IAC’s 14th Annual Gold and Diamond Conference Returns to NYC (2024)

(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK, NY — IAC’s 14th Annual Gold and Diamond Conference will take place at the Bohemian National Hall from Tuesday July 16th through Wednesday July 17, 2024, following a welcome reception the evening of Monday, July 15th hosted by Heritage Auctions at 445 Park Ave, New York, NY 10022 and featuring remarks by Roberta Kramer (VP, Strategy & Business Development, Heritage Auctions).

The conference will feature a distinguished lineup of industry leaders, academics, jewelers, and representatives from trade organizations and NGOs worldwide. United under the theme “Expanding Horizons,” the event aims to foster innovative perspectives and collaborative efforts within the gold, diamond, and jewelry sectors. Participants from across the supply chain are invited to engage in dynamic panel discussions and networking sessions, offering invaluable opportunities to connect with key figures in the industry.

Building on the foundation laid by last year’s “Maintaining Purpose” conference, IAC’s 2024 Gold and Diamond Conference will delve into the practicalities of driving positive change in the mining and jewelry sectors. The event will address the global challenges that create interconnectedness throughout the world, including climate change, gender inequality, and the socio-economic realities of mining communities. Through consensus-building and developing context-sensitive solutions, the conference aims to inspire stakeholders to embrace innovative approaches that contribute to a better future.

“Gold and Diamonds have always been treasured for their beauty and rarity. In addition to their preciousness and decorative value, they are central to many industrial applications and will always hold a special place economically…and socially. Responsible mining and sourcing are now an impactful enhancement to their value. As it has in the past, IAC will be exploring this important value-add must,” says Mark Hanna (CMO, Richline Group).

Formal sessions begin Tuesday, June 16 with registration and a coffee reception, providing a chance to network and meet fellow participants before the formal sessions commence. Lisa Koenigsberg (President & Founder of Initiatives in Art and Culture [IAC]) will officially open the conference. Her remarks will set the stage for the day’s discussions, emphasizing the conference theme of “Expanding Horizons” and the importance of collaboration and innovation in the gold diamond and gemstone industries. “With this event, IAC demonstrates its commitment to bringing the industry’s leading minds together to consider new approaches to innovation, sustainability, craft, and ethical practices in the jewelry sector writ large. Through fostering dialogue, sharing knowledge, and driving progress in ways that benefit both our industry and the world, we broaden our horizons, understanding countries and hemispheres to be interconnected in ways that we have not previously. We also recognize cultural heritage as a key natural resource to be protected and as an active element in shaping the future. I am filled with anticipation about the progress to be made this year, exciting in and of itself and as a foundation for IAC’s ongoing exploration,” says Koenigsberg. The opening panel titled “Cross-Industry Convergence and Collaboration” moderated by Lisa Koenigsberg, will explore the feasibility and challenges of fostering collaboration across diverse sectors within the jewelry industry. Panelists include: Gaetano Cavalieri (President, CIBJO), Satta Matturi (Creative Director, Matturi Fine Jewellery, diamond industry expert and Responsible Jewellery Council [RJC] Board member), John Mulligan (Director and Climate Lead, World Gold Council; President, Sustainable Development Commission, World Jewellery Confederation/CIBJO), and Iris Van der Veken, (Executive Director, Watch and Jewellery Initiative 2030). The panel will address key questions and challenges among them whether it is realistic to expect diverse market actors to unite, and agree on common goals, and the potential limits of collaboration. Topics include the Gold Industry Declaration of Responsibility and Sustainability Principles, with insights on its status, obstacles, and lessons learned, presented by John Mulligan. Mulligan says, “We welcome the opportunities this offers to engage and exchange ideas with jewelry sector leaders to explore how, together, we might address key industry challenges and ensure we make positive contributions to our shared sustainability goals.” Additionally, the ISO and the recycled gold debate will be discussed.

Gaetano Cavalieri declares “Initiatives in Art and Culture’s Gold + Diamond Conference has established itself over the past several years as a milestone event on the international jewelry industry’s calendar, not only highlighting the challenges of the day, but also breaking new ground, both in terms of defining the issues about which we should be concerned and the strategies and methodologies that we should consider using to deal with them. CIBJO is proud to have been part of the effort.”

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Mmetla Masire (CEO of Okavango Diamond Company) will then present “Diamonds in Botswana,” in which he will focus on the unique aspects of the diamond industry in Botswana. Key discussion points will include: retaining value in producer countries, government policies & regulations, value chain participation, and the Botswana story. Using the Okavango Diamond Company as a case study, Masire will explore the lessons learned and pitfalls to avoid in order to maximize value within producing countries.

Continuing the theme, Brecken Branstrator (Editor-in-Chief of Gemworld) will then moderate “Comparative Approaches to Retaining Greater Value in Producing Countries,” which will feature correlative analyses of strategies used in various countries to retain more value from their natural resources. Panelists include: Avi Levy (President, IGI North America), Douglas Neves (CEO, Cruzeiro Mine), Marcelo Ribeiro (CEO, Belmont Emerald Mines), and Mmetla Masire. The discussion will cover diverse approaches and strategies implemented by various countries, mines, and companies with the goal of identifying best practices to adapt and implement to enhance value retention by producer countries.

