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Industry News: Gala Raises $1 Million+; US Diamond Sales Top $40 Billion; PGI’s Anniversary; More June 07, 2017 (0 comments)


Star-Studded Diamonds Do Good Gala Raises More Than $1 Million For Global Education

Las Vegas, NV—On the eve of the opening of JCK Las Vegas, the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F) raised over $1,060,000 to provide scholarships and assistance to empower young people globally. Anna Martin, D.E.F board president and GIA’s vice president of global development and beneficiation, said: “This event symbolizes the collective good the diamond and jewelry industry continues to do in communities around the world where they do business. Not enough consumers are aware of this positive fact.”

More than 450 industry leaders gathered from around the world to celebrate the gala, which honored award-winning actor and philanthropist David Oyelowo (left, accepting his award), Her Excellency Graca Machel, former first lady of both Mozambique and South Africa, and Helzberg Diamonds.

Oyelowo, who starred in such movies as Selma and, recently, A United Kingdom, was awarded the Diamonds Do Good International Vanguard Award for his dedication to empower communities in Africa. “Enabling girls to be educated will change the dynamics of persistent poverty in countries like Nigeria, where out of a staggering 10.5 million out-of-school children, the majority are girls,’ he told the audience. A particularly moving moment was when Oyelowo was introduced by D.E.F. board member Marcus Ter Haar, deputy managing director of the Okovango Diamond Co. and grandson of King Seretse Khama of Botswana, who was portrayed by Oyelowo in A United Kingdom. The movie focuses on Khama’s love for a white English woman, Anna Williams, whom he marries despite the rigid societal taboos in the early days of apartheid. Khama later became the first democratically elected leader of Botswana and presided over the country’s growth after diamonds were discovered there in the mid 1960s. By wisely and ethically managing the country’s diamond resources, Khama led Botswana to become the oldest democracy in Africa and one whose GDP today surpasses that of Peru and many former Soviet satellite countries.

Kansas City, MO-based Helzberg Diamonds was awarded the Diamonds Do Good Corporate Legacy of Philanthropy Award for its outstanding contributions in bettering communities across the United States. “We are in the business of celebrating love,” said Beryl Raff, CEO of Helzberg Diamonds. “As a business we share this love by building up communities across the nation.”

Graca Machel, widow of former South African president Nelson Mandela, was awarded the Diamonds Do Good Global Humanitarian Award for her international leadership to transform the lives of women and girls throughout the world.

“I am incredibly humbled to represent the millions of minds, hearts and hands that have sown seeds over the years to empower Africa’s women and children. I graciously receive this Global Humanitarian Award from the Diamond Empowerment Fund on behalf of those who have worked tirelessly with me to accelerate social change.”

From left: D.E.F. board president Anna Martin with honorees HE Graca Machel, David Oyelowo, and Beryl Raff

The audience also heard testimony from more than a half-dozen students who graduated from one of D.E.F.’s beneficiary schools. All are now in college or pursing graduate degrees in the United States.

“Without the help of the Botswana Top Achievers program and the Diamond Empowerment Fund, I would not have been able to be pursuing my Ph.D in geodetic science, which involves using satellite positions to find gravity over the earth,” said student scholar Nlingi Habana. Sadhvi Shilapiji, headmaster of Veerayatan’s colleges based in Gujarat, India also was a guest presenter who thanked D.E.F for supporting the education of the youth of India.

The event marked the 10th anniversary of the Diamond Empowerment Fund, co-founded by philanthropist and music mogul Russell Simmons and civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin Chavis, after inspiration and encouragement from Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel in their home in Mozambique.

Lead sponsors of the Diamonds Do Good Gala included Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, the De Beers Group of Companies, Signet Jewelers, Le Vian and Rosy Blue.


U.S. Diamond Jewelry Sales Hit $41 Billion

Gaborone, Botswana—Data published last week by the De Beers Group says total diamond jewelry demand in the United States neared $41 billion in 2016. This marks the fifth consecutive year of diamond sales growth in the United States. U.S. consumers now account for roughly half of all diamond jewelry purchases globally, a level not seen since before the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, says De Beers.

Despite the positive news from 2016, expectations for 2017 remain tempered and cautious. Slower U.S. GDP growth in the first quarter of 2017 appears likely to have impacted diamond jewelry demand in the short term, says De Beers. Growth this year is likely to be marginal.

The miner also is tracking shifts in the consumer market. Although bridal continues to be the foundation of demand for diamond jewelry in the United States, single women helped drive demand with more frequent acquisitions and a higher value of spending. Those self-purchase trends increased among both single and married women.

57% of self-purchased diamond jewelry is acquired by married women, and one third of that is from Millennials. Retailers also reported high levels of consumer interest for multi-diamond pieces. 

De Beers’ data showed that consumers are spending more per piece, with retailers reporting an increase in the $1,000 to $4,999 price category. 

