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AGTA Forms Committee to Define Ethics Terms

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ANTHONY DEMARCO • 26-01-2023

The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) has begun an effort to define and standardize contemporary industry terms in the field of sustainability.

Issues such as fair pay, the environmental impact of sourcing and other ethical-minded business practices have gained importance among consumers, the AGTA said last week. However, definitions of many terms are not uniform.

To address this, the AGTA has formed a committee — currently unnamed — to develop “practical and specific” terms for the colored-gemstone and cultured-pearl industries, it explained.

The committee’s launch coincides with a call by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for comments for the upcoming updates to its “Green Guides,” which govern eco-friendly advertising claims and terminology. AGTA said it would work with the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) to develop proposed revisions and additions for the FTC.

Defining and standardizing these terms, as well as ensuring they are in the FTC document, is “one of the most important conversations happening in the colored-gemstone and cultured-pearl industry,” the trade group argued.

The committee comprises mainly AGTA members with practical experience in various areas of the supply chain. It will create a handbook of contemporary definitions, designed to offer clarity and consistency in the largely unpoliced realm of “greenwashing” — a term for conveying a false impression or misleading information about the environmental soundness of a company’s products.

Committee members include:

Jaimeen Shah, PrimaGems USA

Bruce Bridges, Bridges Tsavorite

Becky Scheffler, Rio Grande

John Bradshaw, John J. Bradshaw

Ron Rahmanan, Sara Gem Corp.

Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore LLC

Vincent Pardieu, field gemologist

Pardieu, while not an AGTA member, is a gemological expert. AGTA CEO John Ford and board president Kimberly Collins — owner of Kimberly Collins Colored Gems — will offer input and guidance as needed.

Image: An amethyst on grass. (Shutterstock)

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