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AJS August 2019 Show Is One for the Record Books

Through new routes, AJS provided its attendees the tools needed to stay competitive in an evolving marketplace and retained its reputation as the fun show.

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(PRESS RELEASE) ATLANTA, GA — The Atlanta Jewelry Show, the jewelry industry’s largest regional trade event in the country, recently concluded its August, 2019 edition. During the four-day event, AJS August brought together over 1,200 industry professionals, and a record number of new buyers. “While staying true to our roots by providing exceptional products and resources for independent jewelers, we were proud to expand our theme of New Routes, through introducing new concepts and feature areas throughout the show that were extremely well-received by all attendees,” states Executive Director Libby Brown. “Our overall mission is to strengthen and maintain our jewelry community, and this show solidified that commitment. I believe my team and I successfully accomplished our goal of providing a comprehensive event that literally changed the course, and positively impacted the businesses of many retailers and vendors alike.”

The vast array of vendors, including many veterans and newcomers to AJS, played a huge role in the success of the show. Troy Hailey, With You Lockets, reported, “From a sales standpoint, we had our best show yet. We met our goal, which was a robust one, because of the high quality of buyers in attendance. This is our favorite show,” Hailey continued.

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The upbeat atmosphere and reports of steady order-writing and growing retail attendance from outside the show’s traditional region had exhibitors talking. New AJS Exhibitor Earth Pebbles owner Rebekah Anderson, GG, said, “We immediately fell in love with this show.” Anderson added, “Everyone is so friendly and helpful, and we were thrilled with the constant traffic. We will most definitely be back.”

The aisles were filled with retailers as they visited with friends and made new connections. Buyers Josh and Darrell, The Little Gold Mine, (TN) explain, “We have not missed a show in nearly ten years, and we never plan to. The team you have assembled here is top-notch and they go out of their way to make sure we are happy, productive and safe.” New buyer Bar-Kay Jewelers (PA) owner Kim says, “I have been to many shows, but never one as wonderful as this Atlanta show. Everyone is so hospitable and there’s so much going on, at all times, on the buying floor. Great vendors, great times. I’m thrilled and I am definitely coming back!”

AJS-University

With a phenomenal lineup of educational sessions presented by influential industry experts, Atlanta Jewelry Show provided an exceptional package of educational opportunities for every sector of the industry. Powered by the support of Diamond Producers Association, Instore Marketing, Stuller and Synchrony Financial, over 50 educational seminars and panels, and onsite GIA Grading Lab Sessions were featured at AJS.

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When asked about the success of the event, Director of Education Cindy Chandler said, “Education is an integral part of the Atlanta Jewelry Show. We are entrusted to provide our attendees with real insights and real solutions to take back to their store, and we take that very seriously. As promised, this event offered only the finest learning opportunities to our valued retailers. It would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors and exhibitor members, and heartfelt thanks to all speakers who graciously shared their time and expertise with the AJS community. See you next decade!”, Cindy added.

Hundreds of retailers were on hand ready to be inspired, and they were not disappointed. Click this link to view select sessions on the AJS Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pg/atlantajewelryshow/videos/?ref=page_internal.

Kids Jewelry Camp

The Atlanta Jewelry Show Kids Jewelry Camp was a tremendous success, with 24 young jewelers enrolled. Under the guidance of Coordinator Mindy Spritz and certified jewelry instructors, KJC Rock Stars learned several jewelry techniques, marketing strategies and even hosted the KJC Trunk Show, where they displayed, sold and shared the inspiration behind their handmade creations. Spritz states, “It’s overwhelming when I think about when KJC debuted less than two years ago, and now to see where we are today. I think I can safely say we are truly making a difference in these children’s lives, and we are honored to play a role in cementing their legacy, thereby ensuring the future of the jewelry industry. It was such a joy work with these immensely talented students, and we are grateful for the AJS community’s support with this endeavor.”

Parents were delighted with the camp and were grateful this opportunity was available for their children. John Carter, AGS President and Owner, Jack Lewis Jewelers, said “My daughter has literally grown up in this business. She learned more during these two days than her entire life. What a great program.”

The next session will be during the Spring show, March 8-9, 2020. Interested campers should register early, as the camp was sold out in August. Designed to foster excitement and passion for the jewelry industry among our next generation, KJC is open to children of AJS exhibitors and retail buyers, ages 7 and up.

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The Runway

Atlanta Jewelry Show introduced an all new pavilion, The Runway, A Brand New Experience. This upgraded area included industry favorites Beverley K, Danwak, Waterford Jewelry, XO Jewels and Zeghani, each housed in specialty booths. A dedicated hostess, flight attendants and a pilot ensured that buyers “walked the Runway” in style and experienced a new way to shop for merchandise. Limited booths available for March 2020, so interested exhibitors should contact AJS immediately to reserve space.