After lunch on Tuesday, attendees will engage in a discussion of “Gold: Single Mine, Single Source – A Closer Look.” Participating panelists include: Charlie Betts (Group Managing Director, The Betts Group),Emefa Cole (Goldsmith & Curator of the Jewellery of the Diaspora, Victoria & Albert Museum), Tony Maietta (Product Engineering + Relationship Development, C & J Fine Jewelry Matters), and Satta Matturi; they will delve into the intricacies and benefits of sourcing gold from single mines. The conversation will explore traceability and sustainability advantages of single-source gold, ethical implications, and how such practices can enhance transparency and consumer trust in the jewelry industry.

Casting a wider net on question of sourcing, Rob Bates (News Editor at JCK), will moderate “Origin, Source, and Provenance,” a panel examining the significance of the origin and provenance of materials in the jewelry industry. Panelists include: David Block (CEO, Sarine), Sara Yood (CEO/General Counsel, Jewelers Vigilance Committee), Mark Hanna, Adriano Mol (Head, Center for Gemstone and Jewelry Design, University of Minas Gerais State), and Ruby Stocklin-Weinberg (Program Manager, GemFair, De Beers). The session will discuss how the source of materials impacts their value and how they are perceived, technological advancements in tracing origins, and the broader implications of sourcing from particular locations and for specific substances. Topics include ethical, geographical and environmental considerations, the role of origin in consumer choice, and the impact of regulatory frameworks.

After a short break for attendees to refresh and network, Brad Brooks-Rubin (Senior Advisor in the Office of the Sanctions Coordinator at the US Department of State) will provide an update on the current US stance on ‘problematic’ sources and materials, such as diamonds and gold. This session, “The State and Sanctions,” will cover the implications of sanctions on the jewelry industry and the measures taken to ensure compliance with international standards.

A comprehensive session, “Current State of the Diamond Market,” covering various aspects of the diamond landscape follows. Notable industry figures in the conversation moderated by Rob Bates include: Olivia Landau (Founder & CEO, The Clear Cut), Matt Schamroth (Partner, M. Schamroth & Sons), Ronnie VanderLinden (President, Diamex Inc.; VP, World Diamond Council), and Amish Shah(Founder & CEO, ALTR). The session will cover topics such as the dynamics of the natural and lab-grown diamond markets, beyond bridal trends, and the current challenges and opportunities in the diamond industry.

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The day will culminate with an awards presentation and reception. IAC’s seventh Award for Leadership in Responsible Practice in Jewelry presented to recognize an individual or organization for outstanding contributions to ethical sourcing and responsible practices in the jewelry industry will be presented to Torrance D. Hoover and Cristina Echavarria. Additionally, reflecting IAC’s commitment to collaboration, community, and positive change. IAC’s fourth award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Diamond and Jewelry Industries will be bestowed upon Gaetano Cavalieri. The awards evening provides an opportunity for celebration and networking amongst attendees, recognizing the achievements and dedication of fellow industry leaders. Torrance D. Hoover, President, Hoover & Strong, has been recognized for his outstanding leadership in promoting ethical sourcing and responsible practices within the jewelry industry. Hoover & Strong, under his guidance, has been a pioneer in sustainable jewelry practices, ensuring that their products are sourced and manufactured with the highest ethical standards.Cristina Echavarria, Artisanal mining specialist and Co-founder of the Alliance for Responsible Mining, is honored for her extensive work in supporting sustainable development and participatory natural resource management with indigenous and Afro-Colombian rural communities and artisanal miners. With over 35 years of experience, Echavarria has played a pivotal role in advancing responsible mining practices across Latin America and parts of Africa. Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO, The World Jewellery Confederation, has been instrumental in promoting ethical standards and practices globally, advocating for the industry’s commitment to sustainability, transparency, and social responsibility.

Day one of IAC’s Gold and Diamond Conference set a high standard with insightful discussions on single-source gold, material origin, the current state of the diamond market, and an inspiring awards presentation, and attendees will have a renewed sense of purpose and anticipation for the sessions to come. With an equally compelling lineup, day two Wednesday July 17 continues exploring innovative practices, fostering meaningful collaborations within the industry. Registration and coffee session, provide a relaxed atmosphere to reconnect with peers, discuss insights from the previous day, and set the stage for another day of learning and networking. Lisa Koenigsberg will deliver opening remarks, reflecting on key takeaways from Tuesday, outlining the objectives for the day ahead. She will emphasize the importance of continued dialogue and the collective efforts required to drive positive change in the jewelry industry.

The day begins with “Looking Beyond Net Zero – Climate Change Actions and the Just Transition,” a vital panel discussion moderated by John Mulligan, focusing on climate change actions beyond net zero and the concept of a just transition. Panelists Stewart Bailey (Chief Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Officer, AngloGold Ashanti), Shari Gittleman (Senior Director, External Relations, Newmont Mining Corporation), Mark Hanna, and Iris Van der Veken will explore the challenges and opportunities of climate action from the perspectives of developing economies and emerging markets. They will discuss how to reconcile different perspectives, contribute to progress in vulnerable locations, understand local perceptions and priorities, and support local resilience.

