January 20, 2013


New York, NY; January 11, 2013 – Last night at the ultra-hip nightclub LAVO, the Diamond Empowerment Fund joined with the international diamond industry to honor leaders committed to corporate social responsibility and promoting education empowerment and prosperity in Africa, where the majority of diamonds are mined.

Check Presentation: Members of the DEF board pose with five students who graduated from two of three DEF-beneficiary schools (the Botwsana Top Achievers Program or African Leadership Academy) and who now are enrolled in various universities in the United States. L to R: student Tebogo Maruping, student Gomolemo Modise, DEF board member Ed Hrabak, DEF president Phyllis Bergman, DEF co-founder Russell Simmons, student Dhavni Tombush, student Joseph Munyambanza, DEF board member Ellen Haddigan, and student Kabo Kula.
DEF’s GOOD Awards were given to diamond industry legends Tiffany & Co. and Leo Schachter Diamonds (creator of the Leo Diamond), and to international model and humanitarian Noella Coursaris Musunka.
Russell Simmons, music mogul/entrepreneur and co-founder of the Diamond Empowerment Fund, emphasized the importance of the diamond industry to give back and empower the communities where their precious resources are found. “A strong Africa is an educated Africa. For the diamond industry to be sustainable in the future, empowerment of youth through education is essential.” 

A distinguished and varied audience convened for the GOOD Awards, including celebrities from the music, film, and fashion worlds. Along with Simmons, the event drew celebrities Estelle, Jeffrey Wright, and Selita Ebanks; global industry leaders Varda Shine and Stephen Lussier of De Beers, Mike Kowalski of Tiffany & Co., Mark Light and Mike Barnes of Signet (parent company of the Kay and Jared retail brands); and African ambassadors from the diamond producing countries of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.  

Varda Shine, Executive Vice President of Global Sightholder Sales, De Beers Group and another co-founder of DEF, added, “Education and the incubation of leaders of the future must always be our social priority, as it is this that leads to sustained progress, economic growth, and prosperity. Providing unrestricted access to schooling is the first step in creating a virtuous circle of development.”

Good Awards Party: New York’s hip nightclub LAVO was the site of the second annual GOOD Awards, a successful event honoring Tiffany & Co., Leo Schachter Diamonds, and African model/humanitarian Noella Coursaris Musunka.
Phyllis Bergman, DEF board president, said, “We are encouraged by the fabulous success of the 2013 GOOD Awards. This bodes well for the industry’s future.”
The event was kicked off with an African ceremonial dance by native Botswana dancers. The festivities continued after the Awards presentation by a passionate performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Estelle, and music continued throughout the evening with famed DJ M.O.S.

GOOD Awards sponsors for the evening included Tiffany & Co., Exelco and JCK, and Empowerment Circle inaugural sponsors, the Dalumi Group, Malca-Amit, Sterling Jewelers, and Leo Schachter Diamonds. The Empowerment Circle is DEF’s new annual partnership program.

About the Diamond Empowerment Fund
The Diamond Empowerment Fund is a New York based global non-profit organization (EIN# 20-5967103) that raises money to fund education initiatives in African diamond-producing nations. Its beneficiaries include: CIDA City Campus, South Africa’s first non-profit university to offer a four-year business degree.  CIDA has an 80% employment rate among graduates; the African Leadership Academy, a university preparatory school in Johannesburg, South Africa, founded on the belief that ethical leadership is the key to sustainable development on the continent and drawing students from all 54 countries in Africa, and the Botswana Top Achievers program that provides the top high school students countrywide the opportunity to study at a university of their choice worldwide. Graduates then return to Botswana to contribute to its economic, social and political development.
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Introducing…Madstone – Give In To The Dark!

January 19, 2013

Madstone fine jewelry delves into designer Kerri Halpern’s dark side. From her black minimalist uniform to her residence above a cemetery, Halpern’s fascination for skulls, superheroes, cowboys and rock & roll culminate in her first jewelry collection. 

Mysteriously eccentric and imaginatively gothic, Madstone mixes cool colors, unusual stone setting and master metalsmithing to create an edgy and evocative collection fit for any wardrobe.

Madstone’s signature Bubble collection boasts hand-cut gemstones that mirror a magnum of champagne and other effervescent cocktails while the designs of the La Cage collection mimic that of a champagne bottle cork encasement. 

