|With the business flourishing and his daughters joining the enterprise, Roland began nurturing another love, which quickly grew into a passion – public service. He was one of the founding organisers of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), and served as its President from 1983 through 1985. He also was Chairman of AGTA’s Industry Rules Committee for 12 years, and for two years served on the Board of Governors of the AGTA Gemological Testing Center.
In 1984, Roland was a founding organiser of the International Coloured Stone Association (ICA), first serving as Chairman of its organizing committee and then as its Founding President from 1985 through 1989.
In 1989 he was the founding organiser and first Chairman of the Gemstone Industry & Laboratory Conference (GILC), which is dedicated to harmonising terminology provided on reports by leading gemmological laboratories.
Roland was elected to the Board of Governors of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in 2001, and served the body for 12 years. He was also Chairman of the GIA’s coloured gemstone advisory and museum committees.
Joining CIBJO as a U.S. representative, Roland held a variety of roles over a period of about a quarter of a century, among them Vice President, Sector A President, member of the Board of Directors, Executive Committee and President’s Council, and President and Vice President of the Coloured Stone Commission.
His presence on every CIBJO body was substantial, but it was possibly as Sector A President where his mark on the gem and jewellery industry will be the most indelible. Expanding the sector’s scope of activity from diamonds, coloured gemstones and pearls, to include precious corals and gemmological laboratories, he oversaw a continuously growing and working enterprise that brings together gemmologists, gem professionals, academics and industry leaders. Its work forms the basis of standards adopted across the globe, and are ensconced into various national laws and regulations, and are accepted by courts that adjudicate disputes in a variety of countries. During his term in office, two ISO standards related to jewellery were adopted by the International Organisation for Standardisation, largely based on work done within the CIBJO Diamond Commission, under Roland’s supervision and leadership.
“The term ‘an industry giant’ is often over-used, but in Roland’s case it is an understatement,” said CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri. “His contribution to our community is immense, beginning with coloured gemstones, his first love, but spreading to every facet and corner of what we do. He stood at my side for every year of my presidency, and what has been achieved over the entire period is to his credit as well. I mourn the loss not only of a mentor, advisor and confidant, but of a close personal friend, who was more of a brother.”