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Industry News: WJA Honors Visionaries; D.E.F. Announces Grants; GIA Symposium Speakers; More July 18, 2018 (0 comments)


WJA Honors Female Executives of Cartier, Hearts On Fire And Swarovski At Annual Gala

New York, NY—The Women’s Jewelry Association’s annual Awards For Excellence gala this year honored three top female executives of major jewelry companies: Caryl Capeci, president of Hearts On Fire, Mercedes Abramo, president and CEO of Cartier North America, and Nadja Swarovski, the first female member of the executive board of the family-held corporation.

WJA’s new Visionary Awards were presented to the three women for their groundbreaking roles in furthering the advancement of women into executive ranks of the jewelry industry. Presentations were made by women equally accomplished in their respective fields: Abramo was presented her award by Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient and founder of the Girls’ Lounge. Capeci was presented her award by Joanna Coles, chief content officer of Hearst Magazines (both pictured left), and Swarovski was presented her award by renowned nonagenarian businesswoman, interior designer, and fashion icon Iris Apfel, below:

In addition to the three Visionaries, WJA president Jenny Luker (also president of Platinum Guild International USA), presented a fourth award to the De Beers Group and UN Women for their three-year partnership to accelerate the advancement of women across the De Beers organization and in its diamond marketing, as well as in diamond producing countries. David Prager, De Beers’ executive vice president of corporate affairs, and Elizabeth Nyamayaro, head of UN Women’s “HeForShe” movement, accepted the award.  

WJA national board president Jenny Luker, president of Platinum Guild International USA, with Mercedes Abramo, president and CEO of Cartier North America.


Diamond Empowerment Fund Set To Grant Half-Million Dollars; Adds New Scholarships

New York, NY--At its mid-year board meeting Monday, the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F) approved up to $500,000 in grants to help students and young entrepreneurs from diamond mining countries or where the diamond industry does significant global business. This is a direct result of sponsors of last month’s highly successful Diamond Do Good Awards fundraising dinner in Las Vegas. The goal of these grants is to help build strong, sustainable, and economically successful communities. 

The funds will be allocated to existing beneficiaries, including the Botswana Top Achievers program, the Graca Machel Mandela Foundation, and India-based Veerayatan.

Funds will also support graduates of D.E.F’s mobile school in the Democratic Republic of Congo to attend high school through the Diamond Development Initiative’s innovative program.  

Students answer questions during an oral examination at the DDI mobile school.

New this year will be the establishment of Diamond Empowerment Fund Scholarships that can be used for higher education, leadership development, entrepreneurship, or vocational training for youth from either diamond mining countries or countries which play a central role in the diamond industry. The stipulation for scholarship recipients is that upon graduating their respective programs, they return to their communities to build economic growth, sustainability, and the development of strong social structures.


GIA Announces Symposium Speakers; Hosts Successful NY Career Fair 

Carlsbad, CA—Leading researchers in geology, mineralogy, diamond formation and related fields will present their latest findings at GIA’s (Gemological Institute of America) upcoming International Gemological Symposium, Oct. 7-9 at GIA headquarters in Carlsbad, California. Among other topics, synthetic and natural diamonds will be a focus of multiple sessions. Recently announced sessions include:

Dr. Saleem Ali, senior fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Sustainable Investment and director of the Gemstones and Sustainable Development Knowledge Hub at the University of Delaware, will discuss “Gemstones and Sustainable Livelihoods: From Mines to Markets.”

Dr. Barbara Dutrow, the Adolphe G. Gueymard Distinguished Professor in the department of geology and geophysics at Louisiana State University and a member of the GIA Board of Governors, will examine “Tourmaline: A Gemstone’s Guide to Geologic Evolution.”

Dr. Lee Groat, professor in the department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia and editor of The Canadian Mineralogist, will present “Scientific Study of Colored Gem Deposits and Modern Fingerprinting Methods.”

Dr. Andrey Katrusha will present “Growing Ultra-Large Synthetic Diamonds with HPHT Methods.” He is a world-leading specialist in the field of growing large and ultra-large synthetic diamonds at high pressure and high temperature. 

Dr. D. Graham Pearson, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, will explore new technologies and techniques in his presentation “Modern Advances in the Understanding of Diamond Formation.”

Dr. Evan Smith, a research scientist at GIA, will discuss “The Formation of Natural Type IIa & IIb Diamonds.”

Dr. Daniel Twitchen, sales director for CVD synthetic diamonds at Element Six (E6), will address “Synthetic CVD Diamonds.”

