Initiatives in Art and Culture’s (IAC) 13th annual Gold and Diamond Conference was once again a highlight of the New York City Summer event schedule. With a theme of “Maintaining Purpose,” this year’s conference addressed pressing issues surrounding sustainability and the realization of artistic vision in the jewelry industry. An incredible roster of speakers and panelists gathered for exciting talks on a range of exciting and important topics involving the jewelry industry.
Initiatives in Art and Culture (IAC), the organization behind the event, seeks to educate all audiences about visual culture, including the fine and decorative arts. Their work is rooted in authenticity, artisanry, and a commitment to sustainable practices. By bringing together representatives from various sectors and thought leaders from different disciplines, IAC fosters cross-disciplinary approaches that challenge conventional industry norms. Their primary activities include conferences, webinars, publications, and exhibitions, addressing topics such as fabrication, cultural preservation, and the future of culture.
This year’s event saw esteemed panelists, industry leaders, jewelers, designers, and innovators engage in fascinating talks, insightful conversations, and eye-opening panel discussions. The focus was on shaping a responsible and transparent future for the industry, exploring new technologies for extraction and sourcing, innovative mine-to-market models, and new approaches to training. Most importantly, participants tackled the evolving environmental and climate challenges that the industry and the world face and how the industry can continually improve in working together.
The conference kicked off with a nighttime welcoming reception at Heritage Auctions New York, featuring remarks by Roberta Kramer, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at Heritage. In the following two days, attendees gathered at the Bohemian National Hall in New York’s Upper East Side for the main schedule of panels, interviews, presentations, and networking with jewelry industry leaders.
The program was filled with compelling panels and discussions. Topics, including sustainability, responsible sourcing, transparency, and more, were discussed. A panel titled ‘Ensuring a Future for Independent Makers’ moderated by Cadar CEO Jean Po featured NDC Managing Director Kristina Buckley Kayel as well as David Rees, one of the designers behind Ten Thousand Things, Kevin Reilly of the Platinum Guild, Jennifer Shanker of Muse Showroom, and jewelry designer Lorraine West. The discussion focused on independent jewelry designers, mostly unknown to consumers, and how their innovation and diversity are a driving force in the fine jewelry world. Kayel spoke of the NDC’s EDDI program and the strides they have made in the last three years to support a yearly cohort of emerging designers by breaking down the barriers for entry and setting them up for success, as well as the NDCs publishing platforms’ focus on independent designers. It was clear that the importance of independent designers to the jewelry industry cannot be overstated, and the industry’s support of them continues to increase.
The event also honored individuals who have made significant contributions to ethical sourcing and responsible practices in the jewelry industry. The Leadership in Responsible Practice Award was presented to jeweler Pippa Small, who was recognized for her commitment to ethical practices and cultural collaboration. The Award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Diamond and Jewelry Industries was presented to fine jewelry designer Satta Matturi, commending her dedication to African design motifs and responsible practices throughout the diamond supply chain. These designers, along with renowned fine jewelry designer Silvia Furmanovich also sat down for fascinating interviews about their craft, sharing videos, photos, and stories illustrating their journey.
Lisa Koenigsberg, President of Initiatives in Art and Culture, emphasizes the urgency of addressing transformational goals by stating, “2030 and 2050: when these target dates for achieving transformational goals were set, they seemed far off. But that future is now. IAC’s conference, ‘Maintaining Purpose,’ will feature robust discussions of the measures, methods, practices, social values, and commitments required to successfully achieve the vision set forth in declarations of principle, which intentionally differ from roadmaps. IAC is grateful to the distinguished roster of authorities, industry leaders, and masterful jewelers from throughout the world who will join us for this collective consideration of both keeping the dream alive and realizing it throughout the complex and interdependent ecosystem of the jewelry world and beyond.”
The annual Gold and Diamond Conference provides a platform for discussing the state and future of the jewelry industry. By prioritizing responsible practices and sustainability, this event plays a role in promoting positive change and fostering a transparent and ethical environment for all stakeholders and provides a forum for industry leaders to join and work together on continued positive change.