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Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Press Release via Centurion

Fine jewelry designers have a chance to show their work to the most desired luxury retail jewelry stores in the U.S. market

Merrick, NY—Entries are now being accepted for the Seventh Annual Centurion Emerging Design Competition. Two lucky winners will receive a showcase and exhibit space at the Centurion Scottsdale show in Arizona, slated for February 3-7, 2015.

The competition, sponsored again by Stuller, is open to any jewelry designer who has never before exhibited in a U.S. fine jewelry trade show. The competition is open to all designers, regardless of experience, formal training, or background in jewelry design, but entrants must show lines or one-of-a-kind designs that are suitable for a luxury jewelry store environment and be capable of both exhibiting at a trade show and fulfilling any wholesale orders received at the show.

“The Centurion Emerging Design Competition is an excellent opportunity for up-and-coming and international designers to break into the U.S. luxury fine jewelry market, by getting their line in front of the most premiere audience of carefully selected prestige jewelers,” said Howard Hauben, president of Centurion. “For jewelers, the Centurion Emerging Design winners offer an opportunity to discover new talent to set your store apart,” he added.

“We are pleased to continue our sponsorship of the Emerging Designer Competition,” says Stuller executive director of marketing and public relations, Ashley Brown. "Through their beautiful, innovative designs, past winners have formed valuable partnerships with top retail jewelers and suppliers. Ultimately, these designers' successes become all of our successes."

Deadline for entry is September 30, 2014. Entrants are required to submit up to three images of finished jewelry; no renderings or CAD drawings will be accepted. Entries will be judged by a vote from Centurion’s retail attendees.

#LabGrownDiamonds Are We (As An Industry) Really THAT Afraid Of Them?

Have you seen the gorgeous new line of jewelry by award winning designer Reena Ahluwalia featuring Lab Grown Diamonds?

Let me set the stage a the world of bespoke jewelry Reena is the major diamond company's choice for a designer when they are looking for elegant this lady is the diamond whisperer!

Lets look at the CANOE Canadian Diamond Necklace by Reena Ahluwalia. 28.96 carats Canadian diamonds. 18K white gold. International winner - Canadian Diamonds Master Craftsman, Rio Tinto Diamonds Global Design Competition 2011-2012.

"Necklace is inspired by the poetic image of a magical Canadian landscape and its pristine white winters. Snow covered Canoe in a frozen, crystalline lake. The necklace comes together with two diamond-studded links embracing the neck that represent the fluidity of a lake. Irregular intersecting lines, studded with ideal square-cut diamonds characterizes chunks of floating ice. The necklace culminates into a canoe-shaped element with an angled faceted interior."

However, today we have a generation growing up that isn't interested in the "mystique" of a diamond - mostly for ethical and environmental reasons.  

Nurture by Reena is an "I could wear this for the rest of my life!" collection that was designed to fill a need.  It has everything that a fine Engagement line has plus something else, something that the "Social" generation responds ties in to their "social" lives...she "gets" them.

Yet when the term Lab Grown Diamonds is whispered, some Diamond Brokers become hostile and challenging...a lot like each time Mark Zuckerberg decides to make a change on Facebook and everyone starts bitching.

In the same way that Mark Zuckerberg doesn't need your permission to change his product...the Millennials aren't asking your permission to think for themselves.  This isn't an issue of cost - it is a matter of personal belief, and in much the same way that you aren't going tempt a Vegan with a juicy steak - you aren't going to talk this customer into a diamond engagement ring.

Rather than tearing down people and worrying about loosing a customer you don't have and probably won't get, why not embrace this new opportunity, this isn't lab diamonds getting mixed into packets of melee - this is fully disclosed, beautifully produced heirloom pieces for a new generation.

So - please stop trying to bait me on Twitter - I never said I don't like diamonds, in fact I am a sucker for the caramely cognac color and copper light in a top grade Brown Diamond and at the same time, I love the scintillating beauty of Lab Grown Diamonds.  

Think about this - when you denigrate these sparkling lovelies, you are sending a really rude message to the young woman who is choosing them...and loosing any chance of making her a client later.

"Nature is what we are born to. Nurture is what molds what nature gave us and makes us who we are. Nurture is what shapes us through experience and time, very much like my own design journey. Hence, “Nurture By Reena.” I thought the name of the brand should reflect our core values and aspirations – to nurture love, dreams, earth and humanity. Something that keeps us focused on creating meaningful and romantic jewelry."                                                     Reena on why Nurture

As always - please take a minute to Educate your staff and customers Nurture by Reena offers a fabulous little booklet that can be downloaded here:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

#AGTA Announces the 2015 AGTA Spectrum Awards™ Judges

AGTA Announces the 
2015 AGTA Spectrum Awards™ Judges

”Each year, we strive to seat a unique panel of judges for the AGTA Spectrum Awards™, and we hit the mark this year!” said Douglas K. Hucker, AGTA CEO. “This distinguished group is uniquely qualified with their expertise and passion for colored gemstones and pearls, and we are excited to see the results of their hard work!”
The American Gem Trade Association is excited to announce its panel of judges for the 2015 AGTA Spectrum Awards™. The expert panel of judges all hail from different facets of the jewelry industry, and will meet in October to judge the world‐renown colored gemstone and cultured pearl jewelry competition, along with the AGTA Cutting Edge Awards™, which features loose colored gemstones. 

