Jewelry Industry Summit

The Open Forum on Sustainability & Responsible Sourcing in the Jewelry Industry

The Open Forum on Sustainability and Responsible Sourcing in the Jewelry Industry

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Restructuring, Updates and See You in 2018!

Dear Summit Attendees/Friends of the Jewelry Industry Summit:

There’s movement in our movement! Three years of collaboration, two Summits and hundreds of committed jewelry professionals have combined to foster greater transparency, sustainability and responsibility in our industry-- and we’re just getting started.

To enhance our ability to support initiatives and manage the growing momentum of the Summit, the Planning and Stewardship committees combined to create a Steering Committee. The Steering Committee exists to manage the Jewelry Industry Summit and address the needs of Sustainable Funding, Summit Planning, Initiative Monitoring, and Marketing.

The Steering Committee includes:

Cecilia L. Gardner, Raymond Hakimi, Richard A Nehls, Zephen Specht, Samuel Shiroff, Susan Wheeler, Gill Goshen, Kevin Reilly, Fred Knobloch, Klemens Link, Walter McTeigue, Jared Holstein, Stephen Feldman, Assheton Carter, Mark Tremonti, Girma Woldetinsae, Vivien Johnston, Mark Hanna, Joel Borgquist, Mike Pace, Sara Yood, Anna Bario and Robert Bentley.

There are four groups within the Committee: The Funding Group, led by Mike Pace, the Summit Planning Group led by Raymond Hakimi and Sara Yood, the Initiatives Group led by Susan Wheeler, and the Marketing Group, currently led by Cecilia Gardner.

The Funding Group has presented a preliminary budget for the next Summit; we would love to hear from any parties interested in sponsoring the event, there are opportunities at all levels. To learn more about summit sponsorship opportunities, click here:

The Summit Planning Group is hard at work planning the next Summit, scheduled for March 9-10, 2018 in New York City just prior to the JA NY Spring Show. Registration for the Summit will include entry in the JA show. Registration will be open soon:  stay tuned!!!!

The Marketing Group is focusing on internal Summit and Steering Committee communications and will work closely with the Marketing initiative to keep our community informed about our progress.

Here are some highlights of Initiatives’ progress:    

  • The #ResponsibleJewelryStories marketing group has met regularly and is creating the framework from which content pertaining to summit activity, Initiative activity, and the larger discussion of sustainable and responsible practices throughout all segments of the industry will be disseminated to both the public and trade.

  • The Bahia Golden Rutilated Quartz mine to market sustainability model currently seeks assistance with an advisory team, marketing support and social media.

  • The Jewelry Development Index framework progresses with assistance from the US State Department and graduate students at American University.

  • Sales Associate and Consumer Training seeks partners to connect with already existing retail training (such as Fair Trade Gold) and seeks additional educational resources.

  • The Glossary Project has met regularly and is working on finalizing a set of definitions for key words which will then be presented to industry for comment.

  • The Mercury-Free Artisanal Gold Mining group presented their goals at the Santa Fe Symposium where they received promises of industry support; they’ve also interfaced with academics and continue to gain momentum.

  • The Silicosis Project continues to work with other associations and partners in the field to develop a working project to assist gem cutters in India.

Questions? Please make sure to friend the Jewelry Industry Summit on Facebook, and check with our web site for updates and to learn more!!!

Hope to see you in NYC in March 2018!!! SAVE THE DATE!!!

For all other information regarding The Summit and its Initiatives, please contact us at

2017 Final Summit Report

Firstly, we want to thank everyone that attended for making the second Jewelry Industry Summit a success! Nearly 150 people from 14 different countries came together to continue the work begun in New York in March of 2016, to take collective action towards strengthening our sustainable and responsible supply chain.

The goals of the second Summit included the development of a shared vision for key segments of the industry supply chain that support the broader industry vision for sustainable business and responsible sourcing.  Another important goal was to develop practical tools and strategies that are easily accessible, allowing businesses to make progress through continuous improvement.

Building on existing efforts and generating new initiatives, participants at the Second Jewelry Industry Summit engaged in dynamic and innovative ways to make their mark on the responsible jewelry movement. The initiatives created touch on a broad range of the jewelry supply chain and reflect the creative ways that anyone can participate in advancing the Summit mission, including some of the following:

  • The Small Jeweler Ethical Toolkit: A virtual toolkit to aid small jewelers in understanding the issues and existing standards in the jewelry industry. It also aims to provide resources and tools to help small jewelers on their ethical journey.
  • Sales Associate and Consumer Training: Getting the message out! This initiative exists to provide training and knowledge on responsible practices for retail associates in the jewelry industry. By educating those selling the products, the message and story of responsible jewelry can be further disseminated to consumers and the public.
  • The Bahia Golden Rutilated Quartz Mine to Market Sustainability Model: A model to guide sustainable development in mining, environmental stewardship, value-added activity, parallel activity in organic agriculture, and geo-ag tourism. This model highlights and exemplifies the positive global impacts made possible by committing to responsible and ethical jewelry practices.

