NYC – This Thursday (June 20th) DEF Debuts "Empowerment Jewelry" At Donna Distefano Atelier

June 19, 2013
Continuing the momentum generated by the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) at JCK last month, DEF is showcasing its new line of Empowerment Jewelry alongside each product’s Designer Ambassador. The New York City debut will take place on June 20th from 5:00-8:00PM at 37 West 20th Street, suite 1106. Donna Distefano from Donna Distefano Ltd, Lita Asscher from Royal Asscher and Derrick Holmes from Banneker Watches will be present to share their connection to DEF as designer ambassadors, showcase the new jewelry and watches created as ongoing fundraisers for DEF, and share their vision for how they can further DEF’s mission.

Co-founded by global business entrepreneur and philanthropist Russell Simmons along with leaders in the diamond industry including De Beers, the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s mission is to provide higher education opportunities for youth in diamond producing countries in Africa.  Dr. Benjamin Chavis, noted civil rights and business leader and fellow co-founder of the Diamond Empowerment Fund, Phyllis Bergman, DEF board president, and Nancy Orem Lyman, DEF executive director will be at the New York debut to discuss the global impact of DEF’s vision.

Donna Distefano will present her new line of “Illumination” bracelets depicting symbolic African designs in sterling silver with diamonds. Each bracelet represents core values of DEF: transformation, tranquility, and strength. Collaborating with Russell Simmons for the benefit of D.E.F. is a natural fit for Distefano’s business. Says Simmons, “I share these designers’ vision of transformation. It is important to support and encourage the youth of Africa to make a positive change in the world. DEF Empowerment Jewelry will contribute to this vision.”  

Lita Asscher of Royal Asscher will present the DEF Green Tsavorite and Diamond Pendant, part of the Shining Stars of Africa Collection by Royal Asscher. This stunning and unique pendant contains green tsavorite and diamonds encased in a fluid-filled natural sapphire dome allowing the jewels to fall freely like snowflakes in a snow globe. The design won ‘best in show’ at the world famous JCK jewelry show and is an example of the Asscher family’s long-standing commitment to integrity, quality and giving back. With every pendant purchase, a $125 donation is made to the Diamond Empowerment Fund.  

Derrick Holmes of Banneker, Inc. will present three new Benjamin Banneker watches designed to raise awareness and funds for DEF. These watches feature a Royal Asscher diamond at 12 O’Clock, green crystals on the face and bezel, and natural Ebony wood from Indonesia or Mahogany wood from Madagascar on the face and band. All Banneker watches contain real wood as a way of paying homage to our namesake Benjamin Banneker who, in 1753, engineered and built the first working clock in America constructed entirely from parts he carved of wood. Benjamin Banneker is an American Legend and these watches are designed to help educate about his numerous amazing achievements. 

About Diamond Empowerment Fund 
The Diamond Empowerment Fund is a global, non-profit organization focused on supporting education initiatives in diamond-producing African nations. With the help of our international partners, we strive to empower the next generation of African leaders.

The Diamond Empowerment Fund is supported by and works exclusively with jewelers that adhere to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and System of Warranties.

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Get Your Gemology ON!!!! Applications Now Available For GIA Scholarships

June 17, 2013

Applications Now Available For GIA Scholarships

GIA (Gemological Institute of America) will begin accepting scholarship applications online beginning Saturday, June 15 for its 2014 Gemology and Jewelry Manufacturing Arts programs, courses, and lab classes. Applications will be available through Oct. 31 on the Institute’s website.

