Connect with us

Press Releases

MJSA Expo Draws Buyers “In a Spending Mood” for the Latest Jewelry-Making Equipment, Supplies, & Services

More than 3,000 buyers crowded the aisles for 3 days.




(PRESS RELEASE) “Attendance was excellent, and people were in a spending mood” is how Dave Siminski described the atmosphere of the 2019 MJSA Expo, the industry’s longest-running show dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design.

Siminski—the vice president of sales and marketing at United Precious Metal Refining in Alden, New York—was among the many exhibitors at this year’s show, which ran March 10-12 at New York City’s Javits Center. Over the course of those three days, more than 3,000 buyers crowded the aisles searching for not just the latest equipment, supplies, and services for jewelry making and design, but also business solutions.

Video: Hand Out Specialty Items That Jewelry Buyers Actually Care About
Jim Ackerman

Video: Hand Out Specialty Items That Jewelry Buyers Actually Care About

Video: Stop Asking Jewelry Customers ‘What’s Your Budget?’
Jimmy Degroot

Video: Stop Asking Jewelry Customers ‘What’s Your Budget?’

Waiter Donates $200 to Jeweler’s Fundraiser, Wins Billionaire’s Heart, Gets Dream Job

Waiter Donates $200 to Jeweler’s Fundraiser, Wins Billionaire’s Heart, Gets Dream Job

“People were really looking for solutions and buying, and they wanted to talk about how to improve their businesses,” said Andrea Hill, MJSA’s designer advocate and president of the Hill Management Group, which provides strategic consulting and marketing services to small and mid-size companies. Hill had conversations with buyers throughout the show—many of which took place at the MJSA Designer Collaborative booth, where she and art/business consultant Marlene Richey offered free advice—and she found that attendees “wanted to know how to reduce costs without reducing quality, and how to invest wisely, even if they were concerned about cash flow.”

“In past years I think all of us who attended shows heard a lot of moaning and groaning about how tough things were,” she said, “and this wasn’t a ‘moaning and groaning’ show. It was positive and solution oriented.”

As it’s done for the past four years, Expo ran simultaneously with the JA New York retail show. In fact, the two shows were closer than ever, in a new space separated by only a short walkway. And that proximity seemed to make a difference.

“Being connected to the JA show—truly connected—was a big help,” said Shawn Albert, the trade show/product manager at Stuller Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana. “We got a good mix of both customers…. We probably wrote 20 percent more business than we did last year.”


Not only did the JA attendees head onto the Expo floor, but so did the manufacturers and designers exhibiting at the retail show. For all of them, the lure was simple, as Siminski aptly summarized: Expo, he said, “is the toy store, offering everything from software and services to tools and gemstones. And everyone wants to come see the toys.”

And, of course, they want to play with the toys. And that’s exactly what Expo’s attendees did over the course of three days. Whether louping a 3-D printed model or examining a casting tree, testing the grip of a handpiece or graver, or just sorting through the myriad gemstone choices, Expo attendees were able to touch, test, and inspect every item on display, and to see them in action.

Jonathan Young, CEO of Orion Welders in Payson, Utah, discovered this firsthand. His company used Expo to introduce the DADO laser welder, a benchtop unit priced below $4,000, and he found people “lined up” to test it.

“We had all three DADO welders going often,” he said. “The traffic was amazing—it was steady from opening to close. We didn’t even have time for a quick break, even though we had two full-time staff.”

Expo attendees were also able to learn how to best use those tools and supplies—as well as improve their businesses— thanks to the expertise offered by this year’s seminar presenters. The educational program opened on the first day with a panel discussion, “Where Does Custom Design Go from Here?” Presented by members of the MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers, which guides MJSA’s efforts to advance the art and creation of custom jewelry, the session focused on the various models of today’s custom businesses, from traditional retail stores to virtual shops.

Several members of the council came back the next day to present a series of “Jeweler’s Bench” sessions. The council’s chairman, Lee Krombholz, and its director, Joel McFadden, demonstrated various stone-setting techniques, while a third council member, Gary Dawson, delivered a session on computer-aided design (CAD) and 3-D printing.


