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AGTA Announces Spectrum Awards Judges

The deadline for mail-in entries is June 28.

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(PRESS RELEASE) DALLAS, TX – The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) announces its panel of judges for the 2019 AGTA Spectrum Awards. This year’s judges are:

  • John L. Carter, Retailer, Jack Lewis Jewelers
  • Paula Crevoshay, Designer, Mellika Company, Inc. / Crevoshay
  • Myriam Galli, Manufacturer, Gemveto
  • Brett Kosnar, Lapidary, Kosnar Gem Co.
  • Naomi Sarna, Designer/Lapidary, Naomi Sarna Designs
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The AGTA Spectrum Awards is a premier colored gemstone and cultured pearl jewelry design competition with categories in Bridal Wear, Business Day Wear, Classical, Evening Wear and Men’s Wear. AGTA Spectrum Awards also features the Platinum Honors sponsored by Platinum Guild International and the Gem DIVA Awards sponsored by the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA). The AGTA Cutting Edge Awards honors loose colored gemstones in everything from Classic Gemstones to one-of-a-kind Carvings, Pairs and Suites to Objects of Art. The competition is open to U.S. and Canadian designers and cutters.

“We are again very excited about the caliber of individuals that will be judging this year’s competition. Each of them bring years of experience and outstanding expertise to their role; several of them are themselves past participants and winners of AGTA Spectrum Awards,” said Douglas K. Hucker, AGTA CEO. “We know from past experience that the chemistry between the judges is vitally important and when you are working with consummate professionals, the results reflect that.”

Meet the 2019 AGTA Spectrum Awards Judges

 

Paula Crevoshay, Mellika Company, Inc. / Crevoshay

Some great artists show a flash of genius and are gone, some show us a new vision and spend the rest of their careers repeating themselves and a few, the very greatest, continue to explore and reinvent themselves year after year taking their work and their audience to ever greater heights, enriching the broader culture in the process. Paula Crevoshay is widely recognized to be among the very few in the latter group.

From the very beginning Crevoshay has applied Fine Art Principles to jewelry design. In addition to Fine Art, Crevoshay studied Anthropology, especially symbolism, and you will note in her very modern expression of artistic archetypes echoes of cultures past.

Today Crevoshay enjoys the patronage of art connoisseurs and avid jewelry collectors the world over. Her work has been exhibited in museums in the United States, France and India and is on display at the Gemological Institute of America, Carnegie Museum of Natural History and in the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian where it continues to surprise and delight new people every year.

John L. Carter, Jack Lewis Jewelers

John Carter began his jewelry career at Jack Lewis Jewelers, as a junior in high school where he stayed all through his college years, as well. Upon his graduation from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, he departed his hometown and Jack Lewis, as a traveling sales representative with Maurice Lacroix Swiss watches. Carter returned to Jack Lewis in 2002 as a partner and a ten-year plan to purchase the store. He accomplished this task in 8 and a half years and officially took the reins in 2011.

Through the years, Carter has been eager to innovate especially as it applies to shaping the 90- year-old store that he grew up in and loves. The store’s social media has been the vehicle that has gained the attention of Central Illinois customers, as well as respected jewelry industry leaders. He continues to set Jack Lewis apart through the store’s employees, creative messages, and unique product assortment.

Today, Carter is very active within the industry and his community. He is particularly proud of his role on the Board of Directors for The American Gem Society, where he currently serves as President.

Naomi Sarna, Naomi Sarna Designs

Naomi’s earliest memory is working with her hands; this has been the focus of her entire life, studying the beautiful line and making it come true with the work of her hands. Her interest in nature and what comes out of the Earth was sparked at a young age. She became familiar with minerals and gems while exploring mines in Montana with her grandfather who sold miners’ equipment.

Naomi has made a point of connecting with her work from the source. She has traveled the world searching for gems, some of her most wonderful memories include going to Tanzania to the tanzanite mines and developing a relationship with the Maasai.

