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MJSA Member News

MJSA members can send news items by e-mailing MJSA.

CPAA Awards MJSA Members

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

Commendation Winners: Barbara Heinrich, Pittsford, NY; Adam Neeley, Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry, Laguna Beach, CA

Jerry Ehrenwald Joins USKPA Board

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. 

JM Hires Kathryn Sieman

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 to hold Bench Jewelers Workshop

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.

Greenwich St. Jewelers and Stuller Win WJA Awards

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 Restructures

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.

MFA Publishes Oscar Heyman: The Jewelers’ Jeweler

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 Rebrands

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.

Kristin Hanson to Teach at NYJDI

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’s Jewelry at JCK Tucson

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 moves office

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.

NYJDI hires Kawa to teach workshop

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 Detects Synthetic Diamonds in Melee

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. 

GIA offers Melee Analysis Service

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.

Stuller appoints VP

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.

AGS chooses CEO

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.

Gesswein Names New President

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 to be acquired by an investor group

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 acquires Silpada

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.

JM receives A Superior financial strength rating  

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 Bench Jeweler Workshop to return to Louisiana in March

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 awards winners in Tahitian Pearl Jewelry Contest

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 and Dominion Diamond Corporation introduce CanadaMark

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 to open a studio gallery

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 and Monica Rich Kosann nominated for the GEM Award

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 honored at WJA gala

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 donates $2 million 

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.

Jewelers Vigilance Committee seeks president/CEO

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.  

2016 Women’s Jewelry Association’s (WJA) Awards for Excellence Winners:

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’s Transform Tours return for the Fall 2016 season

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.

Allan A. Goldman Inc. launches an ecommerce catalog

Stonemangems.com, a catalogue for the trade only, allows clients to access a full range of diversified colored gemstones.

John F. Allen & Son sponsors Kent Stetson

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, Pascal Lacroix Appointed to AJDC’s Executive Board

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.

The American Gem Trade Association’s Spectrum Awards Winners:

Bridal Wear, Manufacturing Honors: Dennis deJonghe, deJonghe Original Jewelry, Saratoga Springs, New York

Business/Day Wear, Manufacturing Honors: Llyn Strong, Llyn Strong Fine Art Jewelry, Greenville, South Carolina

Classical, First Place and Second Place: Niveet Nagpal, Omi Gems Inc., West Covina, California

Evening Wear, Honorable Mention: Erica Courtney, Erica Courtney Inc., Los Angeles

Evening Wear, Manufacturing Honors: Llyn Strong, Llyn Strong Fine Art Jewelry, Greenville, South Carolina

Men’s Wear, First Place and Platinum Honors: Mark Schneider, Mark Schneider Design, Long Beach, California

Jewelers Mutual Among Ward’s Top 50

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.

Guild and Facet Launched

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.

JA Appoints Marketing Coordinator and Public Relations and Events Coordinator

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.

JVC Announces Webinar Series Lineup

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 Wins at Couture

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.

MJSA Members Nominated for WJA Awards for Excellence 

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

Sales and Merchandising: Ramona Genao-Archibald, Richline Group, Stony Point, New York; Maren Rosen, Stuller Inc., Lafayette, Louisiana

Marketing and Communications: Ashley Brown, Stuller Inc., Lafayette, Louisiana; Donna Jolly, American Gem Society, Las Vegas

JCK Awards Grants at Industry Fund

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.

Black Forest Receives PPAI Award

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.

JBT Distributes Red Book on Flash Drive

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.”

ICI Moves Photoscribe to New York City

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 Introduces Flat-Rate Shipping

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.

AGC Celebrates Diamond Grading Standards’ 50th Anniversary

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 Teams Up with William Goldberg

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. 

JBT Announces New Resource

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.

JA Leads AGTA’s Spinel Campaign

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.

Jewelers Mutual’s Hologem Wins JCK Think Tank

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.

Richline Acquires Viawear

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 Names New Sales Director, Product Developer

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.

JVC Promotes Sara Yood to Senior Counsel

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.

AGTA Initiates Project to Combat Silicosis

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 Launches myAuction

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.

Richline Group Acquires John C. Nordt

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.

Dione Kenyon Named to Jewelers Mutual Board

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. 

Rio Grande Announces Saul Bell Winners 

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.

Graham to Head Omi’s Marketing 

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.

Batson Honored with Shipley Award

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. 

Stuller Announces Winners of Bench Battle

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.

JBT Appoints New President

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.

AGS Announces Board Changes

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 Launches Responsible Sourcing Protocol

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 Acquires Jewelry Company Assets

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 introduces Lab-Grown Diamonds

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.

Pease & Curren Preside Over West Point Ring Melt Ceremony

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.

