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Jewelers of America Brings Jewelers to Capitol Hill

They discussed trade and tax concerns.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK – For the ninth consecutive year, Jewelers of America members met with key lawmakers to discuss trade and tax concerns during its annual advocacy visit to Washington, DC, on Wednesday, June 19. As in past years, the delegation was led by the Jewelers of America Political Action Committee (JAPAC) . The delegation met with a number of key lawmakers and congressional staff, including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), who met with the group for dinner.

“Jewelers of America has made a great deal of progress advocating for issues that affect independent jewelers, like sales tax fairness, but there is still work to be done and JA is focused on keeping the industry’s needs front and center on Capitol Hill,” says JA President and CEO David J. Bonaparte.

This year’s fly-in was the first to take place since a major turning point for sales tax fairness, which Jewelers of America has fought for decades to pass and level the playing field between brick-and-mortar and online jewelers. Last June’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Quill decision of 1992 was a first, significant step toward achieving this goal. However, the Court’s decision – allowing states to collect sales tax from out-of-state/online sellers — addresses the issue only on the state level, where rules for collection vary. JA shared the message with lawmakers that there may still be a need for a federal framework for online sales tax collection in the future.

This year’s attendees also discussed up-to-the-moment issues of concern, like the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has listed $300 billion in Chinese products that could be subject to tariffs of up to 25 percent when imported into the U.S. These products include stones and jewelry such as natural and cultured pearls, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and other stones, gold and silver jewelry parts, gold necklaces and synthetic gemstones. Jewelers of America members explained to legislators that the tariffs would have a negative impact on jewelers, especially those that import jewelry products and materials from China.

In addition to Cotton, the group connected with prominent members of Congress including:

• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY)
• Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)
• Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
• Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
• Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
• Rep. Tom Rice (SC-07)
• Rep. Steve Stivers (OH-15)
• Rep. Elise Sefanik (NY-21)
• Rep. Mike Doyle (PA-18)

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Jewelers of America Members represented a variety of jewelry firms from across the country, including:

• Brian Alter, Alter’s Gem Jewelry; Beaumont, TX
• Jon Bridge and Bobbe Bridge, Ben Bridge Jeweler; Seattle, WA
• Jenny Caro, Jewelry by Designs; Woodbridge, VA
• Jeff and Kathy Corey, Day’s Jewelers; Waterville, ME
• Ronda Daily, Bremer’s Jewelry; Peoria, IL
• Pete Engel, Fred Meyer Jewelers; Portland, OR
• Bill Farmer Jr., Farmer’s Jewelers; Lexington, KY
• John Henne, Henne Jewelers; Pittsburgh, PA
• Brian Mann, David Mann Jewelers; Pentagon, VA
• Joseph and David Molfese, Bella Cosa Jewelers; Willowbrook, IL

The delegation was led by Bonaparte and JA Director of Public Affairs & Education Susan Thea Posnock, along with Tim Haake, managing director of Haake & Associates, JA’s long-term government affairs firm.

To learn more about Jewelers of America legislative advocacy and JAPAC, the only PAC that supports the fine jewelry industry in Washington, DC, visit www.jewelers.org/ja/advocacy.

The 2019 Fly-in Group with Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK)

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Jewelers of America Announces Recipient of the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement

It will be held on January 10, 2020.

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Ed Bridge

(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK – Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, and the GEM Awards Committee have announced that Ed Bridge, chairman emeritus of Ben Bridge Jeweler, Inc., will be the recipient of the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 18th annual GEM Awards on Friday, January 10, 2020, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

The GEM Awards gala honors the outstanding achievements of individuals or companies whose work raises the visibility and status of fine jewelry and watches. Bridge is receiving the 2020 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement for his dedication to Ben Bridge and the jewelry industry throughout the course of his career.

“Ed has undoubtedly increased the professionalism for the jewelry industry. His commitment to his family business is unwavering and his leadership on the boards of so many jewelry industry associations has been immensely appreciated by all those who benefit from his contributions,” says JA President & CEO David J. Bonaparte. “It is a privilege to be able to present this GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement to everyone’s friend, Mr. Ed Bridge.”

Ed Bridge is the Chairman Emeritus of Ben Bridge Jeweler, Inc., a family managed retail jewelry business founded in Seattle in 1912. The company has over 90 stores throughout the Western United States and Canada. Ed was President / Co-CEO from 1990 – 2017 and Chairman / CEO from 2018 – 2019. Ben Bridge Jeweler was sold to Warren Buffett in 2000 and remains part of Berkshire Hathaway. Ed has served on many industry boards, including Jewelers for Children (Past Board Chair), Jewelers of America (Past Board Chair), Jewelers Vigilance Committee & Jewelry Information Center. He was inducted into the National Jeweler “Retailer Hall of Fame” in 2003 and was awarded the American Gem Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, along with the Bridge family.

In addition to the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement, Jeweler of America will be announcing the other GEM Award Nominees soon. For details on GEM Awards, to purchase tickets, or to show your support for Ed Bridge through sponsorships and the GEM Awards Journal, visit www.jewelers.org/gemawards.

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GJEPC Organizes First India-USA Jewelry Buyer-Seller Meet

Over 32 leading jewelry buyers from the US, Germany, UK, Ireland, Spain and New Zealand explore sourcing from Indian jewelry exporters at the meet in Mumbai.