Naomi is the winner many prestigious awards, both nationally and internationally. Amongst these are twenty-three of Spectrum Awards in both Gem Carving and Jewelry, including “Best Use of Color”, three consecutive “Best Use of Pearls”, two “WJA Gem DIVA” and the first awarded “AGTA Buyer’s Choice Award”. Naomi is also the recipient of a Bronze and a Silver Metal from the Zi Gang Bei Jade Carving Association in Suzhou, China.

Her work is represented in the Permanent Collection of the Smithsonian Institution and is worn by high-ranking American government officials, as well as royalty. Her work has also been displayed in books and museums around the country including the Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh and Headley-Whittney Museum in Lexington, Kentucky.

Today, Naomi is based in New York City. Her jewelry incorporates unusual natural pearls, colored pearls, and her own gem carvings. Her work is known for its meticulous fit and finish. Her carvings are of a unique design indicative of her interest in the way things flow and fold, inspired by water and fabric as she continues her study of the beautiful line.

She is deeply grateful to the AGTA for being the foundation for the development of her career.

Myriam Galli, Gemveto

Mimi Galli was born into jewelry and has been involved in the industry for the past 31 years.

Her mother and stepfather, Jean and Irene Vitau, founded Gemveto Jewelry Co, Inc., 55 years ago and Mimi has been a part of the company for the last 31 years, involved in all aspects of the business.

Started out in the administrative end and working closely with the stone buyer to learn about gemstone and diamonds, Mimi now does all product development, sales and marketing, and color gemstone purchases. Her parents instilled in her the knowledge and deep appreciation for fine, high quality jewelry and the importance of very fine craftsmanship and materials. As a young child she would come to the office and “play” with stones or sit and watch different aspects of manufacturing in the Gemveto atelier.

Her father, Maurice Galli, was a renowned jewelry designer, who worked for the big New York houses,

Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpel, David Webb and Harry Winston. He also taught jewelry design at F.I.T. and published three jewelry design books. As a little girl, Mimi would visit her father at work and he would sit her down with paper and colored pencils or paints so she could designs her own jewelry. Mimi inherited from her father a keen eye for color and design. Her passion is finding unusual gemstones and creating design around interesting gemstone color combinations and working closely with Gemveto’s talented model makers and craftsman to create unique pieces.

Mimi proudly served on the board of the Women’s Jewelry Association in the early days, where she had the privilege of working with amazing, accomplished industry women.

Brett Kosnar, Kosnar Gem Co.

Brett Kosnar has been in the gem industry for his entire life. Starting with a family-owned business that specialized in world class mineral specimens, he became enchanted with the world of gems from a young age. The family was in the heart of the mineral industry and had a mineral named for them, Kosnarite. He then worked in the mining industry, bringing rock out of the Earth, giving him a greater understanding and appreciation of this world. That knowledge led him to becoming a self-taught faceter and gemstone artist in his teen years, discovering how to shape what the world had to offer. With his study of minerals, Brett was interested in working with the rare and unique stones that weren’t often used for jewelry. These unique gems were not well known to jewelers and he found himself in need of a jewelry artist with the drive and knowledge to work with these stone. Subsequently, he knew he would be the one to create these rare pieces, and began an apprenticeship under a master goldsmith. Those skills would build the foundation for a passionate lifelong career.

Every year, Brett’s passion for the vast world of gems has expanded, driving him to hone his skills at both the stone and metal arts. He has developed new techniques for the faceting of soft stones, which has set a new industry standard. His particular skill with Fluorite and Rhodochrosite has set him apart for the rare gem stone industry. He recently has added an AGTA Cutting Edge Award to his accomplishments. Most recently, he had the privilege to take his first lapidary class under Dalan Hargrave and expand his skills further than they had ever been.

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Brett now owns and operates his own business with his wife, and fellow faceter. Together, they labor to create spectacular gems every day and push the boundaries of gemstone artistry. He also gives talks on the world of gemstones and what beauty lies beneath the Earth. Brett’s devotion to the discovery and creation of gemstones, and the gemstone industry as a whole, is hardly to be rivaled.

