Rio Grande honored the winners of its 17th annual Saul Bell Design Award at a celebration dinner held during the Santa Fe Symposium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. First- and second-place winners were recognized in eight categories, as was an overall Best of Show winner. Winners can be found at saulbellaward.com.
Signet Jewelers Limited has announced the retirement of Stuart Lee, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Lee began his career at Signet as a Director of Gold in the Merchandising department in August 1996. He went on to become the Director of Jared Merchandising & Corporate Watches, helping grow the store brand. He was promoted to vice president of corporate merchandising and later to senior vice president of merchandising, general manager, and executive vice president of merchandising.
Adam Graham, director of sales and marketing at Omi Gems in Huntington Beach, California, received the Sallie Morton Award, which recognizes the contribution of individuals who have gone over and above in their service to the American Gem Society, at the annual Conclave in Las Vegas.
The American Gem Society Laboratories in Las Vegas released Only My Diamond, a new online interactive tool designed to provide consumers with information in an engaging way.
New York City–based Virtual Diamond Boutique has introduced a new logo that refers to the diversified offerings available through its "digital storefront" app: searchable diamond, colored gemstone, and jewelry inventories; an imaging system; and a virtual inventory management system.
After establishing a Diamond Lab, Stuller has announced plans to incorporate the following machines to ensure diamond integrity: De Beers Automated Melee Screening Device 2, three advanced analytical spectrometers, the De Beers’ PhosView, the portable D-Screen machine from HRD Laboratories, and the Presidium screener.
Stuller has released its newest tools catalog, Tools, Equipment, and Metals 2017-2018. This 600 page catalog includes more than 750 new products.
Hoover & Strong announced the addition of certified Lab Grown diamonds to its product selection. All stones have a unique laser inscription on the girdle and are accompanied by a certificate.
Adam Neeley, of Laguna Beach, CA, was one of the finalists of the 17th annual Saul Bell Design Awards organized by Rio Grande. His “Aqua Morgana” was chosen in the Gold/Platinum categoryof the international jewelry-making and hollowware competition. Winners will be announced at an awards dinner on May 21, in Albuquerque, NM.
Bazar Group (dba Imperial-Deltah) and Swarovski for Professionals/Crystals & Jewelry Solutions Business have achieved the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) certification by meeting the highest ethical, human rights, social, and environmental standards.
Stuller’s 2017 Bridge conferences will take place June 25-27, July 16-18, Aug. 20-22, Sept. 10-12, and Oct. 15-17. Held at Stuller’s headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana, the conference will feature classes highlighting issues such as understanding industry trends, business planning essentials, inventory management, customer experience, customization technology, and branding and marketing.
Contemporary Jewelry Design Group (CJDG) in association with the COUTURE Show, announced that the inaugural Cindy Edelstein Memorial Charity Auction will go live beginning May 15. This online auction of jewelry donated by CJDG members, auction.cjdg.jewelry, will be open until 4 p.m. on June 3, when the winning bids will be announced at the Wynn Resort. Proceeds will be donated to Jewelers For Children and to the Women’s Jewelry Association’s Cindy Edelstein Scholarship Fund.
Adam Graham, director of sales and marketing at Omi Gems in Huntington Beach, California, was honored at the American Gem Society (AGS) annual Conclave, which was held in April in Las Vegas. He was awarded the Sallie Morton Award that recognizes the contribution of individuals who have gone over and above in their service to the AGS.
Columbia Gem House in Vancouver, Washington, and Sapphires of Montana have united, resulting in Sapphires of Montana by Columbia Gem House. “Since Sapphires of Montana was modeled on the Fair Trade, mine-to-market principals of Columbia Gem House, uniting the brands is a positive next step,” said Lisa Brooks-Pike, co-owner and vice president of sales and marketing for Sapphires of Montana, who will continue with Columbia Gem House as marketing director.
The Jewelers Board of Trade in Warwick, Rhode Island, has announced the election of its board of directors. Ann S. Arnold of Arnold Advisory Group LLC in Norwood, New Jersey, was elected second vice-chairman. Michael Pelto of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. in Neenah, Wisconsin; was newly elected as director and will serve a two-year term.
Stuller Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana, recently hosted its annual Bench Jeweler Workshop, welcoming more than 200 jewelers from across the country to its global headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana. The event featured the second annual Battle of the Benches competition, which pitted four jewelers against each other in a head-to-head contest. Jyothi Forman of Georgies Fine Jewellery in Batemans Bay, Australia, won the Parts and Pieces Challenge and Polishing and Finishing Challenge; she was declared the Overall Winner. Jonathan Smiddy of Acori Diamonds & Design in Friendswood, Texas, won the competition’s CAD and Render Challenge.
