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U.S. Jewelry Representative Body Formed with DMIA Chief at Helm

Oct 14, 2015 5:12 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America (DMIA) president Ronnie VanderLinden has been named head of the newly formed United States Jewelry Council (USJC), a group set up to represent the U.S. industry at government and international levels.

The USJC was established earlier this month to deal “more effectively on key issues, such as those of social, ethical and environmental importance, that might impact the U.S. jewelry industry,” the new group said in a statement October 8. It said it aims to have greater influence in dealing with challenges facing the sector in the U.S. through combining the member associations’ expertise and experience.

The founding participants in the organization, in addition to the DMIA, are: Jewelers of America (JA); the American Gem Society (AGS); the Diamond Council of America (DCA); the Diamond Bourse of Southeast United States (DBSE); the Diamond Dealers Club of New York (DDC); the Indian Diamond and Colored Stone Association (IDCA); the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America (MJSA) and the Natural Color Diamond Association (NCDIA). The USJC statement said these organizations’ combined memberships represent the vast majority of the U.S. jewelry industry.

VanderLinden, who takes on the role of president, will work alongside treasurer David J. Bonaparte, president and CEO of JA; secretary Ruth Batson, CEO of the AGS; and CEO James Evans Lombe, director of ethical initiatives for JA, according to a DMIA statement sent to journalists on October 13.

U.S. industry members require a united voice on issues such as environmental mining standards, factory working conditions, disclosure of information before sales, financial regulation and measures to prevent trade in conflict diamonds, the USJC said in the statement. The body is a member of the World Diamond Council and will also work with it to enhance the U.S. jewelry industry’s voice in the Kimberley Process, the statement said.

VanderLinden commented that the “success or failure of U.S.-based jewelry businesses – and the entire diamond and jewelry supply chain – is in large part dependent on a healthy representation of U.S. businesses in the national and global arena.”

He said these challenges from within and outside the U.S. “are more than an individual association can handle alone. The U.S. industry needs a coordinated effort to ensure we can protect consumer confidence in our product and have a say on policies that affect the livelihoods of our members.”

Andrew Keller, deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, is quoted in the statement that he looks forward to engaging with the USJC and “continues to support the U.S. industry’s effort to lead by example in the areas of responsible sourcing, supply chain transparency, and ethical business conduct.”
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Tags: Rapaport News, Ronnie VanderLinden, trade associations, u.s., United States Jewelry Council, USJC
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