The American Gem Society’s 2001 Conclave—dubbed “In Tune With Tomorrow”—was the largest in the group’s history. According to AGS, 810 members and guests attended the event, held in Nashville, Tenn., March 28-31.
Brian Tracy, an authority on the development of human potential, was the featured speaker for the leadership track. Author and executive Jim Cathcart shared his ideas on sales and marketing at the closing session on March 31. Cathcart covered target marketing, prospecting, sales planning, and assuring satisfaction.
Topics in the business education line-up included getting to the next million, closing on high-ticket sales, tools for inventory control, getting employees to share your vision, and effective internal communications.
The future trends segment examined watches, pearls, colored stones, and diamonds. Presenters included AGTA executive director Douglas Hucker (colored gemstones), Martin Rapaport (diamonds), Ken Tobler of Maurice Lacroix (watches), and Avi Raz of A&Z Pearls.
The Diamond Promotion Service hosted two presentations: S. Lynn Diamond, executive director of the DPS, discussed the impact of changes at the Diamond Trading Company, dealing with educated consumers, and responding to changes in the industry’s business models. At the DPS Breakfast on Friday, March 30, Diane Warga-Arias presented “21st Century Women and Diamonds.”
This year’s Conclave Jewelry Expo was expanded to include expo demonstrations/mini-classes. The expo demos were divided into three areas: standard/bench, retail store, and special demos. Presenters included renowned gemologist Dr. Edward Gübelin of Gübelin Laboratories, Phillip Van Emmenis of Keppie-Kiger, and Gina and Chessy Latendresse of American Pearl Company.
Christopher Bramlett, principal of Christopher’s Fine Jewelers in Concord, N.C., was the recipient of the Robert M. Shipley Award, presented by award committee chairman Bill Underwood. Bramlett holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from Wake Forest University as well as a Ph.D. in that subject from the University of Virginia. He spent 14 years in academia as a professor of chemistry, associate and assistant dean, and assistant vice president of research at the University of Alabama and later became a professor of chemistry and vice president of East Tennessee State University. He opened his jewelry store in 1989, earning GIA certificates in diamond grading, colored stones and colored stone grading, and pearl grading. He also holds the titles of Registered Jeweler, Certified Gemologist, and Certified Gemologist Appraiser. He has served the AGS in a number of positions and is currently president of the North Carolina Guild and a member of the AGS Board of Trustees.