The American Gem Society in Las Vegas will honor Myriam Gumuchian, among other leaders in the jewelry industry, at its annual Circle of Distinction dinner in July. Gumuchian, co-owner of Gumuchian in New York City, will be awarded the distinctive AGS Triple Zero Award for her accomplishments and dedication to the fine jewelry industry.
B9Creations in Rapid City, South Dakota, has been nominated for Best Personal 3D Printer of the Year in 3D Printing Industry’s first annual 3D Printing Industry Awards. Voting is currently underway on the company’s website (3dprintingindustry.com), and winners will be announced at an awards dinner in London on May 20.
Signet Jewelers in Akron, Ohio, is planning to open a testing laboratory for synthetic diamond detectors. The company has been working with United Laboratories (UL) for the last nine months to create a facility for vetting the synthetic diamond testing machines. Signet will use devices from the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research, GIA, and HRD Antwerp. In time, Signet and UL will create a benchmark for judging detection machines from around the world.
Hoover & Strong sales director, Larry Bock, presented a seminar on Sourcing Precious Metals & Gemstones Responsibly at the annual Polygon Conclave & Trade Event held April 1st through 3rd in Chicago. This event featured a unique combination of education, networking, and business opportunities, that bring together jewelry industry professionals from around the world. Other seminars included discussion of Synthetic Diamonds: What You Need to Know and Colored Stones Market Trends.
Aucoin Hart Jewelers in Metairie, Louisiana, won a 2017 CASE Award for a pair of diamond and sapphire earrings designed by David White. The earrings, which featured two 8.5 mm pearls, round sapphires, and round brilliant cut diamonds set in 18k white gold, competed in the Jewelry $2,001 to $5,000 category.
Tiffany Stevens has been appointed president and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) in New York City. She succeeds Cecilia Gardner, who served in the position for 18 years. Prior to joining the JVC, Stevens served as the chief operating officer at the Sohn Conference Foundation, which funds pediatric cancer research and medical fellowships. She previously held leadership roles at nonprofits and foundations focused on the environment, education, and the arts. A graduate of the New York University School of Law, she is an active board member of several not-for-profit organizations.
Barbara Wheat has been appointed chief executive officer and president of the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS) in Bangkok. She most recently served as executive vice president of the Natural Color Diamond Association (NCDIA) in New York City. Wheat and AIGS will continue to support NCDIA through educational programs and in developing grading standards for natural color diamonds through the AIGS Lab.
Gumuchian in New York City has been awarded the Made in NY certification, which highlights manufacturers who have shown a commitment to local production and innovation.
Color Merchants Inc., a New York City–based supplier of diamond and colored gemstone jewelry, recently joined The Plumb Club, a coalition of "best in class" manufacturers spanning all sectors of the jewelry, diamond, and watch industries.
The New York Jewelry Design Institute (NYJDI) has launched a new trilogy course to teach business essentials for budding designers. The three courses, spread throughout the year, are: Jewelry Marketing and Branding, Increase Your Jewelry Sales, and the Business of Jewelry Design. For more information about the courses, contact NYJDI 212-777-5393 (JEWEL) or email email@example.com.
The Cultured Pearl Association of America has announced the following members as winners of its 7th annual International Pearl Design Contest:
Orient Award: “Orbital,” Brenda Smith, Woodstock, GA
The Fashion Award: “Skeletal Pearl Collar,” Chelsea Knights, Long Beach, CA
The United States Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA) appointed Jerry Ehrenwald, G.G., A.S.A, president and CEO of the International Gemological Institute (IGI), to its Board of Directors.
Kathryn Sieman joined the executive leadership team of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, assuming the role of chief financial officer and treasurer. She brings more than 20 years of insurance industry experience to her new role, most recently serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer at SECURA Insurance.
Stuller Inc. will be holding its annual Bench Jewelers Workshop March 24-27 at its headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana. The workshop will feature a number of hands-on demonstrations and educational seminars, including working with digitally grown assets, laser training, working with platinum, and polishing and plating. The event will also feature the second annual Battle of the Benches competition.
