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Forevermark Partners with Diamonds International Honduras to Rebuild and Expand Children’s School

The five-week combined effort more than doubled the school’s capacity.

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(PRESS RELEASE) ROATÁN, HONDURAS – Over 60 volunteers from Forevermark US and staff from Forevermark authorized jeweler, Diamonds International Honduras, partnered together to rebuild, improve and expand a school for children in Roatán, Honduras. The five-week combined effort more than doubled the school’s capacity, making it the largest in the area. Results included: greatly improving the overall space, structural quality, updated electric, proper air circulation and the opportunity for more students to enroll and receive free education. 

As a part of The De Beers Group of Companies, Forevermark is committed to giving back to the communities in which it operates. The project stemmed from a recent trip to Diamonds International Honduras taken by Forevermark US Director of Business Development, Michael Rousso. After hearing about Diamonds International’s plans for the school and seeing firsthand the strength and spirit of the community in Roatán, Michael felt it was imperative for Forevermark to join this effort.     

“After witnessing the commitment Diamonds International continually provides to their community, we wanted to support their efforts as if they were in our own backyard,” said Michael Rousso. “The vision and spirit of the community and volunteers coming together to build something lasting was so inspiring and we are proud to have been a part of it.”

“We have dedicated the past seven years giving back to the communities of Roatán, and this year, we wanted to put a special focus on education by rebuilding a school that was in dire need of help,” said Ruth King, General Manager of Diamonds International Honduras. “All of the children who were once turned away now have a safe and comfortable environment to start their educational journey. This project will keep on giving back to the community for years and years to come.”

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In the school’s original state, over 40 children in seven grades shared two small and run-down classrooms and a shed. Now, the school’s capacity has more than doubled with over 2,000 square feet including four new classrooms and a library, allowing a safe space for nearly 100 children to receive a free education each year.

Señora Norma, School Director at Escuela Luis Bogran, is a driving force within the community and one of the inspirations for the renovation. She donates much of her time and money to help provide not only their education, but also students’ transportation to and from school via boat.  

“I am so thankful to Diamonds International and Forevermark for rebuilding our school. The parents and I will be forever grateful for the support we received when we needed it most,” said Señora Norma.

As a part of The De Beers Group of Companies, Forevermark is committed to empowering women and children through various educational and business-related programs in its diamond producing countries. In Canada, De Beers is working in partnership with UN Women to provide scholarships and mentoring toyoung women and girls from underprivileged communities who want to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, programs are in place to accelerate the growth of women entrepreneurs with business and life skills to help enhance their businesses, increase their income and create sustainable jobs for themselves and their communities.

Group of volunteers from Forevermark US and Exterior of Escuela Luis Bogran.

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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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