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2019 Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology Announced

It will be presented at AGA’s Gala Dinner Dance on February 6, 2019.

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(PRESS RELEASE) The Accredited Gemologists Association announced three categories for the 2019 Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology.

The Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology is conferred to people who have made important contributions in the field. This marks the second time in the association’s 45-year history in which multiple recipients have been recognized in the same year.

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AGA announces the following 2019 Antonio C. Bonanno Award Recipients:

Donna Hawrelko, Gemology and Jewelry Program Coordinator and Instructor at Vancouver Community College. Donna is awarded for her significant contribution to the field of gemological education and her commitment to generations of gemology students. As a leading figure in the international gemological community, Donna has focused on developing course manuals, and materials while teaching gemology to an international student body at the Gemmology and Jewellery departments at Vancouver Community College, where she has served as instructor since 1992, and Program Coordinator since 2005. She has educated thousands of students, some of whom now hold prominent positions in the gem industry worldwide. She was instrumental in developing the Canadian Gemmological Association (CGA) program, and served as Chief Examiner, Director of Education, and later became the president of CGA in 2015. The CGA reestablished its historic alliance with Gem-A through her efforts in 2017. Donna is also past president of AGA and was an influential figure during her tenure helping to reshape the AGA into the internationally respected organization that it is today.

Alberto Scarani and Mikko Åström, co-founders of MAGI Labs. Scarani and Aström are recognized for adapting advanced spectroscopy technology to the gemological field, making it accessible and affordable to all gemologists. This was most notable from their Gemmoraman system, a major breakthrough for gemologists and appraisers as it placed portable and reliable Raman & Photoluminescence spectroscopy capabilities at their fingertips. Prior to this, such technology and the detailed database critical to accurate results were typically only accessible through universities and major laboratories.

Dr. Karl Schmetzer, renowned research gemologist. Dr. Schmetzer is awarded for over 50 years dedicated to research in the mineralogical and gemological fields and sharing his discoveries globally through an astounding body of work, and for serving in leadership roles with CIBJO and other organizations to help raise professional standards for the global gem and jewelry industry yielding new discoveries and insights into these sciences. He has generously shared his findings through an unparalleled body of work, including almost 400 papers, two books, and presentations around the world. He has also served in leadership roles with CIBJO and other organizations to help raise professional standards for the global gem and jewelry industry.

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This year the AGA Board was struck by the voting patterns. In analyzing the data more carefully, it was concluded that each of the nominees had made outstanding contributions, but each in their own — distinctly different– facets of the field.

In response to this, the AGA Board of Governors, in consultation with the AGA Special Advisor, Antoinette (Bonanno) Matlins, concluded that there was no better time than the present to inaugurate an expanded award format that truly reflected the many facets of the incredible field we call gemology!

“After all,” explained AGA president Stuart Robertson, “since its inception the AGA has endeavored to recognize the people and pioneers who have made significant contributions in each of the areas in which the AGA has been active. So today, with such expanded activity in each of those areas — Education; Gemological Research; Gemological Instrumentation; Industry Standards; and Consumer Awareness and Advocacy — a single award is no longer sufficient to adequately reflect the current reality.”

Supporting this idea, Matlins added, “During my father’s career in gemology, he was an innovator, educator, and, of course, a respected gemologist. He would be delighted that an award created in his honor is being presented this year to a talented educator and mentor; two extraordinary innovators of technology; and a world-renowned gemological researcher”!

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Previous recipients of the Antonio C. Bonanno Award For Excellence in Gemology include: Dr. William “Bill” Hanneman, Al Gilbertson, Dr. Cigdem Lule, Dr. Thomas Hainschwang, Dr. John Emmett, Dr. Emmanuel Fritsch, Thom Underwood, Stuart Robertson, Richard Hughes, Christopher Smith, Dr. James Shigley, Shane McClure, Richard Drucker, Alan Jobbins, Antoinette Matlins, Dr. Henry Hanni, the late G. Robert Crowningshield, John Koivula, C. R. Beesley, and Alan Hodgkinson.

The Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology will be presented at AGA’s Gala Dinner Dance at the conclusion of its Tucson Conference, Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at the Tucson University Park Hotel. The award includes a personalized plaque and $2000.00 honorarium funded by the AGA membership. For additional information or to attend the conference or gala, go to www.accreditedgemologists.org or call 844-288-4367.

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Press Releases

Chairman Elected for JSA Board

He is replacing Stewart Wicht of Rolex.

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Steven Kaiser

(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK – On Jan. 12, the Jewelers’ Security Alliance held its annual meeting and luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in New York for 170 supporters, law enforcement personnel and industry leaders. At the luncheon it was announced that Steven Kaiser of Kaiser Time had been elected chairperson of JSA for a three-year term, replacing Stewart Wicht of Rolex, who had completed his term.

John Kennedy, president of JSA , began the luncheon with a moment of silence for Helen Buck, who worked for JSA for 37 years and passed away in October 2018, and a moment of silence for the one jeweler who was killed in the U.S. in 2018 during a
robbery.