Playing with unusual angles and contours, the Octagon collection revisits bangles, hoops and stackable rings through hard angles and octagonal shapes. The Carre collection carefully crafts pieces to mimic the square-shaped parks nestled in New York City’s urban jungle through an array of custom-cut gemstones including amethyst, quartz, citrine and fire opal.

Tongue-in-check sister collections, MadAnimals and MadSkulls, channel Madestone’s sinister side. 

Covet thy gemstone with ruby, tsavorite, blue topaz, amethyst, citrine, garnet and diamond-encrusted skulls, spiders, beetles and bats set in blackened, rose or yellow gold.

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January 17, 2013


NEW YORK, January 11, 2013 – Leading Platinum bridal design house Jeff Cooper Designs ( has named industry veteran Matt Broerman as the company’s Northeast Regional Sales Director.
Company President David Cooper stated, “With over twenty-five years of industry experience, we believe that Matt will not only grow the business of existing Jeff Cooper customers, but will also successfully form new relationships throughout the Northeast region.” Cooper added, “We are thrilled to have him on the team and excited to see what 2013 will bring with his presence.”
Broerman, who has represented brands such as Christian Bauer and Raymond Weil in his extensive career, said, “I could not be happier, and look forward to working with everyone involved with the Jeff Cooper brand.”

About Jeff Cooper Designs
In 1976, after honing his craft working with his hands at a jeweler’s bench in Manhattan’s Bowery District, Jeff Cooper founded Jeff Cooper Designs. In 2000, Jeff’s eldest son, David Cooper, joined the company full time, bringing with him a wealth of gemological experience and creativity. By creating each ring by hand and under one roof here in the United States, Jeff and David have total control over quality and precision, and are able to create anything a client desires. Jeff and David draw their inspiration from their daily lives and love of family, as well as the excitement they understand can be achieved with the right ring for the right person. For more information or to open an account, please email
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RIP Jerry Sisk – You Will Be Missed

January 16, 2013

JTV Photo – Jerry Sisk, JTV Co-Founder, greeting well wishers in Arusha Tanzania.
From the Jewelry Television Blog:

Gerald D. Sisk, Jr., Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Jewelry Television®, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday morning, January 13, 2013. His death was unexpected. Jerry Sisk, 59 years old, is survived by his wife Karen, his mother, a sister and several other relatives. 

Jerry Sisk was a Graduate Gemologist (G.I.A.), a member of the International Colored Gemstone Association, and served as a Gemstone Industry & Laboratory Conference committee member. 

A frequent guest speaker, he was honored to be chosen as one of the five most powerful people in the world of gems and gemology on the JCK 2012 Power List. 

His book, Guide to Gems & Jewelry, has sold more than 15,000 copies and is in its second printing.  

Please visit our memorial page for Jerry to share your thoughts and remembrances for his family and friends. “

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jerry’s name to Beads of Courage

From the Beads of Courage Jerry Sisk Memorial Page:

Jerry was a tremendous supporter and friend to Beads of Courage and we are humbled to receive donations in his honor.”

The on – air announcement was made during Scott & Casey’s Show….

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Some Of The Biggest Diamond Events of 2012

January 13, 2013

Sharon Sussman has returned to write another blog post…FUN!!

The Biggest Diamond and Gemstone Events of 2012

Diamonds are supposed to be forever, but the reality is that economic and environmental factors influence their presence in our lives. 2012 was a year that was punctuated with jewelry highs and lows, but trade experts agree that it was an exciting year indeed for the business and for people who simply love jewelry. Let’s take a look at some of the more significant diamond and gemstone events of the past year.

The Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair

If there is anything that 2012 showed to the world, it’s that Asiahas firmly established itself as a formidable force in the jewelry industry. Hong Kong had this annual jewelry and gem fair in September, and guests were pleased to find the A-Zs of precious stones (from amber to zircon) were available on display. Chinastands at the forefront of this boom in the jewelry trade given its economic growth, but other Asian nations such as Indonesiaand Indiahave also contributed to satisfying results in the region’s trade shows and fairs. Many economists attribute this to the swelling of the middle class in many Asian countries, and the resulting desire to accumulate luxury items as investment.

Hong Kong has always been a busy place for the jewelry trade because of its lenient duty regulations. The result is that serious jewelry shoppers go to Hong Kongto get the best value for their money, and jewelry trade shows offer the best opportunities to do so.    

