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Melanie Grant Named Executive Director of RJC

She brings more than 20 years of experience in the watch and jewelry industry’s largest and most influential outlets.

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Melanie Grant

(PRESS RELEASE) LONDON — The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), the world’s leading sustainability standard setting organization for the jewelry and watch industry, appointed Melanie Grant as its new executive director. A celebrated thinker, writer and curator, Grant brings more than 20 years of experience in the watch and jewelry industry’s biggest and most influential outlets. In addition to commissioning and editing luxury content, she brings significant leadership experience to the role.

Grant has been a journalist for over 20 years — having worked at The Times, The Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The BBC and — until 2022 — The Economist, where she was luxury editor of 1843 Magazine, its lifestyle sister publication. She worked at The Economist for 16 years as jewelry editor and picture editor and took a sabbatical to write her first book on the jewel as art, entitled Coveted: Art and Innovation in High Jewelry, published by Phaidon in October 2020.  She has been on a mission for the last decade to dismantle boundaries between art forms so that jewelry is considered equal to fine art.

David Bouffard, chairman of the Board of the RJC said, “On behalf of the board, staff and all our members, I am proud to welcome Melanie as our new executive director.  She has a deep love and knowledge of jewelry and watches, and a uniquely creative skillset which is both industry and consumer facing.  I believe she will successfully take the RJC into a new era as we continue to deliver on our mission of continuous improvement in the integrity of the global jewelry and watch supply chain.”

Grant’s remit is to continue growing awareness among consumers, collectors, designers, brands and supply chain specialists in the important need to strengthen sustainable business practices in the watches and jewelry industry.  With nearly 1,700 members in 71 countries, RJC  has given her the responsibility of working closely with its board of directors, management team, staff and outside stakeholders to ensure the future growth of the RJC.  She intends to bring clarity and creativity to this complex and vitally important area of luxury.

“We are today with sustainability where we were with digital transformation 20 years ago.  Those who embraced it thrived but also gained new and younger clients,” Grant said.  “Those who dismissed it in many ways got left behind.  Sustainability is the greatest single issue facing watches and jewelry today, and I want to help everyone understand what they can do to be part of this movement.  I feel privileged to have been selected for this monumental task.”

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In addition to her deep media background, Grant also has curated for Sotheby’s, TEFAF Maastricht and The Serpentine Galleries. She guest lectures at Central Saint Martin’s and The Royal College of Art; writes for Vogue, Vanity Fair, The Goldsmiths’ Company and The Natural Diamond Council; and speaks at The Science Museum, The British Museum, The MFA Boston and the Victoria and Albert Museum. She sits on the boards of New York Jewelry Week, The Black in Jewelry Coalition and The Copenhagen Commitment, an NGO dedicated to ethical transparency.

Founded in 2005 by 14 major industry  organizations, RJC certifications  today — through its Code of Practices — now cover more than half of  the world’s jewelry market.

Livia Firth MBE, co-founder and creative director of Eco Age and UN Leader of Change, said, “I’m excited and impressed by this appointment from the RJC.  Melanie has a strong, independent and inclusive voice, and she surely is a great fit for the important work the RJC does — and will have to continue doing — to bring substantive change to the jewelry and watches industry.”

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