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Ritani Launches Groundbreaking ‘Virtual Shelf’ Technology

It is to give independent jewelers immediate digital access to over 250,000 diamonds and jewelry pieces.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK, NY — Ritani, the vertically-integrated, technology-minded jewelry company has announced the launch of Virtual Shelf, a groundbreaking, white-label application and sales vehicle for retailers that reimagines how jewelers sell and customers shop for engagement rings, diamonds, and jewelry. Virtual Shelf tackles some of the industry’s toughest challenges – such as limited physical inventory and the high costs of managing transactions and technological innovations – by providing a digital inventory of over 250,000 diamonds and jewelry items along with full-service sales processing.

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The new platform takes life in the form of a user-friendly, jeweler branded iPad app that is used over the counter during the sales consultation. Virtual Shelf is designed to complement each retailer’s existing inventory by making available a digital inventory of hundreds of thousands of diamonds and jewelry items available for immediate purchasing. Should the customer choose to purchase a diamond or jewelry item from the Virtual Shelf, the retailer sets their margin and Ritani handles the entire back-end transaction for the jeweler, including fulfillment, credit card processing, fraud risk, and returns. In turn, the retailer immediately sees the transaction on their books. The customer receives the item quickly and safely via insured shipping.

In addition to the incredible selection of diamonds and jewelry made available by Ritani with Virtual Shelf, the program can also be used as a platform for jewelers to list and sell their own inventory of certified diamonds and jewelry to other program partner retailers; diamond owners can set cost/list prices and margins to better manage their inventory flow.

“The development of Virtual Shelf builds on Ritani’s steadfast dedication to helping independent jewelers implement new technologies to accelerate business,” said Josh Marion, general manager of Virtual Shelf by Ritani. “This platform stems from years of working closely with independent retailers and seeking to solve for the critical issues affecting their businesses; we believe it will have a visible and transformative impact.”

“While the industry has often been slow to implement new technology, the introduction of Ritani’s Virtual Shelf platform is a game-changer for independent jewelers like Padis and for our customers.” said Alexis Padis, president of Padis Jewelry, one of five stores in North America currently testing the system in its stores. “This app dramatically improves the sales process for our team, removes the overhead and headaches of managing the transaction, and gives customers access to more diamonds and jewelry from a centralized, nationwide repository. Plus, we are empowered to better manage our owned inventory and offer it to other jewelers on the platform so we can collectively better serve shoppers around the country.”

Ritani research has found that nearly two-thirds of people who enter a jewelry store looking for a diamond leave without making a purchase, most often due to higher prices and a limited in-store selection. By providing these small businesses with turnkey, digital access to an immediate inventory of certified, conflict-free diamonds and jewelry, Virtual Shelf empowers trusted community jewelers to offer the vast selection, competitive pricing, and modern service that was previously only available through online companies. Further, the partnership reaffirms Ritani’s significant investment in helping community jewelers grow their business using highly-coveted technological and educational tools that are typically cost-prohibitive.

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Ritani will debut Virtual Shelf at the upcoming JCK Show in Las Vegas, interested retailers can learn more about the program and sign up for a one-on-one demonstration at www.virtualshelf.io.

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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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Leaders Honored at JNA Awards 2019

16 were honored as recipients across 11 award categories.

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(PRESS RELEASE) HONG KONG – The eighth annual JNA Awards ended on a high note and was well attended by industry dignitaries and trade leaders in Hong Kong on 17 September.

Organized by Informa Markets, the awards celebrates and recognizes entrepreneurs and companies that set high standards for excellence, innovation, and outstanding business performance. A total of 45 Honorees were feted this evening for their notable accomplishments in the past year. Among them, 16 were honored as recipients across 11 award categories by a highly-respected and experienced panel of judges.

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Three outstanding leaders from the retail sector, Cao Thi Ngoc Dung, Hung Ming Li and Wang Chun Li are the recipients of this year’s highest accolade, the Lifetime Achievement Award. These are exceptional leaders well-known for their instrumental roles in transforming and shaping the retail landscape in their respective field and region.