“The Perfect Diamond” auctioned at Christie’s

In April of 2012, Christie’s held its “Magnificent Jewels” auction. Easily one of the most anticipated jewelry auctions, many collectors had their sights set on a remarkable stone dubbed “the Perfect Diamond”. The Clark Pink, a very rare and valuable 9-carat pink diamond set in a ring, has been hidden away in a bank vault since the 1940s and was included only last year in a Clarkfamily estate sale. It was part of the collection of the family’s heiress along with 16 other jewelry pieces, which were speculated to fetch no less than $12 million.    

Discovery of “The Diamond Planet”

Science fiction made it possible for us to suspend our disbelief and dream of planets made of platinum, gold, and diamonds. Last year, the discovery of 55 Cancri, a planet twice the size of our own and with perfect conditions for creating diamonds, made these dreams more probable to realize. The planet’s chemical makeup includes surface temperatures of up to 2,150 degrees Celsius and an abundance of diamond’s most important ingredient: carbon. While this discovery may not necessarily make a significant impact in the jewelry industry, scientists are nevertheless excited over the possibility of an entire planetary system that is carbon-rich, unlike ours. (Also, further studies on 55 Cancri can contribute to the study on synthetic diamonds).

The unexpected appeal of non-traditional engagement rings and wedding bands

Round emerald and diamond engagement ring on white gold from Brilliance

Diamonds on engagement rings and wedding bands held sway for many decades. Last year, however, couples became more emboldened to wear colored gemstones denoting birthdays, anniversaries, and other special dates on their bridal finger bling. Reasons ranged from sentimental (birthstones have their own meaning and traits) to practical (engagement and wedding anniversaries are easier to remember with colored stones). 2012 definitely saw plenty of non-traditional rings on brides and engaged couples. The trend was mostly evident in diamond and birthstone combinations, but there were also a lot of rings which used colored gems as the central stone.

Guest author Sharon Sussman is currently the Director of Products at Brilliance, a jewelry company which specializes in certified loose diamonds, engagement rings and custom-made jewelry. A graduate of TouroCollege, she is also a gemologist and jeweler whose articles and advice columns have been published on notable fashion and finance blogs and sites. She can also be found on Google + and can be reached at


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Weekend Designer Spotlight – Two New Collections from Miseno

January 11, 2013

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Antwerp Diamond Trade Fair Launches Facebook Page

January 10, 2013

Antwerp Diamond Trade Fair launches Facebook page  Antwerp, Belgium – January 8, 2012: The organizers of the Antwerp Diamond Trade Fair have launched the fair’s own Facebook page ahead of the fourth edition of the event which t…

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Designer Spotlight on Bavna!

January 9, 2013

Bavna jewelry was created in 2008 by designer Sunny Jain. The essence of his line is deep rooted in the ancient language of Sanskrit where its meaning gives rise to many forms of development. Development of mind, body, and soul. It is in this profound connotation that Sunny’s philosophy for design resonates.

Bavna features 18 K gold, raw diamonds, rubies, emeralds and other various gemstones that manifest into a beautiful piece of art. Each piece is handcrafted capturing an ageless aura of exquisite craftsmanship interpreted for a modern lifestyle. His pieces are worn by confident women who express their individual style through fresh and exciting jewelry that will last a lifetime.

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Michael O’Connor Predicts Golden Globes Jewelry Trends

January 8, 2013

Michael O’Connor Hosts Jewelry Style Event for Show Nominees and Presenters
Los Angeles, CA (January 7, 2013) –This week Michael O’Connor, leading style expert and host of MovieStyle with Michael O’Connor on Reelz Channel,will host StyleLab’s jewelry event for Golden Globe Award nominees, presenters and stylists at a private venue in Los Angeles. O’Connor has curated a selection of one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces from world-renowned designers for celebrities to borrow for the red carpetFrom ornate cuff bracelets to black diamond cufflinks, O’Connor will accessorize Hollywood’s leading stars with the most exquisite, highest quality jewelry.
O’Connor sees an overall fascination with colored gemstones and intricate designs this year – both modern and vintage styles. As the Golden Globe Awards quickly approach, O’Connor offers the following trend predictions:
Emerald Green
It’s the Pantone Color of the Year and gorgeous on red heads like Amy Adams – so expect to see a lot of emerald green on the red carpet. A breathtaking pair of tassel earrings from Abellan New York includes over 71 carats of emeralds that will make everyone green with envy. Beverly Hills designer Dena Kemp will unveil a one-of-a-kind emerald cocktail ring surrounded by diamonds. Trendsetting jewelry brand Just Jules will highlight a pair of rose-cut diamond and emerald slice chandelier earrings that will make a major statement. We will also see emeralds featured in a captivating necklace by Takat. This $145,000 design includes over 85 carats of Zambian emeralds in pear and oval cabochon cuts, and more than 15 carats of diamonds, all set in platinum and 18k yellow gold.