WJA Names Several MJSA Members as "Shining Stars"

 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 Launches Unique New Initiative

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 Announces Management Shuffle

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

Rio Grande Group

Rio Grande Among New Mexico’s Best Workplaces

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

GIA Debuts Jewelry Design and Technology Program

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 appointments

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 significant impact on our tools and packaging businesses, but has also mentored others who will carry on for him,” said Stuller president Danny Clark. His successor has more than 20 years’ experience with the company, serving in the areas of supply chain, materials control, and product design. She most recently was vice president of findings, metals, and recycled materials.

Marathon Acquires LeStage

Two century-old, family-owned Massachusetts businesses have joined forces with the purchase of the LeStage Manufacturing Company in Attleboro Falls by the Marathon Company, located in nearby Attleboro. Marathon, a fine jewelry manufacturer founded in 1897, says it will continue to produce LeStage products, including Cape Cod Jewelry® and LeStage Convertible Collections® of bracelets and interchangeable clasps. LeStage’s domestic manufacturing efforts date back to 1863.

Pease & Curren Celebrates Centennial

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the Pease & Curren precious metal refinery in Warwick, Rhode Island. Founded by Frances H. Curren and Charles Pease in 1916, the company has posted a brief history on its blog at blog.peaseandcurren.com/gold-dust-gold-rush.

Seeking Inspiration On The Road

San Francisco-based Sarah Graham Metalsmithing has headed out on the road to find inspiration for new designs based on nature. With the intent of premiering her new collection at the Elliott Yeary Gallery in Aspen, Colorado, and the Las Vegas Couture show this coming June, Graham closed her San Francisco studio in December and made her first stop as artist in residency with the Colorado gallery. Graham’s designs can viewed at sarahgraham.com/

MJSA Members among WJA DIVA Award Winners

Erica Courtney of Erica Courtney Jewelry in Los Angeles and Naomi Sarna of Naomi Sarna Designs in New York City were among the winners of the recent Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) 2016 Gem DIVA awards competition. Courtney won first place in the Bridal Wear category and honorable mention in Evening Wear, and Sarna won first place in Classic Wear. The DIVA winners,  will be honored March 10 at WJA’s "The Spotlight" event following its In the Know conference in New York City.

David Yurman Opens First Boutique in Hawaii

New York City–based Yurman Designs Inc. recently opened its first boutique in Hawaii, at Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. The 1,950-square-foot boutique will offer all of David Yurman’s signature collections, and will  include a "Heritage Wall" feature designs from the brand’s 30-year history.

 Advanced Chemical Hires New Sales Representative

Advanced Chemical Co. in Warwick, Rhode Island, recently appointed Tracey Mefford as sales representative. Her responsibilities will include prospecting for new, qualified accounts through databases and search engines, as well as conducting tours of the Advanced Chemical plant to interested clients. She previously worked at Hubbard-Hall, an international distributor of specialty chemicals for surface finishing applications, and Univar USA, a provider of chemical products and related services.

Jewelers Mutual Earns 29th A Superior Rating

Neenah, Wisconsin–based Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., the only insurer dedicated to serving the jewelry industry in the United States and Canada, recently earned its 29th consecutive A Superior rating from A.M. Best Co., one of the world’s most respected insurance rating and information sources. The rating references Jewelers Mutual’s strong risk-adjusted capitalization, operating results, leadership, liquidity, and risk management practices, among other attributes.

Todd Reed Inc. Names new COO, VP of Sales & Merchandising

Todd Reed Inc. in Boulder, Colorado, recently promoted two employees, Amy Ash and Anjanette Sinesio, to chief operating officer and vice president of sales and merchandising, respectively. Ash, who has been with the company for eight years, previously served as general manager. Sinesio joined Todd Reed in February 2015 to run its Los Angeles showroom; she had previously served as vice president of sales and marketing at online fashion jewelry brand Sacred Jewels.

Stuller to Feature "Bench Battle" at 2016 Workshop

Stuller’s 2016 Bench Jeweler Workshop, scheduled for April 1-3 at Stuller’s global headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana, will feature the first-ever Stuller Battle of the Benches competition. On each day, selected jewelers will perform live tasks in three areas—Design (CAD design, modeling, and rendering), Parts and Pieces (Fabrication), and the Finish Line (Finishing and Polishing)—using identical materials and tools and following the same guidelines. At the end of each day, one winner will receive a $250 CAD/CAM or Stuller credit. An overall winner will be announced at the end of the workshop, and he or she will receiving a prize package that includes a $500 Stuller credit.

The workshop will also feature new classes on the dynamics of the contemporary diamond market, a guide to visual merchandising, and updates on current digital technologies, among other topics. For more information, go to stuller.com.

Riva Wins Brooklyn Made Award

Riva Precision Manufacturing, located in the Brooklyn Army Terminal, recently won the Apparel and Accessories category in the Brooklyn Made Awards. Riva earned top honors for a nickel-free 18k palladium white gold link ring with seven 2 mm princess-cut diamonds. Sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the annual awards program highlights outstanding manufacturing and technology businesses in the New York City borough.

