Richard Garard Steps Down as President of IGDA




Richard Garard is stepping down as president of the International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA), which he helped found in 2016.

Joanna Park-Tonks, the founder of lab-grown diamond brand Chelsea Rocks, has been named the group’s new president, with M. Geller’s chief operating officer Louis Price serving as vice president.

Both positions are permanent and unpaid.

The group will continue to be based in Garard’s offices in Morrisville, North Carolina, and Garard will continue to serve on the Board of Directors.

Prior to founding her lab-grown brand, Park-Tonks worked at management consulting firm Accenture, Christie’s, De Beers Diamond Jewelers, and De Beers’ diamond information center and central sales organization.

Park-Tonks told JCK that the lab-grown “industry needs to move from a commercial state to a professional state.” “I want to bring people together with a shared clear vision and shared purpose.”

Their main goal is to stop the “value erosion” of lab-grown produce.

“It’s not a dominant position when we’re flooding the market with cheap, mass-produced products and insisting on comparing ourselves to Rapaport’s prices,” she said. “I want to work really hard to improve the luxury cache of synthetic diamonds. We can’t just describe lab-grown diamonds in cold technical terms, but focus on why people buy diamonds, whether they are mined or lab-grown. ”

Citing her past experience with De Beers and Christie’s, she said she has “no connection” with those who bash diamond mining and want “respect” for the industry.

“I think the conversation has changed…I don’t want to belittle the conversation with anyone, especially all our fellow diamond miners. I know how they’ve tried to change the conversation. We need to see each other as cousins and build peers relation.”

She hopes to attract more retailers and equipment makers to the group, which has been short on funds.

Park-Tonks also hopes to eventually implement an audit process to ensure members are adhering to the organization’s standards.

“We wanted to ask the question: what does it mean to be an IGDA member?” she said.

Garard said in an email that Park-Tonks wants to focus on the “three R’s”: representation, relationships and research (“disseminating information about and marketing lab-grown diamonds to retailers and consumers fairly, honestly and accurately”) Insight”). ).

Chelsea Rocks is currently based in Vienna, but Park-Tonks said she would move to the UK to manage the group. She also hopes to host a networking event for members in London next year.