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Jewelers of America Announces 2016 GEM Awards Winners

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Rob Bates and Mercedes Abramo LEFT: Rob Bates, RIGHT: Mercedes Abramo

(Press Release)
New York, NY – Jewelers of America (JA), a national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, held its 14th annual GEM Awards on Friday, Jan. 8 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. The winners in the categories of Jewelry Design, Media Excellence and Watch Design were revealed live to an audience of more than 450 people. Joe Thompson, editor-in-chief of WatchTime magazine, was the recipient of the 2016 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement.

The GEM Award for Media Excellence was given to Rob Bates, news director of JCK, who has more than 20 years of experience writing about the diamond and jewelry industries. Claudia Mata, accessories and jewelry director of W and the 2015 GEM Award for Media Excellence winner, presented the award. The other Media Excellence nominees were Kyle Anderson and Rachel Garrahan.

Cartier received the GEM Award for Watch Design. Mercedes Abramo, president and CEO of Cartier North America, accepted the award for the Maison who is an inventor of an iconic and universal style while constantly pioneering new ground. The other nominees for Watch Design were Piaget and Roger Dubuis. The award was presented by Olivier Stip, SVP Chanel Watches & Fine Jewelry.

Temple St. Clair and Joe Thompson LEFT: Temple St. Clair, RIGHT: Joe Thompson

Temple St. Clair received the GEM Award for Jewelry Design. Temple St. Clair’s design achievements in 2015 included the launch of her Wings of Desire and the debut of Mythical Creatures at Les Art Decoratifs of the Lourve. The other nominees in the Jewelry Design category were Caroline Scheufele, co-president and artistic director of Chopard and Sevan Bicakci. The award was presented by Stephen Webster, the 2015 GEM Award for Jewelry Design winner.

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The evening concluded with a tribute to Joe Thompson as he received the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement. The room filled with more than 450 leading jewelers, media and watch brands rose to their feet to celebrate the contributions that Joe Thompson has given to the watch industry throughout his career.

“People in my line of work normally do not get and do not expect to get a wonderful honor like this,” Thompson said. “This is for the people we cover, not for the scribblers who cover them.” In his tribute video, he added, “I need to write, it’s something that is in me, so I will write until I can’t write anymore. I hope that day is still far off. The watch thing for sure still remains imminently interesting. … There are more people interested in watches today than there ever has been in my entire career. So yes, I hope to still write about this subject until I can’t write anymore.”

The award was presented by Efraim Grinberg, Chairman and CEO of Movado Group Inc., whose father received the first GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2002.

GEM Awards – including red carpet coverage, the awards program and a sampling of “GEM Awards Moments” from past GEM Awards – was broadcast live on www.gemawardslive.com. The program is available for reviewing for the next year.

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WJA Announces 2019 Awards for Excellence Honorees

Annual gala set for Monday, July 29, during New York’s summer jewelry trade show week.

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Stellene Volandes, Mark Hanna, Carol Pennelli

(PRESS RELEASE) The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has announced its 2019 honorees for the association’s annual Awards for Excellence gala, to be held Monday, July 29, 2019. The gala will once again take place at Pier 60 on the Chelsea Piers in New York City, and will continue its new Visionary format and event design for the second year.

“The Visionary Awards’ revamped program was an incredible success for WJA last year and we’re thrilled to continue this new tradition with our truly remarkable honorees in 2019,” says Jenny Luker, WJA board president. “Our Visionary Awards will go to women who have been trailblazers and the driving forces of leadership in their companies. Our Cindy Edelstein Mentorship Award will go to a man who provides exemplary support and mentorship to women.”

The two individual WJA Visionary Awards will be bestowed on Carol Pennelli, president, David Yurman; and Stellene Volandes, editor in chief, Town & Country magazine. Previous Visionary Award recipients are Mercedes Abramo, Cartier; Caryl Capeci, Hearts On Fire; Nadja Swarovski, Swarovski; and the partnership between De Beers Group & UN Women.

Mark Hanna, chief marketing officer, Richline Group, will be presented with the Cindy Edelstein Mentorship Award. Hanna is the fourth recipient of the award which was established in 2016 after the passing of Cindy Edelstein, a longtime WJA member who dedicated her life’s work to the development, encouragement, and enrichment of the lives of women in the jewelry industry. This is the first time the award recipient has been announced before the event. Previous winners of the mentorship award are Bev Hori (2018), Peggy Jo Donahue (2017), and Cindy Edelstein (posthumously in 2016).

Carol Pennelli is the president of David Yurman, overseeing all functions outside of design and creative. She reports directly to David Yurman, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of the brand. Pennelli joined the company in 2002 as chief commercial officer, where she oversaw all aspects of David Yurman’s commercial channels, profit and loss, and general performance, including retail, wholesale, digital, and outlet businesses. Prior to joining David Yurman, she served as senior vice president of sales, education, and global special events at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.

Stellene Volandes was named editor-in-chief of Town & Country magazine in 2016. Before her appointment, Volandes had been style director at the magazine since March 2012, and before that she was jewelry & accessories director. Previous to her work at Town & Country, Volandes was style editor for Departures magazine starting in 2003. Volandes is a graduate of Vassar College, and holds a master’s degree in English and comparative literature from Columbia University. Her book, “Jeweler: Masters, Mavericks, and Visionaries of Modern Design,” was published in 2016 by Rizzoli.

