Industry experts tapped to judge 2015 JNA Awards

Industry experts tapped to judge 2015 JNA Awards

James Courage, Albert Cheng, Lin Qiang, Nirupa Bhatt and Yasukazu Suwa
invited to sit on selection panel

 HONG KONG, 4 May 2015 – The JNA Awards is pleased to announce that some of the most respected names in the jewellery and gemstone industry will form the independent judging panel this year. Three of the industry’s most recognised names will continue on in their roles as judges since the event’s launch in 2012. They are James Courage, Chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC); Albert Cheng, Managing Director of the World Gold Council, Far East (WGC); and Lin Qiang, President and Managing Director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE). Nirupa Bhatt, Managing Director of GIA India and the Middle East, is returning as a judge for the third consecutive year, and Yasukazu Suwa, Chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc, is joining the panel for the first time.

The JNA Awards honours companies and individuals that have demonstrated excellence and innovation in the jewellery and gemstone industry, with a focus on their accomplishments in the Asian region.

The judging process for the JNA Awards is independent, robust, transparent and intellectually rigorous. The selection panel consists of a group of distinguished individuals who are widely recognised for their expertise and insights into specific industry segments, and represent regions that are key to the jewellery and gemstone trade.

(From left) James Courage, Chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council; Albert Cheng, Managing Director of the World Gold Council, Far East; Lin Qiang, President and Managing Director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange; Nirupa Bhatt, Managing Director of GIA India and the Middle East; and Yasukazu Suwa, Chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc.

“We are truly grateful to have such a distinguished group of experts on this year’s judging panel. We look forward to working with them in recognising and identifying unique business models, innovative ideas and exceptional visions,” said Letitia Chow, Founder of JNA and Director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at UBM Asia.

RJC’s Courage commented, “Participation in the judging process for the last three years has provided me with a real insight into the dynamics of the jewellery business and how, in many areas, the industry is a pioneer in the use of technology, in the application of social media and web platforms for business and communications, and in social responsibility and CSR along the supply chain – something close to my role as Chairman of the RJC. I am fortunate that in my extensive travels, I have been able to witness change on the ground and to learn, at first hand, of the respect in which the JNA Awards is held across Asia. I am honoured to have been invited to be a judge for the JNA Awards 2015.” Courage has been involved in the jewellery industry for many decades as PGI’s CEO until this year, as Chairman of RJC, and with many years of international experience with De Beers in the 80s and 90s.

“It is my greatest pleasure to join other respected leaders from the industry in the JNA Awards 2015 judging panel. I value the experience and knowledge that I have gained as a judge of the JNA Awards for the past three years, and I look forward to seeing more qualified entries and first-time entrants sharing their best business practices and innovative approaches to advance the development of the trade,” WGC’s Cheng said. Cheng joined the WGC regional office in Singapore in March 1993 as Regional Manager for planning and business development in the Far East. In 2003, he was appointed to his current role with responsibility for operations in the entire region.

Lin of SDE remarked, “Having been part of the awards since its inception four years ago, it is extremely encouraging to see it gain international recognition within the industry and grow in size in terms of both entries and attendees over such a short period of time. I am deeply honoured to be invited once again as a judge in this industry-wide event.” Since 2000, Lin has been the President and Managing Director of SDE, the only official diamond trading platform in mainland China, which leads the implementation of an effective government policy for the country’s diamond industry.

“I am pleased to participate in this important industry event as a member of the judging panel. The awards judging process is important since it encourages businesses to get to the next level. It is an honour to share valuable insights on outstanding industry practices with distinguished experts from the business community,” commented Bhatt, who has received several global honours for her contributions to the gemstone and jewellery industry. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, and Gem and Jewellery Skill Council of India, as well as an invitee to the marketing committee of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council in India.

Suwa of Suwa & Son added, “I am honoured to be invited to serve as a judge for the 2015 JNA Awards and to work with such a prestigious group. For an event of such high standards and quality, I anticipate that the judging process will not be an easy task, but I look forward to approaching it with an open mind. We hope that this year’s awards will continue to inspire members of the industry to strive for excellence and to share the passion we have for the jewellery industry.” Suwa is chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc, a Japanese gemstone dealer business established in 1908. He was the first Japanese national to earn his Graduate Gemologist certification from the GIA in 1965.

The JNA Awards will culminate with a ceremony and gala dinner on Sunday, 20 September, at the Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong, which will be held on the sidelines of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair 2015. The Awards is led by Rio Tinto Diamonds and Chow Tai Fook as Headline Partners, with Diarough Group, Gübelin Group, Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies, SDE and Guangdong Land Holdings Limited as Honoured Partners.

For more information about the JNA Awards, visit or contact:

JNA Awards Marketing
UBM Asia (Hong Kong) 
+852 2516-1683
[email protected]