JCK’s 150th: JVC’s Cecilia Gardner on the Role of Social Responsibility in the Industry

JCK magazine is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year! To commemorate that milestone, we’re talking to 150 veteran jewelry professionals in 2019 for a feature series meant to distill the voices of some of the industry’s most enduring and successful professionals.

We can’t print every interview in its entirety in the magazine—so we’ve been posting full interviews here on JCKonline.com every Thursday.

This week we hear from Cecilia Gardner, former president, CEO, and general counsel of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and general counsel and director of the United States Kimberley Process Authority Institute.

JCK: How long have you been in the jewelry industry?

Cecilia Gardner: I joined the jewelry industry in July 1998 when I was appointed as the new leader of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee. I had very little background in the industry itself at that time. The learning curve was quite steep especially due to two issues that were controversial as I entered the industry: the issues of disclosure of heat-treated diamonds and the incidents in Sierra Leone and Angola (and elsewhere) of human rights violations in diamond producing areas.  

My background as a lawyer was useful in both of these matters, and I was able to contribute to positive solutions to both: amending the FTC Guides to require disclosure of treatment to diamonds that impacts value, and the creation of the World Diamond Council and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Both of these game-changing events within the first three years of my association with the industry. Quite an introduction!  

How has the industry changed since you’ve been in it?

The industry has taken on issues related to the social impact of our supply chain in new and positive ways. At the outset of my work with the World Diamond Council and the issue of conflict diamonds, there was pushback by some on engaging with international governments and the nongovernmental agencies campaigning to end the violence against civilian populations in diamond producing areas. Now, social responsibility and attention to a responsible supply chain for all of our products seems to be an important part of the DNA of this industry.  

What role has JCK magazine played in your industry journey?

JCK magazine has been a responsible and attentive chronicler of the events and history of our industry. In my experience, the reporting at JCK is top notch, and the dedication to getting it right has been an ongoing principle of all its reporters. The ability of the reporters at JCK to navigate the fine line between acting in the best interest of the industry and reporting accurately and fairly on all of the often controversial issues of the day has fostered my continuing respect for this publication.

Reporters from JCK consistently endeavor to understand the often complicated matters that JVC addresses, and report them accurately. JCK is an important instrument of communication and education for the industry at large.  

Given its long history in the industry, JCK is the archive—the publication of record for our industry. That was my first impression, and that impression has not changed over the years.

What has changed is the manner in which that communication happens. Technology has fostered instant communication, often causing wider impacts on the day-to-day operation of our businesses. I’m thinking of the instant impact of the reporting on the alleged connection of the trade of tanzanite to terrorism, and how it had an immediate negative impact on that trade. The reporting on that matter, and the coverage of the industry’s response were instrumental in the swift recovery of the business.  

JCK will continue to honor its long history by placing values of accuracy, fairness, and responsible reporting at the top of its operations. JCK’s leverage of contemporary means of communications is at the leading edge of journalism—and I look forward to the next 150 years!  

Top: Cecilia Gardner (photo courtesy of Cecilia Gardner)

Catch up on all of JCK‘s 150th interviews:

Sarin Bachmann, event vice president of the JCK, Luxury, and Swiss Watch Shows for Reed Jewelry Group
Dave Bonaparte, president and CEO of Jewelers of America
Ettagale Blauer
, former JCK New York editor
Lee Siegelson, rare and collectible jewelry dealer and expert
Tamara and Amir Goldfiner, cofounders of Rahaminov Diamonds
Dallas Prince, founder of Dallas Prince Designs
Esther Fortunoff, president of Fortunoff Fine Jewelry
Terry Burman, former Signet chairman
Brandee Dallow, president and founder of Fine Girl Luxury Brand Building & Communications
Tom Chatham, CEO of Chatham Created Gems & Diamonds
Tom Heyman
, partner, Oscar Heyman & Brothers
Duvall O’Steen, jewelry publicist, Luxury Brand Group
Pat Henneberry, founder and president of the Jewelry Coach
Marty Hurwitz, CEO of MVI Marketing
Hank B. Siegel, president of Hamilton Jewelers
Erica Courtney, jewelry designer
Robert Weldon, director of GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center
Stuart Robertson, vice president of Gemworld
Bill Furman, longtime JCK magazine ad sales manager
Kathryn Kimmel, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of GIA
Katie Kinsella Murphy, owner of Kinney + Kinsella
Frank Dallahan, publisher, The Retailer Jeweler
Jen Cullen Williams, managing director of Luxury Brand Group
Sally Morrison, chief marketing officer of Lightbox
Susan M. Jacques, president and CEO of GIA
Marie Helene Morrow, president of Reinhold Jewelers
Jenny Luker, U.S. president of Platinum Guild International
Beth Gerstein, co-CEO of Brilliant Earth
Russell Shor, GIA senior industry analyst
Walter McTeigue, cofounder of McTeigue & McClelland
Caryl Capeci, president of Hearts On Fire
Eddie LeVian, CEO of Le Vian
Peggy Jo Donahue, freelance writer and former JCK editor-in-chief
Rebecca Moskal, jewelry marketing veteran

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