The deadline for mail-in entries is June 28th; the New York Drop-off for Spectrum entries is Tuesday, July 9th at the offices of Intercolor USA, 48 W. 48th St., Ste. 800, New York. For more information regarding the 2019 AGTA Spectrum Awards, please contact Lauren Hewlett at 800-972-1162 or visit www.agta.org/spectrum.

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GIA Commits $1.3M to Artisanal Mining Education Project

It’s a four-year commitment.

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(PRESS RELEASE) 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. Speaking at the ICA Congress in Bangkok on Oct. 15, 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 withPact, a Washington D.C.-based international development nonprofit organization with expertise in the region, GIA plans to reach 10,000 miners with relevant information on how to evaluate the quality of the rough they mine.

“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.”

Robert Weldon, GIA director of the Richard T. Liddicoat Library and Information Center, pictured with an artisanal miner from Tunduru, Tanzania.

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. Dr. Shigley and Dona Dirlam, then-director of the GIA library, working with GIA research and library staff, created the booklet, “Selecting Gem Rough: A Guide for Artisanal Miners.” First 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.”

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.”

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Brooklyn Jewelers Launches Newest Line

It’s called “Neighborhoods Collection”.

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(PRESS RELEASE) BROOKLYN, NY – Brooklyn Jewelers announces the official launch of its newest line, the new “Neighborhoods Collection”. Taking inspiration from the art and fashion trends of Brooklyn, this collection is designed with millennials in mind. All of our jewelry is available in castings with select styles offered finished (in white, yellow, rose, 14K, 18K, palladium, and platinum).

For more information, contact: info@brooklynjewelers.com or call (718) 534-4408

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Check out our website: brooklynjewelers.com

We are also on Facebook and Instagram: @brooklynjewelers

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David Sexton of Jewelers Mutual Group Retires

He retires after 39 years with Jewelers Mutual.

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David Sexton

(PRESS RELEASE) NEENAH, WI – Earlier this week, Jewelers Mutual Group announced the retirement of longtime vice president of Loss Prevention and Consulting, David Sexton, CPCU.

Sexton began his association with Jewelers Mutual in 1980 as an Underwriting Assistant and enhanced his career through roles in commercial lines customer service, CL underwriting, and specialty account management, becoming vice president of Loss Prevention and Consulting in 2004.

In this critical loss prevention leadership role, Sexton was responsible for the development, recommendation and implementation of Jewelers Mutual’s loss prevention policy. He is credited with building key relationships between Jewelers Mutual with the jewelry, alarm, and law enforcement communities, to effectively promote comprehensive loss prevention strategies to reduce jewelry exposures to loss.

“It was never about me, it was always about us,” Sexton said.

Sexton will officially retire from Jewelers Mutual on December 31, 2019, however he plans to remain involved with the company for the foreseeable future through engagement with Jewelers Mutual associates, jewelry associations at industry events, and collaborations with agents/brokers. He will continue to work with the Jewelers Mutual executive team to ensure key relationships and partnerships he has helped forge remain strong.

“I will always treasure the relationships I have made during my association with Jewelers Mutual,” Sexton said. “My retirement is not an end, but rather a beginning. The leadership of Jewelers Mutual has a clear path for continuing our vital loss prevention mission to provide innovative risk management solutions for the industry we serve, not just insurance.”

Sexton, a member of the 24 Karat Club of New York, currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, a nonprofit association devoted to reducing crimes against the jewelry industry, as well as the Canadian Jewellers Association. In 2016, Sexton was the recipient of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance Industry Service Award and in 2018 he received the American Gem Society’s John J. Kennedy Law Enforcement Award.

Sexton has served on the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Security Systems Council, formerly known as the Burglary Protection Council, since 1994 and also serves as a corporate member of UL in the insurance category. He served on the Central Station Alarm Association’s Insurance Liaison Committee, which assisted in the development of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) burglar alarm modular certificate program and remains active on several UL/ULC Standard Technical Panels through which UL/ULC develops and maintain their standards for safety.

“You’re known by the company you keep,” Sexton said. “It’s all about the people. Working with people to help them solve their risk management challenges has really been the most rewarding aspect of my insurance career.”

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