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MJSA Launches Council of Custom Jewelers

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The program begins with three initiatives.

(Press Release) MJSA, a trade association dedicated to jewelry making and design, has introduced the MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers as part of a wide-ranging program to advance the art and consumer appreciation of custom jewelry design.

Chaired by Lee Krombholz, the owner of Krombholz Jewelers and Just Like You Designs in Cincinnati, the council is made up of some of the leading jewelers in custom design.

They include:

Gary Dawson, Gary Dawson Designs, Eugene, OR.

David Dorian, Dorian Jewelers, Watertown, MA.

Christopher Duquet, Christopher Duquet Fine Jewelry Design, Evanston, IL.

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David Holloway, Holloway Designs, Farmington, AR.

Lisa Krikawa, Krikawa Jewelry Designs, Tucson, AZ.

Klaus Kutter, A Jour Jewelry, Bristol, RI.

Tom McLaughlin, TEM Designs, Liverpool, NY.

Dawn Muscio, D. Muscio Designs, Atlanta, GA.

Travis Serio, Stuller/Gemvision, Lafayette, LA.

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Greg Stopka, JewelSmiths, Pleasant Hill, CA.

Jim Tuttle, Green Lake Jewelry Works, Seattle. WA.

Together, they will help to guide MJSA as it undertakes initiatives to educate consumers about custom design options and ensure that jewelers have the training needed to achieve the highest levels of craftsmanship. Three initiatives have been targeted to begin the program:

  • Develop and promote a new way of defining custom jewelry by tiered levels. As many Council members note, the popularity of personalized jewelry design has spawned numerous businesses offering what they call “custom” jewelry, with varying results. “Almost every jewelry store in my city claims to do custom jewelry now, but the experience and outcome can vary widely,” Krombholz says. “Many simply take orders, while others who try to develop a design don’t have the expertise to create well-crafted jewelry.” The result: a bad experience for consumers, who become confused and even fearful about the whole custom concept. In addition to establishing a basic definition of custom jewelry, MJSA and the council will promote a three-tiered system in which custom design projects can be grouped according to the level of design involved. Spearheaded by Jim Tuttle, the triad ranges from “Full Custom” designs made from scratch to “Made to Order” pieces in which existing designs are modified only by the customer’s choice of metal and/or gemstones. “By creating and publicizing standardized levels, custom jewelers can better stand apart from ‘order takers’ and create a better understanding of true custom design among consumers,” Krombholz says.
  • Promote education and craftsmanship through MJSA Mentor Jewelers. MJSA and the council have created a new designation, the MJSA Mentor Jeweler, which is open to any MJSA member who has shown a long-term commitment to sharing their custom-design expertise — whether through articles, seminars, webinars, classroom teaching, or individual instruction — and pledges to continue those efforts. “By formalizing the process and recognizing those who are contributing their knowledge to help advance the profession, we hope to spur more jewelers into passing along their wisdom and knowledge,” Krombholz says. Mentor Jewelers will also be able to contact MJSA for assistance with such tasks as sourcing images or obtaining research materials for presentations, articles, and classes.
  • Create and launch a consumer-facing website with a Guide to MJSA Custom Jewelers. This site, scheduled to launch by the end of 2017, will serve as a primary resource for consumers interested in learning more about custom design and finding the right jeweler for their needs. In addition to explaining the levels of custom (with illustrations), it will include a searchable database of MJSA members who offer custom design services, which will be identified by level. “

MJSA has long been a place where serious custom jewelers have found a home,” says Krombholz, who, in addition to chairing the council, serves as a vice chair of the MJSA board of directors. “These initiatives, along with the development of the council, are just a continuation of MJSA’s efforts to advance custom jewelry and benefit us jewelers — no organization has our best interests more at heart.”

To learn more, go to MJSA.org or call 1-800-444-MJSA (6572).

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De Beers Group Industry Services Partners with RDI Diamonds in the United States

New collaboration makes De Beers Group Industry Services premier diamond grading partner for New York-based wholesale business.

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(PRESS RELEASE) ROCHESTER, NY — De Beers Group Industry Services has announced a new collaboration with leading US wholesaler, RDI Diamonds Inc., in NY as its premier source of diamond grading reports.

The partnership marks an exciting step into the US market for De Beers Group Industry Services, established by the world’s leading diamond company, De Beers Group. As part of the collaboration, De Beers Group Industry Services will exclusively grade Rare and Forever diamonds from RDI and assist in various educational activities and sales training.

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Michael Indelicato, CEO of RDI Diamonds, commented: “We were humbled to be approached by the De Beers Group Industry Services for such an important opportunity: introducing the United States to this grading report. We have been blown away by the integration of unparalleled technology to ensure consistent and accurate grading. These grading reports are going to be a game-changer here in the States, and we are excited to be a premier partner.”

