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Industry News: Conclave Canceled; JCK Postponed; Helping Kids Hungry From Virus; More March 18, 2020 (0 comments)

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AGS Conclave Canceled And Lab Closes, JCK Postponed

Las Vegas, NV—For only the third time in its history, the American Gem Society has canceled its annual Conclave due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was scheduled for April 27-29 in Denver, CO. In an equally historic move, JCK has postponed the Las Vegas show, originally slated for June 2-5. Left: the registration area of the Sands Expo Center at the 2019 JCK Show.

In a social media post to the industry, CEO Katherine Bodoh said, “AGS Community, As you know, the AGS team has been tracking the status of the coronavirus. Your health and wellness are of vital importance to us, and for that reason, we are canceling Conclave in Denver. In over 80 years, this marks the third time that Conclave has canceled. The other times were 1944 and 1945 due to World War II. Conclave is more than an event, it’s an experience, and we are saddened to share this news. Look for details on refunds in your email. 

If you have questions, please contact our experience team at experience@ags.org. Thank you. Stay healthy!”

The organization is looking into holding an online mini-conference later this year, and will beef up its online learning center, the AGS PRO. It also announced the 2021 Conclave will be held April 26-28 in Louisville, KY; at the Omni Louisville Hotel. Alexis Padis of San Francisco-based Padis Jewelry, is chair of the Conclave Subcommittee.  

Separately, AGS announced on Wednesday that its headquarters office and AGS Laboratories will close as of noon PT for 30 days, following Nevada governor Steve Sisolak's order for all nonessential businesses to close. AGS staff will be working from home (click here for a full contact list of staff emails) but AGS Laboratories will be closed for at least 30 days or until the state-mandated closure ends. Contact support@agslab.com for information.

JCK's Las Vegas shows, meanwhile, aren't entirely off the table. A statement from the organization read in part: “After careful consideration and comprehensive discussions, we have decided that the JCK & Luxury shows will be postponed to later in the year due to the growing concerns over public health and safety and the escalation of COVID-19. As soon as we work out the details for a new date in 2020 for JCK & Luxury, we will immediately share them with all of you. We expect to be able to do so shortly.

Our top priority is the health and safety of our exhibitors, attendees, industry partners and staff. After consulting with national experts, our customers, closely monitoring developments and reviewing guidance and advice from renowned national public health officials, the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), we have decided it is in the best interest of all our JCK community to postpone the Show.” 

New dates will be announced later. Information regarding travel change fees and quick links to airlines are available here.

Meanwhile, at press time, organizers of the Couture Show in Las Vegas were still evaluating options. A letter from Couture director Gannon Brousseau read in part, "We are evaluating all of our possibilities, having conversations with as many of our designer, brand and retail partners as possible, and working with the Wynn and each of our loyal vendors to determine all of our available options.

It goes without saying that the health, safety and well-being of each member of this incredible community, and that of our team, are of the utmost importance to us. Whatever decision we make will be done with your well-being, as well as the vitality of this industry, in mind.

We will be in touch as soon as we have any additional information to share with you. In the meantime, we are continuing to promote the talent, creativity and passion of this community, and we are reminded daily that the art and beauty that you all represent are instrumental to a healthy and functioning society. Please take the necessary precautions to look after yourselves and your loved ones. We look forward to seeing you on the other side of this."

 

Fine Jewelry Brands Launch #Linked Campaign To Help Kids Made Hungry By School Closures

New York, NY—More than 40 designer fine jewelry fashion brands, including Alison Lou, Irene Neuwirth, Ana Khouri, Jenna Blake, Deborah Pagani, Andrea Fohrman, Sarah Hendler, Maya Brenner and Jacquie Aiche, have united in an online campaign called #Linked to help feed U.S. schoolchildren who are impacted by coronavirus-driven school closings, Women’s Wear Daily reports.

