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Eileen McClelland

U.S. Jewelry Council Adds Four Members

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Washington, D.C. – The United States Jewelry Council, a group of U.S.-based jewelry trade associations working to ensure the U.S. jewelry industry is collectively represented at government and international levels, announced the addition of four new members on Wednesday.

Eileen McClelland


Managing
editor at
INSTORE Magazine.

W

ashington, D.C. – The United States Jewelry Council, a group of U.S.-based jewelry trade associations working to ensure the U.S. jewelry industry is collectively represented at government and international levels, announced the addition of four new members on Wednesday.

The addition of the American Gem Trade Association, Diamond Club West Coast, National Association of Jewelry Appraisers and Silver Promotion Service brings the number of member groups to 13.

The announcement was made at a press conference during the American Gem Society Conclave.

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Ronnie VanderLinden, chair of the USJC, emphasized that the umbrella group is in its infancy, but said he is thrilled to embark on the mission of helping members grow their businesses by staying in front of the challenges they face.

James Evans Lombe, CEO of the council, said the group will work with the U.S. State Department on issues surrounding responsible sourcing, supply chain transparency and ethical business conduct. One goal is to maintain and enhance consumer confidence in the United States in the integrity and origins of jewelry.

The council, formed in October 2015, also includes: American Gem Society, Diamond Bourse of Southeast United States, Diamond Council of America, Diamond Dealers Club of New York, Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America, Indian Diamond and Colored Stone Association, Jewelers of America; Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America and the Natural Color Diamond Association.

The council’s reach in the U.S. jewelry industry encompasses importers, manufacturers and retailers. While the council currently represents most aspects of the U.S. jewelry industry, other groups are welcome to join as well. “We are very much open to looking to any other organization to see where we can work together to promote and support shared goals,” Lombe says, including groups representing the watch industry.

The council formed when the individual associations realized they would have greater influence in dealing with challenges facing the U.S. jewelry industry by combining forces. Members work together to address key issues, such as those of social, ethical and environmental importance that might impact consumer confidence in the U.S. jewelry industry.

Lombe said that while associations are starting in different places with different interests – metals only, diamonds only, colored stones only, for example – when considering issues such as artisanal mining, interests do converge. “You can bring the learning from other parts of the industry and other parts of the world and develop consistency. This is very much early days, but sharing information among the different associations is important both for education and because some of them might think they are dealing with a problem on their own but discover we are dealing with the same situation in different ways."

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Doug Hucker, CEO of AGTA, said that while some member associations do have competing interests, their common goal of selling their products to American consumers erases many conflicts.

“NFL owners meet every year and develop things that are good for their businesses and then every week beat their heads in because they are competing. There’s no question the colored stone industry would love to crush the diamond industry. We can’t all be on the same sheet of music. It is brand new and I’m hoping for good things.”

The Council is a member of the World Diamond Council (WDC), working with the WDC to enhance the U.S. jewelry industry’s voice in the Kimberley Process. It looks to influence other global initiatives, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), tied closely to consumer confidence in the U.S. market.

 

 

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Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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