Industry heavyweights to sit on JNA Awards 2012 judging panel

Industry heavyweights to sit on JNA Awards 2012 judging panel
James Courage, Matthew Runci, Albert Cheng and Wilson Yuen to serve as judges

HONG KONG, April 3, 2012. Jewellery News Asia (, organiser of the prestigious JNA Awards, is proud to present an international panel of judges comprising some of the most illustrious names in the gemstone and jewellery industry. The JNA Awards is now open for entries.

(From left to right) Albert Cheng, MD of World Gold Council – Far East, James Courage, CEO of Platinum Guild International, Matthew Runci, President & CEO of Jewelers of America, and Wilson Yuen, President of International Colored Gemstone Association

Industry leaders – Rio Tinto, Chow Tai Fook, Robert Wan Tahiti, Israel Diamond Institute and the Shanghai Diamond Exchange– have also recently been named JNA Awards 2012 ( partners.

These international leaders come with a vast amount of experience and are well-respected within the trade.

The panel consists of:

Albert Cheng, Managing Director, World Gold Council – Far East

James Courage, Chief Executive Officer, Platinum Guild International UK Ltd

Matthew Runci, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jewelers of America

Wilson Yuen, President, International Colored Gemstone Association

Letitia Chow, Founder of Jewellery News Asia and Director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at UBM Asia, will serve as the Chair of the judging panel. “It is exciting to have these authoritative leaders representing various sectors of the industry and different corners of the world serving as judges in our inaugural event,” Chow said. “It is important that the process is robust, transparent and intellectually rigorous.”

Albert Cheng, Managing Director of World Gold Council (WGC) – Far East, commented, “I am delighted to be invited to join the panel of judges for the inaugural JNA Awards initiated by Jewellery News Asia, an influential regional publication in the jewellery industry. I sincerely wish the Awards great success.” Cheng joined the WGC regional office in Singapore in March 1993 as Regional Manager for Planning and Business Development – Far East. In 2003, he was appointed Managing Director of WGC – Far East, responsible for the council’s entire operations in the region.

James Courage, Chief Executive Officer of Platinum Guild International (PGI), added, “I am honoured to have been invited to participate in the JNA Awards, an innovative event recognising achievements across a wide range of categories in the jewellery industry in Asia. I have been privileged to have both lived in the region and worked in many Asian markets over the last 18 years.” Courage’s association with the jewellery business goes back almost 40 years when he started at De Beers and joined PGI as Chief Executive in September 1996. Now based in London, he is responsible for PGI’s global jewellery development.

Matthew Runci, President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelers of America (JA), said the JNA Awards has come at an opportune time. “With Asian markets setting the pace for the entire world of jewellery, the JNA Awards provides a remarkable and timely opportunity to showcase the very best the industry has to offer in the realm of innovation, design and quality. We are proud to be associated with this initiative,” Runci said. Since his appointment as President and CEO of JA in 1995, Runci’s objective has been to enhance the professionalism of member retail jewellery businesses to reinforce consumers’ confidence in the purchase of fine jewellery and watches. He is also a founding member of the Responsible Jewellery Council, and has served as Chairman of the Board since 2005.  

Wilson K.W. Yuen, Managing Director of Able Lapidary & Jewelry Ltd in Hong Kong, is the current 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 in 1979. “The JNA Awards sends out a very positive message to the jewellery and gemstone industry on excellence, responsibility and contribution,” he said. “At the same time, it creates much excitement and enthusiasm within the trade. I fully support the event and am flattered to serve as one of the judges.”

The JNA Awards is an industry-wide event that honours and recognises excellence and achievement in the Asian jewellery trade. The Awards ceremony and gala dinner will be held on September 20, 2012, during the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. The event, the first of its kind in Asia, is organised by Jewellery News Asia( of UBM Asia in collaboration with UBM Awards.

The competition is open for entries from now until May 4. Interested parties may obtain details on the award categories, rules of entry, judging criteria and judging process by logging on to Entry forms are available online.

JNA Award Categories:

  • –  Manufacturer of the Year
  • –  Retailer of the Year
  • –  Employer of the Year
  • –  Brand of the Year
  • –  Industry Innovation of the Year – Manufacturing
  • –  Industry Innovation of the Year – Retail
  • –  Sustainability Initiative of the Year
  • –  Young Leader of the Year (Age 30 or below)
  • –  3 Decades of Excellence Award
  • –  Outstanding Contribution to the Industry of the Year
  • –  Lifetime Achievement Award
  • –  Wonder of the World Award


Jewellery News Asia, first published in 1983, is the flagship magazine of UBM Asia’s ( Jewellery Group. The publication is a leader in providing the latest industry updates and in-depth reports, covering the international jewellery trade with an Asia insight. Following its success, the publication launched its online edition, in June 2011.