Charalambous, head of responsible sourcing and sustainability at Brilliant Earth; and Stephen D’Esposito, CEO, DDI, at Resolve.

The day’s last session, “Where Does Your Gold Come From, and Why Does It Matter?” will be moderated by Koenigsberg and will feature a conversation with Angel Camacho, a criminal analyst who has more than 10 years of experience working transnational organized crime matters, among other panelists.

Day 2 kicks off with the panel “Romancing the Stone,” moderated by Dave Bindra, vice president of B&B Gems. Panelists include Paul Schneider, owner of famed retailer Twist.

Attendees will be treated to a talk on the book Bejeweled: The World of Ethical Jewelry, during which they’ll hear from two of the designers profiled—Ana Katerina and Alice Cicolini—as well as the book’s author, Kyle Roderick. And a panel titled “Mining: Responsible Sourcing and Best Practice” will delve into the import of geographic and social contexts for best practices and the positive outcomes that benefit mining communities.

Thursday, the final day of the conference, is devoted to diamonds. “The Heart of the Matter” will focus on the importance of the diamond cut. Panelists will include Al Gilbertson, project manager, Cut Research, at GIA; Edward Asscher, president of the World Diamond Council; and Eve Goldberg, principal at William Goldberg. The talk will be moderated by British jewelry historian Jack Ogden, whose most recent book is Diamonds: An Early History of the King of Gems. 

Finally, “Total Clarity: The Socioeconomic Impact of Diamonds” will discuss the ways the industry has sought to address social impact and community benefit.

The conference runs every day through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET. All sessions are free; to register, click here.

Top: A ruby miner from Longido, Tanzania, reading up on recognizing quality and value in rough gems (photo courtesy of IAC)

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Kristin Young

By: Kristin Young

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