Other seminars included:

  • “What’s New in Responsible Sourcing,” a panel discussion led by Andrea Hill and featuring some of the industry’s leading advocates for the responsible sourcing of diamonds, precious metals, and colored gemstones. The panelists included Mark Hanna, CMO of the Richline Group; Susan Wheeler, founder of the Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference; Stewart Grice, vice president of mill/refining with Hoover & Strong; Brandee Dallow, North America consultant for the Responsible Jewellery Council; and Patricia Syvrud, manager of the University of Delaware Minerals, Materials, & Society program.
  • “You’ve Lost That Handcrafted Feeling: Heart and Soul in a CAD World,” a session in which Scott Bradford of the Rio Grande Tech Team explored how designers can employ the latest CAD/CAM technologies while still maintaining a design’s creative spirit.
  • “The Importance of Freehand Jewelry Design,” a hands-on lecture delivered by Rémy Rotenier, a classically trained designer renowned for his mastery of the freehand style. (One attendee, upon leaving the session, was overheard saying enthusiastically, “I need more, I need more!”)
  • “Platinum Casting: Methods, Alloys, and the Role of Design,” in which Teresa Fryé of TechForm Advanced Casting offered advice for how to achieve successful, predictable castings.
  • “Celebrating the American Jewelry Design Movement,” an overview of the last 40 years in contemporary U.S. jewelry design, presented by Marlene Richey.
  • “CAD, CAM, & Casting: Celebrating Best Practices, Debunking Myths, and Achieving Cleaner Castings through Chemistry,” a session in which J. Tyler Teague
    of Proto Products and JETT Research explored the chemistry between resin models and production molds, as well as how to engineer a CAD design for production.
  • “Tracking Your Digital Advertising,” in which Matthew Perosi of the Sapphire Collaborative demonstrated strategies to invest wisely and gain maximum value from digital advertising efforts.

The sessions were recorded, and many will soon be available on the website.

The 2020 MJSA Expo will take place March 15-17, again at the Javits Center. For updates, visit



Wilkerson Testimonials

He Thought It Was a Great Time to Retire — So He Called Wilkerson!

As David Kiselstein, owner of J. Albert Johnson Jewelers in Fairfield, CT says, it was a perfect time to close the store he’d owned for 45 years. “I’m 72-years old, the lease came due and I thought it would be a great time to retire.” A savvy businessman and one of the founders of the Continental Buying Group, Kiselstein urges others who want to conduct a retirement sale to pick up the phone and call Rick Hayes at Wilkerson. “He’ll talk you through it. He’ll help you understand it. He’ll give you the confidence you need to go through such a big experience.”

Promoted Headlines

Press Releases

Ania Haie Introduces Autumn/Winter 2019

Each collection is inspired by key catwalk trends.




(PRESS RELEASE) Here to transform your wardrobe from season to season Ania Haie is set to unveil two new collections for Autumn/Winter 2019. First up, the classic baguette gets a modern makeover as the trend for baguette jewelry makes a sparkling comeback to the catwalks. The Glow Getter collection is comprised of sleek and minimal pieces embellished with gently glistening cubic zirconia baguettes. From subtly sparkling elegant chokers to statement crawler ear cuffs, the Glow Getter collection can carry you through from desk to dinner in one easy step.

Maximizing on eye-catching details, the Metal Crush collection features pieces that are minimal in design with striking crushed metal surface textures. From statement rings to contemporary threader earrings these pieces are like mini works of art. With crushed precious metal set to be a huge trend for A/W 19, these bold pieces will be sure to have you standing out from the fashion crowd.

Inspired by the latest fashion trends, Ania Haie is paving the way for affordable sterling silver jewelry that combines exquisitely made pieces without compromising on quality. With each collection inspired by key catwalk trends, Ania Haie is fast becoming the hottest destination for young style-savvy consumers. Each unique jewelry piece is designed to layer up to create your own individual look yet striking enough to wear as standalone pieces. Each piece of Ania Haie jewelry is delicately crafted from 925 sterling silver with rhodium or 14kt gold plating.

Continue Reading

Press Releases

Lark & Berry Launches the Diamond Disruptor Podcast

It will be a regularly released and ongoing series.




(PRESS RELEASE) Diamond mining industry disrupting jewelry brand Lark & Berry, fresh off its Editor’s Choice design win at the 2019 JCK Las Vegas conference, has launched the first episode of its new podcast called ‘The Diamond Disruptor.’

Episodes of Lark & Berry’s new podcast will be a regularly released and ongoing series featuring luxury industry commentary and reporting. The podcast will have interviews with all walks of life from the luxury goods industry and beyond.

Lark & Berry’s podcast is free and can be found on all major music/audio streaming platforms. It can be downloaded directly at Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Player FM and SoundCloud.

“We want this podcast to be accessible to those who want to learn about the diamond market—with particular focus on where cultured diamonds (also known as lab grown) fit into everything,” said Clark Watts, broadcaster and content writer, who will host the Diamond Disruptor podcast.

