Power-Cutting Gangs, California Power Outages Pose Threats To Jewelry Stores
New York, NY—The Jewelers’ Security Alliance has issued a special bulletin detailing three significant Midwest and California jewelry store burglaries that involved interrupting power to the stores to disable their alarms and surveillance video. Additionally, JSA warns that planned power outages in California (designed to prevent wildfires) may put jewelers there at higher risk for burglary. (Image at left: The city of San Francisco and the Bay Bridge are seen from the Oakland Hills during the PG&E power outage in Oakland on October 10. Curbed SF photo by Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images).
JSA recommends stores in those areas follow these protocols:
Recently, three burglaries occurred in New Albany, IN (near Louisville, KY), Gurnee, IL (Chicago area), and Los Angeles, CA area, where the stores’ power was cut and theirsafes or vaults were compromised. These all occurred between October 3 and 7. Here are some typical MO’s regarding power cut burglaries:
JSA recommends these 10 tips:
GIA Commits $1.3 Million to Artisanal Mining Education Project
Carlsbad, CA—Building on a successful pilot and feedback from small-scale colored gemstone miners in Tanzania, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) will expand distribution of its innovative gem guide for artisanal miners to other communities and countries in Africa. The program is designed to help artisanal miners learn how to evaluate the rough gems they mine, to avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous buyers.
Speaking at the ICA Congress in Bangkok on Tuesday, GIA president and CEO Susan Jacques announced a four-year, $1.3 million commitment funded from the GIA endowment, to expand the program in Tanzania to Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Zambia. Working with Pact, a Washington D.C.-based international development nonprofit organization with expertise in the region, GIA plans to reach 10,000 miners with educational information on how to evaluate rough gem quality.
“This is a tremendous step forward in our efforts to bring information directly to artisanal miners right at the beginning of the gem and jewelry supply chain,” said Jacques. “We know that this investment will bring an invaluable benefit to miners, their families and the communities in which they live.”
The gem guide project began shortly after GIA Distinguished Research Fellow Dr. James Shigley saw the difficult working conditions of artisanal miners during a 2008 trip to Kenya and Tanzania. Working with GIA research and library staff, Dr. Shigley and Dona Dirlam, then-director of the GIA library, created the booklet Selecting Gem Rough: A Guide for Artisanal Miners. Developed in English and later translated into Swahili, the photo-rich booklet has images of the gemstones found in East Africa and illustrations of how to examine and evaluate rough gems. The booklet is waterproof and comes with a durable plastic tray that can be used to sort gems and do basic gemological evaluations. GIA piloted the program in 2016, working with Pact.
“We found that for every dollar invested, there was a 12-fold social return that will last years into the future,” said Cristina M. Villegas, technical program manager for Pact’s Mines to Markets program. “With their new knowledge, miners improve their income, send their children to school, invest in their mines and their communities.”
Pact representative Norbert Massay, GIA Graduate Gemologist (GG) Marvin Wambua and GIA’s library director Robert Weldon explaining the gem guide to artisanal miners in MoroGoro, Tanzania.
GIA staff, including Robert Weldon, current director of the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center at GIA, and a major contributor to the development and content of the guide, trained more than 1,000 artisanal miners on how to use the guide and tray during a two-week period earlier this year in Tanzania. GIA’s initial efforts to provide information to small scale, artisanal miners came full circle when the GIA team visited the Tanzanian Association of Women Miners (TAWOMA), who participated in the very first training session for the guide.
“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the reaction of the miners as they learn the material. You instantly see that you’ve positively made a change in someone’s life,” said Weldon. “These transcendent moments make us so proud that we can provide artisanal miners with a gem guide that gives them the confidence to know their value in the market.”
WJA Introduces Connect, A Members-Only Online Community
New York, NY - The Women's Jewelry Association (WJA) introduces Connect, its members-only online platform, which went live earlier this year. Higher Logic, the site’s developer, says WJA Connect has seen more than double the activity in six months than such sites typically do in their early stages.
WJA’s Connect was created as an online complement to the association’s traditional mission of helping women advance and develop professionally through networking, education, and leadership development. Many members who don’t live close to a WJA chapter or aren’t able to make live events still get a chance to collaborate, share knowledge, and have meaningful conversations through WJA Connect. Nearly half of all WJA members have created accounts and been active on the site.
“WJA strives to create a seamless experience for our membership. When our members visit Connect, they know they’ll find a professional atmosphere, akin to our live networking and educational events,” says WJA executive director Jennifer Markas. “That’s due to WJA’s mission, plus active management by our community manager, Evelyn Stetzer of The Smithee Group.”
Connect features discussion groups, including All Members, Industry Insights, and Design Corner, plus several specialized forums for leaders in WJA’s 20-plus chapters. Each member can create a profile detailing her or his professional accomplishments and talents, and there is also a member directory based on those profiles. Members can also post photos and learn about live events and webinars.
“The conversations on Connect are of a higher quality than you might see in public forums,” says WJA membership coordinator Rachel Jurisz. “Visitors are looking for crowd-sourced guidance on everything from design and website management, to financial and operations insights for their businesses. Because of the depth and breadth of experience among our members, advice is soon shared.” Stetzer also points out that discussions covering universal questions remain live on the site for newer members to find and access later, adding long-term value and preserving the wisdom of the crowd.
Beyond education, Connect also provides a space for far-flung members of the jewelry industry to network online. Future plans for Connect include starting more chapter forums, encouraging even higher participation and engagement in the community, and monitoring members’ needs so that new topics can be proposed.
Connect is accessible to all WJA members. For information about membership, click here or contact Rachel Jurisz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SIHH Changes Name; Opens To Public
Geneva, Switzerland—The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) is changing the format of its exclusive Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) show. The show, which started in 1991, inspired the format of the American invitation-only shows such as Couture, Centurion, and JCK Luxury. SIHH, which changed from a spring date to January format 10 years ago, has also returned to a spring date and will run immediately prior to the Baselworld Fair, appeasing watch buyers who want to make only one trip to Switzerland each season. The rebranded SIHH will now be called Watches & Wonders Geneva and will run from April 25-29, with Baselworld running April 30-May 5.
Although the public now will be allowed to enter, it won’t be cheap. Tickets will be CHF300 ($301) but will include the entire show and hospitality. The show also will incorporate a citywide element, with museums, tours, and horology lectures added to the mix in hopes of attracting a new generation of watch enthusiasts.
6th Mediterranean Gemmological & Jewellery Conference Set For Spring In Greece
Vancouver, Canada, and Athens, Greece—The Sixth Mediterranean Gemmological & Jewellery Conference will take place in Thessaloniki, Greece, from May 15- 17, 2020. Prior conferences have been held in Greece, Spain, Italy, Montenegro, and the 2019 event took place in Limassol, Cyprus, with 75 participants from 27 countries.
The conferences, organized by Branko Deljanin of CGL Canadian Gemlab and George Spyromilios of IGL (Greece), combine a mixture of business and appraising topics with highly scientific seminars. The conferences spotlight trade issues and challenges, and offer solutions via workshops with standard and advanced affordable instruments and presentations by a range of leading industry figures. Participants include gemologists, jewelers, retailers, gem labs, appraisers, dealers, manufacturers and mining company representatives.
The overall theme of the 2020 conference will be valuation and marketing of diamonds and gems. For detailed speaker and program information, and to register, visit www.gemconference.com or contact Branko Deljanin, conference chair, at email@example.com.