Scholarships are available for distance education eLearning courses and for classes at the Institute’s campuses in Bangkok, Carlsbad, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, New York and Taiwan; and at the GIA branch in Dubai. Additional scholarship details are available here.
A number of awards for international eLearning courses (up to $1,500) and awards for U.S.-based lab classes (up to $1,300) are available. The scholarships, sponsored by private donors and the GIA endowment fund, supplement GIA’s wider scope of offerings. U.S. scholarship highlights include:
  • The GIA Scholarship for U.S. Veterans will award three scholarships of up to $1,500 each
  • GIA will award two full scholarships* of up to $17,850 each for the new on-campus Jewelry Design & Technology program
  •  GIA will award two full scholarships* of up to $21,089 each for the on-campus Graduate Gemologist program
  • GIA will award one full scholarship* of up to $19,260 for the new on-campus Graduate Jeweler program
  • Two scholarships will be offered in honor of Richard T. Liddicoat, former GIA president considered the “Father of Modern Gemology.” One full scholarship for the on-campus Graduate Gemologist program (up to$21,089), and another toward the eLearning Graduate Gemologist program (up to $9,000)

For more information, call (760) 603-4131 or email
*Full scholarships cover the cost of tuition, books and other materials.
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US/ International Diamond Week in Israel To Host Buyers From Russian Federation

June 15, 2013

Moscow Bourse will bring buyers from Russian Federation  and CIS countries to US/ International Diamond Week in Israel Yair Sahar, President of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) and Alex Popov, President of Moscow Diamond Bourse (MDB), have a…

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June 15, 2013
                   WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Who:        Platinum Guild International USA

What:       PGI-USA announces the winners of the 4th annual JCK 2013 Platinum Innovation Awards. Winners were chosen in 7 different design categories.  An “Editor’s Choice” and “Buyer’s Choice” were chosen in each design category, as well as  “Best in Show” Award which was selected as a culmination of all votes.

Platinum Engagement Ring

Editor’s Choice: Gabriel & Co. platinum Victorian Halo Engagement Ring $2055

Buyer’s Choice: Designs by Vatche platinum and diamond engagement ring $3200

Entry Platinum Engagement Ring (semi-mounts under $2500 retail)

Editor’s Choice: Mercury Ring “Halo Twist” platinum -diamond engagement ring $2500

Buyer’s Choice: Sylvie Collection platinum -diamond floral halo engagement ring $2170

Platinum Wedding Band

Editor’s Choice: Parade Designs platinum milligrain-etched art deco inspired wedding band with marquise-shaped diamonds $$5225

Buyer’s Choice: Dora International Spartan Collection platinum men’s band with laser-edge designs $3289

Platinum Men’s Jewelry

Editor’s Choice:Tacori platinum men’s band with milligrain details $2540

Buyer’s Choice: Novell platinum cufflinks $3144

Entry Platinum Fashion Jewelry (under $3500 retail)

Editor’s Choice:Erik Stewart platinum and colored diamond Hollein earrings $3500

Buyer’s Choice: Harout R. platinum and diamond “cupcake” earrings $1859

Platinum Red Carpet Jewelry

Editor’s Choice: Uni-Design Jewellry “Dew Drops” platinum and diamond ring

Buyer’s Choice: Lazare Kaplan “110th Anniversary” platinum and diamond necklace $883,120

Platinum and Colored Gemstone Jewelry

Editor’s Choice: Simon G platinum earring with round white diamonds and emerald cut green tourmaline

Buyer’s Choice: Oscar Heyman platinum, colored diamond and unheated colored sapphire necklace $300,000

Best in Show – Went To Sylvie Collection
Where:      Winners were awarded at their booths by the PGI-USA “Prize Patrol” team which was broadcasted by JCK TV.  
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Pearls of the World in Focus By GIA In Singapore

