By Michelle Graff
New York--Nine U.S. jewelry associations have come together to create the United States Jewelry Council, enabling them to work together more closely to represent the interests of the U.S. jewelry industry both here and abroad.

The nine organizations that comprise the council are as follows.
--American Gem Society
--Diamond Council of America
--Diamond Bourse of the Southeast United States
--Diamond Dealers Club of New York
--Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America
--Indian Diamond and Colored Stone Association
--Jewelers of America
--Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America
--Natural Color Diamond Association

Together, these organizations’ memberships represent the vast majority of the U.S. jewelry industry.

Under this new council, they’ll work to represent the industry on a wide range of issues including environmental mining standards, factory working conditions, full and proper disclosure of all relevant information before a sale (type of stone, weight, metal quality, etc.), anti-money laundering regulations and the Kimberley Process.

The council, in fact, is a member of the World Diamond Council, the body that represents the diamond industry in the KP. 

Leading the council will be newly elected President Ronnie Vanderlinden, a New York-based diamantaire who is also president of the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America.

Jewelers of America President and CEO David J. Bonaparte is the treasurer while Ruth Batson, CEO of American Gem Society and AGS Labs, has been elected secretary.

James Evans Lombe, director of ethical initiatives for JA, has been appointed as the council’s CEO.

Commenting on the formation of the council, Vanderlinden said, “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. These challenges on the national and global scale 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.”

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