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Industry News: Jay Leno At AGS Conclave; D.E.F. Helps Botswana Youth; GEM Nominees Named; More October 05, 2016 (0 comments)


Jay Leno To Headline AGS Conclave 2017 

Las Vegas, NV—Jay Leno, celebrity, comedian and Emmy Award-winning former host of The Tonight Show and current star of Jay Leno’s Garage, will be the special guest at the 2017 AGS Conclave, April 5-8, 2017, in Hollywood, CA. Leno will do a performance at the opening lunch on April 5 to commence the start of the Society’s four-day educational and networking events.

Leno’s enduring professional success is a testament not only to his charm, but also to his commitment to excellence.  In 2014, Leno received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts.

“It is particularly fitting that a renowned celebrity, like Jay Leno, will perform at the 2017 Conclave in Hollywood,” says Ruth Batson, CEO of AGS and AGS Laboratories.  “Mr. Leno is a gem in the American entertainment industry who has always aimed for excellence in his endeavors. His passionate dedication to hard work, while maintaining his magical sense of humor, is an inspiration and are qualities our members can relate to.”

The 2017 Conclave will be held at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, a short two-minute walk from the renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame. AGS will be making more announcements in the near future regarding additional speakers, registration information, breakout sessions, and more.

To learn more about the American Gem Society or the annual Conclave event, visit the Society’s website at or call (702) 255-6500.


Diamond Empowerment Fund Gives $130,000 To Botswana Top Achievers Program

New York, NY—The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.) last week presented a check for $130,000 to the Botswana Top Achievers program, to support of Batswana youth through access to higher education so they in turn can help contribute to the economic development and diversification of Botswana.  D.E.F has supported the Top Achievers program since 2011 with over $600,000 in donations.

D.E.F.’s check was presented at a reception celebrating Botswana’s 50th year of independence, hosted by H.E. Ambassador Charles T. Ntwaagae and Mrs. Ntwaagae and attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who congratulated the country on its successful effort in promoting peace, stability, leadership, and human rights and urged the country to continue to lead the African continent by example.

Botswana is one of the top producers of diamonds by carat weight and value in the world. It is also a shining model of the positive impact diamonds have on communities when good governance is combined with good corporate social responsibility and best business practices from both private sector and government. The Top Achiever program is administered through Botswana’s Ministry of Education and Skills Development. “While we are blessed with diamonds as one of our natural resources, our truly most important resource is our youth. Thank you to the Diamond Empowerment Fund for helping us pave a way for their future,” said H.E. Ambassador Ntwaagae.

D.E.F.’s support of Botswana’s Top Achievers and other programs in diamond communities is made possible through fundraising efforts such as the annual Diamonds Do Good Awards Gala, held in June in Las Vegas in conjunction with the JCK Show.

Left to right: H.E. Charles Ntwaagae Botswana Ambassador to the UN; UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Raven Carey-James, Nancy Orem Lyman and Nicola Breytenbach Steiner of D.E.F., and Yoo Soon-taek and Elizabeth Ntwaagae.


Jewelers of America Announces the 2017 GEM Awards Nominees

New York, NY—Jewelers of America (JA) has announced the GEM Award nominees in the categories of Jewelry Design, Marketing & Communications, Media Excellence and Watch Excellence. The GEM Award nominees were announced September 29 via Facebook Live. The winners in these categories will be announced live during the 15th Annual GEM Awards on Friday, January 13, 2017, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. The GEM Awards honors individuals and brands whose work raises the visibility and status of fine jewelry and watches. Each nominee has achieved excellence in his or her career and category.

The GEM Award for Jewelry Design Nominees are:

Arun Bohra – A native of Jaipur, India, Arun Bohra’s family has been in the jewelry business since 1841. Arun draws on the rich heritage in own signature line Arunashi. Each Arunashi piece is one-of-a-kind and weaves together art, fantasy, tradition, innovation, drama and subtlety, bringing a fresh voice to an antique craft. 

Suzanne Kalan – With over 28 years of experience designing fine jewelry, Suzanne Kalan is renowned for her innovative designs that have created a new meaning for modern and timeless jewelry. Suzanne’s award-winning Fireworks and Vitrine collections, showcase her signature use of baguette diamonds, asymmetrical placements and beautiful custom-cut gemstones.

Lucia Silvestri – Lucia Silvestri is Bulgari’s Jewellery Creative Director, a lifelong dream position that she realized in June 2013. She began her career in Bulgari’s gemmological department when she was just 18 years old. Instantly enamoured by precious stones, she left her biology studies and dedicated all her passion and enthusiasm to a career in gemstones.