Globally, demand for diamond jewelry in 2016 increased marginally in U.S. dollars (at actual exchange rates) to U.S. $80 billion. The demand growth from the United States offset a contraction in India. Here are some other key figures:

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “American consumers continue to express strong desire for diamonds, but their purchasing habits are changing rapidly. While bridal diamond jewelry remains fundamental, we are seeing both single and married women buying for themselves more frequently and more purchases being made online. Meanwhile, products such as multi-diamond jewelry are becoming more popular. 

“However, while US demand drove global growth in 2016, it is increasing demand from emerging markets that is behind the last five years being the strongest on record. Despite some markets facing challenging conditions last year, we see this trend continuing, with improvements in demand from China and India in particular emerging in 2017.”


PGI USA Celebrates 25th Anniversary; Relaunches Famed Catalog

New York, NY—In 1992, Platinum Guild International expanded to the USA to introduce the world’s most precious metal to a new generation. PGI’s most recent research report shows the fifth consecutive year of platinum jewelry sales growth in the United States, and PGI is launching multiple exciting initiatives to continue the momentum and mark its milestone 25th anniversary in 2017.

The first of these initiatives is the relaunch of PGI’s famed Platinum Edition Catalog, a perennial favorite, now in a modern digital format. The 25th Anniversary Issue features beautiful platinum jewelry from some of the world’s most celebrated designers. Already on its way to America’s finest jewelry retailers, the electronic version of this consumer-facing catalog provides retailers with a powerful piece of collateral to enhance their digital marketing strategy.

In addition to the catalog, PGI USA has unveiled a new online training program for sales associates and launched its new website,, a dynamic online destination for consumer education and inspiration about platinum jewelry.

Lastly, PGI is working on a major initiative to educate the industry and consumers about the importance of securing their diamonds and precious gemstones by setting them exclusively in platinum, the most secure setting for diamonds. Be on the lookout for more information about this important business opportunity in the months and years ahead.

PGI celebrated its anniversary Monday during jewelry market week in Las Vegas with a special reception at Fleur, to thank its designer, manufacturer, and retailer partners for 25 amazing years and invite them to continue seizing the incremental profit opportunity that platinum presents.

For more information and to take advantage of PGI USA’s marketing and retailer support programs please contact PGI vice president Kevin Reilly,


Sally Morrison To Receive 2018 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement
New York, NY – Jewelers of America (JA) and the GEM Awards Committee have announced that Sally Morrison, Gemfields’ director of sales and marketing for the Americas, will be honored with the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 16th annual GEM Awards, set for Friday, January 19, 2018, in New York City.

The GEM Awards gala honors the outstanding achievements of individuals or companies whose work raises the visibility and status of fine jewelry and watches. The GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement is granted to an individual who has accumulated a career’s worth of contributions to the fine jewelry and watch industry. Honorees set a standard of excellence that serves as an inspiration to industry colleagues.

Morrison’s accomplishments as an innovative marketer have had a lasting impact on the fine jewelry industry, including her work at De Beers’ Diamond Information Center and its Forevermark brand, the World Gold Council, the Diamond Producers’ Association, and Gemfields. She has spearheaded some of the most iconic marketing campaigns for the jewelry industry including, “A Diamond is Forever,” “Love Gold,” and “Real is Rare.” Morrison has a flair for building emotional connections with audiences--especially younger consumers—through marketing campaigns, public relations, and tapping celebrity influencers. In addition to communicating powerful messages on a large scale, Sally works closely with jewelry suppliers and retailers to provide critical marketing support for their brands.

Social responsibility, philanthropy, and responsible sourcing have been one of her top priorities throughout her career, and she has made meaningful contributions to these efforts, including her work on the board of directors of the Diamond Empowerment Fund, and through her role at Gemfields.

A native of England, Sally was educated at Wadham College, Oxford. She began her career as vice-president, external affairs, of amfAR, and as a senior vice president of Miramax Films. In 2002, she became the director of the Diamond Information Center at JWT, the marketing agency for De Beers. She was appointed the World Gold Council’s managing director of jewellery and marketing in 2012, where she successfully led the team that launched the Love Gold campaign, and built a worldwide community of more than one million followers. In 2016, she led the creative development of the “Real is Rare” campaign for the Diamond Producers Association. Recently, Morrison joined Gemfields as director of sales and marketing for the Americas, where she continues to cultivate her innovative marketing strategies while focusing on the importance of responsibly sourced materials.

“We are honored to present the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement to Sally Morrison, who is so widely respected throughout the industry,” says Norman Miller, chair of the GEM Awards. “Sally’s work in developing iconic marketing campaigns furthers the GEM Awards’ mission of raising the visibility and status of fine jewelry and watches, making her the perfect recipient of the award.”

In addition to the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement, JA will reveal winners of several other GEM Awards live during the ceremony. The nomination period is currently open in four categories: Jewelry Design, Marketing and Communciations, Media Excellence and Retail Innovation. For details, to purchase tickets, or to show your support for Sally Morrison through sponsorships and the GEM Awards Journal, visit

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