Judges Profile

The JNA Awards organising committee selected a panel of judges among authoritative leaders from different countries representing key sectors of the jewellery industry. They are chosen for their widely recognised expertise and insight into specific industries or strategic areas of the business.

The judging process for the JNA Awards is independent, robust, transparent and intellectually rigorous. Judges play a pivotal role maintaining the rigour of the awards setting the standard for future years as well as ensuring that the very best performing organisations are recognised.

 

Vichai Assarasakorn

The Thai Chamber of Commerce & Board of Trade of Thailand Secretary General

Vichai Assarasakorn

The Thai Chamber of Commerce & Board of Trade of Thailand Secretary General

Vichai Assarasakornhas been active in the jewellery trade since the 80’s and serves on several leading trade authorities. He is currently the Secretary General of The Thai Chamber of Commerce & Board of Trade of Thailand, President Advisor of The Thai Chamber of Commerce - Committee on Gems and Jewelry, and Vice-President of World Trading Company Limited and Group of Companies. He is a pioneer in promoting the jewellery trade and Thai Commerce, holding various leadership positions including President of The Thai Chamber of Commerce - Committee on Gems and Jewelry from 2003-2011, and President of Thai Gems and Jewelry Traders Association from 2007-2011.

Albert Cheng

World Gold Council - Far East Managing Director

Albert Cheng

World Gold Council - Far East Managing Director

Albert Cheng joined the World Gold Council in 1993 and became Managing Director, Far East, in 2003. His role includes responsibility for all operations in the region.

During his early career in the 1980’s, Albert was with Dentsu, Young and Rubicam, Hong Kong, as a Dentsu Account Director. He subsequently worked for the Royal Canadian Mint, where he was responsible for marketing the Maple Leaf family of bullion products. He helped build the marketing and distribution network in Asia Pacific for the International Olympic Committee, Centennial Coin Programme.

James Courage

Platinum Guild International Chief Executive Officer

James Courage

Platinum Guild International Chief Executive Officer

James Courage’s association with the jewellery business goes back nearly 40 years when he worked for De Beers in corporate PR before joining the De Beers Consumer Marketing Department where he ran diamond marketing programmes in Europe and South Africa before moving to work on the US and Canadian markets.

In 1993 James set up De Beers’ first marketing office outside of London in Hong Kong and spent two years living in the region till he joined Platinum Guild International as Chief Executive in September 1996. Now based in London, he is responsible for the PGI’s global jewellery development.

Vichai Assarasakornhas been active in the jewellery trade since the 80’s and serves on several leading trade authorities. He is currently the Secretary General of The Thai Chamber of Commerce & Board of Trade of Thailand, President Advisor of The Thai Chamber of Commerce - Committee on Gems and Jewelry, and Vice-President of World Trading Company Limited and Group of Companies. He is a pioneer in promoting the jewellery trade and Thai Commerce, holding various leadership positions including President of The Thai Chamber of Commerce - Committee on Gems and Jewelry from 2003-2011, and President of Thai Gems and Jewelry Traders Association from 2007-2011.

Albert Cheng joined the World Gold Council in 1993 and became Managing Director, Far East, in 2003. His role includes responsibility for all operations in the region.

During his early career in the 1980’s, Albert was with Dentsu, Young and Rubicam, Hong Kong, as a Dentsu Account Director. He subsequently worked for the Royal Canadian Mint, where he was responsible for marketing the Maple Leaf family of bullion products. He helped build the marketing and distribution network in Asia Pacific for the International Olympic Committee, Centennial Coin Programme.

James Courage ’s association with the jewellery business goes back nearly 40 years when he worked for De Beers in corporate PR before joining the De Beers Consumer Marketing Department where he ran diamond marketing programmes in Europe and South Africa before moving to work on the US and Canadian markets.

In 1993 James set up De Beers’ first marketing office outside of London in Hong Kong and spent two years living in the region till he joined Platinum Guild International as Chief Executive in September 1996. Now based in London, he is responsible for the PGI’s global jewellery development.

Hidetaka Kato

Tokyo Diamond Exchange Honorary Dean

Hidetaka Kato

Tokyo Diamond Exchange Honorary Dean

Hidetaka Kato is one of Japan’s most recognised jewellery industry experts with a career spanning nearly 6 decades. He is the Honourary Dean of the Tokyo Diamond Exchange, past President of Japan Jewellery Association and past President of All Japan Jewellery Wholesalers Association.