Occasions Shop

Occasions Shop, successfully launched at the spring show, was expanded to include more breathtaking geodes, opals, lighting, luxury gift items and high-end display units. This area featured innovative methods of enhancing a store’s aesthetic and offered innovative merchandising tips. With all proceeds benefiting Kids Jewelry Camp, the Occasions Shop offered yet another solution to help independent jewelers succeed in the marketplace.

CAD Challenge

Another popular AJS CAD-CAM Challenge made history, and AJS recognizes outstanding competitors Meghan Proctor, Designer/Manager, Hubbell Jewelry Design; Gary Dawson, Owner/Designer, Gary Dawson Designs, and Shele Letwin, Owner/Designer, Shele’s Jewelry Design Factory. This event was a real show- stopper, as hosts Joel McFadden and Kyle Bullock kept attendees, plus livestream viewers, informed and entertained during this intense, all-day competition. Meghan was named the Winner for her inspired creation based on an original Rémy Rotenier hand rendering.

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Loupe + One-Stop Shop

An entirely redesigned Loupe and One-Stop-Shop neighborhood was quite an attraction, created in the spirit of small-town America, and complete with green space, park benches and gathering areas. Attendees were enticed to follow the road to the American Watchmakers Clockmakers Institute Mobile Classroom for expert timepiece instruction inside its massive bus, right on the show floor. Along the route, many resources offered retail solutions, including marketing, software, retail services, trade organizations, engraving and bead stringing. There was even a podcast recording by AJS partners Four Grainer and WJA, happening live, which was a tremendous success. Listen up for Inside the Jewelry Trade’s exclusive coverage of AJS at https://fourgrainer.com/inside-the-jewelry-trade-radio-show/.

Special Features

Buyers and exhibitors alike enjoyed many special touches at the show, including the ever-popular Mingle after-party. Another huge success, with more people than ever in attendance, further proving that the AJS jewelry community knows how to party. Surprise pop-up parties were sprinkled all over the show floor with tasty snacks and trendy drinks to enjoy. Carpool Karaoke in a luxury sportscar, relaxation areas with massages and cool beverages, themed pit stops like Whiskey Business, and Studio 555 – all designed to add to the vibrant and fun Southern Hospitality that is exclusive to AJS.

Future Show Dates

March 7-9, 2020 and August 8-10, 2020

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CIBJO Congress 2019 Wraps Up in Bahrain

Laboratory-grown diamond and technology committees were created.

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(PRESS RELEASE) MANAMA, BAHRAIN – The 2019 CIBJO Congress has concluded in Bahrain, with the World Jewelry Confederation’s Board of Directors voting to establish a series of new committees, among them one that will be dedicated to establishing operating practices that are specific to the laboratory-grown diamond trade, and another which will focus on the long-term impacts of new technologies on the jewelry, gemstone and precious metals sectors.

The annual congress was held this year at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manama, Bahrain, from November 18 to 20, with steering committee meetings taking place on November 16 and 17. It was hosted by DANAT, Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones. The congress was attended by about 220 participants, with about 150 flying in from abroad.

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According to the decision by the board, the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Committee will operate under the umbrella of the CIBJO’s Diamond Commission. It is being created from an ad hoc working group, which was established at the 2018 CIBJO Congress in Colombia, and over the past year prepared a guidance document that was presented at a highly anticipated and packed session at the gathering in Bahrain. The working group included CIBJO officers and officials, representatives both the laboratory-grown diamond sector, the natural diamond sector and a leading gemological laboratory.

The time has come to reach a modus operandi that is acceptable to all of us,” Dr. Cavalieri stated. “Unnecessary effort and time have been wasted through mutual recrimination, and it ultimately it is in the interests of all sides to develop a mutually agreed-to framework that would prevent problematic incidents, such as the mixing of parcels of natural and laboratory-grown diamonds without disclosing the fact to consumers.”

The new Technology Committee will draw on expertise from across the jewelry sector, with the goals of developing understandings of the disruptive technologies that are likely to impact the industry in coming years.

Among them is Artificial Intelligence (AI), which could be transformative for the jewelry and gemstone sector, because it takes over decision-making functions that to date have been performed by people. With a capacity to have positive impacts, in that it could create systems that are able to analyze consumer demand and then optimize the production of raw materials, the types, qualities and quantities of gemstones being cut, and the range of jewelry being produced, there also are more sinister aspects, such as reduced autonomous decision-making and invasions of privacy of both members of industry and consumers.

The CIBJO Board of Directors additionally decided to establish a third new committee, which will be charged with fundraising for the World Jewelry Confederation.