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M(PRESS RELEASE) UMBAI — The first India-US Jewelry Buyer Seller Meet (BSM) was inaugurated by Mr. Colin Shah, vice chairman, Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) along with Mr. Sabyasachi Ray, ED, GJEPC. Leading Indian jewelry exporters interacted with a delegation of over 32 topmost jewelry buyers i.e. 23 from United States and 9 from New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, United Kingdom and Germany – comprising a mix of jewelry retailers, wholesalers and distributors as representatives of merchandising/ buying groups and best practice groups of independent retailer jewelers as well as VP merchandising and buyers from large and small regional chains. America is the largest (by value) jewelry market in the world. Over 23 prominent export houses are exhibiting their products at the three-day business matching program.

India’s total exports of gem & jewelry to the US grew 16% to USD 10.48 bn in FY19 from USD 9.064 bn in FY16. Exports to the US (USD 10.48 bn) accounted for 26.3% of the total gem & jewelry exports of USD 39.76 bn in FY19. India’s exports of gold jewelry studded with diamonds to the US were USD 1.37 bn while those of plain gold jewelry and other studded gold jewelry in FY19 were USD 290.62 mn. India’s exports of Cut & Polished diamonds to the US were USD 8.31 bn in FY19 (up 26% from FY16).

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Mr. Pramod Agrawal, chairman, GJPEC said, “We want to introduce American buyers to India, wherein the love for jewelry is as old as existence of jewelry itself and where the ebullient art of jewelry designing and making has left the world spellbound. The fire to create stunning pieces has been honed and passed over the generations. We want US buyers to discover the intrinsically crafted pieces woven out of tales of romance, creativity, heritage, charisma & elegance to say the least. GJEPC’s member exporters will showcase some of the finest contemporary jewelry pieces resonating our country’s forte in curating and crafting fine jewelry.”

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Mr. Shah said, “India’s Jewelry exports of around $10 billion is highest compared to the cumulative exports from China, Singapore and Hong Kong to the US market. India offers a value proposition to the US buyers with its unmatched heritage and cultural world class jewelry designs. Craftsmanship, which is the backbone of the Indian Jewelry industry as there are millions of workforce working since generations and they carry forward the exquisite art of Jewelry making. Indian manufacturers adheres to requisite ethical standards, compliances and promotes responsible sourcing of diamonds and jewelry. Members of GJEPC are Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) certified. India is KP chair this year and is active participant along with all the diamond producing nations of KP to source stones from the diamond chain of custody.”

Mr Shah, briefly introduced the Indian jewelry industry to the visitors, and said, “It was about 50 years since the country took its first step into the export market. In these few decades, India has become a significant force in the global arena and today is a bigger jewelry exporter than China, HK and Singapore. He attributed India’s success to its ability to “produce a world class product, offer competitive prices and ensure on schedule deliveries”. The growth of the industry has been facilitated by different initiatives taken up by GJEPC, which ensured an enabling policy framework, international networking opportunities, global promotions as well as development of a skilled workforce.

BSMs have helped Indian companies reach out to new segments. They are an ideal way to connect with the buyers in a focused business setting.

Indian gem and Jewelry manufacturers have been catering to the most demanding customers across the globe. Indian Gem & Jewelry Industry has invested heavily in its 5 million plus workforce and ensured sustainable development through socio-economic benefits such as, medical facilities, employment generation and second-to-none training institutes for workers amongst others. Their ability to satiate any kind of jewelry requirements has amazed the world. This has been possible due to Industry’s willingness to embrace and adopt the latest technology.

The prime activity of GJEPC is to promote the Gem & Jewelry products in the International markets. Over the years, it has been involved in organizing a number of important trade shows held in the country like the India International Jewelry Show (IIJS), IIJS Signature, India Gem & Jewelry Machinery Expo (IGJME). The GJEPC also organizes India Pavilions – participation of a number of companies under the GJEPC banner – at various leading international shows like JCK Las Vegas, Basel, and several others worldwide. Various product-specific Buyer-Seller Meets, sending and hosting trade delegations and sustained image building exercises through advertisements abroad, publications and audio-visuals are some of the other trade promotion activities undertaken by the Council.

Apart from its constant endeavor to develop its gem and jewelry industry through infrastructure and skill development, the Indian industry has been following ethical business practices and complying to world business standards which has made India the ideal destination for sourcing quality gems and jewelry.

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Gemlogis VISTA Natural Diamond Segregator Achieved 100% Laboratory Grown Diamond Referral Rate

It is a portable DVI used to identify potential lab-created diamonds.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Project ASSURE is a diamond verification instrument (DVI) testing standard. The ASSURE program was developed by the Diamond Producers Association in collaboration with De Beers and Signet Jewelers. Their objective is to develop a universal benchmark to test DVIs in a consistent manner.

The Gemlogis VISTA is a portable DVI used to identify potential lab-created diamonds. Project ASSURE tested The VISTA using four metrics; synthetic diamond referral rate (100%), synthetic diamond false positive rate (0%), natural diamond referral rate (7.5%) and natural diamond accuracy (92.5%). The VISTA achieved the top score on each metric for its class (DVIs retailing at less than $1,000). Complete results are published in the ASSURE Directory and can be found here. the VISTA uses proprietary UV reflection technology to segregate the diamond in question. UV reflection provides the VISTA with superior results and the ability to segregate diamonds set in closed back mountings. All other in-class DVIs measure UV absorption and are unable to segregate diamonds set in closed back mountings. More information is available at www.gemlogisusa.com. The VISTA is available from $599 and sold by the following distributors:

• AP Findings
• International Jewelry Supply
• Bella Findings House
• Kassoy
• Berco Jewelry Company
• Paaz Inc.
• Continental Jewelry Supply
• SEP Tools
• Esslinger Watchmaker Tools
• Star Struck
• Gaber & Company USA
• ZAK Jewelry Tools and Machinery

Contact: Dana Van Buskirk, Gemlogis USA
Phone: 800-833-1090
Email: dana@gemlogisusa.com

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