The Women’s Jewelry Association presented the following members with awards of excellence in the following categories:
Retail (fewer than 15 doors): Jennifer Gandia and Christina Gandia Gambale, Greenwich St. Jewelers, New York City
Sales: Maren Rosen, Stuller Inc., Lafayette, Louisiana
LeachGarner has announced the following structural changes: Joe White has resigned as president effective February 9, 2017. Dennis Ulrich and Dave Meleski are interim co-presidents. Beverly Mouttet has been promoted to senior vice president of Finance and Admin. Joe Esposito took on the position of executive vice president.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), announced the publication of Oscar Heyman: The Jewelers’ Jeweler, an illustrated history of Oscar Heyman & Brothers, a firm that has designed memorable jewelry since 1912. It features photography of vintage and contemporary pieces, as well as design drawings, highlighting Oscar Heyman’s vital contribution to the industry. The book will be available on April 1, 2017.
Riva Precision Manufacturing unveiled a new website and logo—the antlers of a stag that represent wisdom. A diamond is formed from the negative space created between the ten-point antlers. The logo reinforces the company’s dependability and craftsmanship. Riva’s new website, rivaprecision.com, has been revamped with a modern parallax design, providing an easy to navigate overview of the company’s PD and manufacturing capabilities, company culture, and core values. Riva will also present its new look at the MJSA Expo, which runs from March 12-14.
New York Jewelry Design Institute (NYJDI) has hired an internationally recognized fine jewelry designer, Kristin Hanson, to teach a four-session course. Hanson’s class will help identify the source of inspiration needed to make a trademark style. Through concept development, by means of art, structure and form, the lessons will explore the design process. The course will focus on finding the right materials, defining inspiration, and storytelling through a portfolio. Create Your Own Signature Collection will take place every Tuesday from March 28 through April 18 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Rona Fisher, of Rona Fisher Jewelry Design in Philadelphia, PA, will be exhibiting at the JCK Tucson for the first time. The show takes place at the JW Marriott Star Pass Resort, February 1-4, 2017. Fisher’s contemporary jewelry is inspired by nature with complex layers and textures, and characterized by asymmetry use to create balance. She will display her latest collections within JCK Tucson’s Arizona Ballroom at Booth 403.
ROCKET, an industry leader in innovative packaging and display for the retail fine jewelry market, moved its New York City office to a new and expanded business facility at 375 Executive Boulevard, Elmsford, New York in Westchester County. ROCKET, with offices also in California and China, is confident that the new facility will offer their retailers and wholesale jewelry clients an even more efficient and expanded buying experience.
New York Jewelry Design Institute (NYJDI) has hired a visionary artist and photographer, Janusz Kawa, to teach a two-day workshop intended specifically for jewelry designers. Kawa will instruct how to make jewelry stand out in photos, producing a digital product that will appeal to higher-end clients. The lessons will not only develop a designer’s technical skills with a camera and image manipulation in Photoshop and Lightroom, but also enhance their abilities to showcase their designs and creativity in an affordable, yet professional manner. Kawa’s Photography for Jewelry workshop will take place on March 25-26, 2017.
Grunberger Diamonds, the world’s largest producer of Ideal cut melee, is equipped to immediately detect synthetic and man-made diamonds. The diamonds they manufacture will be screened using the latest technology—the HRD M-Screen Plus, starting January 2017. The M-Screen Plus automatically feeds, screens, and then sorts each diamond into two trays, one for natural diamonds and the other for potential lab grown/HPHT color-treated diamonds and stimulants.
Clients can now submit round D-to-Z melee-size diamonds for GIA’s Melee Analysis Service, which separates natural, untreated diamonds from simulants and potentially synthetic or treated diamonds, and sorts the screened diamonds by color range. The cost of the service ranges from 8 to 40 cents (U.S.) per stone based on diameter, with a minimum of 500 pieces in each parcel. Once sorted, the melee is sealed in secure packaging for shipment directly to a third party or back to the submitting client.
Douglas Menefee has joined Stuller as the vice president of business solutions. He will be responsible for the Gemvision and TDM Solutions’ development and support teams. Menefee previously held positions with Schumacher Group and Amazon Web Services. He has received multiple awards for his leadership and foresight, including being recognized among Technology Review’s Top 100 Technology Innovators, and has published articles in CIO Magazine and other notable publications.
The American Gem Society (AGS) has promoted Katherine Bodoh to chief executive officer, effective March 1. Currently the organization’s deputy executive director, Bodoh will succeed Ruth Batson, who will retire at the end of May. Prior to joining AGS, Bodoh was director of commercial lines marketing and industry relations at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.
