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Judith Ripka Announces New Management Team

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Judith Ripka CEO David Minster

(Press Release)
NEW YORK, NY – Judith Ripka Ltd. – a licensee of Xcel Brands, and owner and brand manager of the Judith Ripka trademarks – has announced a new management team.

Leading the new group is industry veteran David Minster, who has taken on the role of CEO of the company’s wholesale division. He previously held executive positions at Scott Kay and David Yurman.

Evert DeGraeve will spearhead collection creative and merchandising. He has more than 20 years of experience in executive and product development positions at fine jewelry companies like David Yurman, Mikimoto and Harry Winston. He is a trained goldsmith who worked at the bench in England, Germany and now in the United States.

Fran Pennella of Benali Consulting will head up marketing and branding. With 17 years of marketing, brand development and public relations experience in the jewelry industry, Pennella has helped a wide range of fine jewelry and timepiece companies as well as industry organizations including David Yurman, Maurice LaCroix, Mastoloni, Perrelet Timepieces and JCK Events to develop and execute strategies that strengthen their market position and build brand awareness.

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One of the team’s early goals is to bring a fresh perspective to the Judith Ripka brand as exemplified by the new lines that debuted at Baselworld, including the new color-saturated Versailles collection. Judith Ripka will be showcasing this collection as well as other debuts at the upcoming Couture show in Las Vegas.

For more information on the collections and/or to make a retail appointment, please contact Marjorie Schrager at 212-244-1230 or marjorie.schrager@judithripka.com.

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CIBJO Releases Responsible Sourcing Report

It describes principles applicable to all members of industry.

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(PRESS RELEASE) MILAN, ITALY — With fewer than nine weeks to go to the opening of the 2019 CIBJO Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on November 18, 2019, the second of the CIBJO commissions’ special reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Commission, headed by Philip Olden, the report provides an overview of the first Responsible Sourcing Blue Book, which was approved in January of this year. It defines a universally agreed-to set of recommended responsible sourcing principles, which can be applied by all members of the greater jewelry industry.

“CIBJO has steadfastly stated that no ethical member or company in the jewelry business should be denied the opportunity to participate because, at any particular point in time, it lacks the financial capacity to meet the demands of a compliance system. At the same time, CIBJO does not accept the contention that a company with limited financial resources should be exempt from conducting any form of responsible sourcing due diligence,” writes Mr. Olden.

“The Responsible Sourcing Blue Book indicates what initial steps can be taken at minimal expense and effort, and proposes a program of continual improvement, which companies can apply at their own pace,” Mr. Olden adds. The system suggested is based on the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.

The special report also outlines a program that CIBJO’ Responsible Sourcing Commission has initiated with the Colored Gemstone Working Group, facilitated by The Dragonfly Initiative, involving the creation of an online toolkit that will provide supporting documentation to help companies address the Responsible Sourcing Blue Book guidance. It will be presented at the upcoming CIBJO Congress in Bahrain, and subsequently will be made available to the industry at no cost.

To download a full copy of the report, click here.

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Gemfind Digital Solutions Announces Launch of DiamondLink App E-Commerce Edition

It lets jewelers sell diamonds directly online from curated vendors.

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(PRESS RELEASE) DiamondLink, GemFind’s well-known retail diamond sourcing app that allows retailers to curate a list of diamond suppliers for shopping on their website, has announced the launch of its E-Commerce edition for WordPress, Magento 2.0 and Shopify platforms.

The E-Commerce Edition brings GemFind to a new level, enabling jewelers to sell diamonds from their vendors directly on their website. By using this new edition of GemFind, independent retailers can not only sell diamonds online, but also select diamond qualities they wish to put for sale on their website — fully utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) in the process. With Click reports jewelers have access to data analytics on who was looking at their diamond list and when. Multicurrency – enables jewelers to open their websites to international customers with automatic currency conversion.

“The DiamondLink E-Commerce Edition is something I have long been waiting for,” said Greg Dolkarian from Derco Diamonds in San Francisco. “Not only can I access diamonds from my own customized list of diamond companies, I can go head-to-head with web-based diamond companies in the online space and enhance the ease of purchase of diamonds for engagement rings for my customers.”

The E-Commerce edition of DiamondLink also allows retailers to sell diamonds in real time without owning them and includes availability for dropship options directly from several diamond companies to the consumer. “The DiamondLink E-Commerce edition enables retailers to compete at the same level with major diamond selling websites, while taking advantage of the unique customization of their diamond inventory, noted Alex Fetanat, founder and Chief Executive Officer of GemFind. “Jeweler-curated virtual diamond inventory, coupled with critical online tools, will develop significant traffic and sales.”

While retail jewelers have used DiamondLink for over 15 years, the E-Commerce edition brings a level of functionality and ease-of-use apps that will be available on Magento, WordPress and Shopify stores. This function, combined with GemFind’s other digital marketing tools that include RingBuilder, web development, social media, geofencing, and pay per click (PPC) management, provides jewelers what is essentially a virtual salesman added to their sales team.

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Plumb Club to Require Members to Join RJC

It’s the first organization of its kind with such a policy.

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(Press Release) NEW YORK – The Plumb Club announced that its members voted to require all new and existing Plumb Club members to become Certified Members of the Responsible Jewellery Council. The Plumb Club, a current RJC association member, is the first organization of its kind to require its members to follow the RJC Code of Practices.

The new requirement underscores The Plumb Club’s purpose to “connect its members and their customers and help shape the future of the jewelry industry.”

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The RJC will collaborate with current and future Plumb Club members to ensure they adopt the RJC Code of Practices and effectively communicate their RJC membership status to their customers and business partners.

“Our new By-Law confirms The Plumb Club’s vision of being a responsible supply side organization recognized for leadership, adding value, and positively impacting the jewelry industry,” said Michael Lerche, Plumb Club president. “We strongly believe that any jewelry retailer who buys product from a non-RJC member is taking a very serious and unnecessary risk. Buying product from a Plumb Club member will greatly mitigate that risk.”

“The Plumb Club’s actions set a clear leadership example for other trade associations and member organizations within the jewelry industry. The Plumb Club’s model of cascading RJC membership through its members is a model for other associations to confidently follow,” said David Bouffard, chair of the Responsible Jewellery Council. “At the RJC, we believe that building consumer confidence is not only important for the future of our industry, but is also an imperative that can be acted on today by joining the RJC.”

Both Lerche and Bouffard called for all current and perspective RJC association members to cascade RJC membership throughout their organizations.

“Having a standardized universal code of practices throughout our industry that the retailer, consumer and even our government, can rely upon to guarantee that these products are the most responsibly sourced and ethically produced in the marketplace is critical. Today, we call on the entire jewelry industry to support the Responsible Jewellery Council and work with us in finding a way for every supplier and retailer in our industry to become a member,” said Lerche.

“As Chair of the RJC, I ask other trade associations within our industry to follow the leadership of The Plumb Club: require your members to join the RJC,” exclaimed Bouffard. “The RJC has a team ready and willing to help your organization develop its own model of cascading RJC membership.”

All certified members of the RJC are able to point their customers and business partners to the RJC’s publicly available Code of Practices to validate how the products they buy and sell are responsibly sourced. The RJC verifies its Code of Practices through full membership of the ISEAL Alliance. RJC members must become certified against the Code of Practices through a third party, independent, certification process. The RJC Code is aligned with international standards from the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information about The Plumb Club, visit https://plumbclub.com/. For more information about the Responsible Jewelry Council, visit https://www.responsiblejewellery.com/.

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