Ruth Batson, Others Receive Awards From AGS During 2016 Conclave
Washington, DC—Ruth Batson, RJ, CEO of the American Gem Society (AGS) and AGS Laboratories (left), was honored by her own organization with AGS’s most prestigious honor, the Robert M. Shipley Award. AGS members presented her with the award at its annual Conclave last week in the nation’s capitol.
Batson, who recently announced she will retire next year, was honored both for her service and dedication to AGS for 23 years, and her commitment to the jewelry industry as a whole.
“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.”
Batson was involved in some of the Society’s most significant achievements, including the formation of AGS Laboratories, and the Society’s eventual complete ownership of the Laboratory. She was part of the decision making process for the AGS Light Performance Cut Grade, and is a leading force in the Society’s strategic business, operation and marketing plans.
Her service to the jewelry industry overall is extensive as well: she sits on the boards of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the Women’s Jewelry Association, and the JCK Show Advisory Board, and serves as the chair of the Ethical Initiatives Committee for Jewelers of America. In the past she has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Responsible Jewellery Council and is the immediate past chair of the Jewelers for Children board.
Also during last week’s Conclave, AGS presented a number of other prestigious awards honoring excellence, professionalism, and a commitment to ethics and consumer protection. At the Titleholders Luncheon on April 14, Lisa Bridge, CG, and Anna Samsonova, CGA, co-chairs of the Young Titleholder’s Steering Committee, presented the Young Titleholder Award to Marc Nanasi, RS, for his exemplary service to the committee and to AGS.
“Marc’s devotion to the Young Titleholders started from the beginning, and his enthusiasm and tenacity have contributed to the group’s growth and success,” said Bridge.
The Society also awarded the Sallie Morton Award to Marc Altman, CGA, the Guilds' national treasurer. This award recognizes the contribution of individuals who have gone over and above in their service to the AGS Guilds each year, and is named in honor of Sallie Morton, ECG, was very instrumental in developing and promoting the AGS national guilds.
“From day one, Marc Altman has given the AGS Guilds so much time and attention by handling all their financial details and helping publicize almost 300 meetings,” says Laura Stanley, CGA, chair of the AGS Guilds. “Taking that pressure off a local Guild has given them the time to devote to organizing the meetings.”
Stanley also presented the Guild of the Year award to the St. Louis Guild. “Our Guild of the Year has set an example of not only having great programs, but also working with the local GIA Alumni group in the local area. Having one year of success is nice, but sustaining interesting programs year after year takes a Herculean effort, and the St. Louis Guild has that. For four years, they have been an active, engaged Guild, thanks to the team put together by President Anne Howitt,” said Stanley.
Finally, Stanley presented the John J. Kennedy Award, named for Kennedy as a tribute to his leadership in the Jewelry Security Alliance and his advocacy and service to the security of the jewelry industry. It is given to law enforcement professionals who have gone above and beyond to help members of the jewelry industry protect their stores and their teams from theft and other criminal activity.
This year’s recipients are two of the AGS’s biggest supporters at the FBI: Special Agents Jay Bartholomew and Eric Ives. “Special Agent Eric Ives and Special Agent Jay Bartholomew have helped organize and fund FBI speakers all around the country. Without them, we would never have been able to get so many inaugural Guild meetings off to such a great start,” said Stanley. “An FBI special agent draws a big crowd and helps support interest in future meetings.”
Separately, Scott Berg, CG, of Louisiana-based Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry was voted president of the AGS board of directors. He takes over from outgoing president Louis Smith, CG, of Smithworks Fine Jewelry in Spartanburg, S.C. John Carter of Jack Lewis Jewelers in Bloomington, IL was named president-elect.
Scott Berg, incoming president of AGS.
JA Launches Benefit To Help Members Sell Aged Inventory
New York, NY – Jewelers of America (JA) introduces JewelryStockBalancing.com as the newest membership benefit. JA members receive an exclusive discount on this new online platform designed to help a network of approved retailers buy and sell aged inventory.
“In a recent survey of Jewelers of America members, we learned that 44% of respondents had more than $100,000 in aged inventory,” says JA president and CEO David J. Bonaparte. “The JewelryStockBalancing.com platform offers jewelers a solution to sell the aging inventory, eliminating carrying costs and increasing cash flow.”
