Industry experts return to JNA Awards 2016 judging panel

HONG KONG, 26 April 2016 – The JNA Awards is excited to announce the return of five highly respected names in the international jewellery scene to the judging panel as the Awards celebrates its fifth edition this year.

The JNA Awards is organised by JNA, the flagship jewellery publication of UBM Asia. The annual awards programme recognises and celebrates excellence and achievement in the jewellery and gemstone industry, with a focus on the advancement of the trade in Asia.

An independent panel of distinguished industry leaders and veterans from different countries representing key sectors of the industry is carefully selected to ensure that the judging process is fair, transparent and intellectually rigorous.

The judges for the fifth edition of the JNA Awards are:
- Albert Cheng, Advisor to the World Gold Council, Far East (WGC) 
- James Courage, former Chief Executive of Platinum Guild International (PGI)
- Lin Qiang, President and Managing Director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE)
- Nirupa Bhatt, Managing Director of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in India and the Middle East
- Yasukazu Suwa, Chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc in Japan 

(From left) Albert Cheng, Advisor to the World Gold Council, Far East (WGC); James Courage, former Chief Executive of Platinum Guild International (PGI); Lin Qiang, President and Managing Director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE); Nirupa Bhatt, Managing Director of Gemological Institute
of America (GIA) India and the Middle East; and Yasukazu Suwa, Chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc in Japan.

The judging panel will be chaired by Letitia Chow, Founder of JNA and Director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at UBM Asia Ltd. “The JNA Awards is celebrating a five-year milestone this year, and it is my greatest pleasure to invite back this group of distinguished experts to our judging panel.  This year stands to be more challenging than before since we are anticipating a record number of entries, requiring even more attention and expertise from our judges,” Chow remarked.  

Albert Cheng, Advisor to the WGC and former Managing Director of WGC – Far East, said, “I am honoured to be appointed as one of the members of the judging panel again. This is my fifth year into this role and I can see a gradual improvement in the quality and number of participants. 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.”

James Courage commented, “My engagement in the judging process over four years has, alongside my broad knowledge of the jewellery markets given me a closer understanding of the evolving changes in the international jewellery industry and the leadership many companies and organisations have demonstrated. In recent years I have had the opportunity to see much of this change at first hand.

“The JNA Awards has become widely recognised as pioneers and I am honoured to have been invited to be a judge again for the JNA Awards 2016.” Courage has been involved in the jewellery industry for many decades as a former Chief Executive of PGI and former Chairman of Responsible Jewellery Council, and with many years of international experience with De Beers.

“I feel very honoured to have been invited to take part in the JNA Awards judging panel for the fifth consecutive year. Despite challenges posed to the jewellery industry, I believe that the industry can grow and prosper by encouraging continuous innovation and management improvement, like what the JNA Awards has always promoted. It is my pleasure to be able to share my experiences and knowledge with other industry experts as a way to contribute to the advancement of the trade,” Lin Qiang, President and Managing Director of the SDE, remarked.

Three of the above-mentioned experts have committed to their judging role since the inauguration of the Awards in 2012.

Returning as a judge for the fourth consecutive year, Nirupa Bhatt, Managing Director of the GIA in India and the Middle East, commented, “I am very honoured to be associated with the JNA Awards and to contribute to efforts to raise industry standards. The prestigious event has gained in stature with increased involvement from many outstanding businesses since its inception in 2012. The significant efforts of the JNA team to reach industry members across Asia have helped heighten interest in innovation and progress within the jewellery sector.”

Yasukazu Suwa, Chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc, added, “It is indeed my honour to be invited again to join the judging panel this year.  Last year marked my first time as a judge and I was impressed by the quality of the entrants, the professionalism of the organiser and the mission of the JNA Awards. It brings me great pleasure to be in a room with colleagues and peers who all share the same passion and positive energy I have for this industry.”

The JNA Awards 2016 has Rio Tinto Diamonds and Chow Tai Fook (CTF) as its Headline Partners, with Diarough Group, Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies (IDI), Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE), and Guangdong Land Holdings Limited (GDLAND) serving as Honoured Partners.

The JNA Awards 2016 is now accepting entries and interested parties can access the entry forms on the JNA Awards official website. Due to the high level of interest among first-time entrants, the organiser has extended the deadline to 23:59 (Hong Kong time) of 8 May 2016. The judging process will commence immediately after the deadline until mid-June.

The Honourees or shortlisted entrants will be announced on 23 June at a press conference held on the first day of the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, and will be feted together with the Recipients or winners on 14 September at the JNA Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner during the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.

For more information, visit or contact:
JNA Awards Marketing
UBM Asia (Hong Kong)
+852 2516-2184
[email protected]


Notes for Editors:

1.      About JNA (

JNA is the organiser of the JNA Awards and is the flagship publication of UBM Asia’s Jewellery Group. First published in 1983, the title is the leader in providing up-to-date international jewellery trade news with an Asian insight. It features original, in-depth reports by experienced journalists covering the latest developments in the diamond, pearl, coloured gemstone, jewellery manufacturing, and equipment and supplies sectors.


2.      About the Headline Partners

2.1 Rio Tinto Diamonds (

Rio Tinto Diamonds is one of the world’s major producers of rough diamonds and operates a fully integrated diamond exploration, mining and marketing business.