Paul H. Gesswein & Co. Inc. has promoted Greg Gesswein to the position of president. He is the fourth generation of the Gesswein family to manage the business, replacing his father, Dwight W. Gesswein, who has served as the president since 1993. Dwight Gesswein will retain the position of vice chairman. He will, along with his brother Roger H. Gesswein Jr., Gesswein’s current chairman and CEO, continue to support the company in a broader advisory capacity.
Blue Nile has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an investor group composed of funds managed by Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC. Unanimously approved by Blue Nile’s Board of Director’s, the all-cash deal is valued at approximately $500 million. The transaction is expected to close in the first calendar quarter of 2017. Blue Nile will continue to be headquartered in Seattle, WA.
Richline Group has acquired home sales jewelry company Silpada and plans to refocus the brand around its sterling silver jewelry. The company will retain Silpada’s price points, which range from $30 to $300, and also plans to introduce a new line of jewelry. The founders will no longer be a part of Silpada, which will be operated out of Richline’s East Coast offices.
Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has earned its 30th consecutive A Superior financial strength rating from A.M. Best Company, one of the world’s most respected insurance rating and information sources.
Stuller’s annual Bench Jeweler Workshop, featuring the second annual Battle of the Benches competition, will return to the company’s global headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana, on March 24-26, 2017. The two and a half-day workshop will also host hands-on demonstrations and educational seminars, including Working with Digitally Grown Assets, Diamond Market, Laser Training, Increase Profits with Repair, Working with Platinum, and Polishing and Plating.
Revere Academy announced the winners of Tahitian Pearl Jewelry Design Contest, which challenged graduates to come up with original designs. The contest featured jewelry over $1,000 and under $1,000 retail, with cash awards for the top three entries in each category. Veronica Eckert of Woodinville, WA, grand-prize winner, received a pair of round-trip Air Tahiti Nui tickets to attend the award ceremony in Papeete. Jurors selected winners on the basis of originality, design, marketability, and craftsmanship.
Jewelry over $1,000:
First place, William Robertson, Cedarburg, WI
Second place, Karen Keit, Princeville, HI
Third place, Julie Leyden, Encinitas, CA
Jewelry under $1,000:
First place, Melissa Skarsten, Park City, UT
Second place, Noriko Kawamoto, Cobb, CA
Third place, Cheryl Rouch, San Francisco
Stuller, Inc. is partnering with Dominion Diamond Corporation to introduce CanadaMark melee diamonds to the North American market. The supplier is the first to offer these stones in the U.S. Every batch of CanadaMark melee from Stuller is responsibly mined in Canada’s Northwest Territories, in full compliance with the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct, natural and untreated.
Belle Brooke Barer, owner and eponymous designer of the Belle Brooke jewelry collection, is opening a studio gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on November 5. Barer makes each piece of jewelry using her hands and traditional tools and techniques. Each piece is made with 100 percent recycled metals, and Barer sources all her gemstones and diamonds with concern for sustainability and responsibility. She is also fitting the space with reclaimed wood cases.
Kay Jewelers, Akron, OH, was nominated in the Marketing & Communications category, and Monica Rich Kosann, Fairfield County, CT, was nominated in the GEM Award for Jewelry Design category for the Jewelers of America (JA) GEM Award. The winners will be announced live during the 15th Annual GEM Awards on Friday, January 13, 2017, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York.
Jennifer Gandia and Christina Gandia Gambale of Greenwich St. Jewelers, New York City, were recently honored at the Women’s Jewelry Association’s annual Awards for Excellence gala in the category of Retail (fewer than 15 doors).
Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company’s $2 million donation campaign, "Band Together," came to an end on July 31. The company invited its policyholders and the general public to vote for their favorite cause. On Aug. 1, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital received the Jewelers Mutual $1 million top donation. Habitat for Humanity will receive a donation of $700,000, followed by Feeding America/Food Banks Canada to share $300,000.
The Board of Directors of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee has convened a search committee to identify and hire a president/CEO/general counsel to replace Cecilia Gardner, who will step down from the position in 2017. JVC is seeking an attorney with a minimum of ten years of experience to lead and oversee the membership organization with programs focused on legal compliance.
Retail <15 Doors: Jennifer Gandia & Christina Gandia Gambale, co-owners, Greenwich St. Jewelers, New York City
Sales: Maren Rosen, vice president, merchandising, Stuller Inc., Lafayette, LA
Frank Stankus, the husband and business partner of the late Cindy Edelstein, who owned Jeweler’s Resource Bureau and was a member of WJA’s Board of Directors, and Remy Stankus, their daughter, were named the first recipients of a new WJA Cindy Edelstein Mentorship Award.
