Rapaport Press Release
Conference to Promote Fair Trade Jewelry
June 1, 2007, Las Vegas – The first-ever exhibition of South African Fair Trade Jewelry will take place at the JCK Las Vegas jewelry show today. The initiative jointly sponsored by the South African government and the Rapaport Group will feature jewelry from community development projects active in South Africa’s jewelry sector. Thirty-eight non profit organizations have formed a cooperative to produce fair trade jewelry in coordination with South Africa’s largest jewelry manufacturer Alan Mair - who is also mentoring the project.

“This initiative will significantly improve the lives of thousands of historically disadvantaged individuals (HDIs) as it creates sustainable economic development in South Africa’s most impoverished townships. The Jewelry Council of South Africa fully supports this program as it creates new initiatives for growth and development in the jewelry industry,” said Lourens Maré, CEO of the Council.

“This is the single biggest thing to happen in South Africa’s development sector, empowering emerging black jewelers. It is the culmination of nine years of intensive skills development and training. Rapaport’s marketing initiative unlocks the most critical success factor: route-to-market,” said Demos Takoulas, CEO and founder of Vukani-Ubuntu (www.vukani.org), South Africa’s oldest jewelry development project.

The Rapaport Fair Trade Conference being held at the show on Monday June 4, will introduce fair trade concepts to the jewelry trade. Topics of discussion will include the establishment of standards for fair trade diamonds, gems and jewelry products as well as the role of independent monitoring. In addition, Veronika Kohler of the World Bank will discuss the role that fair trade can play in assisting artisanal diggers and their communities.

“Rapaport is committed to the development of fair trade jewelry. Cooperation between government, community development organizations, and the private sector is the only way to create sustainable economic development. Our industry has a great opportunity and obligation to help the most disadvantaged people in the world through the development of fair trade jewelry products. Consumers will appreciate the spiritual sparkle of jewelry that makes the world a better place,” said Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group.

The Fair Trade Jewelry is can be viewed during the JCK show at the Rapaport Fair Trade Booth (46022).

The Rapaport Group The Rapaport Group is an international network of companies committed to providing added value services that support the development of free, fair and competitive global diamond markets. Group activities include publishing, internet information and trading networks, rough and polished diamond trading services, international buying, quality-control and compliance services, shipping and financing services and research and marketing services.

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