Industry Creates Tanzanite Task Force

February 27, 2002

Industry Creates Tanzanite Task Force

The industry-wide group that issued the Tucson Tanzanite Protocol (Tanzanite Cleared, but Gem Community Warned) earlier this month, has formed a task force. The task force will formulate a program to protect the tanzanite supply chain from the mines to consumers.

"Our responsibility is to take practical steps to ensure that the tanzanite trade is safeguarded from those who could abuse it," says Douglas Hucker, executive director of the American Gem Trade Association and chairman of the task force steering committee. "These measures will protect the interests of consumers and the integrity of our industry. They are warranted even though there is no evidence to support media reports about such problems."

The steering committee is comprised of Hucker, Cecilia Gardner, executive director and general counsel for the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and Matthew Runci, president and CEO of Jewelers of America. The committee will oversee four groups:

• The Technical Working Group will develop and coordinate a system to regulate export certificates, packaging materials, statements of warranty and monitoring.

• The Tanzanian Working Group will develop, implement and monitor a system of in-country controls and value-added activities.

• The International Working Group will sustain the warranties from the mine to retailers.

• The Retail Working Group will implement and sustain the system of warranties and monitor the overall system of assurance.

The group hopes to have its work finished in six to eight months, says Hucker, who spoke about the task force at a Feb. 23-24 JA Owners and Managers Conference, sponsored by four JA affiliates in Overland Park, KS. Hucker emphasized to the jewelers in attendance educating sales associates about the new efforts to protect the tanzanite supply chain will help spread the word to consumers. The task force issued a series of talking points for sales associates to use when talking with customers. Call AGTA for a copy at (214) 742-4367.

– by Peggy Jo Donahue

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