Stuller professionals address the challenges independent jewelers around the U.S. face and suggest meaningful choices for their customers. Attendees also get a firsthand look at a variety of products and Stuller’s software options. The fall event schedule includes stops in Minneapolis, MN, on Sept. 25; Seattle, WA, on Oct. 9; and New Orleans, LA, on Oct. 23.
Stonemangems.com, a catalogue for the trade only, allows clients to access a full range of diversified colored gemstones.
John F. Allen & Son, a wholesale distributor of rhinestones, beads and components to the fashion and craft industries, is sponsoring Rhode Island-based artist Kent Stetson in conjunction with his solo exhibit, "The Art of Handbags," at the Esse Purse Museum in Little Rock, AR. The company has supplied Czech crystal rhinestones the designer used to embellish the one-of-a-kind bag, "Leiberaci."
Barbara Heinrich of Barbara Heinrich Studio in Pittsford, New York, was elected to another term as president of The American Jewelry Design Council’s new executive board. Pascal Lacroix of Pascal Lacroix Designs in Nevada City, California, was elected vice president.
Evening Wear, Honorable Mention: Erica Courtney, Erica Courtney Inc., Los Angeles
Men’s Wear, First Place and Platinum Honors: Mark Schneider, Mark Schneider Design, Long Beach, California
Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. in Neenah, Wisconsin, has been named to the 2016 list of Ward’s 50 top performing insurance companies for the sixth consecutive year. The award recognizes outstanding financial results in the areas of safety, consistency, and performance over a five-year period from 2011-2015.
Matthew Ego has launched Guild and Facet, a new fine jewelry manufacturing facility positioned to cater to independent retailers. Core items will include designer white label bridal jewelry, custom jewelry, and a cost-effective diamond stud and solitaire program. Based in North Bergen, New Jersey, the company is offering delivery within three business days, while some core items will be available for same-day distribution.
Summer Gu has been appointed marketing coordinator of Jewelers of America (JA) in New York City. She will coordinate promotion of JA member benefit programs, events, advocacy, and publications, and assist in member recruitment and engagement efforts. “We are excited to welcome Summer Gu to Jewelers of America,” says David J. Bonaparte, president and CEO. “Her role will help JA better engage with members and keep them, and the industry, aware of JA’s ongoing initiatives.”
In related news, Lauren Kalma has been promoted to public relations and events coordinator of JA. Formerly public relations and marketing coordinator, Kalma will work with JA’s director of public relations and events on the company’s event production, social media, and consumer and trade public relations activities.
The Jewelers Vigilance Committee in New York City has announced the lineup of its JVC Webinar Series: FTC Revisions Explained: Part 2, Sept. 21; Employment Law, Oct. 19; and AML Refresher, Nov. 10. All webinars are free to JVC members; non-members pay $25 per session. Contact: JVC, 1-212-997-2002; jvclegal.org.
Kuwayama, Tokyo, won Best in Platinum award at the 2016 Couture Design Awards. The Couture Design Awards recognizes the finest work in jewelry and timepiece design.
The Women’s Jewelry Association’s 2016 Awards for Excellence are given to female professionals in the jewelry and/or watch industries who have demonstrated significant achievements throughout their careers. The following members were nominated:
Retail, 15 or More Doors: Jamie Singleton, Signet Jewelers, San Francisco
Retail, 15 or Fewer Doors: Jennifer Gandia and Christina Gandia Gambale, Greenwich St. Jewelers, New York City
The following members received grants from JCK’s 18th annual Industry Fund:
Diamond Council of America in Nashville, Tennessee
Jewelers of America in New York City
Jewelers Security Alliance in New York City
Jewelers Vigilance Committee in New York City
The grants are awarded to individuals, groups, or associations whose work results in the betterment of the overall jewelry industry.
Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) selected Black Forest as recipient of a 2016 Supplier Star Award. The award brings annual recognition to supplier members for excelling in communication, service, and quality as voted on by PPAI member distributors. Based in Owatonna, Minnesota, Black Forest is a manufacturer of recognition jewelry such as rings, lapel pins, charms, and cufflinks.
The Jewelers Board of Trade in Warwick, Rhode Island, has announced that future copies of its Red Book will be distributed on a flash drive. “We want the Red Book to be as easy to use as possible for our valued members,” said Anthony J. Capuano, president. “The transition to a flash drive offers our members access to searchable data on today’s computers.”