JFC to Honor Lee, Ulrich at 2016 Facets of Hope Dinner

Stuart Lee, executive vice president of merchandising with Signet Jewelers in Akron, Ohio, and Dennis Ulrich, CEO of the New York City–based Richline Group, will be the honorees at the Jewelers for Children (JFC) Facets of Hope 2016 event, which will take place June 5 in Las Vegas. Lee also serves on the Signet Executive Committee and as an offer on the MJSA board of directors. Ulrich has served on the boards of both JFC and the Jewelers Security Alliance, and has also served as president of the 24 Karat Club of New York.

Signet Jewelers Names Chief Strategy Officer

Uta Werner has joined Signet Jewelers as the company’s first chief strategy officer. Reporting to Signet CEO Mark Light, she will focus on identifying growth opportunities, strategic planning, and mergers and acquisition, among other duties. Werner previously was executive vice president, global product leadership at Nielsen, a global information and measurement company that tracks consumers’ media consumption and buying habits.

Brenda Smith Wins Designer’s Award in Pearl Competition

Brenda Smith of Brenda Smith Jewelry LLC in Woodstock, Georgia, won the Designer’s Award in the 2015-16 International Pearl Design Competition for her piece, "Pearls and Lace in Space."

In addition, Chi Huynh of 3D Galatea in San Dimas, California, and Mark Schneider of Mark Schneider Design in Long Beach, California, both received commendations.

The competition is sponsored by the Cultured Pearl Association of America.

MJSA Members among Winners of 2016 Spectrum Awards 

Several MJSA members arre among the winners in the 2016 Spectrum Awards competition sponsored by the American Gem Trade Association.

• Naomi Sarna of Naomi Sarna Designs in New York City ("Best Use of Pearls" and "Classical–Gem Diva Award").

• Andrew Costen of Costen Catbalue Goldsmith and Designer in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Best Use of Platinum and Color)

• Erica Courtney of Erica Courtney Inc. in Los Angeles (Gem Diva Award)

Stuller Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana ("Manufacturing Honors").

• Eddie Sakamoto of Sakamoto Inc. in Torrance, California ("Evening Wear–Platinum Honors’).

• Mark Schneider of Mark Schneider Design in Long Beach, California ("Men’s Wear," both first place and third place). 

U.S. Trade Associations Form New Council

Nine jewelry industry trade associations, including MJSA, recently formed the United States Jewelry Council (USJC) to work more closely together on key social, ethical, and environmental issues, including mining standards and consumer disclosure requirements for gems and metals. In addition to MJSA, the participating associations are the American Gem Society, the Diamond Council of America, Diamond Bourse of Southeast United States, Diamond Dealers Club of New York, the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America, the Indian Diamond and Colored Stone Association, and Natural Color Diamond Association.Ronnie VanderLinden, president of the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America, was elected president of the USJC. David Bonaparte, president/CEO of Jewelers of America, and Ruth Batson, CEO of the American Gem Society, were named treasurer and secretary, respectively.

Stuller Acquires TDM Solutions

Stuller Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana, has acquired TDM Solutions, creator of the jewelry-specific RhinoGold CAD software, among other modeling applications. In addition, the founder of TDM, Rafael del Molino, has joined Stuller’s leadership team. Stuller—which in 2009 acquired Gemvision Corp., a jewelry technology software company that produces the Matrix CAD program, among other products—said in an announcement that “Gemvision and TDM will simultaneously compete and collaborate as each evolves future offerings.”

Richline Group Leads Fight against Wildlife Trafficking

The Richline Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, recently worked with leading jewelry and environmental organizations to raise awareness of wildlife trafficking and support the newly formed U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. The partnering organizations were MJSA, Ethical Metalsmiths, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Fair Trade Jewellery Co., Rio Grande, the Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association, Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Networks, and Jewelers of America. Ads for the new campaign appeared in the October issues of MJSA Journal, JCK magazine, and Instore magazine.

Gannon & Scott Appoints Sales Executive for Western U.S.

Adam N. Kenney has joined Gannon & Scott, a Warwick, Rhode Island–based refiner and assayer, as sales executive covering the Northwest and Southwest regions. Based in Arizona, Kenney has more than 15 years’ of sales experience. Most recently, he worked for platinum and palladium supplier/refiner Johnson Matthey Inc., where he developed sales and managed customer relationships.

Todd Reed Wins Visionary Award

Boulder, Colorado–based jewelery designer Todd Reed recently received the pretigious Visionary Award, one of the annual Newman Awards presented by the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA). The Newman Awards recognize and advance excellence in traditional design within the Rocky Mountain region, honoring achievements in architecture, interior and landscape design, history and journalism, and craftsmanship.

Tivol Appoints New President, Vice President

Kansas City–based retailer Tivol recently appointed Brian Butler (formerly the company’s general manager) as president and Hunter Tivol McGrath as vice president. McGrath, the son of CEO Cathy Tivol, is the fourth generation of the family to work at the company, which has stores in Kansas City, Missouri, as well as Overland Park, Kansas. 

Riva Expands Ex



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