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Industry News: JSA Honors Law Enforcement At Luncheon; GEM Awards Celebrate Industry; More January 16, 2019 (0 comments)


JSA Honors Law Enforcement Officers And Two Journalists At Annual Luncheon

New York, NY—The Jewelers’ Security Alliance on Saturday presented its 20th annual James B. White Award to three members of the Paramus, NJ Police Department.

Deputy Chief Robert M. Guidetti, Detective Lieutenant Frank Scott, and Detective Nicholas J. Luciano have collectively been involved in well over 100 cases involving the jewelry industry, totaling millions of dollars in stolen merchandise. Left: Paramus Police Department and NYPD on Traveling Salesperson Decoy Operation, 2004.

This year’s group of honorees had a particularly special connection, as Detective Lieutenant Scott and JSA vice president Scott Guginsky had earlier worked together on cooperative investigations with the NYPD and the FBI prior to Guginsky’s appointment to JSA.

Kennedy said of the Paramus officers, “The Paramus Police have long rendered important assistance to the jewelry industry. Their investigations, arrests and assistance to other police agencies have made a tremendous impact on keeping the industry safer.”

Also honored at the luncheon were industry journalists Michelle Graff and Rob Bates, who were presented with JSA’s 14th annual Industry Service Award. Graff, editor-in-chief of National Jeweler, and Bates, news director of JCK have together posted 42 articles featuring JSA information and advice in 2018 alone.

As is customary at the annual event, a moment of silence was held for any jewelers killed in the course of violent crime during the prior year. JSA president John Kennedy announced that in 2018, only one jeweler was killed during a violent robbery: Jason Cullen, 32, of Highland, CA, who was killed in Highland Pawn, his parents’ pawn shop, during a robbery in which the suspects first threw a Molotov cocktail onto the counter before opening fire. The killing occurred in January 2018 and the suspects were arrested one month later.

Kennedy said that while even one jeweler killed is too much, it’s a tremendous improvement over earlier times when the annual luncheon sadly paid tribute to sometimes more than a dozen victims.

Austin, TX jeweler Ted Shaughnessy, who was slain during a home invasion last winter, was not included in JSA’s total as he is believed to be the victim of a murder-for-hire planned by his son, rather than a victim of a crime against the industry, Kennedy told The Centurion. 

Related: Fourth Suspect Charged With Murder in Austin Jeweler’s Slaying

Another moment of silence was held for longtime JSA employee Helen Buck, who died in October 2018. She retired from JSA in 2017 after 37 years of service. “Helen played a vital role in the growth and development of JSA and is greatly missed,” said Kennedy.

The annual luncheon was held Saturday, January 12, 2019, at the New York Yacht Club in New York City.


2019 GEM Awards Winners Celebrated

New York, NY – Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, held the 17th annual GEM Awards on Friday, January 11, 2019, at Cipriani 42nd Street. Stewart Wicht, outgoing head of Rolex USA, received the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement, and Tiffany & Co. received the GEM Award for Marketing & Communications. Both were announced prior to the event, but the winners in the categories of Jewelry Design, Media Excellence, and Retail Excellence were revealed live to an audience of nearly 600 press and jewelry industry elite.

Fernando Jorge won the GEM Award for Jewelry Design. The other nominees in the Jewelry Design category were Valérie Messika and Silvia Furmanovich. The award was presented by 2018 GEM Award for Jewelry Design winner Irene Neuwirth.

The GEM Award for Media Excellence was given to Will Kahn of Town & Country magazine, presented by 2018 GEM Award winner Marion Fasel of The Aventurine. The other Media Excellence nominees were Brecken Branstrator of National Jeweler and Michael Thompson of International Watch.

Retailer Threads took home the award for GEM Award for Retail Excellence. The other nominees for Retail Innovation were Broken English and Cellini. The award was presented 2017 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement winner Jim Rosenheim of Washington, DC-based Tiny Jewel Box.

Rapper A$AP Ferg presented the GEM Award for Marketing & Communications to captivated audience saying, “Holly Golightly and this boy from Harlem have more in common than you might think. When I was growing up, I’d sometimes walk past Tiffany on my way to Art and Design High School on Second Avenue. I’d stand at the Tiffany window and say to myself, Someday.” Andrea Davey accepted the award for Tiffany & Co., saying in part, “Tiffany’s story is more than 180 years old but forever young. It is exquisite beauty in everyday luxury. It is witty, natural, effortless elegance. It is New York and all her youthful energy. In 2018, we loved finding new ways—and new voices—for telling that story while staying true to the company’s heritage. We are delighted that, with this prestigious award, you seem to have loved it too.”

Stewart Wicht, honored with the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement, enjoyed a career spanning more than four decades at Rolex. In 2011 he was appointed president and CEO of Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc. following the death of former president Allen Brill, and retired in December of 2018, although he remains on the board of directors.

Outgoing Rolex president Stewart Wicht received the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement

Luca Bernasconi, former president and CEO of Rolex Canada, has taken over as president and CEO of Rolex U.S.A. as of January 1.

