By Michelle Graff
Antwerp--Just ahead of its annual meeting, the World Diamond Council announced that it has chosen Patricia Syvrud, a GIA graduate gemologist who owns a jewelry industry consulting firm, as its first executive director.

Syvrud is the founder and president of Virginia-based Joia Consulting LLC, a jewelry expertise services company. She has nearly 30 years of experience in the jewelry industry and has, among other accomplishments, catalogued the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., built marketing partnerships with jewelry trade associations for Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company and launched the “Friends of DDI” program for the Diamond Development Initiative.

“Joia” means jewel in Portuguese and is a nod the time Syvrud, who is fluent in Portuguese, spent living in Brazil, where she started her career. 

Her appointment officially will be effective Friday. She will report to the executive committee of the WDC’s board of directors and be responsible for representing the WDC in the Kimberley Process. 

“The important work of the WDC was reflected in the caliber of the applicants for the executive director position,” said WDC President Edward Asscher. “Patricia’s breadth and depth of knowledge of the jewelry industry, as well as her previous experience in working with nonprofit and international organizations, make her an obvious choice in this new position for the WDC. The entire board sees this appointment as further professionalizing the WDC and looks forward to working with her to continue to enhance the credibility and stature of the WDC in the international arena.”

The annual meeting of the WDC, the organization that represents the diamond industry in the Kimberley Process, is scheduled to begin today in Antwerp. 

On Tuesday morning, the WFDB issued a statement on behalf of itself and seven other industry organizations--the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India, the Federation of Belgian Diamond Bourses, the Bharat Diamond Bourse, the Israel Diamond Exchange, the Israel Diamond Institute, the Dubai Diamond Exchange and CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation--announced that they wouldn’t be attending the meeting. 

The organizations said their decision was based upon the fact that they disagreed with a number of decisions WDC leadership has made leading up to the meeting--decisions, the organizations said, that were arbitrary and lacked transparency. 

Among them was a survey WDC leadership circulated to its membership only and not to the entire industry, which is what the eight organizations that now are boycotting the meeting wanted.  

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