The International Gemological Institute (IGI) recently announced that jewelry inscription service PhotoScribe will operate solely from the Institute’s New York City laboratory. “IGI consistently evaluates opportunities to empower jewelry buyers with knowledge and confidence, and strives to deliver added benefits for consumers,” said IGI President Jerry Ehrenwald. “We believe the operational move of PhotoScribe to IGI’s New York lab will further enhance our state-of-the-art offerings.”
Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has announced the introduction of flat-rate shipping. The company is now offering customers a flat rate of $7.99 for UPS Ground orders weighing up to 5 lbs. and being delivered within the contiguous United States.
The American Gem Society (AGS) in Las Vegas is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Diamond Grading Standards. Created in 1966, the Standards were published to support the AGS mission of fine jewelry consumer protection by clarifying certain aspects of diamond quality and value. They were also designed to serve as a tool for the jeweler to use at the sales counter.
Kwiat and William Goldberg of New York City have announced a strategic alliance. Under the arrangement, Kwiat will be the U.S. distributor of Goldberg’s proprietary diamond brand, the Ashoka. They will be designing and producing a collection of Ashoka diamond jewelry for the U.S. market that will be sold exclusively through Kwiat and select luxury independent jewelers that carry Kwiat nationwide.
The Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) has announced a new Prime Marketing Lists resource that offers more targeted identification of jewelry market segments, adding demographic attributes to its suite of marketing lists and custom research products. The JBT can now layer in deeper filtering (based on U.S. Census data) for members to more accurately and economically reach existing and potential customer segments throughout the jewelry industry in North America.
Jewelers of America, which established the modern birthstone list in 1912, will lead a public relations and marketing campaign in July to promote the news of THE American Gem Trade Association’s announcement that it is adding spinel to the official list of birthstones for the month of August.
Hologem, a 3-D holographic product developed by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. and Excelion Partners, won the JCK Think Tank competition at the 2016 JCK Las Vegas show in June. Modeled after the hit ABC series "Shark Tank," Think Tank allowed five technology providers to pitch their latest innovations to the JCK crowd, which then voted for their favorite product. The Hologem technology enables retailers to share virtual jewelry designs on mobile devices and tablets, creating an experience in which customers can interact with the holographic image. Other Think Tank contenders included two other MJSA members, Galatea: Jewelry by Artist and eLuxe 3D, as well as Jewelfie: Powered by Prorigo Software, Megasoft, and NanoRosetta.
To bolster its stable of "wearable technologies," the Berkshire Hathaway–owned Richline Group recently acquired Viawear, a San Francisco–based manufacturer of smart accessories that filter and deliver notifications and alerts from mobile devices.
Riva Precision Manufacturing in New York City recently appointed Richard Weisenfeld director of sales. Weisenfeld has more than 40 years’ experience in the jewelry industry, most recently serving for 11 years as vice president of sales for Thailand-based jewelry manufacturer Pranda.
In related news, Riva has named Wendy Ross product developer. Ross, who began her career in the industry has a bench jeweler, came to Riva from New York City–based Aston Luxury Group, where she was executive vice president of branded design for seven years.
The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) has promoted Sara Yood from assistant general counsel to senior counsel. Her new responsibilities include drafting legal compliance tools, trademark and advertising monitoring, and legal research, as well as continuing JVC’s participation in the Federal Trade Commission review of the Jewelry Industry Guides. Yood joined JVC in 2012, after graduating in 2011 from the Fordham University School of Law, where she was a fellow at the Fashion Law Institute.
The American Gem Trade Association has initiated a project to combat the rise of silicosis in the colored gemstone industry. "In our industry it has been a growing problem in gemstone-cutting centers, particularly in countries where there is a lack of reliable power and availability of technology that is effective in reducing workers’ exposure to airborne silica," says AGTA CEO Douglas Hucker. A six-month study has been launched to evaluate the problem and determine the most effective ways to address it. AGTA plans to launch the program in early 2017.
Hoover & Strong in North Chesterfield, Virginia, has launched myAuction, a white-label auction service that will allow retailers to help their customers sell their jewelry to qualified industry buyers. Under the program, all processing, grading, and cataloging is done at Hoover & Strong’s facility. Auctions take place twice a month and feature both loose diamonds and diamond jewelry items.
The Berkshire Hathaway–owned Richline Group has purchased John C. Nordt Inc., a supplier of precious metal products based in Roanoke, Virginia. "Nordt is another important and strategic addition to our brands...[that] will accelerate our growth into the PGM industrial markets," said Joe Esposito, Richline’s executive vice president of manufacturing. The company will be integrated into another Richline-owned business, metal supplier LeachGarner in Attleboro, Massachusetts, but it will still be led by three Nordt family members: Paul Nordt III, Rob Nordt Sr., and Rob Nordt Jr.
