Rapaport Magazine

Take Note

September 2007

By Rapaport
RAPAPORT... • Given the volume of diamond production in South Africa and neighboring countries, it was perhaps only a matter of time before the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) announced the opening of a laboratory in Johannesburg. This ambitious step in GIA’s efforts to expand globally will take place in early 2008. According to Tom Moses, senior vice president of GIA Laboratory and Research, GIA will take over the laboratory services currently offered by the Jewelry Council of South Africa (JCSA). Leslie Milner, the JCSA’s executive director, will be the director of the GIA Johannesburg Laboratory.

After focusing on stones ranging from 0.15 to 1.99 carats in the first weeks of its existence, the lab in Johannesburg will take on additional categories. In October, a team of JCSA diamond graders will visit the United States for an intensive course in the GIA’s methodologies and standards.

• A new DVD series covering topics of concern to the diamond industry, such as the Kimberley Process, contract matters, antimoney laundering efforts and legal compliance issues, is now available from the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC). For those who run jewelry businesses, whether they are wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers or designers, the JVC DVD series provides important information in a concise format. Each DVD features a quiz to help viewers gauge the state of their legal knowledge.

Those interested in purchasing the series, or in learning more about the organization, can visit the JVC’s website: www.jvclegal.org.

• Thomas Morris is the new president and CEO of Superior Diamonds, Inc., a Vancouver, Canada-based company that explores for and mines diamonds and uranium. His predecessor, John Paterson, decided to leave for personal reasons.

Since May 2003, Morris has served as Superior’s vice president for exploration. Before taking on that role, Morris oversaw exploration programs for government, private and academic exploration firms.

The board of directors of Jewelers of America (JA) has elected John Green, president and CEO of Lux Bond & Green, Inc., as its new chairman. Green will take over the duties of John Cohen, who is departing after a two-year term. Besides his extensive experience in the industry, Green’s qualifications include a family tradition of JA leadership. His father, Robert Green, headed the board of directors from 1987 to 1989.

• Several members of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) have received honors for their respective contributions to the industry. The American Gem Society (AGS) awarded Tom Moses, senior vice president of GIA Laboratory and Research, its eighth annual AGS Triple Zero Award. Named for the highest diamond quality grade in AGS nomenclature, this prize recognizes commitments to education and leadership in the industry. AGS president Craig Underwood presented the award to Moses during the AGS Circle of Distinction reception on July 31 in New York City.

At the same reception, the GIA Laboratory’s Shane McClure, Wuyi Wang and Matt Hall each received the AGS annual Richard T. Liddicoat Journalism Award for Industry/Trade Reporting. They shared the honor with former GIA researcher Christopher Smith for their article titled “Identification and Durability of Lead Glass-Filled Rubies,” which was published in the spring 2006 issue of Gems & Gemology.

• Pier 60 in Manhattan was the site of the Women’s Jewelry Association’s (WJA) 24th Annual “Awards for Excellence” Gala on July 29. More than 550 of the industry’s movers and shakers crowded into the venue to hear the association’s president, Ann Arnold, thank the members for their support. There followed a standing ovation for Hall of Fame Award recipient Anna Martin, senior vice president and regional head for the Americas at ABN AMRO. Martin is also a past president of the Women’s Jewelry Association.

Individual 2007 Awards for Excellence went to Paula Crevoshay, president of Mellika Co., Inc., in the category of “Designer, Fine Jewelry and Watches”; Eve Goldberg, vice president of the William Goldberg Diamond Corporation, in the category of “Manufacturer/Dealer/Supplier, Fine Jewelry, Gemstones, Metals and Watches”; Tryna Kochanek, senior vice president, Sterling Jewelers, Inc., in the category of “Retail (More Than 15 Stores)”; Susan Eisen, owner of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches, in the category of “Retail (Fewer Than 15 Stores)”; Janet Goldman, CEO of Fragments, in the category of “Sales”; Diane Warga-Arias, educationalist and consultant for DWA Communications, Inc., in the category of “Marketing and Communications”; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, jewelry editor for Veranda, in the category of “Editorial/Reporting/Publishing”; and Susan Elliott, dean of students at the Gemological Institute of America, in the category of “Special Services.”

