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WJA Announces 2019 Awards for Excellence Honorees

Annual gala set for Monday, July 29, during New York’s summer jewelry trade show week.

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Stellene Volandes, Mark Hanna, Carol Pennelli

(PRESS RELEASE) The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has announced its 2019 honorees for the association’s annual Awards for Excellence gala, to be held Monday, July 29, 2019. The gala will once again take place at Pier 60 on the Chelsea Piers in New York City, and will continue its new Visionary format and event design for the second year.

“The Visionary Awards’ revamped program was an incredible success for WJA last year and we’re thrilled to continue this new tradition with our truly remarkable honorees in 2019,” said Jenny Luker, WJA board president. “Our Visionary Awards will go to women who have been trailblazers and the driving forces of leadership in their companies. Our Cindy Edelstein Mentorship Award will go to a man who provides exemplary support and mentorship to women.”

The two individual WJA Visionary Awards will be bestowed on Carol Pennelli, president, David Yurman; and Stellene Volandes, editor in chief, Town & Country magazine. Previous Visionary Award recipients are Mercedes Abramo, Cartier; Caryl Capeci, Hearts On Fire; Nadja Swarovski, Swarovski; and the partnership between De Beers Group & UN Women.

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. This is the first time the award recipient has been announced before the event. Previous winners of the mentorship award are Bev Hori (2018), Peggy Jo Donahue (2017), and Cindy Edelstein (posthumously in 2016).

Pennelli is the president of David Yurman, overseeing all functions outside of design and creative. She reports directly to David Yurman, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of the brand. Pennelli joined the company in 2002 as chief commercial officer, where she oversaw all aspects of David Yurman’s commercial channels, profit and loss, and general performance, including retail, wholesale, digital, and outlet businesses. Prior to joining David Yurman, she served as senior vice president of sales, education, and global special events at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.

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Volandes was named editor-in-chief of Town & Country magazine in 2016. Before her appointment, Volandes had been style director at the magazine since March 2012, and before that she was jewelry & accessories director. Previous to her work at Town & Country, Volandes was style editor for Departures magazine starting in 2003. Volandes is a graduate of Vassar College, and holds a master’s degree in English and comparative literature from Columbia University. Her book, “Jeweler: Masters, Mavericks, and Visionaries of Modern Design,” was published in 2016 by Rizzoli.

Hanna is chief marketing officer of Richline Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company. He chairs Berkshire Hathaway’s Sustainability Leadership Committee and is an active speaker and advocate on responsible issues at events such as the UL Responsible Sourcing Summit, MJSA Expo, Pure Earth, and the Jewelry Industry Summit. He serves on various boards including the Mercury-Free Mining Challenge, the Responsible Jewellery Council, the Special Olympics, and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. The CMO Club named Hanna the 2015 and 2018 CMO of Year, Corporate Social Responsibility.

“WJA congratulates our honorees for their distinguished achievements. The elevated event experience we’ve been able to present through the Visionary Awards program runs parallel with the strides WJA is making programmatically for its members. We’re leading the charge for progress in areas that matter most to women in the industry: mentorship, gender equality, financial support through scholarships and grants, and making connections,” said WJA Executive Director Bernadette Mack.

At its annual Awards for Excellence gala, WJA brings together industry leaders for a social evening that also raises money for its scholarships and grants for women. A silent auction will again be mounted to raise additional funds for these important causes. Sponsorships for the gala are currently available. Please contact WJA Executive Director Bernadette McGovern Mack at: bernadette@womensjewelryassociation.com. Tickets to the awards gala will go on sale later this month.

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Think Like a Millennial to Sell to a Millennial: GN Diamond’s In-Store Selling Platform Offers Advantage Over Internet Sites

It’s time to take this demographic seriously.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Millennials may be undervalued as jewelry and gemstone customers, but as the largest living generation in the U.S., with $600 billion in annual spending, it’s time to take this demographic seriously.

Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials came of age alongside computers, digital technologies and social media. These tech-savvy shoppers love to research and purchase online, so it’s crucial that diamond sellers can meet them in-store with technologically advanced, interactive online sales tools.

Convert Millennial Browsers into Buyers with an Innovative Selling Tool

Diamond Hunt, the new GN Diamond platform, is an interactive selling tool that addresses millennials’ pain points with technology conveniently at their fingertips. The online loose diamond database mimics what consumers see on internet sites, only with powerful added value.

Here’s how the platform answers the key questions held by 20- and 30-something shoppers in their native digital language.