This new partnership highlights the commitment from RDI Diamonds to providing its clients with Rare and Forever natural diamonds graded with accuracy and consistency. A shared passion unites both RDI Diamonds and De Beers Group Industry Services for advancing the diamond industry through cutting edge technology and education.

Jonathan Kendall, president of De Beers Group Industry Services, adds: “De Beers Group Industry Services prides itself on its high standards, consistency and proprietary technology. We are so pleased to see companies like RDI Diamonds taking measures to ensure their customers can be confident the diamonds they are buying are accurately represented on the grading reports.

“This move will give RDI Diamonds something truly unique to offer to their clients, from a company that is recognized as a leader in the diamond industry. They can substantiate, clearly define, and explain the differences between grades, guaranteeing the customer the highest standards of diamond grading supported by innovative and proprietary technology from De Beers Group Industry Services.”

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24 Karat Club Kicks Off New Year with Top Talent

Annual event moved to new venue this year.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — For the jewelry industry, the New Year doesn’t truly begin until the Twenty-Four Karat Club of the City of New York’s annual banquet, a prestigious grand gala where the industry’s top leaders gather in their finest to dine, dance and, hopefully, celebrate the conclusion of a good holiday season.

This year’s Banquet was held January 11 at the Sheraton New York Times Square, marking another new venue for the storied Banquet, which traditionally was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

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The 24 Karat Club Banquet is steeped in history. It’s been held every year since 1902, with only two exceptions: once during the Great Depression and again during WWII. It had been the second-longest running event in the history of the Waldorf Astoria hotel; only the Pennsylvania Society event, held every year in December, had been there longer.

When the hotel closed in 2017 for a three-year renovation, both the 24 Karat Club and PA Society scrambled for new digs. Both initially landed at the New York Hilton, where the 24 Karat Club Banquets were held in 2018 and 2019, but the Club moved across 53rd Street to the Sheraton this year.

This year’s headline entertainment was Calum Scott, a singer-songwriter and winner of Britain’s Got Talent. As is tradition, the entertainment was kept under wraps until the evening of the event. The Club briefly dropped its tradition in 2018 and 2019 and announced the entertainment in advance, but Club members expressed a wish to return to the traditional surprise this year.

Other Club traditions remained intact for the evening: the mingling of guests at various cocktail suites hosted by Club members prior to the seated dinner, the formal procession of both Club and industry leaders to take their seats on the dais, the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner by the West Point Cadets, and the annual interfaith invocation, this year delivered by Rabbi Dr. Jeremy Rosen of the Persian Jewish Community of Manhattan.

Following the dinner and entertainment, Club members could return to the same hospitality suites that were open for cocktails, or proceed to one of two after-parties: a quiet lounge with jazz, or the annual Midnight Bash, an immensely popular DJ dance party which lasted into the wee hours.

“The evening was a tremendous success,” said Banquet chair Myriam Gumuchian. “Guests were still reveling and dancing the night away at the Bash when the event closed after 1 a.m.”

Separately, the Club announced its slate of officers for the upcoming year, installed during the Club’s annual holiday luncheon in December. Jeffrey Fischer was re-elected for his third term as chair; Robert Kempler was elected vice-chair; Stewart Wicht was elected president; and Edward Decristofaro was elected vice president. The Club’s next gathering will be its annual Beefsteak Dinner, (a members-only event) set for March.

“It’s a monumental task to organize and coordinate such an event for approximately 1000 guests,” said Fischer. “Kudos to the Banquet Committee for an outstanding success. A great time was had by all!”

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Officina Bernardi Goes to Hollywood

It include its Moon Collection’s bracelets in the “Everyone Wins” Nominee Gift Bags.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK, NY – Italian jewelry brand Officina Bernardi is ready for its close up. The Borso del Grappa-based company has been selected to include its Moon Collection’s bracelets in the “Everyone Wins” Nominee Gift Bags independently given to the top Oscar nominees in each of the five major Academy Award categories (Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress and Best Director). While the ladies will receive a silver Moon bracelet, the men will have two options in either black and white, or gunmetal and gold.

Officina Bernardi’s silver Moon collection features jewelry made with the brands signature Moon spheres, meticulously crafted with 925 Sterling Silver and White Rhodium plating. Every design is engineered with one-of-a-kind and high-precision cutting techniques, making its pieces to bend the limit of brilliance and reflect light in a unique way.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Officina Bernardi to showcase our product in the national spotlight while simultaneously aligning it with famous trendsetters,” founders Carlo and Francesco Bernardi state: “We are thrilled to include our Moon Collection in these coveted gift baskets.”

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