Many existing and new Initiatives are well on their way to impacting widespread positive change within the industry, and if you're not yet involved, please contact us at to find out how you can lend support. These Initiatives will be implemented throughout the coming year by a group of industry volunteers energized by their attendance at the Summit who are committed to ensuring that these projects succeed!

[To read the full report, click on the image below.]

Speaker Presentations from the 2017 Summit

Thea presenting-edited.jpg

Lisa Manley, Executive Vice President, Sustainability Strategy & Cone Communications

Lisa heads Cone's award-winning sustainability strategy & communications team. She has more than 15 years of experienceadvancing sustainability/corporate responsibility through strategic planning, executive communications, issues managements, media relations, and stakeholder engagement in both public and private sectors. Prior to joining Cone, Lisa was an EVP and regional practice leader in Edelman's Business + Social Purpose group. As a sustainability consultant, Lisa has collaborated with a diverse group of clients including Converse, CVS, Hilton, HP, Mars, PwC, Quaker, SC Johnson, Target, Timberland, U.S. Bank, Visa, Wrigley, and Xylem to integrate sustainability within business strategy, influence engagement and communication.

Cone Communications is a public relations and marketing agency that specializes in corporate responsibility communications and strategy. Cone is also famous for its series of studies on consumer expectations of responsible business, which demonstrate that consumers globally believe companies have an explicit responsibility to drive social and environmental change, and to address these issues through their operations, their products and services, and their unique expertise. 

Thea Polanic, Conscious Capitalism

Thea Polanic is a passionate advocate for the power of business to crate prosperity, beauty and happiness in the world. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Chapter of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. Conscious Capitalism is a movement dedicated to elevating humanity through business, founded by John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods.

The Chicago Chapter is the first in North America, and in less that 18 months it has grown to more than 1100 members. Under her leadership, the Chicago Chapter produces programs for the general public and private events for senior executives who are committed to leading organizations that are both purposeful and unapologetically profit driven. As a result of her efforts, the international Conscious Capitalism conference has taken place in Chicago for the past two years. Thea is also a member of the global chapter advisory board, which now includes chapters i seven countries on five continents.

Thea is also the Managing Partner of ClearSpace, LLC, a Chicago based consulting firm that helps CEOs transform themselves, their teams, and organizations to meet the challenges of the future and grow and thrive. Over the past 15 years, Thea has worked closely with many senior leadership teams to align their organizations with the principles of Conscious Capitalism: having a higher purpose, creating value for all stakeholders, developing servant leaders, and having health, values-based cultures.

Conscious Capitalism builds on the foundations of classic capitalism principles: voluntary exchange, entrepreneurship, competition, freedom to trade, and the rule of law – and adds other elements, including trust, compassion, collaboration, and value creation. ClearSpace, LLC designs and delivers elite programs for team leaders and executives who are prepared to make a serious, long-term commitment to their own individual development and collective effectiveness, aligned with the principles of Conscious Capitalism. 

Bob Mitchell, Vice President of Social and Environmental Responsibility, Electronics Industries Citizenship Coalition (EICC)

Bob is a 16-year veteran of Hewlett Packard and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, with over 10 years in sustainability. He was most recently the Director, Global Social & Environmental Responsibility at Hewlett Packard Enterprise leading a team of professionals in human rights, supply chain responsibility, and conflict minerals, among other issue areas. Bob also served on the EICC Board of Directors for nearly four years and was Vice Chair in 2016. He holds an MBA from The University of Arizona and a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Virginia.

Electronics Industry Citizen Coalition (EICC) was founded in 2004 by a group of leading electronics companies and is a non-profit coalition of electronics, retail, auto, and toy companies committed to supporting the rights and well being of workers and communities worldwide affected by the global supply chain. EICC members commit to and are held accountable to a common Code of Conduct and utilize a range of EICC training and assessment tools to support continuous improvement in the social, environmental, and ethical responsibility of their supply chains.

In addition to setting and holding members accountable to core standards and providing training and assessment tools, the EICC regularly engages in dialogue and collaborations with workers, governments, civil society, investors and academia to gather the necessary range of perspectives and expertise to support and drive its members toward achieving the EICC mission and values of a responsible global electronics supply chain.

Today, the EICC is comprised of more than 100 electronics companies with combined annual revenue of over $4.75 trillion, directly employing more than 6 million people. In addition to EICC members, thousands of companies that are Tier 1 suppliers to those members are required to implement the EICC Code of Conduct. More than3.5 million people from over 120 countries contribute to the manufacture of EICC members' products.

Jewelry Industry Summit Plans Second Gathering for 2017

The Summit will take place Jan. 29-30 at the Tucson Convention Center


The Jewelry Industry Summit, an open forum on sustainability and responsible sourcing, announced its second meeting would take place Jan 29-30 at the Tucson Convention Center. An updated website and information about registering for the event is located at There, interested parties can also review the outcomes of the March 2016 summit, learn more about plans for the 2017 event, and discover resources and information related to sustainable business practices and responsible sourcing.