The GEM Award for Marketing & Communications Nominees are:

Hearts On Fire – Hearts On Fire, The World’s Most Perfectly Cut Diamond, is a luxury diamond jewelry brand celebrated around the world. Recognized for its exclusive diamond cut, Hearts On Fire set a new industry standard for craftsmanship and, today, offers beautiful designer fashion and bridal collections that stand alone in their brilliance.

Kay Jewelers – The Kaufmann brothers opened the first Kay Jewelers in 1916, beginning a journey of delivering the perfect gift that has spanned a century. Kay has since grown to be the number one jewelry store in America and is operated by Signet Jewelers Limited, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry.

Monica Rich Kosann – Monica Rich Kosann’s fine jewelry collections are rooted in the idea that every woman has a story to tell. Her styles are created as modern heirlooms for a new generation and are offered in the brand’s lifestyle shop at Bergdorf Goodman and more than 100 fine jewelry stores.

The GEM Award for Media Excellence Nominees are:

Amanda Alagem – Amanda Alagem is the Executive Accessories Editor of Harper’s BAZAAR, overseeing jewelry and watches. Since joining in 2012, she has infused jewelry and watches into the pages – dedicating more editorial coverage to the category than any other fashion magazine. Her work celebrates high jewelry and the transformative power of accessories.

Grace Fuller – In just four years since graduating from the University of Miami, Grace Fuller has earned the role of Jewelry Editor at W Magazine. Grace is responsible for all jewelry-related editorial content at W, where she also writes on the subject. Grace was previously an Associate Accessory Editor at Vogue.

Stephen Watson – Stephen Watson has more than 20 years’ experience covering menswear fashion and luxury timepieces. He is the Contributing Watch Editor for Town & Country, and his watch reporting can be found online at Hearst Digital Media websites including, and Previously, he was Fashion Director of Men’s Vogue and Associate Fashion Editor of Vogue.

The GEM Award for Watch Excellence Nominees are:

A. Lange & Söhne – In 1845, Dresden watchmaker Ferdinand Adolph Lange laid the cornerstone of Saxony’s precision watchmaking industry. Today, A. Lange & Söhne watches are endowed exclusively with proprietary movements, lavishly decorated and assembled by hand. In only 25 years, A. Lange & Söhne developed 54 manufacture calibres and secured a top-tier position among the world’s finest watch brands.

Jaeger-LeCoultre – Since its founding in 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been delighting connoisseurs of fine watchmaking. Jaeger-LeCoultre artisans are heirs to the inventive spirit of the manufacture founder, Antoine LeCoultre. Their expertise and artistry creates collections that are as surprising as they are sophisticated: Reverso, Master, Rendez-Vous, Duomètre, Geophysic, Atmos, Hybris Mechanica, and Hybris Artistica.

Patek Philippe – Founded in 1839, Patek Philippe is Geneva’s oldest independent family-owned watch manufacturer. Patek Philippe pushes watchmaking art through its achievements at the cutting edge of innovation. It has filed over 80 patents, including 20 of major importance to the history of horology, and continues to develop and manufacture only watches that reflect its quest for the exceptional.

As previously announced, the 2017 GEM Awards will also honor Jim Rosenheim, chairman of Tiny Jewel Box in Washington, DC, with the prestigious GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement award.

To support the honorees, find tickets, sponsorship and advertising opportunities at


CIBJO Report: Better Lab Standards For Colored Gems Needed

Milan, Italy—In advance of the 2016 CIBJO Congress opening October 26 in Yerevan, Armenia, the sixth of the CIBJO commissions' Special Reports has been released. This report calls for clearer colored gemstone laboratory standards, both in the way results are obtained and how they are noted on gem identification reports.  

Specifically, the report discusses lead glass-filled rubies, which the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled cannot be marketed as unqualified rubies without being deceptive. It also looks at the measures laboratories should take to deal with deceptive dealers who temporarily remove filler from fissures and fractures in emeralds before submitting them to a lab, so that reports show "no indications of clarity enhancement." The fillers are then replaced after grading.

Measures to reduce inconsistencies in colored gemstone reports issued by different gem labs will be discussed during meetings of the Gemmological Commission at the CIBJO Congress and also during a special session on October 26, which will focus on harmonizing and standardizing specific color terms such as Royal Blue and Pigeon Blood Red.

To download a full copy of the report, click here.

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