Mr. Kato started his career in 1954 at Mitsuwa Co Ltd, a leading gem and jewellery organisation and he then worked in New York at the Japan External Trade Organisation. In 1960, he entered Kashikei Shoten and was appointed President of Kashikey Co Ltd when the company was created in 1970. He took office as Chairman of Kashikey Co Ltd in 1986 and retired in 2011.

Lin Qiang

Shanghai Diamond Exchange President and Managing Director

Lin Qiang

Shanghai Diamond Exchange President and Managing Director

Lin Qiang was a pioneer in the establishment of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange and has been the bourse’s President and Managing Director since 2000.

He has devoted his career to the management of Shanghai Diamond Exchange, the only official diamond trading platform in Mainland China and the implementations of effective governmental policies for the country’s diamond industry.

Biju Patnaik

ABN AMRO Group Regional Head, Asia, International Diamond & Jewellery Group

Biju Patnaik

ABN AMRO Group Regional Head, Asia, International Diamond & Jewellery Group

Biju Patnaik is currently the Regional Head, Asia, International Diamond & Jewellery Group, ABN AMRO Group and is also the designated Country Executive of ABN AMRO Bank in India. He started his career with the State Bank Group in 1984 and since then has worked in various capacities including corporate and investment banking as well as management of bank branches in India. He has worked as Regional Manager, Asia for ID&JG for both ABN AMRO Group & RBS.

Hidetaka Kato is one of Japan’s most recognised jewellery industry experts with a career spanning nearly 6 decades. He is the Honourary Dean of the Tokyo Diamond Exchange, past President of Japan Jewellery Association and past President of All Japan Jewellery Wholesalers Association.

Mr. Kato started his career in 1954 at Mitsuwa Co Ltd, a leading gem and jewellery organisation and he then worked in New York at the Japan External Trade Organisation. In 1960, he entered Kashikei Shoten and was appointed President of Kashikey Co Ltd when the company was created in 1970. He took office as Chairman of Kashikey Co Ltd in 1986 and retired in 2011.

Lin Qiang was a pioneer in the establishment of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange and has been the bourse’s President and Managing Director since 2000.

He has devoted his career to the management of Shanghai Diamond Exchange, the only official diamond trading platform in Mainland China and the implementations of effective governmental policies for the country’s diamond industry.

Biju Patnaik is currently the Regional Head, Asia, International Diamond & Jewellery Group, ABN AMRO Group and is also the designated Country Executive of ABN AMRO Bank in India. He started his career with the State Bank Group in 1984 and since then has worked in various capacities including corporate and investment banking as well as management of bank branches in India. He has worked as Regional Manager, Asia for ID&JG for both ABN AMRO Group & RBS.

Matthew Runci

Jewelers of America President and Chief Executive Officer

Matthew Runci

Jewelers of America President and Chief Executive Officer

Matthew A. Runci’s primary mission has been to enhance members’ business reputations and preserve consumers’ confidence in the purchase of jewellery since his appointment as President/CEO of Jewelers of America in 1995.

Runci has also directed the development of a variety of responsible business practice initiatives including the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the Clean Diamond Trade Act and the World Diamond Council’s System of Warranties.

Runci has been an active member of the jewellery industry for the past 30 years. Prior to his arrival at Jewelers of America, he served as president and CEO of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America.

Wilson Yuen

International Colored Gemstone Association President

Wilson Yuen

International Colored Gemstone Association President

Wilson K.W. Yuen is the president of the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA). A member of ICA since 1987, Yuen has served on its board since 2005, chairing its China Task Force, and was instrumental in opening up the Chinese market to the global gem trade.

Beginning his gemstone career in 1971 as a cutter, he established his own business, Able Lapidary & Jewelry Ltd, in Hong Kong in 1979.

Letitia Chow Mei Lai

Chair of Judges

Letitia Chow Mei Lai

Chair of Judges

Chair of Judges

Letitia Chow Mei Lai, Founder of JNA, is the Director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at UBM Asia. Letitia started her affiliation with the jewellery industry since 1980 when she was appointed Executive-in-Charge of the De Beers Diamond Promotion Service in Southeast Asia.

