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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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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.

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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Rahaminov Diamonds Trademarks Movál

It’s recognized for its modified, elongated oval shape.

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(PRESS RELEASE) LOS ANGELES – Rahaminov Diamonds has announced it has been awarded the trademark to its signature Movál diamond by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Recognized for its modified, elongated oval shape and cut to specific proportions to maximize the stone’s beauty, life and brilliance, Movál has quickly become a highly requested mainstay in Rahaminov’s collection. The specialty cut diamond possesses many characteristics of a timeless marquise cut, with the soft curves of an oval. Each diamond is sculpted based on the unique features of the rough; no two Movál diamonds are alike, making each piece of jewelry one of a kind.

“For many of our retailers, Movál has become synonymous with our brand,” explained Melanie Goldfiner, Rahaminov’s director of brand development. “As a result, we felt our next step was to ensure our legal standing of the trademark to avoid future potential infringement.”

Movál was introduced into Rahaminov’s collection in 2016, with new pieces being introduced annually. The brand will showcase a new array of Movál pieces at their upcoming exhibit at LUXURY and JCK in Salon 622. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Melanie Goldfiner at Melanie@rahaminov.com.

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Uneek Designer Benjamin Javaheri Wins 4 New Awards

The new awards round up the 21st industry accolade for Uneek Jewelry.

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(PRESS RELEASE) LOS ANGELES – Uneek Jewelry’s Founder & Designer, Benjamin Javaheri continues his remarkable winning streak as INSTORE Design Awards recognizes his artistry and creativity with 4 new accolades.

The new awards round up the 21st industry accolade for Uneek Jewelry. “I feel blessed! It’s quite an experience having the industry notice my work. It’s both encouraging and inspiring for all of us here at Uneek! This fuels our passion to continuously do more, push beyond limits and take on technical challenges to innovate and create aesthetically pleasing, heirloom-worthy jewelry pieces”, says Javaheri.


The roster is top billed by the ring Benjamin calls “Le Pur Et Simple” which is a true beauty in its simple, uncomplicated and unpretentious details. It receives First in the Engagement/Wedding Jewelry Over $5,000 Category. The Engagement Ring features French-pave split shank 18k white gold setting with a 5-carat certified cushion-cut white diamond center from the company’s popular Signature Collection.


The Retailers’ Choice Award for the Colored Stone Over $10,000 Category goes to “The Rio Elbaite Necklace”. The 18k White Gold Pendant Necklace is a tribute to its Brazilian heritage for its Indicolite Tourmaline Center and the celebration that is, El Grande Brasil! A spectrum of greens and blues make the 9ct. center dance to its own tune dazzled by the kite and shield-shaped diamonds.


And last but not the least, two awards are bestowed on “The Jaxson Bleu Ring” which garners both The Retailers’ Choice Award for Platinum Category and Third in Platinum Jewelry Category. This one-of-a-kind Sapphire and Diamond Platinum Piece is a celebration ring too close to home, a design inspired by the birth of Benjamin’s first son. The ring features an 8 carat Royal Blue Oval Sapphire perched atop 4.54 cttw. oval diamond eternity band. The oval diamonds appear like floating ovals on the finger and are intentionally comfortable and low profile due to its buttercup setting.

See these award-winning pieces and other outstanding UNEEK designs on display at salon LUX1221 of the Luxury/JCK Shows, May 29th to June 3rd.

For more information and other styles from Uneek’s Fine Jewelry Collection, please e‐ mail info@uneekjewelry.com or call (1‐888) BE‐UNEEK.

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