By Michelle Graff
Washington--The American Gem Trade Association, Diamond Club of the West Coast, Silver Promotion Service and National Association of Jewelry Appraisers have joined the U.S. Jewelry Council, bringing the fledging organization’s membership count to 13.

Organized in October, the stated purpose of the council is to represent the interests of the U.S. jewelry industry.

At a press conference held Wednesday in Washington, D.C., council President and Chairman Ronnie Vanderlinden likened the association to the Israeli Diamond Institute, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre in Belgium or the GJEPC in India--associations that collectively speak for their members on a both a national and international level.

The organization was formed to “talk as one voice, instead of five or six voices,” he said. 

The four new members of the council join nine original members: American Gem Society, Diamond Council of America, Jewelers of America, Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America and MJSA--the five founding members--plus the Diamond Bourse of Southeast United States, Diamond Dealers Club of New York, Indian Diamond and Color Stone Association and the Natural Color Diamond Association.

Members pay no dues to the U.S. Jewelry Council, and the council remains open to any U.S.-based trade organizations that want to join.

The U.S. Jewelry Council’s announcement was made Wednesday morning as the American Gem Society’s annual Conclave began in Washington, D.C.

Former Secretary of State and four-star Gen. Colin Powell, a D.C.-area resident still, delivered the event’s opening address.

The four-star general talked about his time in the White House as the national security advisor for former President Ronald Reagan, the inability of the current Congress to get anything done and the need to keep conflict diamonds out of the supply pipeline.

Conclave continues through Saturday. 

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