“I’ve been working for Lark & Berry for just over a year, and I’m new to diamonds and the luxury industry. I’m still learning about luxury. And I’m still learning and investigating how sustainable interests, like cultured diamonds, are becoming increasingly important in the world of fine jewelry. This podcast is both for people who want to learn right along with me and for industry vets to keep tabs on what’s going on out there.”

The first episode of the Diamond Disruptor podcast features exploration of where cultured diamonds are at in today’s luxury market and how new shopping-geared tech figures in. These themes are explored through a wrap-up of Lark & Berry’s experience exhibiting for the first time at JCK Las Vegas 2019, North America’s premiere jewelry expo, which featured over 30,000 brand exhibitors, buyers and analysts. The first episode features interviews with JCK Magazine editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky, diamonds industry marketing analyst Liz Chatelain (MVI Marketing) and a leading brand strategist from Altr created diamonds, a leading and pioneering cultured jewelry brand.

“Lark & Berry, since its inception just over a year ago, has always been just as much about spreading the word of sustainability with our promotion of cultured diamonds,” said Lark & Berry founder Laura Chavez.

“Our new podcast is meant to educate and inform on why cultured diamonds are such an important emerging, sustainable option in diamonds—just the same as mined diamonds in every way and at times even more superior in quality, not to mention the more environmentally responsible option.”

Continue Reading

Press Releases

WJA Gives $65,500 in 2019 Scholarships and Grants

The money is going to 49 women.




(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK – In advance of its Awards for Excellence Gala on July 29, which will raise funds for scholarships and grants, the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) announced that proceeds from 2019 fundraising resulted in awards totaling $65,500 in grants and scholarships to 49 women. The recipients are using the funds to underwrite education and advance their professional careers.

“Our grant and scholarship winners are an impressive group,” says WJA Executive Director Bernadette Mack. “Helping women enter and sustain careers in the jewelry business is one of the most important goals of the Women’s Jewelry Association.”

Podcast: A Flash of Cash and Other Meditations on the Value of Jewelry
Over the Counter

Podcast: A Flash of Cash and Other Meditations on the Value of Jewelry

Podcast: Craig Husar Discusses His Career, and His Spectacular New Store, on ‘The Barb Wire’
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Craig Husar Discusses His Career, and His Spectacular New Store, on ‘The Barb Wire’

Podcast: Make Sure You Open the Dang Box

Podcast: Make Sure You Open the Dang Box

The named scholarship and grant recipients are:

Carelle-WJA Grant Winner ($5,000)

Winners: Anne Holman and Jen Townsend, The Smithery
Anne Holman and Jen Townsend are jewelry artists who each earned a BFA from the Columbus College of Art & Design. Each has been building her own jewelry business, exhibiting work and teaching jewelry and enameling workshops in art centers and undergraduate metalsmithing classes. Together, they built The Smithery, an artist-made shop and metalsmith studio focusing on contemporary jewelry and modern craft located in Columbus, Ohio. The Smithery features lines of jewelry designed and created in house by the two artists, and also represents over 70 American and International artists. In addition, The Smithery includes an exhibition gallery and classroom area offering jewelry and enameling workshops. Holman and Townsend plan to use their grant to establish a separate studio space and acquire additional tools for expanded class offerings.


Female Veteran Scholarship, sponsored by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group ($5,000)

Winner: Nora Micheli Hernandez
Nora Micheli Hernandez is currently a student at Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology at Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas. She will be graduating later this year with certificates in jewelry repair, computer-aided design, and jewelry technology. She is a disabled veteran of the U.S. Army, as well as a wife and mother to two boys. She plans on doing custom jewelry and working with other disabled veterans. Hernandez plans to use the grant money to buy the equipment and supplies needed to set up her studio.

The Cindy Edelstein Jewelry Design Scholarship ($5,000)

Winner: Coco de Salazar
Coco de Salazar is a jewelry designer and teaching artist in Miami, Florida. She has been metalsmithing for nine years and currently teaches fabrication and soldering classes at Jewelry Creations Workshop school in North Miami. Her jewelry line, “de Salazar Jewelry,” is designed and fabricated in her private Miami studio. In the daytime, de Salazar is a graphic designer and fine arts photographer, focusing on branding, marketing, and design needs for clients. She holds the president-elect board position for the WJA Miami Chapter. She plans to use her scholarship funds to pursue the Comprehensive CAD/CAM for Jewelry certificate through the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

The Gabriel Love Foundation Scholarship ($5,000)

Winner: Xabrina Michel’li Thompson
Xabrina Michel’li Thompson is a 22-year-old graduate of one of South Africa’s leading girl’s schools, Epworth High School. She is pursuing a graduate gemologist diploma from GIA, for which she will use her scholarship funds. She is a student member of the Women’s Jewelry Association. Thompson works in the jewelry industry and as part of her duties and responsibilities she has traveled widely, particularly in Asia and the Far East, marketing and sourcing jewelry products. In this process she identified a business opportunity, which she researched and introduced to her employer. As a result, a subsidiary company was formed, in which Thompson was given a share holding. She’ll use her newfound gemological knowledge to develop a freshwater pearl, colored stone, and sterling silver jewelry brand. She also wants to establish a WJA Chapter in her home country in South Africa to help others achieve their dreams.

