The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has appointed writer and curator Melanie Grant as its executive director, 10 months after the Russia crisis left the standards organization without a permanent leader.
Grant “has a deep love and knowledge of jewelry and watches, and a uniquely creative skillset which is both industry- and consumer-facing,” said RJC board chairman David Bouffard in a statement Monday. “I believe she will successfully take the RJC into a new era as we continue to deliver on our mission of continuous improvement in the integrity of the global jewelry and watch supply chain.”
The author of Coveted: Art and Innovation in High Jewelry, Grant has more than 20 years of experience in the watch and jewelry industry. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having worked at London-based newspapers The Times, the Financial Times, The Independent and The Guardian, as well as at the BBC.
Until last year, she was luxury editor of The Economist’s lifestyle sister publication, 1843 magazine. She has also curated for Sotheby’s, TEFAF Maastricht and the Serpentine Galleries and is a frequent lecturer. Part of her mission for the last decade has been to “dismantle boundaries between art forms so that jewelry is considered equal to fine art,” the RJC noted.
The RJC has almost 1,700 members in 71 countries who commit to participating in independent audits against the RJC Code of Practices, an international standard on responsible business practices for diamonds, colored gemstones and precious metals. Grant will work to enhance awareness of the importance of sustainable business practices among consumers, collectors, designers, brands and supply-chain specialists, the organization said.
The London-based body became entangled in controversy after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year. Former executive director Iris Van der Veken resigned the following month over the RJC’s handling of the situation, as the organization did not strip Russian miner Alrosa — which is partly owned by the state — of its membership. In April, vice chairman John Hall took over as interim executive director.
“Sustainability is the greatest single issue facing watches and jewelry today, and I want to help everyone understand what they can do to be part of this movement,” Grant said. “I feel privileged to have been selected for this monumental task.”
Image: Melanie Grant. (Melanie Grant)