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Gemological Science International Executive’s Interview Seen by Over 3M Viewers

She wants to dispel diamond-buying myths.

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Debbie Azar, co-founder of Gemological Science International, was recently interviewed as part of a large media tour to educate consumers, dispel diamond-buying myths and talk about the good that diamonds do.

Azar’s interviews have already aired on over 140 television stations across the country as well as on several radio stations. The interviews reached more than 3 million viewers throughout the U.S., with many interviews extending beyond their allotted time.

Azar’s goal was to educate consumers and dispel misconceptions of buying diamonds, especially during the holidays, a peak diamond buying season. 

During the interviews, Azar stressed: “It’s crucial to use a professional gemological lab for certification, even if the jeweler is absolutely trustworthy. A well-respected and reputable lab like GSI has advanced technology and the degree of expertise necessary to issue a legitimate grading report.”

In her interviews, Azar also stressed the rarity of natural diamonds and the good that natural diamonds do for poorer countries where many mines are located. 

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“A number of countries in Africa rely solely on the jobs provided by the natural diamond industry for their existence,” she said. “Botswana, Namibia and other African countries rely on diamond mining and related industries not only for job creation, but as a source of financing infrastructure projects, building schools, hospitals, providing health and educational services for the populations and laying a foundation for other industries.”

The interviews are expected to air throughout December leading up to Christmas.

Founded in 2005, Gemological Science International is an independent gemological organization serving major manufacturers, jewelry chains, independent retailers, department stores and online jewelers.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Jewelry Store Closes After 50+ Years, but ‘We’re Not Done Yet,’ Says Owner’s Son

‘More than one customer had tears in their eyes.’

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Shown here is Andy's Jewelry in 1962.

Looking back more than 50 years, one of Keith Anderson’s earliest memories is sliding in his socks across the polished terrazzo entrance to his father’s jewelry store in Blue Ridge, GA.

Built in 1962, when Anderson was 5, the building is still there, butting in the back to the tracks now used by a tourist train that is one of the town’s biggest attractions. And the old mosaic spelling out Andy’s Jewelry is still there, inlaid in the terrazzo at the front.

The store itself is gone, however, one of 52 jewelry stores reported to the Jewelers Board of Trade as closed or sold during October.

“It was an awful thing,” says Anderson of the closing of a local institution, which dates back to 1949, when his grandfather opened up to do watch maintenance for the railroad. “More than one customer had tears in their eyes.”

Anderson shed some tears of his own. The store, he says, was “an anchor in my life,” he says, and even now when he passes the old building, leased to a dress shop, “I still have ideas of leasing it back. Anything can happen.”

But probably not that, he admits. Since 1980, Anderson has had a small design studio, TK Anderson Designs, a little over 100 miles away in Athens. After his father died 20 years ago, Anderson’s mother, Betty, ran the old store and Anderson divided his time between the two. Since Betty Anderson’s death in 2017, the demands on his time became a strain, even for a man who says “I have always had a bad habit of working too much.”

Plus, Anderson and his brother and sister, co-owners of Andy’s Jewelry, received “a tremendous offer” for the property, which sits in the middle of a highly desirable area in booming Blue Ridge.

So Anderson is resigned to the sale, more or less, even if he still rents a storage space containing all the miscellany he moved out of the store’s catch-all basement — leftovers from Anderson’s grandfather’s time, everything from hair dryers to musical instruments.

Before Anderson’s father built the new place to focus on jewelry, the store was “a kind of neighborhood Walmart,” in the words of Anderson’s son, Wes.

Wes Anderson, 30, works full-time with his dad in the Athens studio, running the design operation with state-of-the-art CAD equipment that leaves Keith Anderson awed by its capabilities.

Even considering the internet and its enormous effect on sales, he thinks the computer-aided design is the biggest thing to have changed in the jewelry business during his long tenure.

By the time he was 12, Anderson had his own miniature bench and an electric soldering iron to do “repairs” in the back of the store.

“I never really thought of doing anything else,” he says, so after college, he returned to Blue Ridge and the family business.

“I am not much of a numbers guy,” says Anderson. “I never took the route that would make me the most money. I was lucky to find something to do that I loved.”

And that’s the secret, he says, to success in any business. “Find something you love and just love it.”

Wes Anderson started working off and on at the Athens design studio while he was in town as a student at the University of Georgia. After graduation, he joined full time.

“I was shocked,” says Keith Anderson. “You know, things happen, and I had had a divorce from his mother, and I think he just felt sorry for me at first. But he really jumped in, and after a year he had found his place here.”

Wes Anderson does most of the design work these days, as his father moves gradually toward retirement, possibly next year.

“I won’t buy a condo in Florida and sit,” he says. “I have always wanted to be an artist-jeweler instead of jewelry-store-owner jeweler. For me, retirement is getting to make jewelry that I want to make for myself.

“I have a beautiful collection of stones, waiting on me to play with.”

Recently, father and son worked together on CAD to transform one of those stones into a five-carat diamond engagement ring that sold for more than $150,000, representing the largest single sale of Keith Anderson’s long career.

“Legacy is important to both of us,” says Wes Anderson. “And we’re not done yet.”

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Marie Antoinette’s Jewels Sell for $36M

Other key items sold in the $2M+ range.

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This pearl and diamond pendant sold for $36 million at auction.

A pearl and diamond pendant that was owned by Marie Antoinette, queen of France, who died in 1793, sold at auction for more than $36 million, CNN reports.

Sotheby’s had touted Marie Antoinette’s collection as “one of the most important royal jewellery collections ever to come to auction.”

The pendant had been predicted to sell for only $1 million to $2 million. The sale took place in Geneva.

The sale resulted in a new auction record for a natural pearl, according to Sotheby’s.

According to CNN, other items in the collection that sold for significant amounts included:

  • A pearl and diamond necklace ($2.2 million)
  • A diamond double-ribbon-bow brooch ($2.1 million).
  • A “monogram ring with woven strands of Antoinette’s hair” ($440,000).

Read more at CNN

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‘Pink Legacy’ Diamond Sells for $50M, Setting Per-Carat Price Record

It was sold by Christie’s in Geneva.

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The Pink Legacy, an 18.96-carat fancy vivid pink diamond, sold for $50.4 million in the Magnificent Jewels auction on Nov. 13 at Christie’s in Geneva.

It was promptly renamed The Winston Pink Legacy by its new owner, Harry Winston.

“The saturation, the intensity of this stone is as good as it gets in a colored diamond,” said Rahul Kadakia, international head of jewelry for Christie’s. “To find a diamond of this size with this color is pretty much unreal. You may see this color in a pink diamond of less than one carat. But this is almost 19 carats and it’s as pink as can be. It’s unbelievable.”

While most pink diamonds exhibit a colorr modifier like purple, orange, brown or gray, the Pink Legacy shows no trace of a secondary color, according to a Christie’s press release. Its even color distribution, combined with a balanced saturation, tone and straight pink hue, qualify the 18.96 carat diamond for the “fancy vivid” color grading from the Gemological Institute of America.

Only one in 100,000 diamonds possess a color deep enough to qualify as “fancy vivid,” and the Winston Legacy set a record price per carat for a pink diamond, according to the release.

In the fancy vivid pink range, diamonds of more than five or six carats are rarely encountered. In fact, fewer than 10 per cent of pink diamonds weigh more than one-fifth of a carat. In the saleroom, fancy vivid pink diamonds over 10 carats are virtually unheard of — in over 250 years of auction history at Christie’s, only four such stones have ever appeared for sale.

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