The June Herman Designer/Creator Scholarship ($5,000)

Winner: Qianwen Lu
Qianwen Lu is a student at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she is studying towards her degree in jewelry design. She plans to continue studying jewelry in a post-graduate course.


The Peggy Kirby Designer Scholarship ($5,000)

Winner: Hsinyu Chu
Hsinyu Chu was born in Taipei, Taiwan. She received her bachelor of fine arts in fashion design and master of fine arts in jewelry metal art at Academy of Art University, San Francisco. She also studied at The Revere Academy in San Francisco. Chu received a jewelry design & technology diploma and a graduate jeweler diploma from GIA and is a student in its graduate pearls program. In 2017, she launched her jewelry workshop, JC Art & Design, in San Francisco’s Mission District before moving it to Milpitas, California. Chu would also like to become an appraiser and wishes to take an appraisal course.

Other Student Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded in three different categories: Designer/Creator (based on images of finished pieces that are designed and created by the student): Lauren Delbracco $3,000, Xun Liu $2,500, Zoe Larson $1,500, Melissa Cousins $1,000. Designer (based on designs by the student, includes CAD and drawings): Mengjie Zhang $2,000, Xinchen LI $1,000. Non-Designer (essay-based for applicants studying to be gemologists, appraisers, watchmakers, bench jewelers, or retailers): Bonnie Cornell $3,000; Jennifer Pollard $2,500; Katie Soule $1,500; Laura Marsolek $1,000.

Member Grants

Previously, WJA announced that it had awarded 32 member grants of $500 each to recipients around the country, for a total of $16,500 in awards. The grants are awarded to female, professional-level, WJA members in good standing, to be used toward professional growth. Grant winners are listed by the WJA Chapter that submitted their names:

  • Austin: Jen Leddy-Barnes; Boston: Wendy Jo New; Chicago: Sue Rosengard, Anne Van der Meulen, Olivia Zale; Colorado: Alexandra Fitzgerald; Dallas: Kelly Grise, Patricia Schrag; Houston: Maggie Segrich; Los Angeles: Harvinder Keila; Miami: Tiffany Joachim; Northern California: Sara Beck, Christy Comstock, Brittany Stadtmiller; NY Metro: Kristine Cabanban, AnnaLisa Cervi, Christine Malle, Stephanie Maslow Blackman, Annmarie Sclafani Stewart; Ohio/Kentucky: Christina Miller, Leslie Wright; Philadelphia: Christine Alaniz; Providence: Jennifer Skiba; Raleigh: Martha D’Alessandro; San Diego: Laura Fischer, Niki Grandics, Kathleen Lynagh House; Seattle: Nancy Castillo, Jessica Herner; Twin Cities: Jennifer Bellefleur, Dawn Bruggeman; Charlotte Preston “Get’s it Done” Grant: Betsy Sanders.

WJA grants and scholarships are administered by the WJA Foundation, a 501(c)3 corporation. Funds for these programs are generously provided by our corporate partners, local WJA chapters, the annual Awards for Excellence gala, and by individual donations. Donations are tax deductible. The foundation’s board of trustees is chaired is Brenda Gamba, Jewelers Board of Trade. Member grants are administered by board member Sue Elliott of GIA, and scholarships are managed by Lisa Slovis Mandel, Lisa Slovis Metalsmithing, immediate past president of the foundation. Various committees choose the winners of a number of the named scholarships. Member grant winners are chosen via a random drawing.


WJA raises funds for its member grants and scholarships via its annual Awards for Excellence gala, which brings together industry leaders for a social evening in support of women in the industry. This year’s gala is on Monday, July 29, 2019, at Pier 60 in New York. It will once again feature a silent auction and raffle for that purpose.

The gala will also honor Visionaries in the jewelry industry – individuals making a difference in the cause of women’s equality. This year, the two individual WJA Visionary Awards will be bestowed on Carol Pennelli, president, David Yurman; and Stellene Volandes, editor in chief, Town & Country magazine.

In addition, 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.

Tickets to the awards gala are available at

Continue Reading

Most Popular