IAC’s 13th Annual Gold and Diamond Conference returns to NYC this July, with a focus on “Maintaining Purpose”, a mission addressed by a stellar roster of participants from throughout the gold, diamond and jewelry sectors

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • July 05, 2023

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Maintaining Purpose, Initiatives in Art and Culture’s (IAC) 13th annual international conference on gold and diamonds will be held in person from Monday evening July 17, 2023, through Wednesday afternoon July 19, 2023, at Bohemian National Hall in the Upper East Side. Esteemed panelists, industry leaders, jewelers and innovators will discuss pressing issues surrounding sustainability and the realization of artistic vision. The conference will feature thought-provoking talks, insightful conversations, and engaging panel discussions aimed at shaping a responsible and transparent future for the industry. The conference kicks off with a welcoming reception at Heritage Auctions New York, located at 445 Park Avenue, with remarks by Roberta Kramer, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development at Heritage. 

IAC’s focus for this year’s conference is on maintaining purpose, while exploring varied declarations of principle on responsible practice and cultural preservation, and how to harmonize and operationalize them. It will feature consideration of new technologies for extraction and sourcing, new mine-to-market models, and new approaches to training, and a discussion on the evolution of environmental and climate challenges. The fundamental focus explored over the course of the two and a half days will be a critical question: what constitutes luxury in an age of responsible practice? Highlighted by the participation of renowned jewelers, experts, and up-and-coming members of the trade, attendees will dive in and explore the ever-evolving world of gold and diamonds. Additionally, this year marks the launch of a collaboration with CIBJO which is jointly organizing a session with IAC. Remarking on the conference and the partnership Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri, President, World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) states,Initiatives in Art and Culture's annual Gold + Diamond Conference has firmly established its credentials as a critically important vantage point from which to examine jewelry and the jewelry industry as a business, cultural and artistic endeavor, within the context of contemporary society. What draws it apart is that it considers each of those elements with equal fervor, enabling us as professionals to look ahead to what will challenge us in the month and years ahead. The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) is proud to partner with IAC, collaborating with it to bring this perspective to a global audience.”

Lisa Koenigsberg, President of Initiatives in Art and Culture states, “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 discussion 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.”


IAC, in honor of its traditions and continued emphasis on taking charge of the future, will be presenting its awards for thought leadership and changemaking in the industry. The sixth annual Leadership in Responsible Practice Award honoree is jeweler, Pippa Small. IAC will also be presenting its third annual Award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Diamond and Jewelry Industries to fine jewelry designer, Satta Matturi.

Tuesday morning will start with “Global expectations and sustainability: Language, legislation, regulation, and transformation.” Panelists will discuss what “sustainability” means in different contexts, and what it means to strive for a sustainable world, both practically and contextually speaking. Members of this panel include Tiffany Stevens, CEO and President at Jewelers Vigilance Committee; Suzanne Brooks, Senior Standards Manager, Responsible Jewellery Council; Gaetano Cavalieri; Johanna Levy, Vice President, ESG strategy at GIA; which will be moderated by Mark Hanna, Chief Marketing Officer at Richline. Following the panel attendees will delve into the topic of “Action vs. Aspiration: Beyond pledges and commitments,” where the industry will discuss the navigation and proliferation of codes and certifications, and the importance of verification to the consumer. Modification of practices for compliance and implementation of technology will be discussed by Gaetano Cavalieri; Shari Gittleman, Senior Director External Relations at Newmont Mining Corporation; Tiffany Stevens; and, as moderator, John Mulligan, Director, and Climate Lead of World Gold Council. The dynamic conversation will explore the distinction between declarations of principle and roadmaps for achieving and measuring tangible actions in sustainability goals.

Hanna says, “Heightened gold prices, ongoing pressure for environmental, social, and mining improvement and the increasingly knowledgeable, demanding consumer, informed dialogue on the precious metals and associated industries, including gold jewelry, are of paramount interest. IAC brings together those in the know and those wanting and needing to know at the premiere event combining discussion of Responsible practices, precious materials, gold jewelry, and knowledgeable, impactful speakers.”