“Nearly 22 million low-income kids from communities across the country rely on the free and reduced-price meals they receive at school, said Share Our Strength, the Washington, DC-based nonprofit that works to alleviate hunger and poverty worldwide and which runs the No Kid Hungry program in the United States. 

The effort was spearheaded by Danielle Gadi of Danielle Gadi PR and Jen Lowitz of IHPR. Jewelry designers are offering anything from a set donation to 30% of sales, with most offering their full collections to the effort.

Anyone wishing to join into the effort should use the hashtag #Linked and tag @nokidhungry.

Read the full article here (subscription may be required).

From left: Jacquie Aiche’s 14k gold, pave diamond and chunky crystal necklace ($3,500); Andrea Forhman's diamond waning/waxing gibbous moon phase necklace ($5,500) and XL pill link necklace by Deborah Pagani ($21,600). All images, designers via Women's Wear Daily.

 

GIA Announces Leadership Transition For Its India Division

Carlsbad, CA—Nirupa Bhatt, managing director of GIA India Laboratory Pvt. Ltd., has announced a transition from her full-time position to a consulting role, effective June 15. 

Sriram Natarajan, currently vice president of laboratory operations since joining GIA India in August 2017, will become managing director, reporting to GIA India’s board of directors. 

Bhatt joined GIA India on in January 2008, with responsibility for expanding education programs and laboratory services. She oversaw the opening of the GIA India laboratory in Mumbai, and increased the scope of GIA education offerings in India. In 2018, GIA India opened a laboratory in Surat to serve clients in that important diamond manufacturing center. Prior to joining GIA India, Bhatt spent 20 years as an executive with mining conglomerate Rio Tinto.

She is active in many industry and trade organizations, and has been recognized for her many contributions to the trade, including the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC), the Indian Diamond & Colorstone Association (IDCA) New York and the U.S. Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA). Bhatt has served on several judging panels for industry awards and she established the India chapter of WJA.

In her role as managing director, Bhatt oversaw the successful 10-year expansion of GIA India.

“Nirupa Bhatt has overseen the launch of the GIA India laboratories in Mumbai and Surat, and the GIA education programs in India,” said Susan Jacques, president and CEO of Gemological Institute of America, Inc. (“GIA”). “She has been instrumental in the establishment of GIA India, and her tremendous contribution to the industry, to GIA India and to our mission will have a lasting impact that will long be remembered.”

Bhatt’s advisory role going forward will focus on GIA’s Diamond Origin Report service, but she will remain available to guide the transition for customers and the trade and ensure a smooth succession plan for GIA India. 

Before his current role, Natarajan held operational and leadership roles in a variety of international industries.

GIA also announced that Apoorva Deshingkar, who joined GIA India in 2009, will become senior director of sales for GIA India, reporting to Natarajan.

 

Lauren Thompson Moves From JA TO JCK

Norwalk, CT—Lauren Thompson has been appointed group marketing director of the JCK Las Vegas, Luxury, and JCK Tucson shows, part of the Reed Exhibitions Jewelry Group. Thompson will oversee the integrated marketing strategy for the shows and work closely with the programming, sales, and executive teams to support show development and enhanced communications.

Thompson spent the past decade at Jewelers of America (JA), where she developed and executed marketing communications strategies and digital development for JA and its partner brands, National Jeweler magazine and Diamond Council of America. Thompson worked on pillar industry events, including the annual GEM Awards and the launch of the JA National Convention in 2019. Thompson began her career covering jewelry and entertainment design at B2B magazines Basel Magazine and then Live Design. Additionally, she is actively involved with the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA), currently acting as Vice President of Chapter Affairs for the executive WJA International Board.

Thompson’s appointment also marks a homecoming of sorts. Her father, Joe, was JCK magazine’s watch editor in the 1970s and early 1980s before leaving to pursue journalistic opportunities in the watch sector. Today, he’s the executive editor of Hodinkee.

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