This year’s judges are:
Jerrold Green, Lapidarist, Reginald C. Miller
The tenets of Green's mentor, Reginald Miller, remain the hallmarks of his business today, “When someone submits material to you, regardless of its quality, treat it with respect and them with respect…and above all: your word is everything.” While the tools of his trade have expanded to include high‐end Apple computers, Green still spends hours of each day hunched over his lapidary table, painstakingly carving precious stones so that every facet will catch the light. Today, gemologists, importers and collectors from all over the world come to him bearing treasures and seeking his advice.

Myriam Gumuchian, Vice President & Director of Sales, Gumuchian
Alongside her, mother Anita, and her sister, Patricia, they work together to carry on a family legacy that originated over 100 years ago in Istanbul with the sales of exceptional colored stones and fancy diamond imports.  In 1979, the Gumuchian brand was created by Anita
and her daughters, Myriam and Patricia.  Myriam was the first woman appointed chair of the Jewelry Information Center, where she held the position for two years. The commitment for excellence has not gone unnoticed, rewarding Gumuchian with several design awards, most recently the “Award for Best International Emerging Brand” of the year from the Armenian Jewelry Association

Joseph Mardkha, Manufacturer, ColorMasters Precious Jewelry
In 1981, Joseph Mardkha founded ColorMasters Gem Corp. and traveled the world seeking to build relationships with stone dealers and cutters overseas.  Quickly, he established
ColorMasters as an essential source for fine precious gems and the company became a valuable asset to some of the world’s best designers, retailers, and jewelry manufacturers.  Today, ColorMasters specializes in each and every aspect of high end jewelry design, product development, and manufacturing while maintaining social responsibility.

Tim McClelland, Master Jeweler and Designer, McTiegue & McClelland
Tim McClelland grew up in family of artists and at an early age was struck by the versatility and permanence of metal as a vehicle for his ideas. All of McTeigue & McClelland’s jewelry is made under the direction of Tim McClelland the old fashioned way ‐ one piece at a time.  In 2011, McTeigue & McClelland made the decision to sell exclusively to their own clientele.  McTeigue & McClelland started to get noticed by the international fashion press. Pieces from their collections became de‐rigeur for magazines surveying the best in jewelry, including Town & Country, Robb Report, W Magazine, Elle, Martha Stewart, The New York Times and more.  McTeigue & McClelland, in Tim and Walter’s words has one mission ‐ “To make the most beautiful jewelry imaginable.”

Larry Pelzel, Retailer, Neiman Marcus
Larry has worked in the high‐end luxury jewelry industry for over 34 years.  Starting as the Sales Associate in 
Precious Jewels, he worked up Neiman's ladder to his current position of Vice President and Divisional Merchandise Manager, Precious Jewels. From Neiman Marcus’ flagship store in Dallas, he oversees all aspects of the Precious Jewels Division from buying to the renowned in‐house Design Studio to promotions and advertising.  In 2012, Pelzel was inducted into The Retailer Jewelers’ “Hall of Fame” by National Jeweler.  

Dr. Jeffrey E. Post, Curator, U.S. Nat'l Gem & Mineral Col., Smithsonian Inst.
Jeffrey joined the Dept. of Mineral Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution in 1984, from 1989 to 1994, he was Chair. of the Dept. of Mineral Sciences, and, since 1991 has served as Curator of the U.S. National Gem and Mineral Collection. Dr. Post served as the lead Curator for the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals that opened in 1997.  His areas of research interest include mineralogy, gemology, geochemistry, crystallography, and electron microscopy.  He has published more than 75 scientific articles in these fields.

The AGTA Spectrum Awards™ is the world’s premier colored gemstone and pearl jewelry design competition. The AGTA Cutting Edge Awards™ honor loose colored gemstones in everything from Classic Gemstones to one‐of‐a‐kind Carvings, Phenomenal Gemstones to amazing Pairs and Suites. The competition is open to U.S. and Canadian designers and cutters.