 "I can’t think of a better place to discuss responsible sourcing than at the Summit, which is just prior to the AGTA GemFair in Tucson," says Jeffrey Bilgore, president of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and a member of the second summit's planning committee. AGTA is also the official host of the second event.


The Tucson Summit will pick up where the first summit, held in March 2016 in New York, left off. That sold-out event concluded with a list of projects that various attendees committed to continue beyond the Summit. The projects included: aligning and coordinating various existing standards; researching consumer attitudes; educating sales associates; and communicating industry accomplishments to the wider public. There was also a commitment to tackle specific supply chain issues, such as helping gem cutters in developing countries who need education and equipment to avoid silicosis, a disease that occurs from inhaling stone dust.


The 2017 Jewelry Industry Summit will once again be an interactive, working meeting, with large and small discussion groups assisted by professional facilitators – rather than a full agenda of speakers. This format contrasts with many conferences, in that its central driver is attendee participation. The summit says its purpose is "to maintain an industry-wide conversation that invites all stakeholders to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and possibilities related to responsible sourcing in the jewelry industry supply chain."


The summit's goals are to:

  • Generate broad-based awareness of facts related to the jewelry industry supply chain and responsible sourcing, and explore what works and what does not.
  • Learn about and review progress on current industry-wide initiatives and developments related to sustainable business practices and responsible sourcing.  
  • Develop shared visions for key stages of the jewelry industry supply chain that support the broader industry vision for sustainable business and responsible sourcing.      
  • Design prototypes of tools and strategies that enable businesses in the supply chain to make progress through continuous improvement.


Attendees are expected to include both larger and smaller companies that have already made significant commitments to responsible sourcing and sustainability. But the summit also enthusiastically welcomes industry members who are new to the topic of sustainability and responsible sourcing, from miners, cutters, and manufacturers to wholesalers, designers, and retailers. It will also invite representatives from banks, accountants, insurers, consultancies, governments, associations, media, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to attend.


The planning committee for the second summit includes:

  • Jeff Bilgore - AGTA / Jeffrey Bilgore LLC
  • Cecilia Gardner, JVC
  • Cleo Zancope Gnatek, Jane Taylor Jewelry
  • Doug Hucker, AGTA
  • Christina Miller, Christina Tatiana Miller Consulting
  • Richard Nehls, LA Rocks
  • Mike Pace, Diamond Producers Association
  • Sam Shiroff, Signet
  • Barbara Wheat, Gemalytics LLC / Natural Colored Diamond Association


Cheri Torres and Mike Feinson of Innovation Partners are again working with the committee to design and facilitate the summit. To learn more about them:


The Summit is funded by donor companies and individuals, as well as by the registration fees of attendees. Cost to attend this year is $275, which includes a reception on the evening of Jan. 29, coffee breaks, and lunches. It also includes a free registration for the AGTA GemFair at the Tucson Convention Center, which runs Jan. 31- Feb. 5.


To register for the Jewelry Industry Summit directly, click here:

To learn more about summit sponsorship opportunities, click here:


For all other information regarding group registration, scholarships, or sponsorships contact Barbara Wheat at



About the Jewelry Industry Summit

The Jewelry Industry Summit is an open forum on sustainable and responsible sourcing in the jewelry industry. Its community of individuals, from all business sectors in the jewelry industry, seeks to develop a shared vision that addresses the challenges of the supply chain, sustains businesses, and meets growing consumer demand for responsibly sourced products. Visit, or the Summit's Facebook page,, for more information.



For more information, contact: Barbara Wheat at


Welcome to #ResponsibleJewelryStories

Welcome to #ResponsibleJewelryStories !

This is a home for people who are passionate about responsible and sustainable practices throughout all facets of the jewelry industry. 

We are a group committed to being real, not right. Sustainability is a work in progress, just like life! We may never achieve perfection, but that doesn't mean we'll stop trying. The Summit is committed to transparency about our collective journey in making sustainable practices in our beloved  jewelry industry the norm, not the exception. We are well on our way and want to make sure the world knows how much we care about making it a better place. It shouldn't be all-or-nothing, it's about embracing imperfections in the quest for improvement, constantly evolving and ever-changing. In the process of creating a more sustainable jewelry future, we will include stories from all over the industry, so that readers can come to their own conclusions. There is more than one way to do good, after all.

We have divided #ResponsibleJewelryStories into the following categories: 

  • Summit News
  • Summit Initiatives
  • Diamonds
  • Metals
  • Colored Gemstones
  • Pearls
  • Designers and Makers
  • Retailers

We welcome you to share your stories of sustainability with us! Please email us to be featured here on the website at Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram (@responsiblejewelrystories) and use #responsiblejewelrystories hashtag to become a part of this community and make your voice heard. We look forward to sharing it with the world.