This is the second acquisition in as many months for Richline: In April, it purchased Boston-based e-tailer Gemvara, enhancing the company’s digital capabilities.
Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. in Neenah, Wisconsin, recently appointed Dione Kenyon, former president of the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT), to its board of directors. Kenyon retired from JBT this year after 14 years as its president. Her prior positions included managing director of the Consumer Lending Group at FleetBoston Financial Corp. (now Bank of America) and senior vice president and division manager of Fleet Precious Metals. She is a member of the board of governors of the Gemological Institute of America, where she chairs the finance committee.
Albuquerque, New Mexico–based supplier Rio Grande has announced the winners of the 16th annual Saul Bell Design Award competition. First- and second-place winners were chosen in each of the contest’s competitive categories, as well as in the Emerging Jewelry Artist category for designers 21 years and younger. The winners are:
Gold/Platinum: Garen Garibian, Los Angeles (first); Samantha Freeman, Philadelphia (second).
Silver/Argentium Silver: Seung Jeon Paik, Savannah, Georgia (first); Wolfgang Vaatz, Rio Rico, Arizona (second).
Metal Clay: Rodica Frunza, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada (first); Patrick Kusek, Fairfield, California (second).
Enamel: Debbie Sheezel, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (first); Amy Roper Lyons, Summit New Jersey (second).
Hollowware/Art Objects: Tom Ferrero, Windsor, Connecticut (first); Sungyeoul Lee, Seoul, Republic of Korea (second).
Alternative Metals/Materials: Zoltan David, Bee Cave, Texas (first); Kathleen Nowak Tucci, Altmore, Alabama (second).
Emerging Artist: Justine Quintal, Carignan, Quebec, Canada (first); Justine B. Gagnon, Repentigny, Quebec, Canada (second); Jason Baide, Bozeman, Montana (third).
For more about the winners and their entries, go to saulbellaward.com.
Gem supplier Omi Gems in West Colvina, California, has appointed Adam Graham as director of sales and marketing. Graham most recently served as vice president/managing director for iconic jeweler Black, Starr & Frost, and prior to that he was CEO of Erica Courtney Inc.
Ruth Batson, who recently announced her planned retirement as CEO of the American Gem Society (AGS) and AGS Laboratories, received the Robert M. Shipley Award during the AGS Conclave in April. Batson received the award for her commitment to the jewelry industry and because of her outstanding service and dedication to the AGS for the last 23 years. “Ruth lives and breathes the American Gem Society,” said Ronnie Cox, chairman of the committee that nominates the Shipley recipient. “Throughout her career at AGS, she has worked hard to serve its members and to fulfill the Society’s mission of consumer protection, business ethics, and ongoing gemological education.
Lafayette, Louisiana–based Stuller recently announced the winners in its first "Battle of the Benches" competition, which took place in April during the company’s annual Bench Jeweler Workshop. The competition pitted four jewelers against each other in four "challenges": the CAD and Render Challenge, in which each jeweler had to create a custom design based on the requests of a hypothetical customer (which Stuller then cast); the Parts and Pieces Challenge, in which the jewelers had to create a design from a metal square, some, wire, and several gemstones; and the Polishing and Finishing Challenge, in which they had to finish the casting of the CAD design. David Adamson of David Adamson Designer Jewelry in Lynn Haven, Florida, won both the CAD and Render Challenge and the Parts and Pieces Challenge. Adamson was also named the overall winner. Jonathan Smiddy of Acori Diamonds & Design in Friendswood, Texas, won the Polishing and Finishing Challenge.
Anthony J. Capuano has been named the new president of the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) in Warwick, Rhode Island, succeeding outgoing president Dione Kenyon, who will retire later this year. A seasoned financial executive, Capuano has more than 35 years of experience in credit and lending, including more than 25 years dedicated to the diamond, jewelry, and precious metals industries. He joins the JBT from HSBC Bank N.A., where he has held the titles of vice president and senior relationship manager. Prior to his appointment, he served on the JBT board of directors for more than 15 years.
The American Gem Society recently appointed Scott Berg, a Certified Gemologist with Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as president of its board of directors. “I am honored to take the helm of the American Gem Society,” said Berg. “In the ever-increasing, fast-paced modern world, ethics, transparency, and consumer protection are all the more important. We must be vigilant as a collective industry in adhering to the strictest code of ethics to ensure consumer confidence in our product and our people.”
