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Industry News: JFC Store Makeover Contest; D.E.F. Makes Grants; Equity Firm Has Cash To Lend; More August 17, 2016 (0 comments)


Jewelers For Children Announces Store Makeover Contest

New York, NY—Imagine if HGTV crashed the jewelry industry? The network has no plans to, but Jewelers For Children has announced a Super Store Makeover Contest where one lucky independent retail jeweler will win a store makeover valued at more than $100,000.

All jewelers need to do to enter is raise funds for JFC between August 15 and December 31, 2016. The winner will be announced in January 2017, and their makeover will take place at a time mutually agreed upon by the retailer and the sponsoring vendors.

The contest was the brainchild of JFC board member Eric Zuckerman of Pac Team Group, title sponsor for the contest. Other leading companies in the industry are donating products and services, including Grid/3 International, ARMS, USA, Majilite & Partners, StarLuxe Branding, Lansa Americas, Rio Grande, Imtech Graphics, Global Logistics, Jaboa Enterprises, and the CSI Group. Instore magazine has signed on as the exclusive media sponsor for the competition.

The winner will be determined by a point system. Each time a retailer recruits a donor, they earn 10 points, and they will also get one point for every $500 raised. 

“We wanted a system that was fair and equitable to all independent retailers, regardless of size, said Debra Puzio, vice president of special programs for JFC. “Everyone knows it takes the same amount of effort to recruit a donor, whether they give $10,000 or $100.  By having a point system, we make sure that the work required to recruit a donor is rewarded, as well as the amount raised being recognized.”

The contest is open to any independent retailer interested in getting involved with Jewelers for Children and would like a chance to win a store makeover. Interested jewelers will create their own fundraising progress page on, where they can record the donations they receive and their customers can make donations. Jewelers also can find examples of how jewelers raise funds for JFC on the organization’s website. Jewelers can one of those programs, or create their own. 

To enter the store makeover competition, simply sign up and create a firstgiving fundraising page.


Diamond Empowerment Fund Grants $130,000 In Scholarships

New York, NY—The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F) board of directors has approved a  $100,000 grant to Veerayatan, the first educational institution in India to receive funding from D.E.F., and a $30,000 grant to the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), to fund the D.E.F. Mobile School for students in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Top of page: students at Veeraytayan.

Diamond Empowerment Fund’s mission is to support initiatives that develop and empower people in diamond communities worldwide.  

”Veerayatan and DDI epitomize the convergence of excellence in education with holistic sustainable development. These institutions are making a positive transformative difference in India and in Africa,” says Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., senior strategic advisor and co-founder of the Diamond Empowerment Fund. 

A D.E.F. grant helps to fund a mobile school for artisanal diamond diggers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is D.E.F’s second consecutive year supporting Veerayatan, whose innovative approach to education has made a difference in the quality of life of thousands of students. D.E.F. supports students attending the Colleges of Pharmacy, Engineering and Business Administration, fields of study underrepresented by women; a challenge Veerayatan, in partnership with D.E.F., is looking to overcome.

Also in its second year of support from D.E.F, DDI’s Diamond Empowerment Mobile School consists of traveling teachers and portable materials that are brought to the Kankala mining community of the Kasaï Occidentale province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for a condensed school year. The community is in a remote location where children, particularly girls, would not otherwise have full access to education.

“Our main objective is to transform the artisanal mining sector into a viable economic activity and to upgrade the way artisanal miners mine. It’s important to tell the story of how diamonds can be an agent for development. We cannot change everything overnight, but be part of that solution with us and we’ll make the journey together,” said Dorothée Gizenga, executive director and co-founder of the Diamond Development Initiative.

D.E.F. also honored Gizenga in June for her work with DDI and the mobile school project. She received the first Diamonds Do Good Award for Sustainable Practices at the D.E.F. Diamonds Do Good Awards Gala in Las Vegas.


In Memoriam: Philip Nulman, Marketing Executive

New York, NY—Philip Nulman, CEO of The Nulman Group (below), died unexpectedly on August 13. A well-known creative marketing and advertising consultant, he worked for J. Walter Thompson before starting his own agency. He would have been 64 next month.


Excelsior Capital To Provide $1.5 Billion Liquidity To Diamond And Jewelry Industry

New York, NY—Excelsior Capital Ventures (ECV) LLC, has announced its intention to begin lending to firms in the mid-stream diamond and jewelry industry. The finance firm, founded by Nehal Modi, expects to begin lending operations on October 3, 2016 and will provide loans of up to $20 million per borrower, secured by diamond and precious metal inventories.

Modi believes the firm is entering the market at a crucial time. With an estimated $6 billion shortfall in market liquidity, Excelsior plans to close the gap by at least $1.5 billion by 2019.

"We are in an environment where the diamond and jewelry industry is experiencing a significant contraction in lending. There is a dire need for new capital and greater liquidity in order to expand the companies and industry at large," said Modi. 

ECV's business model covers secure asset management, risk-mitigated logistics, spot market appraisals, asset monetization and assisted marketing solutions for customers’ inventory. It also is able to fund select consignment programs at approved major retailers.

Jon Mitchell, ECV chief operating officer, said the firm is in discussions with all the major diamond banks to determine how to co-lend with them on a client-by-client basis, and is meeting with prospective borrowers to better understand their capital needs.  "We are demonstrating our long term commitment to the industry by pledging a large pool of capital,” he said. Excelsior also has the support of investment banking firm Consensus Advisors, which said in a statement that the Excelsior business model should remove many of the barriers the diamond and jewelry sector has faced in financing.

Excelsior also has engaged White Pine Trading LLC as its infrastructure, logistics, and distribution services partner for ECV borrowers. White Pine CEO Benjamin Burne commented, “Collectively with Excelsior, we have reconsidered the needs of industry borrowers and developed comprehensive solutions that address the critical issues companies are facing today.”


De Beers Names Two Executives; Lab Agreement

London, UK—De Beers has named Nigel Simson as its new senior vice president of product planning in its Global Sightholder Sales business. Simson moves over from his current role as senior vice president of sightholder sales, a position which will now be filled by Bernard Bradley, who comes to De Beers with a strong track record in global sales in other industries.

Simson’s new role is designed to establish closer integration between sales, product planning, and product delivery, allowing more tailored product and service offerings for rough diamond customers.

Both Simson and Bradley will be based in Gabarone, Botswana.

Nigel Simson, left, and Bernard Bradley, right.

Separately, De Beers’ International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR) announces a partnership with the UK-based National Association of Jewellers, for its diamond grading service. Under the agreement, NAJ members will benefit from preferential terms when submitting diamonds to be graded by the IIDGR’s UK lab.

IIDGR offers diamond grading reports and diamond identification reports from the UK lab. Reports now are offered with an enhanced security option of table-marking the grading number. Click here for more information.

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