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Brand And Industry News: AGS And D.E.F. Announce Special Honorees; Picchiotti’s 50th Anniversary March 08, 2017 (0 comments)


Gumuchian, Shigley, Engel To Be AGS Circle of Distinction Honorees

Las Vegas, NV—Myriam Gumuchian (left), Peter Engel, and Dr. James Shigley are the three industry leaders who will be honored by the American Gem Society (AGS) at its annual Circle of Distinction dinner this summer. The dinner will take place July 25 at the historic Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Shigley, a distinguished research fellow at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Carlsbad, CA, will receive the AGS’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant contributions to the gem and jewelry industry throughout his career. Shigley joined GIA in 1982, and is well known for in GIA’s research on the identification of diamonds and colored gemstones. The author of more than 180 published articles, Shigley also is a well-known speaker on gemological topics to both professional and general audiences.

Dr. James Shigley

Gumuchian and Engel both will both be awarded the distinctive AGS Triple Zero Award for their many accomplishments and dedication to the fine jewelry industry.

Myriam Gumuchian, co-owner of New York-based Gumuchian, created the brand in 1979 with her mother, Anita, and sister, Patricia, and is well-known for her “Designed by Women for Women” mantra. Gumuchian serves on numerous industry boards, including the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA), COUTURE, Centurion, and the JA Trade Shows. In 2016, was the president of the 24 Karat Club of the City of New York, only the second woman to hold that title.

Peter Engel, president of Fred Meyer Jewelers, joined the company in 1981 and is responsible for overseeing 319 stores in 31 states. He serves on the boards of directors for Diamond Council of America (DCA) and the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.). He is also a past chairman of the board of Jewelers for Children. Currently, he is actively involved with Jewelers of America (JA).

Peter Engel

“The Circle of Distinction dinner is a proud tradition of the American Gem Society, honoring excellence and the outstanding contributions to our industry,” says Katherine Bodoh, CEO of AGS and AGS Laboratories. “This is my first Circle of Distinction dinner as CEO, and I am truly honored and inspired by these three individuals who stand out as exceptional leaders in the fine jewelry industry.”

To order dinner tickets or advertise in the Circle of Distinction Tribute Book, contact Lauren Ruggeroli at (866) 805-6500 x1005, or email To learn more about AGS or its previous Circle of Distinction honorees, click here.


Helzberg Diamonds To Be Honored At D.E.F. ‘Diamonds Do Good’ Awards In Las Vegas

New York, NY—The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F) will honor retailer Helzberg Diamonds with the Diamonds Do Good Corporate Legacy of Philanthropy Award at its Diamonds Do Good Awards gala on June 4 at the Four Seasons Ballroom in Las Vegas. The retailer will be one of three honorees celebrated at the event.

D.E.F’s Diamonds Do Good Corporate Legacy of Philanthropy Award honors a corporation that seeks to better the lives of its local community while also making a difference on the global stage. For over 100 years, Helzberg Diamonds has epitomized this ideal.

With roots in the Midwest, Barnett Helzberg’s good business skills and sense of community responsibility led to growing his company even during the Great Depression, such as sponsoring the ‘Helzberg Sweetheart Hour’ radio program that provided uplifting entertainment to listeners each week. He made himself and the interests of the community one and the same, providing counseling for the Girl Scouts, support for the Kansas City Zoo and, for the industry, establishing the Diamond Council of America.  When his son Barnett Jr. took over this tradition continued. Barnett Jr. developed the ‘I Am Loved’ line and button promotion while proposing to his wife Shirley. This simple but powerful line became a hallmark campaign of goodwill sent to celebrity ‘heroes,’ military men serving in the Vietnam War, children in hospitals, and was eventually translated into more than 11 languages.

After a chance meeting on the streets of New York City, Barnett Jr.—ready to retire in 1995—sold the company to Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet, who then hand-picked Beryl Raff to take over the leadership of Helzberg Diamonds in 2009.

In 2012, Helzberg established “Helzberg Helps” to honor the company’s philanthropic traditions. The organization is made up of Helzberg Diamonds Associates with a passion to give back in their local communities. The mission is to lead fundraising efforts and organize volunteer activities primarily for charitable entities that support the benefit of children and families in need, such as Make-A-Wish, Salvation Army, Children’s Mercy Hospital, and more. Since 2009, Helzberg’s largest charitable efforts have been in support of Make-A-Wish America, helping to grant the wishes of children throughout the country.

For more information and to purchase tickets/sponsorships for the Diamonds Do Good Awards gala, please visit


Picchiotti To Celebrate 50th Anniversary With Special Ring And Book Launch

Valenza, Italy—To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Italian jeweler Picchiotti has created L’Anfiteatro, an 8.05-carat ruby ring inspired by a classic amphitheater. It has three fans of baguette diamond “seats” looking over the “leading actor” (the oval ruby).

Designed by founder and CEO Giuseppe Picchiotti, the ring will debut at Baselworld (Hall 1.1, D71) from March 23-30, along with Picchiotti’s 2017 collection featuring its signature pieces and the company’s new Xpandable collection of rings and bracelets.

“For our 50th anniversary I wanted to create a jewel that captured the essence of Picchiotti style and craftsmanship while keeping the spirit of innovative creativity very much alive and moving forward. I believe L’Anfiteatro is all that and more, a remarkable ruby, and a setting deeply infused with the essence of Picchiotti style,” said the company founder.

Also in Basel, the company will unveil Picchiotti: The First Fifty Years, by Vivienne Becker, an esteemed jewelry historian and contributing editor for the Financial Times. Susan Jacques, president and CEO of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), has written the foreword.

The 248-page book traces the journey of Giuseppe Picchiotti from his birth in Valenza to his position as the head of his eponymous company. Eschewing his family’s pharmacy business, Picchiotti chose instead to follow his passion for jewelry, apprenticing in an atelier at age 13, later attending jewelry school, and studying English in London. By his early twenties he was designing his own jewelry and traveling the world to source precious gemstones. In 1967, together with his sister Annamaria and a young assistant, Picchiotti opened his namesake company.

Becker’s book chronicles five decades of Picchiotti jewelry, influenced by nature and architecture, embracing Italian craftsmanship and artistry, as well as the seven family members who embody the heart and soul of the House of Picchiotti.

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