Industry Celebrates “24 Karat Weekend”

With the new year comes the industry’s annual “24 Karat weekend,” jam-packed with events, awards, and socializing.

The weekend kicked off earlier than usual this year, on Thursday, Jan. 5, with a new event: The Good Awards. The cocktail party, sponsored by the Diamond Empowerment Fund, bestows laurels on industry leaders for “good corporate citizenship.” The event was held at the rooftop of the Empire Hotel.

The four inaugural honorees included Varda Shine and the Diamond Trading Company; Edward Hrabak and Sterling Jewelers; Rebecca Foerster and Rio Tinto Diamonds; and Ivanka Trump and Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.

On Jan. 6 came the Jewelers Vigilance Committee’s annual luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria.

The organization honored Aaron Suna with its prestigious Stanley Schechter Award for his service to the group.

The luncheon’s speaker, former New York City public advocate and mayoral candidate Mark Green, devoted most of his talk to current events, rapping Republican candidates for wanting to “turn back the clock” on environmental regulations and rules that protect workers and consumers.

That night came the Jewelry Information Center’s 10th Annual GEM Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street. Ralph Destino, Chairman-Emeritus of Cartier, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The GEM Award for Corporate Communications went to Chanel Fine Jewelry, and the GEM Award for Journalistic Excellence went to Candy Pratts Price, editor-at-large for Vogue.com.

On Saturday, Jan. 7, the Jewelers’ Security Alliance held its luncheon at the Pierre Hotel.

The group’s annual industry service award went to Paul Jones, senior director of global asset protection for eBay/PayPal.

JSA president John Kennedy said that Jones had make a “huge contribution” to the security of eBay.

“We stand ready to help the jewelry industry,” Jones said, noting that jewelry is an important category for eBay, which sells more than $1 billion in watches and jewelry a year.

The group’s James B. White Law Enforcement Award went to FBI supervisory special agent Eric B. Ives, a member of the bureau’s  organized crime section, jewelry and gem division.

Ives noted it was important to keep a tight lid on jewelry crime, since most of the people involved in these heists are involved in other types of criminal activity.

Finally, the weekend was capped off by one of the trade’s biggest and glitziest rituals: the 24 Karat Club dinner. Entertainment at the Waldorf Astoria-based event included comedian Howie Mandel and a group of “Rat Pack” impersonators.