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News Release: JVA Celebrates Successful Inaugural In-Person Conference

Key Points

  • The JVA welcomes over 120 attendees from across the globe for the first in-person JVA Conference since the Association’s formation in 2019.
  • The event took place at Loughborough University’s Holywell Conference Centre from Friday 10 – Sunday 12 September with a packed schedule of main presentations and hands-on workshops.
  • Friday evening saw donations of JVA Valuer of the Year Award from Steve Carson and JVA Student Award from Heather McPherson.
  • Saturday evening raised over £2000 for the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) in a charity raffle dinner.

The Jewellery Valuers Association (JVA) celebrated a successful first in-person conference at Loughborough University’s Holywell Park Conference Centre from Friday 10 – Sunday 12 September. The first physical conference since the Association’s formation in 2019 and the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020.

Over three days the JVA invited over 120 guests from across the globe to participate in a packed schedule of main presentations and hands-on workshops, covering topics from 18th Century Jewellery to the role of melée, mining, and ethics in the trade.

In a programme developed by JVA Membership Secretary Shirley Mitchell and brand specialist Elaine Ruddie, Friday began with the discovery of treasures found in Geoffrey Munn’s half a century working as a jewellery and antiques specialist, and, after an intensive afternoon of specially selected workshops, was rounded off by Kerry Gregory’s lesson on how not to do gemmology.

Friday evening celebrated student and member’s success with the presentation of two special donations to the JVA in a special dinner event. The first was an award commissioned and donated by Heather McPherson and created by students on the HND course in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Birmingham City University’s (BCU) famous School of Jewellery – and designed specifically to celebrate future JVA Students. This was followed by the donation of a silver presentation dish to be awarded to the JVA Valuer the of Year, awarded by Steve Carson FJVA (Ret).

Saturday followed with appearances from Charles Evans, Steve Carson and Sarah Caldwell Steele covering topics from an in-depth study of 1920’s and 30’s jewellery design to Whitby Jet – before an evening charity dinner in support of the Royal Osteoporosis Society. Over the course of the evening attendees won prizes from a diamond macle with a garnet inclusion to tickets for a Harlequins rugby game and an adrenaline-fueled race-day, raising £2,200 for osteoporosis awareness in the process.

The final day of the conference packed in four main presentations from Rui Galopim de Carvalho, Susi Smither, Çiğdem Lüle and John Benjamin, running through technical topics such as colour perception in gemmology or facing ethical issues in becoming a Fairtrade gold licensee. Guests were then invited to a final evening meal to congratulate all the great speakers, workshop leaders and JVA employees and committee who made the event possible.

Students and specialists alike reacted to the weekend’s events with overwhelming positivity. “What a weekend”, was just one piece of feedback from Jennifer Gait when asked about her experience of the conference. Jennifer, a JVA Student member and Gem-A Diploma student, went on to say: “The JVA conference was an eclectic mix of industry professionals with a shared attitude to learning and friendly individuals who are generous with their knowledge. As a student, this is the best combination for learning, within moments of arriving I'd already made new 'gem friends', from sharing taxis at the station to sitting next to someone new at dinner. The JVA promotes an inclusive, social environment which makes networking effortless and most of all FUN.”

Whilst another student member of the JVA, Melissa Lee-Patrick FGA CPAA AJP, said: “As a student valuer this was my first conference and I was pleased to be so warmly welcomed into such a group of incredible professionals and immerse myself in their wisdom and experience. The key speakers were all so very engaging and personable and the workshops presented a real opportunity to get hands on with equipment and materials which I would be unable to access in such volume and without such sage guidance. The only issue I had with the workshops is not having enough time to sign up for them all!

What made this conference for me was the efforts of the committee (especially the indefatigable Shirley Mitchell) and members to make me and other newcomers feel so much part of the events. This event will be a firm fixture in my calendar in the future.”

The Conference was a hit with students and valuers alike, with one valuer, Raymond Morath-Gibbs FGA DGA saying: “As a new valuer the other members and attendees gave me a real sense of belonging. Being able to rub shoulders with so many of your peers and other like-minded people I left me completely motivated. I genuinely believe becoming a member of the JVA is one of the best and most important decisions of my career. The JVA conference has only enhanced this decision.”

Clare Blatherwick, JVA Committee Member and one of the organisers of the conference said: “The JVA conference at Loughborough University was attended by over 120 industry professionals, comprised 9 lectures and over 30 workshops by leaders in the field of jewellery and watches and allied disciplines. But it wasn’t about the numbers, it was about people. It ushered in the very welcome return of in-person peer to peer and old friend to old friend networking. With incredible feedback from both UK and international delegates, I don’t doubt it was a valuable experience from the points of view of education, business development and the reinvigoration of social dynamics. I can’t wait for the next one!”

For more information visit JVA website for the full JVA Conference report and to sign-up for updates on next year’s event: https://thejva.org/. To find out how you could become a JVA member, please contact membership@thejva.org.