Press Release: The Diamond Empowerment Fund’s (DEF) opening-day breakfast at JCK shined with a diamond showcase and industry luminaries in support of DEF’s Diamonds for Good mission. Guests were greeted by models showcasing the latest trends in diamond jewelry, including HOUSE of WARIS for Forevermark Diamond Pendant with a 14.58-carat, oval Forevermark center diamond, selections from the Dalumi Group’s Swana and Golden Diamonds Collection, and DEF’s new line of Empowerment Jewelry from Royal Asscher, Donna Distefano and Banneker Watches.
The program included a special industry message from Varda Shine, DEF board member and executive vice president of global sightholder sales for De Beers Group. Shine affirmed the importance of the Diamond Empowerment Fund for the industry as a way to be responsive to consumers.
Shine further emphasized, “We are seeing a new kind of consumer: faced with far greater choice on where to spend their money, these consumers are looking for ethical purposes, looking for additional reassurances about what it is they are buying. When they do spend money on diamonds which symbolize love and emotion they want to know that what they are purchasing has added real value somewhere in the world.”
Shine concluded, “Put that together with producing country governments wanting to have a bigger, better part of what is happening in the diamond pipeline and that creates great opportunity to do new and different things. DEF gives smaller as well as larger businesses the opportunity to support the development of new leaders in Africa through higher education. Forevermark fulfills an important role in the U.S. market — it gives retailers a steady source of diamonds that are not only responsibly sourced, but also promise to give back to the communities from which they come. Delivering on the diamond dream is an issue of growing importance to many U.S. consumers.”
In addition, Uzi Levami, the CEO of Sarin Technologies and title sponsor for the breakfast spoke in support of DEF’s new Diamonds for Good Membership Program. Ilan Amit, the chairman of the Malca-Amit Group of Companies, an inaugural DEF Empowerment Circle Partner, stressed the importance of ensuring consumers are aware that diamonds are, and continue to be, a force for good for so many worldwide. “The diamonds for good message to consumers is as important as the beauty and promise that diamonds represent to them. Malca-Amit joined DEF as a Perennial Sponsor because we, like so many others in the industry, know that benefiting and supporting the communities in which we work is a privileged responsibility,” said Amit. “Giving back to local communities whose very livelihoods depend on the diamond dream is what social responsibility is all about. It’s not an option; it’s simply the right way to work.”
Sarin Technologies was joined by Green Diamond Sponsors Forevermark USA, International Gemological Institute and JCK. Empowerment Circle Sponsors of the Diamond Empowerment Fund include Dalumi Diamonds, Malca-Amit Secure Logistics, Leo Schachter Diamonds, Sterling Jewelers (Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry) and Tiffany & Co.
The Diamond Empowerment Fund followed up the breakfast with a “Doing Good is Good Business” presentation led by Dr. Benjamin Chavis, the DEF’s senior strategic advisor and featuring DEF scholar Biggie Tangane from Botswana and Jennifer Miller from MJ Christensen Diamonds.
Stated Tangane, “We, as the emerging young leaders of Africa want change. In fact, let me put it better, we are the change!”
DEF ended the night with a Diamonds in the Sky VIP Celebration at Marquee Nightclub to thank their long-time supporters and Empowerment Circle Partners. “The Diamonds in the Sky events were a fabulous way for DEF to share the story and mission of empowerment through higher education,” affirmed DEF’s board president, Phyllis Bergman.
For more information on joining either the Empowerment Circle or Diamonds for Good Membership Program, please visit www.diamondempowerment.org.
About the Diamond Empowerment Fund
The Diamond Empowerment Fund is a New York based global non-profit organization (EIN# 20-5967103) that raises money to fund education initiatives in African diamond-producing nations. Its beneficiaries include: CIDA City Campus, South Africa’s first non-profit university to offer a four-year business degree. CIDA has an 80 percent employment rate among graduates; the African Leadership Academy, a university preparatory school in Johannesburg, South Africa, founded on the belief that ethical leadership is the key to sustainable development on the continent and drawing students from all 54 countries in Africa, and the Botswana Top Achievers program that provides the top high school students countrywide the opportunity to study at a university of their choice worldwide. Graduates then return to Botswana to contribute to its economic, social and political development. www.diamondempowerment.org.