JewelryStockBalancing is a patented exchange process for retailers and consumers built on three integrated Internet platforms including buying, selling, and search to enable inquiries and notifications about a particular item. The buying and selling platforms allow retail jewelers to buy and sell their dated inventory anonymously amongst other subscribing retailers for seven days. After seven days, the same product is still available to the retailers and also becomes available for sale directly to the consumer at a different price point.
On Thursday, April 21, 2016, Jewelers of America will host a webinar to provide a live virtual introduction to JewelryStockBalancing.com. Alan Gould, founder and chairman of JewelryStockBalancing.com will preview the platform and explain how the patented exchange process can help retailers with common business challenges and help them increase cash flow, eliminate carrying costs, and sell dated inventory. To learn more click here, and to register for the upcoming webinar, click here.
Fake Kimberley Process Certificate Discovered in Hong Kong
Antwerp, Belgium—The Antwerp World Diamond Centre has issued a warning to members to be on the lookout for fake Kimberley Process certificates from Sierra Leone. National Jeweler reports the warning comes after one turned up in customs in Hong Kong. The KP authority in Sierra Leone verified the document was false; KP members worldwide are being advised to watch for more. A photo of the document is shown in the private members’ section of the KP website.
U.S. Jewelry Council Announces Four New Members
Washington, DC—The United States Jewelry Council (USJC), a group of U.S.-based jewelry trade associations working to ensure the U.S. jewelry industry is collectively represented at government and international levels, has announced the addition of four new members:
Now representing 13 associations, the Council now represents the vast majority of the US jewelry industry, encompassing importers, manufacturers and retailers. The Council was formed when the individual associations realized that by combining their expertise they would have greater influence in dealing with challenges facing the U.S. jewelry industry. USJC members work together to address key social, ethical and environmental issues that might impact consumer confidence in the U.S. jewelry industry.
The Council is a member of the World Diamond Council (WDC), working to enhance the U.S. jewelry industry’s voice in the Kimberley Process and to influence other global initiatives, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which are tied closely to consumer confidence in the U.S. market.
The new members join the following associations that formed the Council in October 2015:
Paola De Luca Launches The Futurist Website Founder of The Futurist Ltd
Milan, Italy—Paola De Luca, founder of The Futurist Ltd., a trend forecasting and creative intelligence firm, announces the launch of a new website. The firm specializes in research, editorial content, and strategic programs in the luxury and jewelry sectors.
In 2012, De Luca, in partnership with Italy’s Vicenza Fair co-founded TRENDVISION Jewellery + Forecasting, an independent observatory focusing on trend forecasting for the jewelry industry. As creative director, she leads educational programs for manufacturers, buyers and associations; strategic research for governmental organizations; design strategy and branding development; thinktanks and market trends-focused projects.
Click here to see the new site.
Speakers Announced For World Diamond Congress 2016 in Dubai
Antwerp, Belgium—With little more than a month to go to the 37th World Diamond Congress, the biennial meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), the WFDB has announced the speakers list for the meeting. The theme of the Congress, which will take place in Dubai from May 16 to 19, is ‘Transparency, Responsibility and Sustainability.” The issues will be discussed by the WFDB's 30 presidents and more than 200 representatives of the global diamond industry.
The keynote speaker will be Geshe Michael Roach, an American non-traditional teacher of Buddhism, philanthropist, and author of The Diamond Cutter, a book about Buddhism and business. In addition, ABN Amro Bank's head of Diamond and Jewelry clients Erik Jens, De Beers’ head of commercial development Howard Davies, and Signet Jewelers’ vice president of corporate affairs David Bouffard will be speakers and panelists. Diamond consultant and former De Beers executive Tim Dabson will introduce speakers and moderate the panel discussions.
"We have selected high-powered individuals from a range of fields to give real content and meaning to our discussions," said WFDB president, Ernie Blom. "These include representatives of producers, diamond-mining countries and a range of service organizations, such as banks and labs. It is absolutely crucial that we are able to comprehensively debate all the challenges facing our industry around the world. For more details, visit the Congress site here.