Photos from top - 2014 Award Winners:
Gem Diva Award - Business/Day Wear: Annie Fensterstock - Port Washington, NY
22K yellow gold and 18K white, pink, and yellow gold locket featuring a boulder Opal accented with white, pink and yellow Diamonds (2.55 ctw.).
3rd Place - Phenomenal - Jean-Noel Soni, Top Notch Faceting - San Francisco, CA
24.12 ct. color-change Garnet.
Best of Show and 1st Place Classical:  James Currens - J.W. Currens, Inc. - New York, NY
Platinum "Tropical Storm" ring featuring a 22.10 ct. Emerald accented with Diamonds (11.47 ctw.).
1st Place Bridal Wear and Best Use of Pearls - Anil Maloo, Baggins, Inc. - Los Angeles, CA
18K white gold drop earrings featuring 32 Japanese Akoya cultured Pearls accented with round brilliant Diamonds (4.43 ctw.).
1st Place Innovative Faceting - Stephen M. Avery - Lakewood, CO
32.68 ct. "Tsunami" Aquamarine.
2nd Place - Bridal Wear - Erica Courtney, Erica Courtney, Inc. - Los Angeles, CA
18K yellow gold "Something Blue" earrings featuring blue Opal drops (29.99 ctw.) accented with Aquamarines (5.03 ctw.), grey Sapphires (.43 ctw.) and Diamonds (1.10 ctw.).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

#MetalMan - "Metal Man: The Story of Victor Ries"

San Francisco Bay Area:  We are excited to announce that our labor of love, a Documentary Short Film (approx. 40 minutes) on the life of Victor Ries...has earned a space in two local Film Festivals. Screening info follows trailer below....

"Metal Man: 
The Story of Victor Ries" 

"Metal Man" is part of a three film package entitled "The Art of Life".  

Metal artist Victor Ries had his 100th birthday in October 2007. His works are rooted in the German tradition of fine craftsmanship and respect for materials. Mentored by famed international architect, Eric Mendelsohn he emigrated to America and became a founding member of the legendary Pond Farm artist collective and school located in Northern California. His work helped bring about a new direction in liturgical art developing in post war America. His work encompassed everything from fine jewelry to major 30' high sculptures. At the time the documentary was filmed he was still working at 102 years old.

Produced and Directed by Bill Chayes:  His career in film production, exhibition design and education began while working with classic film documentarians Richard Leacock at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and John Marshall at the Center for Documentary Anthropology in Cambridge, Mass.

Festival Program HERE
Bill began a teaching career at Tufts University and Clark University in Massachusetts that culminated when he became Senior Lecturer in Film Production at San Francisco State University and was awarded the Meritorious Performance and Professional Excellence Award.

He served Berkeley, California’s Magnes Museum as Exhibition Designer and Curator of Film, Photography, Digital Art and Music where he designed and/or curated over 70 major exhibitions.                 

Screening places, dates and times are as follows:

Sun October 5 at 16:00 in 142 Throckmorton, Mill Valley
Mon October 6 at 18:15 in Rafael 2 Theater, San Rafael

Tickets for our film "Metal Man: The Story of Victor Ries" at the Mill Valley Film Festival  go on sale this coming Sunday, Sept. 14th. 

For all information about where, when and how to purchase go to:

Monday, September 8, 2014



The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA) is pleased to announce that it will award anACE© It Appraisal Conference Scholarship to a deserving gemology student. NAJA invites GIA, FGA, FGAA, FGG, FCGmA, RGA students to apply for this scholarship for the 43rd Annual ACE© It Winter Educational Conference scheduled on February 1 – 2, 2015 in Tucson AZ.
This opportunity gives the gemology student a firsthand experience of networking with appraisal professionals by attending the highly regarded NAJA educational experience during a time when Tucson devotes itself to gems, jewelry, and minerals. 

 The scholarship, which covers the conference fee only, requires a resume, photo and an essay explaining the reason why the gemology student would choose to become a gems and jewelry appraiser. NAJA believes that becoming a gems and jewelry professional appraiser is a viable career option for gemological students.

Applications can be obtained through the NAJA website,, or by a faxed request to NAJA headquarters at 718.997.9057. Deadline for submission is November 1, 2014 and the final selection by the NAJA Scholarship Advisory Board will be announced December 1, 2014.

The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers is the largest membership association specializing exclusively in gem and jewelry appraising and related appraisal issues. It offers education and networking opportunities with knowledgeable appraisal professionals. 

For further information, contact:
Gail Brett Levine, GG, Executive Dirrector,
The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers,
P. O. Box 18, Rego Park, NY 11374,
phone 718.896.1536 fax 718.997.9057,

Saturday, September 6, 2014

#DailyJewel - My #LatestObsession - Lauren Harper!

Lauren Harper travels to the corners of the earth to find gemstones of perfect color and distinctiveness. Stones from exotic destinations like Namibia, Botswana, Laos, South Africa, Cambodia, Thailand & India give each piece in the collection a unique sensibility, and a one of a kind story. Harper uses warm 18kt yellow gold blends and studs them with brightly colored, always changing combinations of precious gemstones such as Moonstones, Peruvian Opals, Black Diamonds, Thai Sapphires, and of course, brilliant white Diamonds. She finds her inspiration by blending the individual characteristics of each stone with the art, architecture and culture of the places she visits. From ancient Egyptian and Byzantine designs, to Khmer ruins, her muse is the world at large. For more information, please visit


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