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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference Confirms Impressive Lineup of Speakers

Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference
Confirms Impressive Lineup of Speakers


The second annual Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference will take place October 19 – 20, 2018 at Columbia College, Chicago Cinema Row, 1104 S Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. ( 
The CRJ is an international jewelry industry conference with a mission to further the movement of ‘Responsible Jewelry’, presented in partnership between Susan Wheeler and Ethical Metalsmiths.

This year’s conference promises to be informative and educational, with an impressive lineup of presenters and panelists. Mark Hanna, Chief Marketing Officer, Richline Group (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) and a responsible sourcing industry leader, will kick off the event as Keynote. 

Mr. Hanna believes in an inclusive path to jewelry industry responsibility that focuses on a collaboration of effort between both larger corporations and individuals in our field.

“Richline Group’s objective is to share with, and learn from others throughout the industry, with the goal of increasing transparency and responsible sourcing and ultimately growing consumer confidence in all industry products,” stated Hanna. “I’m happy to support initiatives like the CRJ which bring together a community of like-minded industry players eager to make a positive difference.”

Other confirmed speakers/presenters to date include representatives from NGOs such as IMPACT and Papassword jewelry industry organizations including GIA, RJC, Fairmined, and FairLux; industry responsible sourcing consultants and resources such as The Dragonfly Initiative and UL, and government representatives from the US Department of State and academics from the University of Delaware’s Minerals, Materials and Society program. Representatives from gemstone companies that focus on responsibly and ethically sourced stones will also be presenting. 
Schedule Follows.

Joia Consulting, LLC 760-525-9393

Mr. Yianni Melas will close the conference. Mr. Melas is a passionate pioneer in all aspects of responsible jewelry sourcing. Known as the “Gem Explorer”, he’s a gem dealer whose world travels and commitment to the people in the mines are an inspiration to many in the jewelry industry.

New to this year’s conference will be invited, vetted vendors who will be on-site with responsible gemstones and diamonds for sale to the trade.

Individual and Two Day Passes are available:

Your support is needed! Become a sponsor of the Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference today by contacting Susan Wheeler at 
or tel: +1-312-968-6643.

The Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference 2018 schedule:
- Friday, October 19th
9:00-9:15 Opening: Susan Wheeler 

9:15-10:00 Keynote: Mark Hanna, Richline Group.
Mark will be addressing Trust Chain in his Keynote

10:05-10:50: Columbia Gold Mining: Rolberto Alvarez, Owner at the Mina Gualconda, Colombia 
Rolberto’s presentation will be about the journey of his family's gold mine in Colombia away from the use of mercury and into Fairmined certification

10:55-12:10 The Gem Cutting Panel
Moderator: Eric Braunwart, Columbia Gem House
Brandee Dallow, North America Business Development Consultant, Responsible Jewelry Council 
Maarten de Witte, American Diamond Cutter
Dharmendra Tank, Heeralal Chhagganlal Tank
Patricia Mweene, Inonge Zita Zambian Gemstones
Rachel Hill, Americut Gems

12:10-1:30 Brown Bag Lunch and Break Out Session
Mark Hannah, Trust Chain For All! 

1:35-2:40 Joshua Read, Dragonfly Initiative 

2:40-3:15 Gem Boutique open and networking

3:15-5:00 Movie Premiere, River of Gold: Official Trailer, Followed by a Q&A
Question and Answer to follow with Sarah duPont, Founder & President
Amazon Aid Foundation
Susan Egan Keane, Senior Director Natural Resources Defense Council
Nigel Pitman, Ecologist, Field Museum

5:00-6 cocktails on site

- Saturday, October 20th

9:00-9:45 Coffee and Gem Boutique open and networking

9:45-10:45 Jewelry Designer Panel
Moderator: Alexandra Hart, President Ethical Metalsmiths and Designer/goldsmith
Jennifer Dawes, Jennifer Dawes Design
Francesco Belloni, Ethical Jewels Store in Milan, Italy
Anna Bario, Bario Neal 

10:50-11:35 Joanne Lebert, IMPACT

11:40-12:25 Glenn Lehre, The Colourful Life Foundation
Breaking Age-Old Economic & Social Boundaries: Training low income women in Jaipur to be Gem Cutters.

With vision, we can make a difference in the world. A very successful businessman in Jaipur, India had a vision where he wanted to educated every child in the Slums of Jaipur. Through his commitment, personal resources and the financial help of the Jaipur community, along with our Foundation, (Colourful Life Foundation, U.K.) this visionary businessman was able to fund 9 individual schools where children who normally could not have received a quality education to come and learn from Grades 1-6. Starting with this vision and directly supporting the schools, The Colorful Life Foundation, based in the United Kingdom also saw a direct opportunity to build and support the gem cutting community in Jaipur. Our foundation offered the mothers of these children who are attending the schools, to come at the same time and receive training in gemstone faceting and eventually being able to be employed in the Jaipur local gem cutting industry. In the not so distant past, this would have not been possible for women of this economic class to receive training of this caliber in the local gem industry. It would have been reserved for only the men of the community. The presentation is about the vision, the training and how this is making a difference in the community where many in the West manufacture gemstones and jewelry.