The conference will then address “Origins: Achieving transparency in a transformational age.” A commitment to transparency, in terms of origin and impact, will be explored, and Sarine will share its work with technology, verifiable data and beyond. The difference in intention between proving origin from the outset and post-facto determination of origin in the system using trace elements will be discussed. This section will be a conversation between Sara Yood, Deputy General Counsel at Jewelers Vigilance Committee; David Block, CEO of Sarine; Allison Charalambous, Vice President of Responsible Sourcing and Sustainability, Brilliant Earth; and Rob Bates, News Director, JCK. This will be followed by a presentation from jewelry designer Satta Matturi, who will cover the marriage of African Heritage, and awareness of new, emerging Africa, with an understanding of British craft and global design.

Tuesday afternoon will resume with the discussion “Ensuring a future for independent makers,” moderated by Jean Z. Poh, CEO, CADAR. This panel is followed by a discussion with   John Mulligan; Charlie Betts, Group Managing Director, The Betts Group; Olivier Demierre, SVP Corporate Social Responsibility at MKS PAMP Group and President, Swiss Better Gold Association; Sabrina Karib, Founder, Precious Metals Impact Forum; Tiffany Stevens; and Kevin Telmer on “Responsibly sourced gold: Options and challenges,” moderated by Lisa Koenigsberg. Discussants will consider the structure, scale, and function of the mainstream gold market and how the value of gold is determined, setting the larger context for valuing responsibly sourced gold and a discussion of premiums. The legitimization of ASM-produced gold within the formal gold sector, the calculation of risk, and recycled gold will be also covered.  The afternoon will close with a panel offered collaboratively with CIBJO on “Intellectual Property.”

That evening, there will be a reception and conversation with Pippa Small, who will then be presented with her award for Leadership in Responsible Practice. This award is presented annually to a member of the jewelry industry who has made a transformational contribution to ethical sourcing and responsible practices in the worldwide gem and jewelry trade. Lisa Koenigsberg has observed that “Since first launching in 2007, Pippa Small has prioritized ethical practices and cultural collaboration, while working to generate secure livelihoods in areas of conflict and to create opportunities for women to learn valuable skills. Her signature styles serve to link diverse collections, materials, communities and global artisanry. Her resplendent jewelry embodies the social responsibility mirrored by her global commitments.” 


Satta Matturi will be presented with the award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Diamond and Jewelry Industries. Of Matturi, a rough diamond expert from West Africa, Koenigsberg notes, “Satta Matturi’s commitment to African design motifs and her reverence for exceptional material and craftsmanship are matched by her belief in the social impact of diamonds in Africa. Her work as a designer of culturally powerful and resonant elegant diamond jewelry since 2015, her support for responsible practice throughout the diamond supply chain, and her service as a board member of the RJC uniquely qualify her for this award.” Further remarking on the recipients, Koenigsberg noted how delighted the Committees were to have bestowed both awards on women who are jewelry designers who match the artisanry of their work with their commitment to global change and responsible practice. 

The conference resumes Wednesday morning, when the discussion “Transitioning to low- or zero-carbon methods without subjecting at-risk communities to the new socioeconomic injustices” begins the day. Gracelin Baskaran, Nonresident Fellow – Global Economy and Development, Africa Growth Initiative, The University of Cambridge; Shari Gittleman; Olivier Demierre; Matt Saunders, Principal at Helena Special Investments; Mark Hanna; and John Mulligan, as moderator, will discuss and review the greenhouse gas protocol and definitions, the gold sector’s contribution to climate change, and role of carbon offset in supply chains. This will be followed by “Reducing the environmental impact of gold extraction: Defining best practices.” Luis E. Fernandez, Centro de Innovación Científica Amazónia of Wake Forest University; Toby Pomeroy, Mercury Free Mining; Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director of IRMA; Susan Keane, Senior Director of Global Advocacy, Natural Resources Defense Council and Global Coordinator of Planet Gold; and John Richmond, Founder of Sluice Goose Industries and the inventor of Goldrop; Edward Bickham, Senior Advisor, World Gold Council, will moderate this timely discussion. The panel will discuss the overlap between climate and biodiversity, approaches to mercury reduction, and Planet Gold’s training program for mercury reduction. 

The morning continues with “Reconceptualizing mine to market: the Cruzeiro approach,” with jewelers Laís Demarchi, of Verachi and Richard Fiszman; Debora Lucki and Camilla Guimãraes, co-founders of Julls; Douglas Neves, CEO of Cruzeiro Mine; and Adriano Mol, Head of Center for Gemstone and Jewelry Design at the University of Minas Gerais State, Brand & Product Development for Cruzeiro Mine, in an engaging discussion, moderated by Brecken Branstrator, Editor-in-Chief, Gemworld International, Inc. 

