Trade Organisations

Women’s Jewellery Network closes permanently

The Women’s Jewellery Network (WJN) has confirmed its immediate closure after founder Victoria McKay announced her decision to step down. 

It comes as McKay said she was unable to dedicate the time needed to run the network, with other board members unable to take over the role due to other commitments. 

In an open letter first published on The Jewellery Cut, McKay wrote: “The world has changed a lot over the past several months and, like everyone else, we’re adapting with it. Not least, changes in my work life mean I no longer have capacity to lead WJN.

“At board level, after much soul searching and debate, myself, Nyasha Pitt, Kathryn Bishop and Rachael Taylor have come to recognise that our efforts could be invested in strengthening our individual abilities to create impact. For WJN to do the work it needs to be doing, it would need to commercialise outputs to afford to pay us a living wage. For us, it has never been about the money.”

She added: “Fill the gap that the WJN is leaving. The race should be on to now create a meaningful, radical and future-facing organisation. The jewellery industry absolutely has institutions and organisations with considerable resources that could drive real positive change. 

“We all really hope that someone else will step up and be counted; rise to this challenge with a holistic, inclusive and progressive vision. Moreover, WJN has worked with, championed and supported some of the brightest women and men in the industry. They are the disrupters, change-makers and thought leaders. They should be the ones to steer the future now.”

According to McKay, Bishop and Taylor will continue to invest in “creative and career-focused” initiatives that support talent across the jewellery industry, whilst undertaking personal activity to “support and promote greater diversity in industry”.

Bishop will continue her voluntary work supporting inclusion in the trade trade through her role as vice-chair of the Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council, and as a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. 

She will also support black jewellers in the UK as a pro-bono mentor for members of the Black Jewellers Network, established by Kassandra Lauren Gordon. In addition, Taylor will continue her work as a journalist.

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