12:25-1:30 Lunch and Break Out session, Gem Boutique Open and Networking
Patricia Syvrud and Elizabeth Orlando, The Jewelry Development Index, 
Toby Pomeroy, The mercury Free Mining Challenge

1:30-2:30 The Gemstone Mining Panel, 
Moderator: Monica Stephenson 
Stuart Pool, Ninteen48, Rubyfair, Crown Gems and co-founder Fair Luxury

(The other panel members are to be confirmed)

2:35-3:20 Robert Weldon, GIA
The Rough Gem Guide for Artisanal Miners: Building Value for Miners in Tanzania

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) developed a mostly pictorial guide for artisanal miners to analyze and classify the gem rough that they mine. The goal of the guide is to help miners identify value factors in rough and to provide them with tools to better negotiate value when they sell to brokers and other buyers. The booklet, written in Swahili, was distributed to Tanzanian miners together with a small, translucent tray to help them sort material and determine value factors. GIA contracted with Washington D.C.- based Pact to identify ideal mining communities in Tanzania that could benefit from the training, booklet, and tray. Over the past two years, the booklet and training program was distributed to important mining areas in Tanzania. With Pact as an important partner, GIA’s booklet has reached and benefitted approximately 1000 gem miners in the country.

3:20-4:05 Gem Boutique Open and Networking

4:05-4:50 Yianni Melas, The Gem Explorer, Greece 

5:00-6:00 Cocktails and Vendors

Monday, September 10, 2018



The global jewelry industry has its eyes on a new Japanese innovation - lab-grown diamonds which are chemically, physically and optically identical to natural diamonds.

Pure Diamond Lab, a Tokyo-based company, is able to cultivate diamonds which have identical qualities of natural-occurring ones and therefore qualify to be certified by the GIA (Gemological Institution of America). These diamonds are grown in a controlled environment of the company’s laboratories using pure carbon material, giving birth to a breed of ‘flawless’ lab-grown diamonds which exhibit optical properties superior to natural ones. Diamonds can be cultivated in a wide spectrum of colors including ones that do not occur naturally, which could instantly overturn the market of, for example, extremely rare red and blue diamonds.

A major distinguishing factor that sets apart Pure Diamond Co. Ltd. from their competitors is their development of a Block Chain technology for the diamond market. Information on cultivation, refinement, and appraisal of lab-grown diamond is collected and digitalized, creating a profile that is available to the end consumer, thus increasing transparency and enhancing the retail experience. It just so happens that the CTO of the Pure Diamond Block Chain project, Mr. Jun Kawasaki is the famous ’White Hat’ hacker that solved Coincheck’s 500 million NEM hack in January. Mr. Kawasaki believes that the Pure Diamond Block Chain development project is “the correct way to use Block Chain,” and Pure Diamond Lab’s producer Mr. Hideyuki Abe adds the technology “gives every diamond a story.”

Lab-grown diamonds such as those cultivated by Pure Diamond Lab are also reshaping the global diamond industry to become more sustainable and ethical. Cultivating diamonds in a laboratory environment relieves the pressure of demand on diamond mines, which is a threat to the environment. Moreover, Pure Diamond Block Chain technology helps prevent the distribution of so-called ‘blood diamonds,’ i.e. diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance further conflicts.

To expand the lab-grown diamond project, the company plans to use the ICO of Pure Diamond Coin (PDC), a cryptocurrency secured by Pure Diamond Farm Singapore to fund equipment and R&D. Furthermore, the company is currently in the final stages of intellectual property registration, which is expected to further strengthen their foothold in the lab-grown diamond industry. The aim is to change the future of the diamond industry step by step, which makes the Pure Diamond Block Chain project an exciting one to watch out for.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

JCK Las Vegas Announces 2019 Show Dates at Sands Expo & The Venetian #JWLV

JCK Las Vegas Announces 2019 Show Dates 

at Sands Expo & The Venetian 

JCK Las Vegas, the jewelry industry’s largest North American trade event, is pleased to announce dates for the 2019 show, which will take place at the Sands Expo & The Venetian, featuring JCK Las Vegas, Luxury, JIS Exchange, as well as the new Global Gemstone Pavilion.

