RAPAPORT… The following is an open letter to the jewelry industry from Jewelers of America.
A CALL FOR KIMBERLEY PROCESS REFORM
As the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme nears its 10-year anniversary, the diamond and jewelry industry should be proud of the efforts we have made to eliminate conflict diamonds, but we must also recognize that we face critical new challenges. These include growing public concern with any manifestation of violence in connection with diamond mining, pressure from NGOs and the rising threat of broad government regulation. One thing is clear: without reform, the relevance of the Kimberley Process will continue to erode and could create gaps in consumer confidence, harming our industry.
There are already increasing signs of this in the United States market. For a growing number of consumers, the Kimberley Process is no longer enough; they want more evidence that a diamond is conflict-free. At the same time, public policies – like the regulations on conflict minerals within the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – demonstrate that governments will turn to restrictive regulation if industries fail to address these challenges.
Given the serious risks to our industry, we strongly urge members of the diamond jewelry manufacturing sector to join us in supporting the U.S. State Department’s proposals for Kimberley Process reform. This includes expanding the definition of conflict diamonds to include all systematic violence/conflicts that are diamond-related. Individual diamond and jewelry companies can demonstrate their support by taking the following steps:
<> Make a commitment that they will not supply diamonds and diamond jewelry connected to violence or conflict in any way.
<> Make a commitment to ask that their suppliers do not supply their businesses with diamonds and diamond jewelry connected to violence or conflict in any way.
<> Tell their government representatives to the Kimberley Process that they have taken these steps at the urging of their U.S. retail partners. Ask that their government support Kimberley Process reforms – like expanding the definition of conflict diamonds – that will protect the jewelry industry.
The diamond jewelry manufacturing sector is an essential link in the diamond and jewelry supply chain. We hope that members of the trade will stand with us on this critical issue. Our continued mutual business success depends on this.
Matthew A. Runci
President & CEO
Donna Baker — President & CEO, Gemological Institute of America, Carlsbad, CA
Ruth Batson — Executive Director & CEO, American Gem Society, Las Vegas, NV
David W. Cochran — President & CEO, Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America, Inc., Attleboro Falls, MA
Frédéric de Narp — President & CEO, Harry Winston Inc., New York, NY
Peter Engel — President, Fred Meyer and Littman Jewelers, Portland, OR
Ronald J. Friedman — President, Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America, New York, NY
Cecilia Gardner — President & CEO, Jewelers Vigilance Committee, New York, NY
Georgie Gleim — Jewelers of America Board Chair, President, Gleim the Jeweler, Palo Alto, CA
Bev Hori — VP of Education & Chief Learning Officer, Gemological Institute of America, Carlsbad, CA
Theo Killion — CEO, Zale Corporation, Dallas, TX
Michael Kowalski — Chairman of the Board & CEO, Tiffany & Co., New York, NY
Brian Leber — President, Leber Jeweler Inc., Chicago, IL
Brian P. Mann — Co-Owner, David Mann Jewelers, Inc., Washington, D.C.
Robert F. Moeller II — President, R.F. Moeller Jeweler, St. Paul, MN
Patti Ongman — Executive Vice President & General Merchandise Manager, Macy’s, New York, NY
Larry W. Pelzel — Vice President, Precious Jewels Division, Neiman Marcus, Dallas, TX
Michael Pollak — CEO, Hyde Park and Traditional Jewelers, Denver, CO
Jeffrey Post — President, Natural Color Diamond Association, New York, NY
Beryl Raff — Chairman & CEO, Helzberg Diamonds, North Kansas City, MO
Jim Rosenheim — CEO, Tiny Jewel Box, Washington, D.C.
Bea Spiech — Group Vice President & Divisional Merchandise Manager, Macy’s, New York, NY
Ray Stuart — Sr. Vice President, Chief Merchandise Officer, Helzberg Diamonds, North Kansas City, MO
Howard Tapper — CEO, Tapper’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, Bloomfield, MI
Holly E. Wesche — President, Wesche Jewelers, Melbourne, FL
Betsy Wolgemuth — Owner, Koser Jewelers, Mt. Joy, PA