JCK Jewelry Industry Fund Awards $320,000 to Five Organizations

The Jewelry Industry Fund, sponsored by JCK Events and JCK magazine, awarded $320,000 to five organizations that have demonstrated programs that work toward the betterment of the jewelry and gems industries. The names of the recipients were announced Sunday at the JCK Invitational.

Those receiving the grants are as follows:

* The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History received $27,000 to support a postdoctoral fellow to conduct research at the Smithsonian Institute and Naval Research Laboratory on defects and luminescence properties of colored diamonds and other gems.

* The Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America received $65,000 for the development of a “Thinking Ahead” seminar program for presentations at trade shows.

* The Jewelers’ Security Alliance received $50,000 to organize additional local crime networks among jewelers around the country. 

* The American Gem Society received $60,000 to support the educational program at the AGS International Conclave 2007.

* The Jewelers Vigilance Committee received $127,000 for regional outreach for legal compliance, educating jewelry dealers about legal compliance, and JVC resources.

“Of all the applications that were reviewed, these five recipients were chosen based on their synergy with the overall core goals and intentions of the Fund,” said Mark Smelzer, JCK magazine publisher.

“We believe the programs of the Industry Fund we support for 2007 will provide resources to the industry,” added Dave Bonaparte, JCK Events vice president.

The Jewelry Industry Fund was established in 1998 to enhance the image of the jewelry industry and to foster development and research of programs that would benefit the industry. More than $3.2 million has been awarded in grants from the Fund.

Each year, the Fund looks to award grants to exemplify one or more of the main objectives of the program. They are:

* To improve the image of the jewelry industry in the eyes of the consumer;

* To aid jewelry industry organizations in addressing serious problems faced within the industry; and/or

* To assist internal organizations and associations in developing training materials.

John J. Kennedy, JSA president, told JCK that the Industry Fund grant money will be used organize additional local crime networks among jewelers around the country. There are at least a dozen of these networks currently in existence.

These networks consist of a group of jewelers from a particular region. JSA helps get these jewelers get in touch with each other and with local law enforcement to keep a local database of crime toward jewelers that they can share with each other, local authorities, and JSA.

Amy Greenbaum, JVC marketing/development director, told JCK that the funding will be used to continue an outreach program in cities with large jeweler hubs. The program is in place in Los Angeles and Miami. The new funding will allow the program to spread to Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and Seattle.

The program includes educating jewelry communities in general legal compliance issues and anti-money laundering programs. In addition to reaching out to jewelers and manufacturers in these areas, JVC will also lobby state legislators.

In addition, the Internal Revenue Service is now starting to examine and enforce AML in the fourth quarter. As part of the outreach program, JVC will provide manuals for those in the jewelry industry to help them with compliance.