Light Performance Millennials are skeptical as to how two seemingly similar diamonds can have up to a 70% price difference. The GN Diamond platform utilizes a third party to objectively grade the brilliancy and brightness of a diamond, clearly demonstrating why one SI2 is better than another.

V360 Views Smart-phone-loving millennials easily gain a 360 degree view of the loose diamond and its natural birthmarks without the cumbersome use of a loupe and tweezers. The fully transparent views surpass the typical videos and images used by online retailers.

Gemprint The world’s most sophisticated, non-invasive, positive identification technology records the unique optical “fingerprint” of each diamond. Gemprint is recognized by most insurance companies, some of whom offer 10% off of annual insurance premiums once registered.

GN Gives You an Advantage with Millennials

The GN Diamond platform revolutionizes the way millennial consumers buy diamonds in-store, and it’s as easy as scanning a QR code. Learn more at www.gndiamond.com, and shop over $70 million of loose diamonds certified by GIA, AGS and EGL USA, all with the Gemprint ID.

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GN Diamond Offers Earring Size Simulator on Easy-to-Use Retailer Platform

The APP offers a visual simulation of what a diamond stud looks like on the earlobe.

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(PRESS RELEASE) The 2019 holiday season through January has been one of the strongest periods for diamond stud sales.

Bread-and-butter studs from 1/4 ct up to 1 1/2 carat have always been most popular, but GN has seen larger studs from 2 carats to 6 carats becoming additional hot sellers. The company believes it will continue to see an uptick in sales through Valentine’s Day and the spring bridal season.

Simplistically beautiful, studs should produce up to 12% of a retail store’s annual revenue. Diamond studs are a great add-on to any bridal sale. In the words of Shane Decker, “Never stop selling until the customer tells you to stop.”

GN’s new APP offers a visual simulation of what a diamond stud looks like on the earlobe from ¼ carat to 2 carats.  The consumer can easily see the difference between martini set or four-prong set in all different sizes that reflect their own taste and budget.

In addition, GN Diamond creates a point of distinction for the retail jeweler and offers a light brilliancy score on all of its diamond studs. Each pair is sent to a third-party independent laboratory to evaluate brightness and sparkle. GN’s studs are proven to score in the top 96% of the world’s brightest diamonds. Furthermore, each pair is Gemprinted providing a unique fingerprint of each diamond which will offer the end consumer up to a 10% discount on annual insurance premiums. There is such a competitive market with diamond studs that these
features may help retailers gain the edge over their competition and overcome common objections and obstacles that salespeople face on a daily basis.

GN Diamond is open seven days a week at www.gndiamond.com, striving every day to help jewelers sell more diamonds.

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AGA Adds Robert Weldon to Tucson Conference Line-Up

The conference is set for Feb. 5.

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(PRESS RELEASE) The Accredited Gemologists Association has announced the addition of Robert Weldon to the list of presenters at the annual AGA Tucson conference on Feb. 5 at the Marriot University Park hotel.

Weldon, who will be receiving this year’s AGA Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology, is to discuss the ongoing project of educating artisanal miners of East Africa about the stones they recover. Through GIA funding and a contract with Pact, a Washington, DC, non-governmental development organization with offices in Tanzania, the program has put valuable information into the hands of the people whose livelihood depends on mining gemstones.

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Started over a decade ago through the inspiration of fellow Bonanno Award winner Dr. James Shigley, a GIA Distinguished Research Fellow, the program features a book with descriptive text in Swahili and numerous photographs of the gems being recovered. An inspection tray and instructions in cleaning and examination teaches the miners to recognize stone quality of their rough material. After the first class was presented to the Tanzanian Association of Women Miners, it has spread through Tanzania with the intent of reaching 10,000 miners across East African nations.

Weldon, director of the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center at GIA, co-wrote the manual and with the GIA staff, has seen immediate results for the over 1.000 miners already trained. Miners are now able to bargain better with their buyers and return more money to their families and communities. The social impact of the project has been enormous and exposure to the supply chain has opened up other opportunities for miners, such as gem cutting and jewelry manufacture.

The AGA conference is a day of gemological insights and discoveries, with Weldon being joined by presentations from Dr. Jeffrey Post, Dr. Laurent Cartier, Dr. Aaron Palke, Richard Hughes and workshops with Eric Fritz, Samantha Lloyd and Claire Scragg. The evening gala and presentation of the Bonanno Award is included with the conference registration and may also be purchased separately.

Conference registration includes continental breakfast, light lunch & the AGA Annual Gala & Dinner featuring great networking opportunities, music, dance floor & the presentation of the Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology to Robert Weldon. Early registration fees through Jan. 28 provide substantial savings online at www.accreditedgemologists.org.

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