Research presentations at Symposium will focus on seven themes: colored stones and pearls, diamond geology, diamond identification, gem characterization, general gemology and jewelry, gem localities and gem formation, and new technologies and techniques. In addition to the speakers, those themes will also be addressed in a significant poster session with more than 60 participants presenting research abstracts where Symposium attendees will be able to interact with the poster presenters.

Abstracts for all oral and poster presentations will be published in the Fall 2018 issue of Gems & Gemology

Professors from the Harvard Business School (HBS) will lead a track on business concepts and innovations, using the renowned case-study method employed in all HBS programs. The Symposium will close with “Futurescape Forum,” a landmark event where industry leaders will deliberate their unfiltered predictions on the horizon for the gem and jewelry industry.

To register and for more information on the program, related events and hotel accommodations, visit

Separately, GIA's annual New York Career Fair, held last Friday at the Javits Center in New York City, attracted more than 500 attendees, including GIA (Gemological Institute of America) students and alumni, job seekers, and industry professionals. The event gave aspiring jewelry professionals the opportunity to network with people from all areas of the gem and jewelry industry, listen to an inspiring opening panel with industry leaders, and meet with recruiters from more than 50 companies looking to fill hundreds of positions.

Danielle Barber, creative director at Suna Bros. Inc., meeting with an attendee at GIA’s New York Jewelry Career Fair. Photo © GIA.

“This was perhaps the most enthusiastic Career Fair we have had in 25 years,” said GIA senior vice president and chief marketing officer Kathryn Kimmel. “The combination of a tight job market and rising jewelry sales means that there are great opportunities at all levels in the gem and jewelry industry.”

The half-day event began with a panel discussion “Job Success in Today’s Market.” Moderated by Jennifer Wilson, GIA senior vice president and general counsel, the lively discussion featured industry luminaries offering their advice for how to match aspirations to goals and find success. Panelists included Joel Schecter, executive vice president of Richline Group Inc., Fallon Bock, a recent GIA graduate and now a diamond quality specialist for Leo Schachter Diamond Group, Greg Kwiat, chief executive officer at Kwiat & Fred Leighton, and Wendy Brandes, owner and president of Wendy Brandes Jewelry. Topics for discussion included change and flexibility, passion, and integrity.

L to R: Jennifer Wilson, GIA senior vice president and general counsel; Joel Schechter, executive vice president at Richline Group, Inc.; recent GIA graduate, Fallon Bock, diamond quality specialist at Leo Schachter Diamond Group; Greg Kwiat, chief executive officer at Kwiat & Fred Leighton; and Wendy Brandes, owner and president of Wendy Brandes Jewelry. Photo © GIA.


Aussie National Gem Show Is In Rockhampton Next Easter

Queensland, Australia—Rockhampton has been chosen to host Australia’s largest national gem and mineral show which will bring more than 5,000 visitors to the central Queensland region next April.

The 55th annual Gemboree, set to be the largest to date, will be held at the Rockhampton Showgrounds from April 19-22, 2019, and will showcase gemstone and minerals activities of Australia to local, national, and international visitors and exhibitors. 

The 2018 Gemboree event, held in April in Australia.

Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow said, “It’s very fitting for our region to play host to a tradeshow of this kind, especially with our roots in the Mount Morgan Gold Mine and with a number of gem fields in neighboring communities. Rockhampton is the best vantage point to explore these unique attractions in Central Queensland.   

“For the first time we will include an international symposium sponsored by the Gemmological Association of Australia, which will attract even more national and international visitors than normal with a great program of presentations that will interest gemologists and jewelers,” said 2019 Gemboree coordinator Arthur Cleary. “In addition to a vast array of rocks, fossils and gems, the Gemboree tradeshow will be a display of the finest lapidary work with demonstrations and workshops, and patrons will also have the opportunity to join field trips in the local area.”

For more information, visit


New Research Shows Diamonds May Not Be So Rare After All: 1,000 Times More Common Than Previously Thought

New York, NY--A team of scientists studying seismic anomalies (which cause things like earthquakes and tsunamis) found some peculiarities in how sound waves travel inside the earth. That led to the conclusion that it's likely there are massive amounts of diamonds deep within the earth's mantle and core. About a quadrillion tons of them, reports Newsweek.

No, that's not an exaggeration: geologically speaking, at least, the scientists say there are about 1,000 times more diamonds in the earth than previously thought. The catch, however, is that they're about 90 to 150 miles below the earth's surface, which is far deeper than any mining expedition has ever gone. So while scientists are fully convinced they're there, we can't get at them with current technology.

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