2019 was an election year for CIBJO, with a new Board of Directors being sworn in and the confederation’s President, Dr. Cavalieri, being confirmed for another two-year term in office. Two new vice presidents were elected to serve along the CIBJO’s long-time Vice President Roland Naftule. They are Jonathan Kendall of the De Beers Group of Companies and Pramod Agarwal, the current chairman of India’s Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council.

The annual CIBJO Congress is the official venue for the meeting of the CIBJO Assembly of Delegates, at which gathers the members of national jewelry and gemstone associations from about 45 countries and representatives of many of the industry’s most important commercial bodies. During the event, the organization’s Diamond, Colored Stones, Pearl, Coral, Precious Metals, Gemological and Responsible Sourcing Blue Books, which are industry’s most widely accepted directories of uniform grading and business standards and nomenclature, are discussed and updated.

For comprehensive reports of each CIBJO Congress 2019 session, photo galleries speeches and presentations and commission special reports, please visit the dedicated website here.

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Press Releases

WFDB President Urges KP Plenary to Ensure Pro-Active Role for Proposed Permanent Secretariat

It is particularly in facilitating the process of rehabilitation of countries that had previously been found to be non-compliant.

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(PRESS RELEASE) ANREWERP, BELGIUM – World Federation of Diamond Bourses President Ernie Blom has appealed to government representatives attending next week’s Kimberley Process Plenary session in New Delhi, India, to ensure that the new KP Permanent Secretariat that is being set up is given a pro-active role, particularly in facilitating the process of rehabilitation of countries that had previously been found to be non-compliant.

Writing in his President’s Blog on the WFDB website, Blom urges the KP members to follow the spirit of UN Resolution A/71/L.55 of January 2017 so that that the new structure being set up to replace the current Administrative Support Mechanism (ASM) is not reduced to being “a bureaucratic pen-pusher”. Blom says that the Ad Hoc Committee on Review and Reform tasked with the establishment and practical organization of a Permanent Secretariat has put forward a list of functions of the new body that “are only of an administrative nature”.

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This fails to tackle a “structural deficiency in the organization”, he writes, elaborating, “One particular problem that demonstrates this is the process of rehabilitation for countries that had previously been found to be noncompliant.

The reasons for the long process of normalization in these countries is related to poverty and the lack of human and technical capital and the many structural deficits of a country which has been in a conflict.

“For example, while the special teams that are established to follow up the process of rehabilitation do excellent work in developing the internal controls necessary for a Participant to once again become compliant, these are often
voluntary groups with no prior institutional knowledge and therefore lack any consistency in the structures that they implement.”

Unfortunately, the idea that the secretariat “could potentially help to facilitate progress in countries of concern and especially in assisting the Kimberley Process with regard to Participants who had been suspended and who are
resuming participation in the KP is nowhere to be found.”

It will be a pity if the opportunity to create such a body is missed, Blom writes, but concludes: “It is not too late and hopefully the Plenary will do what is needed.”

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Jewelers of America Announces Dates for 2020 National Convention

The convention will feature the theme “2020: Envision”.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK – Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, has announced it will host the second annual Jewelers of America National Convention at the InterContinental New York Barclay July 26-28, 2020, during a week when the industry will descend on New York for galas and board meetings. The Convention, with a theme of 2020: Envision, unites Jewelers of America members for impactful presentations and discussions that look to the future of the jewelry retail marketplace.

Engaging Jewelers of America’s network of retailers and supplier businesses, the National Convention will feature two-days of seminars – from experts outside and inside the industry – with a look toward the future of jewelry retail. With compelling keynotes and seminars, attendees get insight on the issues influencing the jewelry industry and solutions to their top-of-mind challenges.

“We were thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received following our inaugural National Convention last year. Our team is hard at work developing a program that will help jewelry businesses successfully grow in 2020. Our membership is diverse and yet they share many of the same business challenges. Through the National Convention, we are striving to provide solutions to those challenges in a variety of ways from education and interactive labs to networking and idea exchanges,” says JA President & CEO David J. Bonaparte.

The Convention will also feature unique opportunities for attendees to get hands-on with jewelry, retail tech and diamond detection devices. The Welcome Party will be hosted on the evening of Sunday, July 26, and will feature a Designer Preview where participating designers wear their favorite pieces of jewelry to the cocktail party, display a selection of their jewelry and share the inspirations behind their designs with attendees in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. The Diamond Detection and Retail Innovation Labs will bring together leading companies and technologies that can help retailers work more efficiently and increase sales.

To learn more about the Jewelers of America National Convention or to sign up to be notified with updates, including when tickets go on sale, visit www.jewelers.org/convention.

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