Gold: Trends, Techniques, and Transparency

IAC’s 5th Precious Substances Conference
April 9 – 10, 2015

The Graduate Center, The City University of New York

Initiatives in Art and Culture took a wide-ranging look at gold in its fifth annual international conference devoted to this precious metal. With a focus on jewelry, we explored the underpinnings of gold’s abiding emotional power, allure, and enduring value. The use of gold in creating marks of achievement—trophies, bespoke jewels, wreaths, crowns, and medals—attests to the metal’s social significance from the ancient Egyptians to the present. Gold’s importance remained undiminished, and we looked to the future with a panel focusing on the next generation of jewelers, the education of customers, and the retail industry.

We explored techniques and cutting-edge technologies central to the jeweler’s art, focusing as well on those who used them to create objects of desire and repositories of value. Means used to attract consumers, in particular millennials and “Baby Boomers,” generation were also considered. Topics ranged from demographics to social media and other means that build on and celebrate gold’s centrality and allure, including trends and trend forecasting, and developments in the marketplace that resonate with the dominant cultural mood and thus consumer inclinations. We also addressed ways that consumers could be confident that their purchases were not only aesthetically and emotionally pleasing but ethically sourced, with discussions of how the industry could build trust through transparent reporting and the journey toward responsible mining.

Richline was the Leadership Sponsor. Signet was a sponsor at the Patron Level. Hoover & Strong was a sponsor at the Donor Level. The Gemological Institute of America and WYS Jewelry were sponsors at the Supporter Level. The organizers expressed deep gratitude for the support of Aaron Faber Gallery and Doyle & Doyle. Freeman’s was a media sponsor.

Program agenda

Thursday, April 9, 2015

8:15 – 9:15 a.m. Registration and continental breakfast
9:15 – 9:30 a.m. Introduction. Lisa Koenigsberg (Conference Director, President & Founder, Initiatives in Art and Culture).
9:30 – 10:10 a.m. Keynote
All That Glitters: How Gold Seduced the Human Race. Matthew Hart (Writer, journalist & author of Gold: the Race for the World’s Most Seductive Metal and Diamond: the History of a Cold-Blooded Love Affair).
10:15 – 10:55 a.m. Jewelry Trends Driven by the Catwalk: Spring/Summer 16. Jaime Cohn-Barr (Footwear and Accessories Editor, WGSN).
10:55 – 11:10 a.m. Break
11:10 – 11:50 a.m Designing for Millennials – a Panel Discussion. Alison Lou Chemla (Alison Lou); Ana Khouri (Ana Khouri); Anita Ko (Anita Ko); moderator: Claudia Mata (Accessories and Jewelry Director, W).
11:55 a.m. – 12:25 p.m Gold in Beauty: Body Adornment – a Panel Discussion. Deirdre Hanrahan (Founder/Designer, WYS Jewelry); Veleta Vancza (Artist, goldsmith, enamelist & licensed nail technician; co-founder, MINE Luxury Nail Lacquer); moderator: Candice Sabatini (Co-owner, Beauty News NYC).
12:25 – 1:45 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
1:45 – 2:25 p.m. The Old Rush: Selling Gold in the Age of Aging. Peter Hubbell (Founder & CEO, BoomAgers). 
2:30 – 3:10 p.m. Jewelry Retailing in New Luxury StylePamela N. Danziger (President & Founder, Unity Marketing).
3:15 – 3:45 p.m. Elizabeth Doyle (Jewelry designer & co-founder, Doyle & Doyle) in Conversation With Michelle Graff (Editor-in-chief, National Jeweler).
3:45 – 4:00 p.m. Break
4:00 – 4:30 p.m. The LBMA Gold Price: A New Era for
the World’s Gold Benchmark.
Finbarr Hutcheson (President & CEO, ICE Benchmark Administration Limited).
4:35 – 5:15 p.m. Collecting Gold Rings – a Conversation. Lisa Koenigsberg; Jack Ogden (Jewelry historian & jewelry industry consultant); Benjamin Zucker (Authority on precious stones & third-generation New York gem merchant).

Friday, April 10, 2015

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Continental breakfast
9:00 – 9:10 a.m. Introduction. Lisa Koenigsberg.

9:10 – 9:55 a.m. Getting Results From Social Media: Messaging and Marketing. Eugene Brill (Vice President of Operations,; Cindy Edelstein (Founder & President, Jeweler’s Resource Bureau); Evert deGraeve (Fine jeweler, independent consultant & authority on using social media globally); Robyn Hawk (Social content curator/jewelry and gem blogger); moderator: Cheryl Kremkow (Director, Citrine Media).
10:00 – 10:40 a.m. Marks of Achievement: Gold as a Sign of Distinction. Jack Ogden.
10:45 – 11:05 a.m. The Kentucky Derby Trophy: A Marriage of Fine Materials, Craftsmanship, and the Sport of Horse Racing. Elizabeth Brehmer (Vice President,  Product Development, LeachGarner).
11:25 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 30 Years of the American Jewelry Design Council. Alishan Halebian (Jewelry designer); Barbara Heinrich (Master goldsmith); Susan Helmich (Jewelry designer, goldsmith, wholesaler, retailer); Jose Hess (Jewelry designer, master goldsmith & gemologist); moderator: Cindy Edelstein.
12:15 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
1:30 – 2:15 p.m. Cutting Edge Technology and Its Potential – a Panel Discussion. Kevin Abernathy (Consultant with over 30 years’ expertise in computer-aided design and manufacturing of commemorative jewelry); Jeff High (Chief Innovation Officer, Stuller, Inc.); Savannah Peterson (Director of Global Community, Shapeways); moderator: Steven Adler (Founder, A3DM Technologies).
2:20 – 3:05 p.m. The Next Generation: Educating Jewelers and Their Customers – a Panel Discussion. Michael Coan (Chairman Emeritus & Assistant Professor, Jewelry Design Department, The Fashion Institute of Technology); Mark B. Mann (Director, Global Jewelry Manufacturing Arts, Gemological Institute of America); Susan Thea Posnock (Director of Public Affairs and Education, Jewelers of America); Jonathan Wahl (artist & Director, Jewelry Center at the 92nd Street NY); moderator: Peggy Jo Donahue (Director, MJSA Education Foundation).
3:05 – 3:25 p.m. Break
3:25 – 4:15 p.m. The Importance of Building Trust in the Gold Industry: The Journey Toward Responsible Sourcing and Gaining Consumer Trust in the Retail Market. Larry Bock (Sales Director, Hoover & Strong); David Bouffard (Signet Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Signet Jewelers Ltd.); Holly Dranginis (policy analyst, the Enough Project); Cecilia Gardner (President, CEO & General Counsel, Jewelers Vigilance Committee); Christina Miller (Executive Director and Co-founder, Ethical Metalsmiths ); Toby Pomeroy (Designer, goldsmith, activist for social and environmental responsibility in the jewelry industry; President, TOBY POMEROY); Kenneth Porter (Head, Business Development, Fairmined Initiative, ARM); moderator: Rob Bates (Senior Editor, JCK).
4:20 – 5:15 p.m. “Stealing Lightning From the Gods”: The Work of Daniel Brush. Daniel Brush (Jeweler, goldsmith, artist).