Seven disgruntled members join forces to win control of Gem-A board


Greg Valerio and Michael Hoare are part of a team of international gemmological experts that will stand on a single ticket at next month’s election for a new board of directors at Gem-A.

The election for Gem-A’s Council takes place on August 26, and Mr. Valerio (pictured above) wants a completely new team to replace a board that he feels is out of touch on key issues including ethics and corporate social responsibility.

The seven-man team, which draws on gemmology expertise from around the world, is: Greg Valerio; Ronnie Bauer, former secretary of the Gemmological Association of Australia; Alberto Scarani, owner of Gemologist in Rome; Kathryn Bonnano; John Bradshaw, gemmologist from New Hampshire; Michael Hoare, former chief executive of the NAG; and Guy Clutterbuck, author, lecturer and renowned gemstone buyer.

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The group’s manifesto outlining its plans for Gem-A will be released within the next week, but Mr. Valerio is pulling no punches in criticising the current board. “They have systematically dismantled the organisation in pursuit of [Gem-A CEO] James Riley,” he told Professional Jeweller.

“The board is out of touch, arcane. They have led the institution into disrepute, and now they are leading it into bankruptcy,” Mr. Valerio added. “Members are up in arms. The whole thing has gone toxic. They should have all resigned.”

Mr. Valerio’s own blog says he has been described as: “Maverick, pain in the arse, social entrepreneur, out of the box, radical, passionate, emotional, idiot, unmanageable, direct, to the point, breath of fresh air, rebel, visionary, scruffy, non-conformist, and looks like a bum. Economic terrorist and dangerous bastard have all been used to describe Greg and his commitment to human rights, ecological responsibility and fair trade in the jewellery sector.”

He is a passionate advocate for ethical sourcing of metals and gems from mine to market, and puts that passion into his businesses.

The seven-man team will campaign for change, with a particular focus on leading Gem-A as an institution that puts ethics, integrity and corporate social responsibility at the heart of its mission as an educator.

In a blog post today, he says that Gem-A has turned its back on these ethical issues, and wants instead to focus only on the science of gemmology.

Gem-A affiliate organisation, The World Jewellery Federation (CIBJO) agrees with Mr. Valerio’s assertion. “Social responsibility is a way of life. It should never be considered a strategic alternative, which a business may select to increase revenue or to provide itself with a competitive advantage,” said CIBJO president Gaetano Cavalieri in a speech in May.

Mr. Valerio says he has spoken personally to Mr. Cavalieri about his plans and was told that CIBJO was closely watching the Gem-A election and would respond after the result is known.


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  1. chrissi Matusevics said:

    I agree with Mr Valerio Ethics and social responsibility are a very important part of business today I personally don’t like to source materials at all from places who do not show at least some degree of both and in the past have boycotted other products because of things like violations of human rights and unethical practices- combining these virtues with a good grasp on the science of Gemmology could make Gem A into a world leader as many people both jeweller and client become more aware and wish to use ethically sourced materials.

  2. Caroline T. said:

    Mr Valerio has been a Gem-A member for two months only and has not passed Gem-A examination so it seems difficult to understand how he could convince members who are FGA and have been paying their membership for years.