June 14, 2013
Pearls of the World in Focus
GIA at the Singapore International Jewelry Expo, July 4-7
Image © GIA
Pearls and their beauty have captivated people worldwide since ancient times and have been a research focus at GIA (Gemological Institute of America) for more than 80 years. As part of the Institute’s mission to bring industry-leading gemological information to the public, Nicholas Sturman, GIA supervisor of Pearl Identification in Thailand, will give two presentations on pearls July 4 and 5 during the Singapore International Jewelry Expo. Representatives from GIA in Thailand will greet attendees at its booth A07, July 4-6from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and on July 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Pearls: Are They or Aren’t They?
Thursday, July 4, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Over time, the industry has developed various types of cultured pearls and pearl imitations to compete with their natural counterparts and to meet market demand. Sturman’s presentation will focus on the daily challenges pearl testers in labs like GIA must address before issuing gemological reports, which separate natural nacreous and non-nacreous pearls from cultured examples, and pearls from pearl-looking materials.
Saltwater Cultured Pearl Farms of Vietnam, Philippines 
and Northern Australia
Friday, July 5, 1-3 p.m.

Techniques used to culture bead-nucleated pearls in saltwater environments are similar around the world, however, there is a degree of variation in the methods different operators use. This presentation will discuss the history, operations, procedures applied and mollusks used in Vietnam, the Philippines and Northern Australia in the quest to produce the ultimate nucleated cultured pearl.
With more than 23 years of experience in the detailed examination of pearls, Sturman brings a unique perspective to this topic. He obtained his Fellowship (FGA) and Diamond Membership (DGA) of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain and spent more than 16 years studying pearls in the Kingdom of Bahrain, where he served as the gemological advisor to the Bahrain Government’s Gem and Pearl Testing Laboratory. He has been with GIA since 2008.
GIA’s pearl presentations, which are free and open to the public, will take place at the Stage Area, Marina Bay Sands Hall A&B, at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. 
For more information, visit    
About GIA
An independent nonprofit organization, GIA (Gemological Institute of America), established in 1931, is recognized as the world’s foremost authority in gemology. GIA invented the famous 4Cs of Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight in the early 1950s and in 1953, created the International Diamond Grading System™ which, today, is recognized by virtually every professional jeweler in the world.
Through research, education, gemological laboratory services, and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism. Visit
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#JWLV – Thank You from DEF for Pledging To "Do Good" at JCK

June 14, 2013

Thank YouFor Joining Diamond Empowerment Fundat JCK Las Vegas 2013!Highlights Included:*Diamonds in the Sky Breakfast and Diamond ShowcaseThe program included a special industry message from Varda Shine and models showcasing the latest trends in diamon…

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Skinner’s Fine Jewelry Auction – Fun and Eclectic

June 12, 2013

Fine Jewelry at Skinner…Just a few of my favorite things from the Fine Jewelry Auction at Skinner yesterday…Art Nouveau Opal, Diamond, Enamel Brooch, Marcus & Co.Auction:2659BLot:590Sold for:$19,000Art Nouveau Opal, Diamond, and Ename…

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Recruiter Registration Now Open: GIA New York Jewelry Career Fair

June 12, 2013
Recruiter Registration Now Open: GIA New York Jewelry Career Fair
Connecting employers with the next generation of gem & jewelry stars, July 29
Gem and jewelry companies seeking skilled and motivated talent are invited to participate in the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) New York Jewelry Career Fair on Monday, July 29 at the Javits Center. The acclaimed recruiting event will feature a panel discussion, one-on-one career coaching, and hiring opportunities for various careers within the field. Recruiter registration is available online now.
“Last year’s event in New York connected recruiters from 44 companies with more than 800 job seekers, including many candidates who proved their skill, talent and motivation,” said Kathryn Kimmel, GIA’s vice president, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Career Fair. “Whether you’re in manufacturing, design, gemology or retail, Career Fair is an excellent opportunity to meet and hire the next generation of gem and jewelry professionals, including GIA students and alumni.”
GIA’s New York Jewelry Career Fair will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, July 29 at the Javits Center in 1E Hall. Recruiting will occur from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is sponsored by JA New York.
Employers interested in recruiting at this Career Fair can sign up by using the registration form, contacting GIA’s Career Services office at (800) 421-7250, ext. 4093, or emailing For general information, email or visit
GIA hosted its first Jewelry Career Fair in 1991 in Santa Monica, Calif. Since then, the event has expanded and linked gem and jewelry companies with future employees at more than 40 events in India, Las Vegas, New York and the GIA world headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif. Following the New York event, the next GIA Carlsbad Jewelry Career Fair will take place on Friday, Oct. 11.
About GIA
An independent nonprofit organization, GIA (Gemological Institute of America), established in 1931, is recognized as the world’s foremost authority in gemology. GIA invented the famous 4Cs of Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight in the early 1950s and in 1953, created the International Diamond Grading System™ which, today, is recognized by virtually every professional jeweler in the world.
Through research, education, gemological laboratory services, and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism. Visit  
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IGI Mumbai Moves Operations to Bandra-Kurla Complex