After receiving a standing ovation from the crowd, he poignantly thanked his Rolex team and explained his philosophy on work by saying, “I always say, ‘you can go faster alone but you can go further together’.”

GEM Awards chair Olivier Stip of CHANEL also served as host of the evening. Sponsors for the event included CHANEL and Synchrony Financial (cornerstone level); Rolex and Signet Jewelers (premier level); David Yurman, DeBeers Group, Hearts On Fire, Tourneau and Wempe (patron level); Cellini Jewelers, COUTURE, JCK Events, Luxury Jewelers Resource Group, Movado Group, Inc., Tiffany & Co., Timeless Distributions and Unique Settings New York (benefactor level).


Jewelry Industry Summit Announces Speakers And Agenda

New York, NY—Registration is open for the upcoming Jewelry Industry Summit taking place in Tucson, Feb, 2-3, 2019. An international array of industry experts will share ideas and recommendations for jewelers to sustain the responsible supply chain for jewelry products, while progress of various initiatives developed at prior Summits and new initiatives will be discussed.

Topics include panels about responsible sourcing for small jewelry businesses, the impact of blockchain technology on responsible practices, mining initiatives for fair-trade gold and gems, and more.

A highlight will be the screening of “River of Gold,” a documentary film on artisanal gold mining in the Amazon. A panel discussion after the film will update the audience on actions currently being taken in the industry to address gold mining challenges.

Cecilia Gardner, board chair of the Jewelry Industry Summit, said, “Our focus is to provide tools and resources for jewelers to take action now to sustain the entire supply chain for jewelry products. From producer to retailer, everyone can take a positive step towards a more responsible supply chain. The presentations at the Summit will allow everyone to leave with a plan to engage and improve immediately!”

There is still time to register at Registration includes entry to AGTA’s GemFair, and hotel reservations are available through the AGTA registration site. Various discounts on the standard price of Summit registration ($275.00) are available. Students and members of the leading trade associations will receive a discount, as well as those under the age of 25 who can register at the lowest price ($100.00).

Additional sponsorship opportunities are available as well; please visit the Summit website.


Michigan Costco Hit By Smash-And-Grab

Detroit, MI—Two teenagers were charged in a smash-and-grab robbery of the jewelry counter in a Detroit-area Costco warehouse store on January 7. Police are working to determine if the pair are tied to other jewelry thefts, according to a report in National Jeweler. 

Costco security camera stills show one of the teens holding a sledgehammer and the other an ax. They allegedly smashed a jewelry display case, grabbed some merchandise, and fled in a Nissan Sentra. According to the Detroit Free Press, the suspects led police on a chase into suburban West Bloomfield, then went off-road and into suburban backyards, colliding first with the side of a house and ultimately a tree. The suspects then fled on foot but were captured by police.

This is the third smash-and-grab robbery in the Detroit area in a month; the other two occurred at Tiffany & Co. in the upscale Somerset Collection in Troy and at a Kay Jewelers in the Mall at Partridge Creek.

CJDG Announces New Executive Board

Hermitage, PA—The Contemporary Jewelry Design Group (CJDG) announces its new Executive Board for 2019:

CJDG is a nonprofit national organization dedicated to the promotion of creative jewelry design and committed to the highest standards of integrity and ethics in business and in design. For more information, contact executive director Marylouise Sirignano Lugosch,


ALROSA Launches Operations In Zimbabwe

Moscow, Russia—Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA will launch mining operations in the Republic of Zimbabwe. With support of the government of Zimbabwe, the company will develop new mining operations there. Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa made the announcement during a visit to Moscow this week.

"Today we see opportunities for a new stage of our partnership. We are ready to develop new joint projects for diamond exploration and extraction. We also seek to support Zimbabwe in the development of its diamond-mining industry in line with industry’s best practices. We are happy to share with our partners a wealth of experience in the field of mineral exploration and diamond mining, including the industry self-regulation and responsible business, " said ALROSA CEO Sergey Ivanov.

Negotiations held in 2018 by ALROSA and the leadership of the Republic of Zimbabwe resulted in a decision to start operations in the country and open ALROSA’s subsidiary. This company will implement projects for exploration and mining operations with a view to establish joint diamond and other ore mining enterprises. In this regard, ALROSA (ZIMBABWE) Limited was established on December 6, 2018 in the city of Harare. Within the next month ALROSA’s experts, including geologists and mining engineers will arrive in the country to start the operations.

ALROSA accounts for 27% of global rough diamond production by carat. The company operates 11 kimberlite pipes and 16 alluvial deposits in the Yakutia and Arkhangelsk Region of Russia. ALROSA stones are mined in conflict-free areas and come straight from the producer, ensuring transparent origin. The company is also a leader social responsibility, spending $150-200 million a year for social projects and $100 million for environmental preservation. In addition to rough diamond mining, ALROSA has its own in-house cutting and polishing division, DIAMONDS ALROSA, which cuts both fancy color and large colorless diamonds.

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