In 1983, she co-founded Jewellery News Asia, which became part of the UBM Group in 1994. Since then, the jewellery trade magazine expanded into a portfolio of trade publications and events, including the Chinese edition of JNA, SILVERSTYLES, online products, trade directories, show dailies, and award events.

Matthew A. Runci’s primary mission has been to enhance members’ business reputations and preserve consumers’ confidence in the purchase of jewellery since his appointment as President/CEO of Jewelers of America in 1995.

Runci has also directed the development of a variety of responsible business practice initiatives including the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the Clean Diamond Trade Act and the World Diamond Council’s System of Warranties.

Runci has been an active member of the jewellery industry for the past 30 years. Prior to his arrival at Jewelers of America, he served as president and CEO of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America.

Wilson K.W. Yuen is the president of the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA). A member of ICA since 1987, Yuen has served on its board since 2005, chairing its China Task Force, and was instrumental in opening up the Chinese market to the global gem trade.

Beginning his gemstone career in 1971 as a cutter, he established his own business, Able Lapidary & Jewelry Ltd, in Hong Kong in 1979.

Chair of Judges

Letitia Chow Mei Lai, Founder of JNA, is the Director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at UBM Asia. Letitia started her affiliation with the jewellery industry since 1980 when she was appointed Executive-in-Charge of the De Beers Diamond Promotion Service in Southeast Asia.

In 1983, she co-founded Jewellery News Asia, which became part of the UBM Group in 1994. Since then, the jewellery trade magazine expanded into a portfolio of trade publications and events, including the Chinese edition of JNA, SILVERSTYLES, online products, trade directories, show dailies, and award events.

Gem Expert Advisors to the Panel of Judges

Susy Gübelin

Gübelin Gem Lab

Susy Gübelin

Gübelin Gem Lab

Susy Gübelin has been with the Gübelin Gem Lab for more than 25 years and she has vast expertise in all types of gemstones, and has had the privilege of analysing considerable numbers of the rarest and most famous gemstones over the years. Amongst many exceptional colored gemstones that achieved record prices at auction, she has tested a double-digit number of D / IF diamonds above 100 carats, as well as pearls of historic importance such as La Régente and the Hutton Pearls.

Thomas M. Moses

GIA Senior Vice President, Laboratory and Research

Thomas M. Moses

GIA Senior Vice President, Laboratory and Research

Thomas M. Moses is one of the world’s most respected and accomplished gemologists. Mr. Moses earned his Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) diploma at GIA’s West Los Angeles campus in 1976. He went on to work for his family’s jewelry business, and then the GIA Laboratory in Santa Monica. In 1986, he joined GIA’s New York Laboratory and in 1988 was appointed as the Laboratory’s Vice President of Identification Services. In 2003, he was named vice president of Identification and Research services and in November 2002, he received the Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement. Mr. Moses has headed some of GIA’s most critical identification and research projects and co-authored many articles for the Institute’s award-winning journal, Gems & Gemology. In October 2005, he was named Senior Vice President of the GIA Laboratory and Research. Two years later, he was awarded the eighth annual American Gem Society (AGS) Triple Zero Award.

Susy Gübelin has been with the Gübelin Gem Lab for more than 25 years and she has vast expertise in all types of gemstones, and has had the privilege of analysing considerable numbers of the rarest and most famous gemstones over the years. Amongst many exceptional colored gemstones that achieved record prices at auction, she has tested a double-digit number of D / IF diamonds above 100 carats, as well as pearls of historic importance such as La Régente and the Hutton Pearls.

Thomas M. Moses is one of the world’s most respected and accomplished gemologists. Mr. Moses earned his Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) diploma at GIA’s West Los Angeles campus in 1976. He went on to work for his family’s jewelry business, and then the GIA Laboratory in Santa Monica. In 1986, he joined GIA’s New York Laboratory and in 1988 was appointed as the Laboratory’s Vice President of Identification Services. In 2003, he was named vice president of Identification and Research services and in November 2002, he received the Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement. Mr. Moses has headed some of GIA’s most critical identification and research projects and co-authored many articles for the Institute’s award-winning journal, Gems & Gemology. In October 2005, he was named Senior Vice President of the GIA Laboratory and Research. Two years later, he was awarded the eighth annual American Gem Society (AGS) Triple Zero Award.

Headline Partners

Honoured Partners