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Symposium 2011: GIA’s Knowledge Forum
GIA recently held Symposium 2011 at its Carlsbad headquarters in the US. With the avowed aim of “Advancing the Science and Business of Gems”, the event was a huge success. Diamond World presents the highlights of the event.
By: Diamond World News Service
Jul 18 2011 5:04PM
Reference: 6169  

Panel discussion on Gemstones of the Future
Panel discussion on Gemstones of the Future
In order to mark its 50th anniversary celebrations 30 years ago, GIA launched the first Symposium event “as an international centre for knowledge”. Various such events over the years have made a significant contribution to the knowledge base of the industry, as well as discussed technologies and business practices extremely of relevance and import at that particular time. This year, the Symposium marking GIA’s 80th anniversary, was no different. The scope of the event as outlined by President and CEO of GIA Donna Baker in her Welcome Note in a publication brought out at the event, summed it up succinctly: “We’ll cover topics that range from the latest research into gemstone origin, treatment and synthesis, to luxury marketing, design, and new media – all the while ensuring that ethics, sustainability and corporate responsibility continue to play a dominant chord in the proceedings.”

Explaining the format of the event, Nirupa Bhatt, Managing Director India and Middle East, GIA says, “The Symposium is held along two tracks with sessions going on simultaneously – one discusses matters in the business stream, and the other deals with technical subjects.” There were about 12 sessions in all covering both business and technical topics.

(From l) Donna Baker, Steve Forbes and Susan Jacque
(From l) Donna Baker, Steve Forbes and Susan Jacque
This year the Keynote Speaker of the Symposium was Steve Forbes, Chairman, Forbes Media and Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Magazine. He gave an insightful presentation on the topic of “Navigating the Current Economy for Business Growth and Success”, providing strategies and tactics for the expansion of the scope and geography of enterprises. He stressed that the US economy was not yet stable and had a long way to go.

The session was on “Where is Luxury in this Brave New World?.” Ken Royal, Senior Client Service Manager of Gallup was the Keynote speaker, while Susan Jacques, President & CEO Borsheim’s Fine Jewelry & Gifts, moderated. Speakers included Amit Dhamani CEO & Managing Director of Dhamani Jewels; Nicolas Luchsinger, Vice President of Retail Operations for the Americas, Van Cleef & Arpels; and Ulrik Thaysen, Vice President of International Retail, Pandora. The panel discussed various aspects of the luxury market, including the nature of HNIs and their expectations, and attempted to understand what would define luxury in the coming years as well as explored the strategies of successful companies. Royal pointed out that jewellery purchases were at a high when there is a sense of wellbeing. Luchsinger speaking from the luxury retailer Van Cleef’s experience said that high-end jewellery and exceptional diamonds were doing well. On the other hand Thaysen from Pandora which is at the other end of the spectrum recounted how they had used education as a major selling tool, training staff to provide information to consumers.

An important session and one of major focus was on digital marketing. The Keynote speaker for this session was brand expert Steve Galloway, Clinical Associate Professor, NYU Stern School of Busines. A man of many parts, he not only teaches brand strategy and luxury marketing, but is also the founder of L2, a think tank for prestige brands; and of Firebrand Partners, “an operational activist firm” that has invested more than US$ 1 billion in US consumer and media companies; and finally, he also launched online retailer Red Envelope in 1997.

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