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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


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