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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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DPA Announces New CEO

Lieberherr to step down at year end, with ex-Ralph Lauren marketing executive to become new DPA CEO.

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(PRESS RELEASE) The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) announced that Jean-Marc Lieberherr has decided to step down from his role as CEO at the end of his current contract period on December 31, 2019. David Kellie will join the organization in December 2019, enabling a smooth transition of leadership.

Jean-Marc has filled key leadership positions at the DPA since it was formed in December 2015, initially as its first Chairman, then as its CEO.

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David is a highly experienced marketer with a track record of success at a range of consumer brands, including 14 years at Ralph Lauren where he held a number of positions, including corporate senior vice president, global marketing & advertising. He has most recently been with Watches of Switzerland, which has provided him with valuable insight into the needs and opportunities for diamond category marketing.

Jean-Marc Lieberherr said: “This is an emotional moment for me after four years of association with the DPA, but I am proud of what has been achieved since the DPA was created, and especially since it received increased funding from June 2017. The DPA now has strong teams and foundations in place to capture the opportunities that lie ahead and it is time for a new leader to take the organization through its next phase of development. I am confident that the DPA will play a critical role in the diamond sector in the years to come and am grateful to the DPA teams and Members for supporting me through what has been a life-changing adventure.”

David Kellie said: “I am delighted to be joining the DPA at such an exciting time, both for the organization and for the diamond sector. As people search for authentic products with enduring meaning, there are outstanding opportunities to grow consumer demand for diamonds. A growing number of women are buying for themselves, there are already high levels of acquisition from younger consumers, and the number of middle class households around the world is growing rapidly, so there is a very bright future ahead of us. It is a real privilege to have the opportunity to work with such a magical product, a true miracle of nature, in such a fascinating industry.”

Stephen Lussier, Chairman of the DPA, said: “Jean-Marc was one of the DPA’s founding members and helped steer the development of the organization from the beginning. On behalf of the entire board we thank Jean-Marc for his leadership, his commitment to the mission of the DPA and his energy in building the organization during its formative years.

“We are very pleased to have someone of David’s calibre to take over as DPA CEO, especially given the organization’s key marketing role. David brings extensive experience to the DPA having led traditional and digital marketing programs across the major global markets. He is extremely well equipped to lead our marketing teams as we seek to inspire ever more consumers of all ages across the world with the ‘diamond dream’.”

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Stuller Introduces Modern Brilliance

New lab-grown diamond jewelry collection now available.

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(PRESS RELEASE) LAFAYETTE, LA — Premiering just in time for the holiday season, Stuller announces the launch of its brand new lab-grown diamond jewelry collection, Modern Brilliance.

“With the rise in popularity of lab-grown diamonds, we felt the demand and need for a lab-grown diamond jewelry collection,” says Alisse Gregson, diamond fashion product manager. “This collection offers both essential styling as well as bold on trend fine jewelry at accessible price points.”

Modern Brilliance has approximately 50 finished jewelry styles, including earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets, all of which are available in 14K white, yellow and rose gold. It also offers bigger looks, such as line bracelets, for a better value.

“This collection truly sets itself apart by offering trendy lab-grown fine jewelry to the industry,” says Alix Gonsoulin, vice president of fine jewelry, bridal, and findings. “By carrying lab-grown diamond jewelry, business owners can expand their customer base with not only a new story to tell, but the accessible price points for those who may otherwise not buy diamond jewelry at all.”

To view the Modern Brilliance Collection visit, www.stuller.com/modernbrilliance

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Lark & Berry Launches Engagement Rings Collection

It offers cultured diamonds made in the UK with 100% renewable energy.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Sustainable luxury jewelry brand Lark & Berry announces a collection of direct-to-consumer engagement ring options to meet increasing customer demand. Lark & Berry is the first brand in the world to offer cultured diamond engagement rings made in the UK with 100% renewable energy.

Lark & Berry offers a selection of curated, classic engagement ring designs with customizable options including metal selection such as 18K gold and platinum and stone sizes that range from 0.5ct up to 5 carats. Prices start at $2,380 for a 0.5ct ring and $4,700 for a 1ct ring. Customers can also choose from a wide range of diamond cuts from the classic round to princess, emerald and cushion cuts among others. Lark & Berry will continue to offer bespoke engagement ring services.

“Since our launch in 2018, luxury fans have been asking us for engagement rings,” states Lark & Berry founder Laura Chavez. “At Lark & Berry, we very much champion cultured diamonds jewelry as the “now” option that allows independent women and men to gift themselves—but of course, when wedding bells begin to chime in our fans’ lives, we want to be there for them, and give them the exact cultured diamonds rings they desire to compliment their everlasting love for their partners.”

“For these new cultured diamond engagement rings, I’m thrilled to announce that our customers can choose diamonds made in a UK lab that grows them with 100% renewable energy,” continues Laura Chavez. “It’s amazing to see that cultured diamonds are always moving towards becoming the most sustainable they can be, and it is only a matter of time before all labs use most, if not all of their energy from renewable sources. This debunks the argument that a lab grown diamond produces more carbon emissions than mining does. A cultured diamond will always be the most sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly option when it comes to diamonds.”

Lark & Berry’s new engagement rings are now available online here, in its Marylebone, London flagship store as well as by appointment in the Central district of Hong Kong.

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