The 16 Award Recipients across 11 categories are:

Brand of the Year – Retail
Shenzhen Sunfeel Jewelry Co Ltd – China

Supplier of the Year
Kapu Gems – India

Industry Innovation of the Year
3a. Industry Innovation of the Year – Diamond Identification
Diamond Services Ltd – Hong Kong

3b. Industry Innovation of the Year – Jewelry Manufacturing Technology
3D Kaiente Jewelry Co Ltd – China

3c. Industry Innovation of the Year – Production Technology
Sahajanand Technologies Pvt Ltd – India
Shenzhen Future Wisdom Jewelry Co Ltd – China

Manufacturer of the Year – Cutting & Polishing – Creativity & Innovation
China Stone Co Ltd – Thailand

Manufacturer of the Year – Jewelry
Chow Tai Fook Jewelry Group Ltd – Hong Kong

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – China
DECENT Gold Group Co Ltd – China

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – Countries/Regions outside of China and India
FRANK & co – Indonesia

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – India
H.K. Designs – India

Retailer of the Year
Luk Fook Holdings (International) Limited – Hong Kong
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company – Vietnam

Sustainability Initiative of the Year
Shenzhen Xingguangda Jewelry Industrial Co Ltd – China

Young Entrepreneur of the Year (age 40 and below)
Abhay Chordia, Ashok Jewels – India
Angelina Lau, SK Jewelry Group – Singapore

Letitia Chow, chairperson of the JNA Awards, and director of business development – Jewelry Group at Informa Markets, said, “Tonight, we are celebrating a milestone in the jewelry and gemstone trade. These companies have demonstrated that with perseverance and forward-thinking, even in times of challenges, our industry can adapt, transform and continue to make positive impacts to the growth of the business. For that, they truly deserve our sincere congratulations and applause.”

Commented on the 2019 JNA Awards, James Courage, one of the principal judges of the awards remarked, “With increased interest in the Awards, the quality and scope of the entries have increased; hence the judges endeavor to follow up with submissions and clarify, where appropriate, on paper and in-person to ensure comprehension and understanding of the joint judging process and a clear insight into each entry.”

Albert Cheng, one of the principal judges of the awards shared, “It was proven to me, during this year’s due diligence visits to the Awards’ entrants, that the passion of the founders and the way they communicate their visions to their customers via their staff and products or services determine the successes of the brands and companies. I am very proud to honor and recognize these successful entrepreneurs through the JNA Awards.”

Kent Wong, managing director of Chow Tai Fook Jewelry Group remarked, “This year marks the 90th anniversary of Chow Tai Fook Jewelry Group, as well as our eighth consecutive year as a Headline Partner of the JNA Awards. Throughout these years, we are honored to have grown with the JNA Awards and witnessed the continuous breakthroughs in the industry.”

Lin Qiang, president & managing director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange and one of the awards judges shared, “With the JNA Awards gaining increasing recognition and influence since its inception, the 2019 JNA Awards has reached an unprecedented high. To be able to stand out as an Honoree among the entrants is no easy feat, and to eventually become a Recipient shows that one is indeed the cream of the crop. All of them have achieved great accomplishments and I am sincerely happy for them.”

Kenneth Scarratt, CEO of DANAT concluded, “It is a tremendous honor for DANAT to be involved with the JNA Awards once again in 2019; a celebration of all that is great with our amazing gem and jewelry industry. Indeed, we are at awe, once again, with the organization that goes into the preparations, the determination that goes into the judging, and the extraordinary quality of the Recipients.”

In addition to Headline Partners Chow Tai Fook, Shanghai Diamond Exchange and DANAT, the JNA Awards is supported by Honored Partners KGK Group, China Gems & Jade Exchange, and Guangdong Land Holdings Limited.

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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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