In related news, the AGS announced its 2016-2017 board of directors, including: John Carter of Jack Lewis Jewelers in Bloomington, Illinois, (president elect); Michael Richards of Underwood Jewelers in Jacksonville, Florida, (secretary); Georgie Gleim of Gleim the Jeweler in Palo Alto, California, (senior advisor); and Frank Brown of Brown & Co. Jewelers in Atlanta (treasurer).
Signet Jewelers Limited has launched the Signet Responsible Sourcing Protocol for Diamonds (D-SRSP), a protocol that provides increased transparency and improvements to the integrity of the global diamond supply chain. The protocol requires suppliers to perform due diligence when sourcing the diamonds they deliver to Signet. It is hoped that the D-SRSP will become an accepted industry reference for responsibly sourced diamonds. It is also hoped that and that the protocol will be adopted by other companies involved in the diamond industry for use in their own supply chains.
Frederick Goldman has bought “selected assets” of Costa Rica-based bridal jewelry company Joyeros Costarricenses, which has manufactured and distributed bridal products in North America for over 25 years. Already servicing many Frederick Goldman clients, Joyeros Costarricenses will have its operations moved to Frederick Goldman’s facilities in Merida, Mexico, and New York.
Stuller Inc. has added lab-grown diamonds to its product mix. Grown in the U.S., the diamonds come with a certificate from the Gem Certification and Assurance Lab (GCAL) as well as a unique inscription on the girdle. While the diamonds are considered to be optically, visually and chemically identical to natural diamonds, Stuller is storing and handling the lab-grown diamonds separately from their natural inventory. The diamonds are also shipped in a distinct blue acrylic box. More information on lab-created diamonds can be found by visiting Stuller.com/labgrowndiamondsinfo.
Helping to provide a bridge to the past, Warwick, RI, refinery Pease & Curren recently presided over the 16th Annual Ring Melt Ceremony for West Point graduates. Fifty-four class rings were donated this year to the West Point Association of Graduates for incorporation into rings being made for the current graduating class. The donated rings—from classes ranging from 1914 to 1984—were melted into a solid gold bar that will be incorporated into the gold used to create the rings for West Point’s class of 2017. The ceremony was held on February 22, and was attended by relatives of 23 of the donors.
The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) recently honored its "Shining Star" award for extraordinary service, and the list included several MJSA members: Martha Seely, Martha Seely Design, Boston; Robert Loving, Time Delay Corp., Dallas; Jennifer Heebner, JCK; Maureen Murphy, Lee’s Manufacturing, Providence, Rhode Island; Pheap Lorn-Canossi, Phenomenon Jewels, San Diego. Click here for more information about the award.
Mystic Trinket Shop of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is paying it forward with their Good Karma Trinkets! This newly launched initiative will see an item chosen each week, with the purchaser getting a discount coupon for future use and a portion of the proceeds going to a recognized charity such as Covenant House of Florida. Company founder Meagan Peters is selecting the verified charities based on popular suggestions from her clients and newsletter subscribers. mystictrinketshop.com
B9Creations has appointed Shon Anderson to succeed founder Mike Joyce as the company’s CEO, while Joyce moves on to become the firm’s new chief technology officer. Anderson was most recently the company’s VP of sales and marketing. The moves were announced earlier in 2016 to help speed the pace of innovation and product development at the 3-D printing company, based in Rapid City, SD. b9c.com
New Mexico jewelry supplier Rio Grande was named one of the state’s “Best Places to Work” for 2015 by the Albuquerque Business First newspaper. One of the world’s largest suppliers to the jewelry trade, Rio Grande was recognized in the category of “very large companies” (over 250 employees). The company also earned “Best Places to Work” titles in 2012 and 2010. More information on Rio Grande can be found at www.riogrande.com
A 26-week diploma program focusing on jewelry design and technology was launched by GIA on Jan. 14 at its New York Campus. The program features instruction in computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and 3-D printing using the latest technologies. The January session concludes July 22; a second session start on Sept. 29 and runs through April 28, 2017. Prospective students should visit gia.edu/gem-education for information on how to enroll.
Stuller Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana, has appointed Tammy Kidder vice president of tools and supplies, succeeding longtime industry veteran Darrell Warren. Warren, who retired in December after 19 years with the company, had been "a major contributor to Stuller’s growth throughout his tenure. Not only has he had a signif