Wednesday afternoon kicks off with Brazilian jewelry designer Silvia Furmanovich who will discuss her work, involvement with world cultures and natural materials, and her commitment artisanry and detail. Her discussion is followed by a panel on with “Government, governance, and managing risk in ASGM/ASM.” Panelists include Kevin Telmer, Executive Director of Artisanal Gold Council in Victoria, BC; Ruby Stocklin-Weinberg, Program Manager of GemFair and De Beers; Gracelin Baskaran; Rachel Perks, Senior Mining Specialist, and with Energy and Extractives Department of Global Practice at the World Bank; Cristina Villegas, Director of Mines to Market, Pact and will be moderated by Edward Bickham. The definition and benefits of “formalization” will be discussed, as will ways to increase market access, and potential approaches for navigating risk.

Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith, Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships, American Craft Council, will moderate the concluding panel, “Training the next generation in the jewelry sectors. Where do we go from here?” Participants include Nanz Auland, goldsmith, jewelry designer, and author; Romy Gakh-Baram, Director of Global Marketing & Brand Director at Sarine; Susie Ganch, Founder & Director of Radical Jewelry Makeover and Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University; Adriano Mol; and Mark Nelson, Education Coordinator for Rio Grande. During this exchange, panelists will consider how to incorporate responsible practice in curriculums, innovative approaches to advancing careers, and best practices on social media. Pointing toward 2024, the conference will conclude with closing remarks on “Defining luxury in an age of responsible practice” in which the relationship of businesses “doing good” versus what consumers genuinely care about will be explored, as will highly valued elements of a concept of luxury that is framed by responsible practice.  

Initiatives in Art and Culture is grateful for the generosity of its sponsors, who support continuous education in the gold and diamonds sectors, making it possible for these conversations and solutions to come forth annually. Cruzeiro Mine and the World Gold Council are Patron Level Sponsors, GIA and Sarine are Partner Level Sponsors, MKS PAMP, Newmont, and Platinum Guild International are Donor Level Sponsors, and Hoover & Strong, and Rio Grande are Supporter Level Sponsors. iAC is thankful to Heritage Auctions New York for hosting the opening reception, and is deeply grateful to conference partner CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation.

All members of the jewelry supply chain are encouraged to be a part of this exceptional gathering exploring the marriage of artisanry and artistic vision with innovative practices, sustainable approaches, and responsible sourcing. The conference will be an immersive experience focused on advancing the industry together. To register for “Maintaining Purpose” click here. To learn more about Initiatives in Art and Culture, visit http://artinitiatives.com, call 646-485-1952, or email info@artinitatives.com. For press or media coverage inquiries, images, additional speaker quotes, or interviews, contact Pietra Communications at 212-913-9761 or email info@pietrapr.com.

About Initiatives in Art and Culture

Initiatives in Art and Culture (IAC) educates diverse audiences in visual culture, including the fine and decorative arts. A commitment to authenticity, to artisanry, and to materials undergirds all considerations undertaken by IAC, as does a mindfulness of sustainability and of our obligations to the planet.  Each IAC undertaking is marked by a commitment to bringing together representatives from every sector, with thought-leaders from other disciplines, industries, and institutions to undertake cross disciplinary approaches outside conventional industry discourse. IAC’s goal is to initiate dialogue and challenge all to integrate change without fear.

IAC’s primary activities are conferences, webinars, publications, and exhibitions that take an interdisciplinary approach, considering issues related to fabrication, connoisseurship, cultural patrimony and preservation, and the future of culture. Particular areas of emphasis include American art, precious substances, the history of frames, the Arts and Crafts movement, the influence of Asian cultures on American fine and decorative art, and the history and future of fashion. IAC’s projects have been supported by a wide array of individual, corporate, and foundation funders.

Olga Gonzalez
Pietra Communications

Initiatives in Art and Culture
333 East 57th Street
New York, New York
About Initiatives in Art and Culture

Initiatives in Art and Culture (IAC) educates diverse audiences in the fine, decorative, and visual arts. Our primary activities are conferences, publications, and exhibitions that take an interdisciplinary approach, considering issues related to fabrication, connoisseurship, cultural patrimony, cultural preservation, and the future of culture. Particular areas of emphasis include American painting, precious substances, the history of frames, the Arts and Crafts movement, the influence of Asian cultures on American fine and decorative art, and the history and future of fashion. IAC’s projects have been supported by a wide array of individual, corporate, and foundation funders.

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