For over three decades, the company has been an important participant in the international diamond market with two world class underground diamond mines in Australia (Argyle) and Canada (Diavik) and an advanced diamond project in India (Bunder).
Rio Tinto Diamonds’ production is sorted and prepared for sale at its sales and marketing office in Antwerp, Belgium, supported by a network of representative offices in Hong Kong, Mumbai and New York. It also operates a niche cutting and polishing factory in Perth, Australia for the rare pink diamonds from its Argyle mine. Rio Tinto Diamonds is a leading supporter of the Kimberley Process, as well as a founding member of the Responsible Jewellery Council and the Diamond Producers Association.


2.2 Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Limited (

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Limited (Stock Code: 1929) is a world-class leading jeweller listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in December 2011, and has become the largest jeweller listed in Hong Kong by market capitalisation.


The iconic brand "Chow Tai Fook" of the Group has been widely recognised for its trustworthiness and authenticity, and renowned for product design, quality and value. The acquisition of Hearts On Fire, an internationally acclaimed U.S. luxury diamond brand, in August 2014 has further underpinned the Group's stature as a diamond expert in the industry.


The Group boasts an extensive retail network comprising over 2,300 Chow Tai Fook and Hearts On Fire stores spanning more than 500 cities in Greater China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and the United States, as well as a strong and fast growing e-tail network through operating its Chow Tai Fook e-Shops and various e-tail accounts on other online shopping platforms.


The Group’s sophisticated vertically integrated business model provides it with an effective and tight control over the entire operation chain from raw material procurement, design, production, to marketing and sales through its extensive POS and e-tail channels.


3.      About the Honoured Partners

3.1 Diarough Group (

Diarough Group was established in Antwerp in 1975 and owns diamond polishing factories in China, India, Thailand and Botswana, with a network of sales offices around the world. Diarough is known among the most professional and respected names in the international diamond industry.


Diarough believes in building and nurturing long-term business relationships based on mutual trust, finding solutions to business and marketing problems, creating marketable opportunities through innovative products and providing excellent client services.


Its jewellery manufacturing unit Uni-Design has produced many award-winning jewellery pieces, which have been proudly worn by celebrities on the red carpet over the years.


The Group employs over 3,500 people and is engaged in a wide range of diamond business activities like rough trading, cutting, polishing, jewellery manufacturing and marketing to retailers, chain stores, global brands and private labels worldwide. Diarough employs advanced technology and modern work speed with traditional ethical business practices upon which the Company was founded.


            3.2 Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies ( 
The Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies (IDI) is a non-profit, public interest company representing all institutions involved in the Israeli Diamond Industry. Israel is one of the world’s leading diamond centres and IDI works to enhance Israel’s position as a major trading and manufacturing hub.
IDI works to benefit Israel’s diamond industry in a variety of areas including:  marketing and PR, technological innovation, encouraging local manufacturing, training, and security consulting. IDI seeks out new markets for Israeli diamonds and develops existing ones.  As part of this effort, IDI organises industry participation in major trade fairs around the world, establishing Israeli Diamond Pavilions and sponsoring events at these shows.

            IDI operates a representative office in Hong Kong, which fosters trade relations with Asian markets.


3.3 Shanghai Diamond Exchange (

Authorised by the State Council, the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE) is the only diamond exchange in China and provides diamond dealers a fair and safe transaction venue under close supervision. It also enjoys a favourable taxation policy and is operated in accordance with international best practices of the diamond industry.


Established in 2000, the SDE is a non-profit, self-regulating membership organisation and a member of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.


3.4 The Guangdong Land Holdings Limited (

The Guangdong Land Holdings Limited (GDLAND), with its headquarters in Hong Kong, is listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, and is a subsidiary of GDH Limited, which is Guangdong Province’s largest conglomerate operating outside Mainland China.


The principal business of GDLAND is property development and investment, including but not limited to the development and operational management of the innovative commercial real estate, urban complex and industrial business complex. As the strategic arm of GDH Limited, GDLAND engages in the business development of commercial real estate, as well as the projects of urban and industrial complex.


GDLAND’s flagship project, namely the “Buxin Project”, is planned to become the biggest and most advanced jewellery mart in the world, including a large-scale jewellery trading and exhibition centre along with other facilities, with a lot size of over 87,000 square metres and the construction scale (floor area) is expected to be more than 700,000 square metres. The Buxin Project, which is located in the Buxin area of Luohu district in Central Shenzhen, close to the Shuibei Gold and Jewellery Base, is expected to develop the area into one of the most influential gold and jewellery trading and exchange platforms in China and around the world.


4.      About UBM Asia (

Owned by UBM plc listed on the London Stock Exchange, UBM Asia is the largest trade show organiser in Asia and the largest commercial organiser in China, India and Malaysia. Established with its headquarters in Hong Kong and subsidiary companies across Asia and in the US, UBM Asia has a strong global presence in 24 major cities with 32 offices and 1,300 staff.


With a track record spanning over 30 years, UBM Asia operates in 19 market sectors with 230 events, 28 targeted trade publications, 18 round-the-clock online products for over 2,000,000 quality exhibitors, visitors, conference delegates, advertisers and subscribers from all over the world. We provide a one-stop diversified global service for high-value business matching, quality market news and online trading networks.


UBM Asia has extensive office networks in China, Southeast Asia and India, three of the world’s fastest growing B2B events markets. UBM China has 12 offices in the major cities in mainland China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Guzhen and Shenzhen, where we organise 90 events. In ASEAN, UBM Asia operates from its offices in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines with 70 events in this region. UBM India teams in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai organise over 20 events every year across the country.
UBM Asia was awarded ‘Asia’s Most Reliable Trade Show Organizer Award’ in Hong Kong’s Most Valuable Companies Awards (HKMVCA) 2016.