New AGTA Committee to Standardize Industry Terms Surrounding Sustainability & Ethics

(Dallas – Jan. 18, 2023) – The AGTA has unveiled a new member committee to define and standardize contemporary industry terms such as sustainability, ethics, and responsible sourcing.

A rising interest among consumers in supporting ethical-minded businesses, including ones whose products and services benefit the environment, offer fair pay, and are mindful of sustainability, is driving an increased use of contemporary terms that lack uniform definitions.

The goal of AGTA’s new committee is to develop verbiage that is practical and specific to the colored gemstone and cultured Pearl industries. The timing of this committee dovetails with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) call for comments surrounding another update to its Green Guides (click here to learn more). AGTA will work with the Jewelers Vigilance Committee to develop sound proposed revisions and additions for the FTC.

“AGTA was a pioneer in establishing guidelines for the jewelry industry to follow surrounding ethics, transparency, and sustainability,” says John W. Ford Sr., CEO. “We look forward to this opportunity to further clarify specific terms and consumer interpretations of them.”

The mission of the new committee is as follows.

  1. To provide the colored gemstone industry with vision and leadership as it responds to the needs of the current consumer base.
  2. To help buyers and sellers in the colored gemstone and cultured Pearl industry communicate better.
  3. To be a part of one of the most important conversations happening in the colored gemstone and cultured Pearl industry now.
  4. To continuously learn and grow as an organization, thereby providing educated guidance to the AGTA membership.

Members of the committee include AGTA dealers with real-world experience in various areas of the supply chain. The committee will create a handbook of contemporary definitions, offering clarity and consistency in the largely unpoliced realm of greenwashing.

“Some in the industry are pushing the envelope on using language without proper documentation to reinforce their claims,” says Kimberly Collins, AGTA president and owner of Kimberly Collins Colored Gems. “AGTA understands that it is imperative to not only define these terms, but to live by them. This holds our membership accountable while providing peace of mind to the end consumer. Our new committee will complete a rough draft of the handbook in time for the Las Vegas shows.”

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; and Vincent Pardieu, field gemologist. (Pardieu is not an AGTA member, but he is a world-renowned gemological expert with a firm grasp of world cultures from his extensive travels to mines.) AGTA CEO John W. Ford Sr. and Kimberly Collins, AGTA Board president and owner of Kimberly Collins Colored Gems, will offer input and guidance as needed.

The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) is a not‐for‐profit association serving the colored gemstone and cultured Pearl industry since 1981. Headquartered in Dallas, members are trade professionals based in the U.S. and Canada, and AGTA is widely regarded as “The Authority in Color.” AGTA’s activities include organizing educational programs, trade shows, and printed materials and maintaining strong relationships with government officials and other jewelry trade groups. AGTA is committed to upholding the highest ethical standards and practices.