JCK Las Vegas & Swiss Watch

Friday, May 31 - Monday, June 3, 2019
Sands Expo & The Venetian 

Luxury by JCK

Invitation Only: Wednesday, May 29 - Thursday, May 30, 2019
Open to All JCK Attendees: Friday, May 31 - Monday, June 3, 2019
The Venetian 

JIS Exchange

Thursday, May 30 - Monday, June 3, 2019
The Venetian, Level 3 

Global Gemstone Pavilion

New for 2019, featuring hundreds of gemstone exhibitors
Thursday, May 30 - Monday, June 3, 2019
Sands Expo, Level 1

“We have invested a lot of time and resources to gather feedback from our customers,” says Yancy Weinrich, Senior Vice President of JCK. “We have heard your preferences, to return to both the Sands Expo & The Venetian and our traditional date pattern. Based on your feedback, we have spent the past few months negotiating to secure these dates. We are thrilled to be able to deliver and are as excited as ever for the show. While it marks the return to our roots, it is also a fresh beginning.”

The new location and dates, as well as the other enhancements for the 2019 show, were based on customer feedback gathered from the JCK & Luxury Advisory Boards, retail store and customer visits by JCK staff, ongoing conversations with the industry, post-event digital surveys and more.

In addition to the new location and return to traditional date pattern, JCK has also secured a substantial block of rooms at the Venetian at specially negotiated group rates to support the preference for the convenience of being on property.

Attendees may pre-register to be notified when registration and the hotel blocks are available here:

Vendors interested in exhibiting can sign up to learn more here:

For more information, please visit

About Reed Jewelry Group:
Reed Jewelry Group, a division of the world’s principal events organizer Reed Exhibitions, is the jewelry industry’s partner in print, digital and face-to-face communications. A trusted industry leader, Reed Jewelry Group operates the top jewelry trade shows: JCK Las Vegas, Luxury by JCK, JCK Tucson, Jewelers International Showcase (JIS) and JIS Exchange. Additionally, Reed Jewelry Group owns JCK Magazine, the industry authority on the latest trends, technology and retail practices for manufacturers, designers, retailers and other influential figures who drive the jewelry business.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

2018 COUTURE Design Awards Announced at this High-Energy Event

from a Press Release

2018 COUTURE Design Awards Announced
Anticipation, Community, and Artistry 
were Predominant at this High-Energy Event

A high-level of anticipation and a strong sense of community filled the Encore Theater last night for the announcement of the finalists and winners of the 2018 COUTURE Design Awards. 15awards were presented, including Editors’ Choice and Peoples’ Choice.

COUTURE Director Gannon Brousseau greeted the packed house from the stage, “Welcome to another annual COUTURE Design Awards! No matter how many times I'm up here, it never gets less thrilling and it's always more humbling! In fact, the longer I get to know the incredible people in this community, and the more I learn about what it is you do, I am increasingly in awe of all of you.”

The judges this year...
  • Adam Gorman of I. Gorman in Washington DC
  • Jill Newman is the editor of Muse by Robb Report
  • Laura Freedman, the owner of Broken English
  • Victor Velyan, Jewelry Designer
  • Will Kahn, Accessories Director, Town & Country


1st Runner Up - Moksh Fine Unseen Jewels

2nd Runner Up - Noor Fares

"It took a long time, and it took no time, to get here,” enthused Vram Minassian from Vram upon receiving his Best in Debuting at COUTURE Award. “The support the last three days has been incredible, and this is the cherry on top. Thank you so much." 


WINNER - Fernando Jorge

1st Runner Up - Muse X Gemfields

 2nd Runner Up - Sheryl Lowe

In accepting his award for Editors’ Choice, Fernando Jorge emoted, "From the editors that have so much knowledge, that we love, that are working hard to promote our works, to open doors and opportunities for us. I thank each one of you. I also want to thank the COUTURE community. And this is becoming a tradition; I want to thank Stephen Webster, for bringing me here 7 years ago.”

 1st Runner Up - Nancy Newberg
2nd Runner Up - Konstantino

Upon accepting her award for Best in Silver, Heather B. Moore gave an impassioned speech about what this winning piece symbolized, “I travel with my kids around the world, I’m on a quest to make sure they see everything they can. When we were in Africa, we were touched by the animals we needed to protect. Inside of this bracelet is high-polished so you can see your reflection, and it says ‘The Tipping Point.’ We are all leaders in our communities and our actions are very important and we all need to give back!”



1st Runner Up - Akillis

2nd Runner Up - Oh My Got - Cufflinks



 1st Runner Up - Buddha Mama
2nd Runner Up - Moragen



1st Runner Up - Schaffrath
2nd Runner Up - Furrer Jacot



1st Runner Up - VRAM 

 2nd Runner Up - LALAloUNIS



1st Runner Up - Messika

2nd Runner Up - Kavant & Sharart



1st Runner Up - Inbar

2nd Runner Up - Qayten



1st Runner Up - Alessio Boschi

2nd Runner Up - Mariani



1st Runner Up - Venyx 

2nd Runner Up - Margery Hirschey



1st Runner Up - Lauren Wolf

2nd Runner Up - John Apel



1st Runner Up - Arunashi

2nd Runner Up - Mizuki



1st Runner Up - Marie Mas

2nd Runner Up - Silvia Furmanovich

The People's Choice:

1st Runner Up - John Apel

2nd Runner Up - Jorg Heinz


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