Drop Earrings and Vintage Pendants
While chandelier earrings are a classic, the latest styles are drops in all shapes and sizes. Bellarri’s linear drop earrings include over 26 carats of amethyst and diamonds. Jewelry By Gail’s “Staircase to Royalty” linear drop earrings also feature amethyst, however hers include a long vine-swirl French wire design, making them perfect for the lovely French actress Marion Cotillard. American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) designer Campbellian’s Bella Campbell designed a pair of round drop earrings that feature royal blue moonstones surrounded by diamonds. Since all of these baubles will draw attention to the jawbone, they will look perfect with plum colored lips! Be on the lookout for the return of pendant necklaces. Trendsetting stars like Sienna Miller or Zooey Deschanel will fall in love with AGTA’s My Blue Heaven designer Cara Lichtenstein’s black enamel pendant brooch set in platinum, featuring a 41 carat black opal accented with white diamonds…very vintage-inspired.
Cuff Bracelets
Whether they are worn as the sole piece of jewelry or stacked on both arms, cuffs remain in vogue on the red carpet. We’ll see more intricate metalwork like Canadian designer Mark Lash’s flexible mesh bangle bracelet with a diamond clasp, set in yellow gold. Silver Promotion Service (SPS) designer Slane will feature a sterling silver cuff bracelet with a sequence of ribbed and smooth rows along a diamond studded hinged closure. SPS designer Thistle & Bee’s thick sterling silver cuff looks like a stunning piece of modern art.

Men’s Jewelry
Hollywood’s most stylish men including Hugh Jackman, Bradley Cooper and Leonardo DiCaprio understand the importance of modern men’s jewelry. Traditional square cufflinks and chains are taking a backseat to styles with interesting patterns and materials. Designer Edward Mirell launched a cufflink and bracelet collection featuring black diamonds, textured leather, and cable. 
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January 7, 2013

While the global diamond industry experienced major declines during the year, Israel saw a steady improvement in its diamond trade in the third and fourth quarters of the year, according to Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor Diamond Controller Shmuel Mordechai, who published figures for Israel’s diamond imports and exports during 2012.
Israel’s net polished diamond exports stood at $5.6 billion for the year, compared to $7.2 billion for the same period last year, a decline of 23%.
Mordechai said that Israel’s diamond trade seems likely to continue to improve in 2013 and return to levels of 2011, which was a record year.
Israel’s net rough diamond exports totaled $2.8 billion in 2012, compared to $3.5 billion in 2011, a 20% decrease.
Net imports of polished diamonds were $4.27 billion, compared to $5.68 billion for the year, a 25% drop.
Net rough imports stood at $3.8 billion, 13 % less than in 2011, when they totaled $4.4 billon.
The United States continued to be Israel’s major market for polished diamonds, accounting for 36% of the market. Hong Kong was the next largest market with 28% of exports, with Belgium accounting for 8%, Switzerland 5%, U.K. 5% and the rest of the world 18%.
Moti Ganz, Chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies (IDI) said that he was confident that the Israeli Diamond Industry was back on track to renewed growth. “While the economic challenges of 2012 affected the entire diamond industry, we saw a marked recovery in Israel’s diamond trade from mid-year. This year we look forward to continuing this positive trend and even to beating our record of 2011,” Ganz said.
IDI Managing Director Eli Avidar said, “We are upbeat about Israel’s diamond trade in the coming year. The US economy is showing improvement, and so is Europe. The Israeli Diamond Industry has weathered the economic difficulties of 2012 and has emerged on a growth path. We’re proud to say that our industry is an island of stability.” Avidar added that the Israeli Diamond Industry continues to be a key factor in markets worldwide. “As a result of our members’ demand, IDI will organize industry participation in more trade shows and in additional markets during 2013,” he added.
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