The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) is suffering a continued exodus of major members with luxury watchmaker Watches of Switzerland and diamond mining company Alrosa exiting the organisation.
On Thursday, Watches of Switzerland released a statement expressing dismay over the RJC’s inaction following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.
“The Watches of Switzerland Group is shocked and appalled by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” the statement reads.
“We stand with Ukraine and its brave people at this devastating time.
“The Responsible Jewellery Council’s approach goes against the common values we expect from our industry in response to the situation and we have therefore decided to withdraw our membership from the RJC.”
The following day, the RJC confirmed that Russian diamond mining juggernaut Alrosa had suspended its membership.
“Like so many, we are deeply saddened by the current geopolitical crisis,” RJC chair David Bouffard said.
“These have been challenging times and the Board of the RJC has been pursuing a thorough review of the situation and, as it is committed to do with each of its more than 1,500 members, ensuring due process was followed.
“The Board of the RJC understands and respects Alrosa’s decision to suspend its membership and thanks them for their commitment over the last five years.”
It’s been a turbulent few weeks for the RJC, with executive director Iris Van der Veken resigning from her position on 29 March following Richemont and the Pandora Group’s decision to withdraw their memberships.
According to Rapaport, Van der Veken – who served as executive director for three years – handed her resignation letter to the board on Tuesday and expressed dissatisfaction with the RJC’s failure to suspend the membership of Alrosa following the invasion of Ukraine on 24 Februrary.
Kering, the French-based multinational with luxury brands Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Boucheron, Pomellato, Qeelin and Yves Saint Laurent has also quit the RJC.
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