Kennedy said that in contrast to one jeweler killed in 2018, there were 37 U.S. jewelers killed in 1992, indicating a remarkable decline. He also said that in almost every year since 2000 the total dollar losses from crime against the U.S. jewelry industry hit new lows. He attributed this decline to a powerful War on Jewelry Crime that JSA has helped organize, encourage and promote, and which now includes a network of 3,000 law enforcement personnel and broad representation of the jewelry industry.

He stated that JSA’s network of over 21,000 industry members and supporters extended from the behemoths of the industry like Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., GIA, JCK, Rolex and Signet, to manufacturers, chains, independents, security firms and mom-and-pop jewelers coast-to-coast.

Newly elected to the JSA Board was Alan Zimmer, CEO of Reeds Jewelers, a chain of 60 fine jewelry stores. Re-elected to three-year terms were: Patti Geo lat of the Geolat Cos.; Chris Hackler of Signet Jewelers; Mark Smelzer of JCK; and David Tearle of GIA. Continuing in their terms on the JSA Board are: Chad Berg of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry; David Bonaparte of Jewelers of America; Marc Green of Lux, Bond & Green; Adam Heyman of Oscar Heyman & Bros.; David Sexton of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co.; Mark Udell of London Jewelers; Stewart Wicht of Rolex; and Stanley Zale of Stuller.

At the luncheon, JSA presented the Annual Industry Service Award s to Michelle Graff, editor-in-chief of National Jeweler; and Rob Bates, news director of JCK.

Kennedy said that these two journalists had made a valuable contribution to the security of the jewelry industry by helping spread JSA’s information and advice to a wide audience.

JSA also presented the Annual James B. White Law Enforcement Awards to three officers with the Paramus, NJ, Police Department: Deputy Chief Robert M. Guidetti, Detective Lieutenant Frank Scott and Detective Nicholas Luciano. Kennedy stated that these officers had provided valuable service to the jewelry industry by investigating and arresting numerous suspects in over 100 crimes against jewelers totaling millions of dollars.

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Press Releases

GIA Alum Craig Danforth to Join Jewelers Mutual team

He will work closely with the leadership team.

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Craig Danforth

(PRESS RELEASE) NEENAH, WI – Craig Selimotic Danforth will join the leadership team of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group on Monday, January 28, assuming the role of vice president of client solutions.

Danforth has 25-plus years of sales, business development, marketing, training, and finance experience, most recently demonstrated as Director, Global Business and Development at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

“Craig’s experience in the industry makes him an ideal candidate for this role,” said Mike Alexander, senior vice president of commercial lines. “We will work together to enhance our current offerings and develop new opportunities to strengthen and grow the jewelry industry.”

As part of the Jewelers Mutual team, Danforth will work closely with the leadership team to shape the foundation, priorities, and vision of our key initiatives. His experiences at upcoming industry events and trade shows will offer Jewelers Mutual insights to further develop our core offerings and expand our emerging businesses.

Prior to his 10 years at GIA, Danforth held management roles at Cartier, David Yurman, and Ermenegildo Zegna.

Danforth completed his BA at Hamilton College, his MBA at ESSEC Business School in France, and has several diplomas from GIA including Graduate Diamonds, Graduate Pearls, and Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP).

He is on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA), a member of Jewelers 24 Karat Club of Southern California, and also serves on the 24 Karat Club of Southeastern US’s scholarship committee.

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group is seeking skilled and experienced employees to fill a variety of roles within the company. For a full list of employment opportunities, visit jewelersmutual.com/careers.

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Press Releases

Picchiotti Expands U.S. Team with Former Retail Executive Mark Mazzarese

He will help extend the Picchiotti presence across North America.

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                      Mark Mazzarese

(PRESS RELEASE) VALENZA, ITALY – Valenza based Italian jewelry brand Picchiotti is expanding its U.S. team effective February 1st with the addition of former retail executive Mark A. Mazzarese. Building upon the success of its patent-pending Xpandable Collection and its one-of-a-kind gemstone classics, Picchiotti will commence its 52nd year in business with the addition of a second U.S. sales representative. Mazzarese will join U.S. Chief Agent Barry Meyrowitz to help extend the Picchiotti presence across North America.

“My family and I are delighted to welcome Mark to the Picchiotti team,” says President and Founder Giuseppe Picchiotti. “His unique expertise and leadership skills, coupled with his lengthy experience in the fine jewelry industry, ensure that he will grow our business with the standard of excellence and customer service for which our brand is known.”

Mazzarese comes to Picchiotti with a life-long history of excellence and passion in the fine jewelry industry. A nationally recognized retail jewelry executive, he served as President of Mazzarese Fine Jewelry in Kansas City from 1998 to 2017. He has also served on the boards of such prestigious organizations as the FBI Citizens Academy and the Kansas City Zoo. He is a member of the Centurion Leadership Program of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Leawood Chamber of Commerce. Mark will bring a unique customer-service and retail-oriented approach to his work with Picchiotti and will take responsibility for the western portion of North America.

Mazzarese is a graduate of the University of Kansas and an alumnus of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Mazzarese or the Picchiottis, please contact Maria Carola Picchiotti (mariacarola@Picchiotti.it) or Luxury Brand Group (duvall@luxbrandgroup.com).

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