June 12, 2013
Today marks the inauguration of the International Gemological Institute’s (IGI) new offices at Mumbai’s Capital Bandra-Kurla Complex. The move is aimed at serving the industry – which is gradually moving its center of operations to the new diamond bourse – better and more efficiently. In attendance will be guest of honor, Vipul Shah, the chairman of the Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), IGI’s worldwide co-CEO Roland Lorie and other prominent industry members.
IGI will offer full industry services from its new location at the diamond bourse. The Institute will be housed in over 50,000 square feet of office space and will offer an entirely new customer experience, including Tatkal, a special one-day option for urgent deliveries. It will also offer pick-up and drop-off at both its bourse location and at customers’ offices. Accuracy and service have always been cornerstones at IGI and will be further reinforced at the new premises.
IGI services are now available at four Mumbai locations, in addition to ten labs across India – certification of loose stones and jewelry offered at the capital; mobile lab grading services for Zaveri Bazzar and surrounding areas remain at Opera House; IGI’s school of gemology operates from Opera House and special courses are also offered at Bandra-Kurla; IGI MIDC will continue its jewelry certification services, as well as IGI SEEPZ’s services for the export markets. Additionally, mobile labs will be operational from all IGI offices. 
“The Bandra-Kurla office will offer state-of-the-art facilities, upgraded systems and convenient delivery options for our clients,” said Tehmasp Printer,  the managing director of IGI India. “Operating full-service facilities at four prime locations in Mumbai, we offer the competitive advantage of being closer to diamantaires’ offices, as well as jewelry manufacturers’ factories. Our singular focus is to offer better and more efficient services.”
IGI first established a laboratory in India in 1999, when third-party certification and international grading standards had not yet been fully introduced in the region. India was already an important manufacturing center, but most certification and trading took place outside of the country. IGI took on the challenge of educating the Indian diamond industry and, since its inception, has instructed a significant cross-section of the industry – from manufacturers, to sorters and polishers. To date, tens of thousands of people have enrolled in IGI’s courses. Today, the Indian diamond industry serves the global diamond pipeline – including mining, manufacturing and retail – and IGI is proud to have played an integral and leading role in its growth.
The new diamond bourse has recently become a reality and serves as India’s crowning glory in the global diamond community. The complex is designed to house approximately 2,500 small and large diamond traders, in addition to Customs House, banks and other service providers.
About the International Gemological InstituteIGI began in 1975 and is currently the world’s largest independent laboratory for testing and grading gemstones and fine jewelry with offices in Antwerp, New York, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, Bangkok, Tokyo, Dubai, Toronto, Los Angeles, Kolkata, New Delhi, Surat, Chennai, Thrissur, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Cavaleze and Shanghai. IGI has received ISO accreditation in many countries. A certificate from IGI represents the all-important 5th C that no one should be without: Confidence. IGI is a standard of excellence for industry professionals and consumers around the globe. For more information, please visit
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UncommonGoods Hosts their Third Annual Jewelry Design Challenge

June 12, 2013

UncommonGoods Hosts their Third Annual Jewelry Design ChallengeUncommonGoods, an online retailer that specializes in handmade, eco- friendly and uniquely designed gifts and accessories, has just launched their Jewelry Design Challenge, a call for uniqu…

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