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AGTA GemFair Tucson Opening Day Draws Thousands

It opened with near-record opening day numbers.

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(PRESS RELEASE) TUCSON, AZ — The AGTA GemFair Tucson show opened with near-record numbers.

With the debut of a new system that eased the registration process, the pre-registration numbers were higher than prior years and ensured that the onsite system ran smoothly and quickly. The AGTA GemFair Tucson debuted a new grand ballroom that featured the finest designers and manufacturers, colored diamond dealers and estate jewelers in a swanky, upscale environment, and included an expanded tools, technology and supplies pavilion – the only one of its kind in Tucson.

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“This was an exciting year for AGTA because we made some interesting changes leading into the 2019 show, and we were excited to see the outcome,” stated Douglas K. Hucker, AGTA CEO. “Not only did we expand our wholesale loose colored gemstone dealers on the GemHall floor, we introduced the new grand ballroom, and added new support services vendors, but we also instituted an aggressive new digital marketing campaign that really spoke to the buyers coming to our show. It was important for us to communicate that AGTA GemFair is the place to buy colored gemstones and cultured pearls, from ethical dealers that you can trust.”

The AGTA GemFair Tucson is February 5 -10, 2019 at the Tucson Convention Center. The new AGTA GemFair Las Vegas show will debut at the Las Vegas Convention Center on May 30 – June 3, 2019. Registration information for the new Las Vegas show can be found at www.agta.org.

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New Mineral Named for Famed Gemologist John Koivula

Johnkoivulaite, discovered in Myanmar, is a member of the beryl family.

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The new mineral johnkoivulaite is named after renowned gemologist John Koivula, best known for his contributions to inclusion research and photomicrography. Photo by Kevin Schumacher/GIA.

(PRESS RELEASE) CARLSBAD, CA – GIA (Gemological Institute of America) researchers, in collaboration with scientists from the California Institute of Technology, recently confirmed a new mineral species, johnkoivulaite, named in honor of the renowned microscopist and GIA researcher John Koivula. The 1.16 ct crystal – accepted by the International Mineralogical Association as a new mineral species – was found in the Mogok Valley of Myanmar by local gemologist Nay Myo. GIA Senior Research Scientist Aaron Palke will present the newly-named mineral at the Geological Society of America (GSA) conference on Sept. 25 in Phoenix, Arizona.

“We are privileged to be able to name this mineral after John Koivula, who has contributed so much to science and the gem and jewelry industry as a prominent gemologist and innovator in photomicrography,” said Tom Moses, executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer. “Discoveries such as this remind us of the importance of our mission-based research and of the numerous important contributions John has made in his more than four decades of scientific work.”

Johnkoivulaite has a hexagonal crystal structure that is very similar to beryl and other members of the beryl group, such as pezzottaite. Standard gemological testing gave an RI of 1.608, with a birefringence too small to accurately measure, an SG of 3.01, a hardness of 7½, a conchoidal fracture, vitreous luster, and no reaction to long-wave or short-wave UV. This mineral is especially unique due to the strong pleochroism it shows from deep violet to nearly colorless when observed with polarized light.

A specimen of the new mineral now resides in the GIA museum collection, located at the Institute’s world headquarters in Carlsbad, California.

Koivula has more than 40 years of industry experience in research and photomicrograghy. In 1986, Koivula co-authored with Edward J. Gübelin the immensely popular Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones, followed by two additional volumes. Koivula also wrote The Microworld of Diamondsand co-authored Geologica with Robert Coenraads. His many contributions have received broad acclaim. He’s received AGS’s Robert M. Shipley Award, AGA’s Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology, GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement, won first place in Nikon’s Small World Photomicrographic competition in 1984 and was named one of JCK magazine’s 64 Most Influential People in the Jewelry Industry in the 20th Century.

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Consumers Stress Importance of Independent 3rd Party Verification of Diamond Social and Environmental Impact Claims

67% of respondents said they would be more loyal to a retailer or brand that sells diamonds verified by an independent 3rd party company.

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(PRESS RELEASE) AUSTIN, TX — A large majority of consumers consider independent 3rd party verification of diamond retailer, brands and manufacturer claims about social and environmental impact to be important, according to a research study by MVI Marketing LLC. Key findings from the research include:

• Over 85% of jewelry purchasers responded that independent 3rd party verification of chain of custody and social and environmental impact claims is Very or Somewhat Important for any diamond they want to purchase
Consumers of both mined diamonds and lab-grown diamonds in the study cited higher credibility, transparency to all parties and independent quality control as the top three reasons for this preference.

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“Retailers and brands should take notice of this growing trend among jewelry consumers and get on board early to establish credibility for any claims they make to position their brand above the competition,” stated Liz Chatelain, president of MVI.

Asked whether they would be more loyal to a retailer or brand that sells diamonds verified by an independent 3rd party company, 67% of respondent said Yes.

“We know from other studies that diamond consumers are becoming increasingly concerned and interested in the country of origin of the diamonds they purchase,” Chatelain continued. “This new study further confirms the need for claims of origin, as well as claims of social and environmental impact, to be independently verified. This is particularly important for claims related to sustainable production and responsible mining,” she added.

Asked how much confidence they would have if a company created its own standards for claims of social and environmental responsibility and then self-reports, consumers were not impressed. However, when asked if those same claims were also backed up by an independent 3rd party verification, consumers were much more confident.

“Independent 3rd party verification of origin, safety, environmental and quality claims is standard practice in industries from food to cosmetics to automobiles. This research confirms that it’s time for the diamond industry, both mined and lab-grown, to give consumers what they want. At a time when the diamond industry is struggling to reassure the next generation of consumers, independent 3rd party verification will reinforce that trust,” notes Chatelain.

This MVI research study was completed in July 2019 by 1,506 fine jewelry consumers (77% from the U.S. and 23% from Canada) with household incomes over US$50K, and between the ages of 23 and 55.

The complete report can be downloaded here.

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Jewelers for Children Announces 2019 Hope for the Holidays Program

It includes holiday greeting cards produced by Hallmark.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Jewelers for Children, the industry’s charity, has unveiled its 2019 Hope for the Holidays program. The program includes holiday greeting cards produced by Hallmark from the designs of children representing St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The program also includes an honor donation program, and contribution cards and inserts.

This is the third year that Hallmark has donated all the printing for the cards. The card designs feature original children’s artwork and include the Hallmark logo on back of every card and embossed on the envelope flaps.

In lieu of traditional holiday greetings, members of the jewelry industry can send holiday cards showing their support for the charity. There are also contribution recognition cards that can be purchased with a donation to JFC and sent to special contacts on everyone’s holiday list. Contribution card inserts are available as an option for use with any holiday card. This year there are three different designs to choose from, all drawn by children who were either patients at the hospital, or a sibling. JFC has supported St. Jude since 1999 with more than $ 12 million in donations that have been used to fund research projects, including a bone marrow transplant clinic.

Honor donation programs are conducted by a number of companies in the industry who send letters to their customers and suppliers asking that in lieu of holiday gifts, a donation be made in their honor to JFC. The honor donation program can be utilized by anyone in the industry to easily complete their gift giving for the season and support children in need. JFC provides suggested language for a letter and customized donation forms.

Information on purchasing holiday cards, contribution cards and inserts, and the honor donation program can be found on JFC’s website at www.jewelersforchildren.org or by calling 212-687-2949.

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