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WJA Introduces Connect, a Members-Only Online Community

The new benefit provides a professional space to network and learn.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has introduced a members-only online platform called Connect, and in the sixth months since its debut, nearly half of its members have created accounts, posted, asked questions, and interacted with fellow members. This level of activity is more than double what forums such as these typically see in a short time period, according to Higher Logic, the site’s developer.

WJA’s Connect is intended to be an online complement to the association’s traditional mission of helping women advance and develop professionally through networking, education, and leadership development. Many members who don’t live close to a WJA chapter – or aren’t able to make live events – will still get a chance to collaborate, share knowledge, and have meaningful conversations.

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“WJA strives to create a seamless experience for our membership. When our members visit Connect, they know they’ll find a professional atmosphere, akin to our live networking and educational events,” says WJA Executive Director Jennifer Markas. “That’s due to WJA’s mission, plus active management by our Community Manager Evelyn Stetzer of The Smithee Group.”

Members who use Connect will find discussion groups, including All Members, Industry Insights, and Design Corner, plus several specialized forums for leaders in WJA’s 20-plus chapters. Each member has the opportunity to create a profile detailing her or his professional accomplishments and talents. There’s also a member directory based on the member profiles. Members can also post photos and learn about live events and webinars.

“The conversations on Connect are of a higher quality than you might see in public forums,” observes WJA Membership Coordinator Rachel Jurisz. “Visitors are looking for crowd-sourced guidance on everything from design and website management, to financial and operations insights for their businesses. Because of the depth and breadth of experience among our members, advice is soon shared.”

Connect Community Manager Stetzer also points out that discussions covering universal questions remain live on the site for newer members to find and access later. “This gives Connect a long-term value and preserves the wisdom of the crowd.”

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Beyond education, Connect also provides a space for far-flung members of the jewelry industry to meet others who might be beneficial to their businesses. “The networking aspect of this kind of online community is the number one need that our participants identify,” says Stetzer.

Future plans for Connect include starting more chapter forums, encouraging even higher participation and engagement in the community, and monitoring members’ needs so that new topics can be proposed.

Connect is accessible to all WJA members here: https://wjaconnect.womensjewelryassociation.com/home

To join WJA, click here: https://www.womensjewelryassociation.com/join. For more information, contact Membership Coordinator Rachel Jurisz, rachel@womensjewelryassociation.com.

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Lavalier Personal Jewelry Insurance Simplifies Consumer Experience with Pypestream

It’s a two-way messaging to quickly guide consumers through the insurance process.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — Getting personal jewelry insurance just got easier. Lavalier Personal Jewelry Insurance announces the launch of two-way messaging to quickly guide consumers through the insurance process.

“Lavalier partnered with Pypestream to incorporate artificial intelligence – AI – in our consumer application process for personal jewelry insurance,” explained Joseph Dowd, president of Berkley Asset Protection, Lavalier’s parent company. “This makes applying for insurance a snap.”

Lavalier chose Pypestream, a customer-engagement software firm that uses conversational AI, to create a more user-friendly, informed experience. The solution allows consumers to purchase and bind a policy directly within the conversational interface. When consumers request an insurance quote on Lavalier.com, the Lavalier Assistant guides them through each step of the process, providing real-time explanations for insurance terms and questions.

“As far as we can determine, Lavalier may be the first to use two-way messaging to quote and immediately bind insurance policies online,” said Marketing and Sales Vice President Melissa Becker. “We wanted the process to be easy, yet provide consumers with useful information throughout the process.”

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Ania Haie Introduces Spring/Summer 2020

Two new collections will be released in January 2020.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Ready to start the new year in style, Ania Haie is set to unveil two new collections in January 2020. Remaining true to their fashion-following roots, Chain Reaction will see the classic chain become a style favorite once again. A huge trend on the catwalks for Spring/Summer, statement chains are back in a big and bold way for 2020. From classic figaro and chunky curb chains through to ultra-modern mixed-link pieces, the Chain Reaction collection houses a selection of chain styles ready to layer up for a fashion-forward look.

Next up, Mother Nature’s finest work makes a triumphant return to the spotlight as turquoise and mother of pearl jewelry pieces are set to become hot fashion property for 2020. The Hidden Gem collection takes classic jewelry elements, turquoise and mother of pearl and reinvents them with a contemporary makeover by teaming them with statement chunky chains and bold signet rings. This modern take on classic jewelry pieces will have you carrying a slice of nature with you wherever you go.

Inspired by the latest fashion trends, Ania Haie is paving the way for affordable sterling silver jewelry that combines exquisitely made pieces without compromising on quality. With each collection inspired by key catwalk trends, Ania Haie is fast becoming the hottest destination for young style-savvy consumers. Each unique jewelry piece is designed to layer up to create your own individual look yet striking enough to wear as standalone pieces. Each piece of Ania Haie jewelry is delicately crafted from 925 sterling silver with rhodium or 14kt gold plating.

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New Governors Add Expertise to GIA Board

They will help steer the Institute’s mission and strategic initiatives.

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(PRESS RELEASE) CARLSBAD, CA – GIA (Gemological Institute of America) welcomed two new members to the Institute’s Board of Governors at its regularly scheduled meeting in Carlsbad, CA. The new Governors, Dr. Jeffrey E. Post, research geologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and Tammy Storino, a finance and operations executive with experience in global consumer brands, will – with 15 other GIA Governors – help steer the Institute’s mission and strategic initiatives. The Board bid farewell to Governor Thomas T. Yang, managing director and partner at PrimeGenesis, who completed his term with nine years of service.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have these two dynamic leaders join the GIA Board of Governors. Their expertise will be an invaluable asset to GIA’s consumer protection mission, helping to ensure that the Institute remains a leader in research and innovation while delivering excellence in education and laboratory services,” said Susan Jacques, GIA president and CEO.

Dr. Post is the curator-in-charge for the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. In addition, during his more than 35 years at the Smithsonian, he served as chairman of the department of mineral sciences and lead curator for the renovation of the geology, gems and minerals exhibit. Before joining the Smithsonian, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of geological sciences at Harvard University. Dr. Post’s many accolades include the Carnegie Mineralogical Award, Jewelers of America Lifetime Achievement Award and Mineralogical Society of America Public Service Medal.

Storino has extensive experience as a global operations and finance leader focused on growth and business results in global consumer brands. Her career spans more than 25 years with companies such as Walt Disney in California and Hong Kong, St. John Knits International Inc. and Too Faced Cosmetics. Storino is a Certified Public Accountant and received her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Northern Illinois University.

The week before the Board meeting, nearly 60 experts – including GIA staff (more than 20 with doctoral degrees); GIA Governors Barbara Dutrow, Jeffrey Post and John Valley, who are all recognized for their academic research; and specialized outside experts – gathered at the Institute’s headquarters in Carlsbad, California, for the 13th annual research meeting. During the three-day meeting, researchers reviewed the latest discoveries in diamonds, colored stones, pearls, laboratory-grown diamonds and instruments. Topics included advances in diamond, colored stone and pearl identification; the scientific matching that supports GIA’s new Diamond Origin Report service; detection of advanced treatments and other aspects of GIA’s extensive research program.

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