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The Sustainability Minefield: What Does Sustainability Mean in Jewelry and Why Should We Care?

DATE: Thursday, November 12th at 10:00 a.m. PST

Ethical jewelry will be as important in the future as digital technology is today, but it is currently a confusing and complex area. Author and journalist Melanie Grant expands on topics discussed in her book, "Coveted: Art and Innovation in High Jewelry," with a panel of experts as part of GIA’s Knowledge Sessions series. She will be joined by Susan Jacques, President and CEO of GIA, Dr. Raquel Alonso-Perez, Curatrix of the Mineralogical and Geological Museum at Harvard University, Livia Firth MBE, Founder and Creative Director, Eco-Age, and high jewelry artist Alexandra Mor for what will be a spirited discussion.

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Melanie Grant has been a journalist for over 20 years having worked at The Times, The Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian The BBC, and now The Economist where she writes about luxury for 1843 Magazine, the lifestyle sister publication. In her spare time, she speaks at places like the Science Museum and on subjects such as horology and high jewelry and also sits on the board of The Mayor’s Fund for London, a charity dedicated to social mobility.  

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Susan Jacques was appointed GIA’s president and CEO in January 2014. Before joining GIA, she served as president and CEO of Borsheim’s Fine Jewelry and Gifts in Omaha, Nebraska for 20 years and reported directly to Warren Buffett. She received the Women’s Jewelry Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and was inducted into National Jeweler’s Retailer Hall of Fame in 1997. Ms. Jacques joined the GIA Board of Governors in May 1996 and served as chair from 2008 to 2013. She received her Graduate Gemologist diploma from GIA in 1980 and is a fellow of the Gemmological Society of Great Britain.

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Dr. Raquel Alonso-Perez,  Curatrix of the Mineralogical and Geological Museum, Harvard University (MGMH) is responsible for access to, teaching, research, public education, and continued development of the world-class Earth Science collections at Harvard University. She received her B.S. in geology from the University of Granada, Spain, her FGA from the Gemological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and her Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Alonso-Perez teaching strengths are optical mineralogy and gemology and her main research interests are the mineralogy and geology of gem deposits. She is the secretary of the Society of Mineral Museum Professions (SMMP), Associated Editor of Gems & Gemology and the Journal of Gemology and advisory board of the Gemstones and Sustainable development knowledge Hub.

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Livia Firth is Co-founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age and Founder of the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC). She is renowned for creating compelling frameworks and campaigns for environmental and social justice with global reach. A founding member of Annie Lennox’s ‘The Circle’, a powerful women’s advocacy group, she recently presented the findings of The Circle’s Living Wage report to the EU Commission.

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Alexandra Mor, Jewelry Designer and Artistic Director, is going on a decade in business, and through those years, she’s remained committed not only to the craftsmanship and design she’s known for but to leading her industry toward a more responsible, mindful and sustainable mindset. She collaborated with Gemfields on their ethical emeralds initiative in 2013. In 2016, she moved to Bali, discovered the tagua seed, collaborated with local craftsmen to reflect their heritage, and came back with a sustainable capsule collection.

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