The next discussion is titled “Cultural Heritage and Artistic Practice, Provenance and Repatriation.” Moderated by Andrew Russeth of ArtNet, this session will delve into the intersection of cultural heritage, artistic practice, provenance, and repatriation. Panelists include Emefa Cole, Cristina Echevarria, Satta Matturi, and Lucian Simmons (Head of Provenance Research, The Metropolitan Museum of Art). They will discuss the significance of cultural heritage in the jewelry industry, the ethical implications of provenance, and the processes and challenges associated with repatriation.

Edward Bickham (Senior Adviser at the World Gold Council) will then convene a discussion on “Responsible Sourcing and Supply Chain Due Diligence. The discussion will feature insights from Louis Marechal (Senior Advisor, Minerals & Extractives, Centre for Responsible Business Conduct, Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs – OECD), Brad Brooks-Rubin and Ruby Stocklin-Weinberg. The panel will examine what good practice looks like in the supply chains that brings jewelry materials to market, the state of current regulations and guidance, and the realities shaping due diligence in current supply chains. Discussants will explore the obstacles preventing the full realization of responsible sourcing practices.

The morning sessions will conclude with a critical discussion on human and labor rights, moderated by Edward Bickham. Panelists include Shari Gittleman, Mora Johnson (Head of Secretariat, Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, CCC), and Iris Van Der Veken. They will explore the foundation laid by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and its implications for responsible mining and the jewelry industry. It will cover the steps needed to define and respond to human rights issues, the role of businesses in respecting human rights, and the work required to fully adopt and implement the UDHR within the industry.

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The afternoon session kicks off with a luncheon sponsored by the World Bank, featuring a discussion on best practices and approaches concerning mine site safety, environmental stewardship, and security in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM). Covering a range of World Bank initiatives, from occupational health and safety to mercury abatement and mine development, discussion will consider the importance of sustainable and safe mining practices.

In “ASM – How do we identify and fund enduring and scalable solutions?” moderated by Edward Bickham, the panel will explore how to identify and fund enduring and scalable solutions in the ASM sector. Panelists include Stewart Bailey, Pete Chirico (USGS Florence Bascom Geoscience Center), Giorgio di Tomi (Professor, Polytechnic School and director of the Research Center for Responsible Mining, University of São Paolo), Rachel Perks (Senior Mining Specialist, World Bank), and Roger Tissot (Executive Director, Artisanal Gold Mining Council). Highlighting innovative approaches and successful case studies, panelists will emphasize collaboration and financial strategies to support sustainable ASM practices.

In “Training for the Future: A Conversation” the spotlight will be on training the next generation of jewelers and industry leaders. Panelists Karen Smith (Metalsmith and Founder, We Wield the Hammer), Lorraine West (Designer, Lorraine West Jewelry and member, Black in Jewelry Coalition), and Longo Mulaisho-Zinsner (Founder and President, JGAA Jewellery and Gemstone Association of Africa) will discuss the importance of education, mentorship, and skill development in ensuring that the future of the jewelry industry is diverse, inclusive, and innovative. “At IAC’s conference, there’s a wealth of discovery and inspiration to tap into pertaining to sustainability, fair trade gold & diamond mining, design, education, inclusion and so much more. Let’s take the knowledge we’ll gain and spread it all over the world to make the luxury jewelry and watch industries more equitable and integral for the next generation,” says Lorraine West. Then, “Jewelry for Gentlemen” will be examined in an exploration of the growing market for men’s jewelry that rounds out the afternoon. This session includes insights from Eric Laker (Owner, Lashbrook), Grant Mobley (Jewelry & Watch Editor, Natural Diamond Council), and Frank Everett (Senior Vice President and Vice Chairman, Jewelry Americas, Sotheby’s New York). Trends, consumer behavior, and marketing strategies for men’s jewelry, highlighting the unique aspects of this segment and its potential for growth, will be covered.

CIBJO is IAC’s Conference Partner for Expanding Horizons. Belmont Emerald Mines, World Gold Council and Cruzeiro Mine are sponsors at the Leadership level. Betts Metals, IGI, GIA, Newmont, and Sarine are sponsors at the Donor level. Initiatives in Art and Culture is grateful for support from Hoover & Strong, Rio Grande, DMIA, Heritage Auctions and The World Bank.

Join the conversation on expanding the industry’s horizons, and exploring new frontiers in the gold, diamond, and jewelry industries. IAC’s 14th Annual Gold and Diamond Conference will be hosted on the evening of July 15th at Heritage Auctions at 445 Park Ave, New York, NY 10022 and from July 16 – 17, 2024 at Bohemian National Hall, 321 E. 73 Street, New York, NY. Register for “Expanding Horizons” on Eventbrite here.

To learn more about Initiatives in Art and Culture, visit here, call 646-485-1952, or email info@artinitatives.com.

IAC’s 14th Annual Gold and Diamond Conference Returns to NYC (2024)
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