Mark Hanna is chief marketing officer of Richline Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company. He chairs Berkshire Hathaway’s Sustainability Leadership Committee and is an active speaker and advocate on responsible issues at events such as the UL Responsible Sourcing Summit, MJSA Expo, Pure Earth, and the Jewelry Industry Summit. He serves on various boards including the Mercury-Free Mining Challenge, the Responsible Jewellery Council, the Special Olympics, and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. The CMO Club named Hanna the 2015 and 2018 CMO of Year, Corporate Social Responsibility.

“WJA congratulates our honorees for their distinguished achievements. The elevated event experience we’ve been able to present through the Visionary Awards program runs parallel with the strides WJA is making programmatically for its members. We’re leading the charge for progress in areas that matter most to women in the industry: mentorship, gender equality, financial support through scholarships and grants, and making connections,” says WJA Executive Director Bernadette Mack.

At its annual Awards for Excellence gala, WJA brings together industry leaders for a social evening that also raises money for its scholarships and grants for women. A silent auction will again be mounted to raise additional funds for these important causes. Sponsorships for the gala are currently available. Please contact WJA Executive Director Bernadette McGovern Mack at: bernadette@womensjewelryassociation.com. Tickets to the awards gala will go on sale later this month.

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WatchBox Partners with Les Ambassadeurs

The partnership brings expertise in the secondary watch market to one of the industry’s most esteemed luxury watch sellers.

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(PRESS RELEASE) PHILADELPHIA, PA – WatchBox, the leading global platform for pre-owned luxury timepieces, announced a partnership with Swiss watch retailer Les Ambassadeurs. The partnership brings expertise in the secondary watch market to one of the industry’s most esteemed luxury watch sellers. Les Ambassadeurs represents the first retail institution in Switzerland to formalize a program for the thriving pre-owned category, and with this announcement, WatchBox further extends its global presence across Switzerland’s most historic and vibrant cities.

The worldwide secondary apparel market–both buying and selling pre-owned items–has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, with expectations to reach USD $41 billion by 20221. Financial consultancy Kepler Cheuvreux estimates the current global market for pre-owned watches alone to be worth upward of USD $15 billion annually, and WatchBox has earned its position as the front runner for the luxury watch category. With showrooms and trading floors in the United States, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Neuchâtel, Switzerland, WatchBox formally launched an authorized dealer network in the United States in December 2018 with California-based Hing Wa Lee Jewelers. The partnership with Les Ambassadeurs represents the next phase of strategic growth for the company.

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WatchBox Global President and Chief Operating Officer, Amanda Ellison, remarked, “The vision for WatchBox is to create a truly connected global marketplace, instituting a standard of excellence for both product and service within the pre-owned category. By bringing WatchBox to a global stage, we can offer a broader inventory to a greater network of consumers, while hiring and partnering with the most talented traders and retailers in the industry, and achieving economies of scale. We are delighted to forge ahead with Les Ambassadeurs as a strong, forward-thinking partner.”

As an authorized WatchBox dealer, Les Ambassadeurs will offer comprehensive services and consultation for watch trading and buying, as well as access to browse and purchase from WatchBox’s unsurpassed inventory of certified pre-owned watches. Les Ambassadeurs’ buying, selling, and trading services commence in early May at the company’s locations in Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, and Lugano, Switzerland. And WatchBox’s extensive inventory will soon be presented on lesambassadeurs.ch in the WatchBox Digital Corner, as well as through interactive digital showcases in Les Ambassadeurs’ boutiques across Switzerland’s most prominent cities.

“We are thrilled to enter into this innovative partnership with WatchBox,” Joachim Ziegler, CEO of Les Ambassadeurs, shared. “It was very important for us to not just be a first mover in Switzerland in the pre-owned market, but to also offer an unparalleled service for our clients. They will thus be able to buy, sell, and trade pre-owned watches in our boutiques as well as online, all backed by a 15-month warranty and the trusted expertise of two industry leaders.”

WatchBox’s partnership with Les Ambassadeurs signifies a strategic investment in the growth of the category, uniting the primary and secondary watch markets at their highest levels; an in-store presence with incredible digital support, and a customer-first mindset built upon trust, transparency, and education.

Danny Govberg, co-founder and CEO of WatchBox, affirmed, “WatchBox is thrilled to bring our pre-owned buying, selling, and trading practices to Les Ambassadeurs. Their well-earned reputation extends far beyond Switzerland, and their embrace of the pre-owned market supports WatchBox’s founding thesis that the future of the watch industry is in the true merging of the primary and secondary watch markets.”

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Stuller Now Certified Member of Responsible Jewelry Council

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(PRESS RELEASE) LAFAYETTE, LA – Prime manufacturer, Stuller, announces that it is now a certified member of the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC), the foremost standard setting and certification organization for the jewelry industry.

“Ethical sourcing, supply chain transparency, workplace safety and other similar issues, are of increasing concern to more and more consumers and businesses,” says Stanley Zale, vice president of diamond and gemstone procurement. “The RJC Code of Practices helps the jewelry industry meet these challenges, and we knew we needed to be a part of it.”

RJC Executive Director Iris Van der Veken said, “It is with great pleasure to announce that Stuller has achieved certification against the RJC Code of Practices. We are proud that our membership continues to reflect companies of all sizes from across the supply chain. We commend their commitment to responsible business practices and the positive impact this has on the jewelry industry.”

“Stuller is committed to responsible jewelry practices,” says founder and CEO Matt Stuller. “When joining the RJC in 2016 our ultimate goal was to show our unwavering commitment to our customers and employees. It is truly an honor to be a part of such an important organization in this industry.”

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