• In further WJA-related news, the organization is getting the word out about its “Women in the Know — Midwest” conference, which will take place on State Street in Chicago on October 19. This event, a Midwestern counterpart to the “Women in the Know — West Coast” conference, will happen in partnership with Macy’s. The theme of the Midwest conference is “Inspire, Educate, Connect,” according to WJA-Midwest chapter president and conference chair Myriam Tashey.

Speakers on the roster include Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group, and Susan Jacques, president and CEO of Borsheim’s Fine Jewelry and Gifts in Omaha, Nebraska. Sessions at the event will address such topics as branding, leadership, life management and technology, and the day will end with a fashion show featuring Midwest designers including Eve Alfillé, Liz Bucheit, Ellie Thompson, Mary Hartman, Julia Failey, Sara Commers and Sarah Smith.

The conference runs from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on October 19. Registration costs $150 for WJA members, $180 for nonmembers and $75 for students. Each attendee will receive a free CD of the event. For more information, contact Myriam Tashey, WITK-Midwest Conference Chair, at (312) 920-1541 or myriam@progrem.com.

• The FTSE Nationality Committee has approved a United Kingdom classification status for Gem Diamonds, spokespersons for the latter company announced. When the next quarterly review for the FTSE UK Index Series takes place, Gem Diamonds will be eligible to be considered for inclusion, subject to the standard criteria applied to potential entrants.

Established in July 2005, Gem Diamonds is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy and trying to enhance its standing in the diamond mining industry while pursuing kimberlite mining and alluvial mining in Indonesia and the Congo, as well as other projects.

• Andrea Hill, who has served as CEO of Rio Grande/ The Bell Group for 11 years, is leaving the position to become a full-time management consultant, business writer and public speaker as the principal of Hill Management Consulting. Hill is credited with the dramatic growth of Rio Grande over the past 11 years, as well as the launch of its jewelry education programs and the Saul Bell Design Award competition.

• The International Gemological Institute (IGI) is offering a number of online services designed to assist accurate record-keeping and customer security. The Online Data Retrieval program offers users a search function, allowing them to pull up an IGI report enumerating a stone’s identity, authenticity and grade. In the case of stones that are laser-inscribed with their IGI report number, users can access the Registration and Recovery Service, which enables them to register their jewelry in IGI’s databank. If one of these items is ever reported lost or stolen, IGI can provide a description of the missing item and issue a notification to police, jewelers and pawnshops over the internet.

The IGI Report Update Service gives registrants the means to receive an updated report any time they need one. It can be a useful service in an environment of fluctuating gemstone, precious metal and currency markets.

• Damas, the Dubai-based jewelry retailer with some 300 outlets in the Middle East and India, has announced that International Diamond Laboratories (IDL) will market its line of Damas Cut diamonds with IDL certificates. These diamonds are new, 77-facet round cut fancy stones, and Damas has developed the line as part of its efforts to mark its centenary. The agreement between Damas and IDL signifies, in part, the official endorsement of IDL as a retail diamond lab.

• Nearly a decade after geologists pinpointed an extensive diamond field in Yakutia, ALROSA has opened the Verkhne-Munskoye mine there. Spokespersons for the Russian diamond producer claim that the move has given ALROSA access to about $3.5 billion worth of rough.

• Following a soft launch at JCK Las Vegas, Lazare Kaplan International, Inc., has now officially launched its new website, www.lazarekaplan.com, which replaces the site launched in 2004. The new site contains a retailer-only section, which allows the company’s retailers not only to view the Lazare Kaplan inventory online, but also to download marketing materials that can help them sell the ideal cut Lazare Diamond and other products.

Featuring 3-D graphics, this new site aims for a high level of interactivity and user-friendliness, and it is also designed to help educate consumers by making information about diamonds and other luxury gifts more readily accessible.

• Circa, an international buying house providing a liquid market for used jewelry, has announced plans to open two new offices, in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, respectively. Both cities, in the company’s view, are full of up-and-coming young people who can form a solid customer base for gems and jewelry.

• Gandhi My Father, a film telling the story of the troubled relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and his eldest son Harilal, was screened at a special charity event in Antwerp on August 29. Antwerp’s diamond community helped organize the screening, the proceeds from which are earmarked for “Basket Loves Kids,” an initiative of the Antwerp Diamond Giants basketball team aimed at promoting solidarity and understanding through youth basketball. Part of the idea behind this September 23 event is that youths from different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds will enjoy a smoother integration into Belgian society by making friends and bonding through basketball.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - September 2007. To subscribe click here.

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