The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has promoted Jim Littman to the newly created position of chief development officer.

Littman previously was director of development for the Carlsbad, Calif., nonprofit institute. Since 1994, he has spearheaded GIA’s fund-raising campaigns, which have raised more than $20 million. Among the most successful of these efforts is Vision 2000, which aims to secure capital to improve GIA’s education programs, broaden its research and development activities, and provide scholarships and student financial aid.

In 1996, Littman initiated the annual League of Honor Founders Dinner to recognize those who have contributed $100,000 or more to Vision 2000. He’s also worked to enhance the institute’s visibility through publications, special events, and other projects, including the Genesis Young Leadership group, museum development plans, and a symposium sponsorship program.

Among the notable donations GIA has received under Littman’s watch was $300,000 from Cartier Inc. to support the Cartier Rare Book Repository & Archives at GIA’s headquarters. The facility, within the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center, contains more than 15,100 volumes, reprints, and pamphlets. The contribution was made under the auspices of GIA’s New World Headquarters Campaign.


Craig Underwood has been named national chairman of the American Gem Society’s Diamond Standards Committee. The committee establishes and maintains diamond grading standards for the United States and Canada. He will also serve as chairman of the Gemological Committee of the AGS Diamond Laboratories.

Underwood is vice president of Underwood’s Jewelers in Fayetteville, Ark. and is a second-generation member of the 40-year-old Underwood firm. He is a graduate gemologist of the Gemological Institute of America and an AGS Certified Gemologist and Certified Gemologist Appraiser.


Special performances by comedienne Rita Rudner and singer Wayne Newton highlighted the 24 Karat Club’s annual meeting in New York City. James J. Lazarus, a member of the club’s board of directors and a former professional musician, arranged the performances. The affair, attended by 1,500 members and guests, was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.


The Jewelry Information Center has appointed Carolyn S. Jacoby director of membership. In her new post, she is responsible for membership development, services, and industry communications.

Jacoby managed the retail operation of Arthur Groom & Co. for six years and as general manager developed the New York office for the trading and treatment of emeralds. Before joining JIC she was with William Goldberg Diamond Corp.

Jacoby is a Graduate Gemologist and a member of the Women’s Jewelry Association and the Gemological Institute of America’s Alumni Association.


Penny Palmer has been promoted to director of marketing at the Independent Jewelers Organization. Her duties will include recruiting new members and fostering the growth of IJO.

Palmer began at IJO part-time in 1992 and became a full-time administrative assistant in 1993. She was named meeting planner in 1995.


The Silver Users Association elected officers at its 51st anniversary meeting held in Washington, D.C. John W. Eschenlohr was voted to a one-year term as president. Durland E. Evans was elected vice president and chairman of the executive committee. Michael J. Merolla was elected treasurer.


The Jewelers Board of Trade added 329 new members last year, for a total membership of more than 3,100, according to its 1997 annual report. JBT, which moved to its new facility in Warwick, R.I. in May 1997, answered more than 180,000 credit inquiries from members, and its collection department recovered more than $10.8 million in delinquent accounts. The annual report also cites an increase in JBT’s Electronic Interchange program to 231 members.


The authors of three articles published in the Gemological Institute of America’s journal, Gems & Gemology, garnered 1997 Dr. Edward J. Gübelin Most Valuable Article Awards.

First-place honors went to scientist Kurt Nassau and coauthors Shane F. McClure of the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory (GTL) Carlsbad and Shane Elen and James E. Shigley of GIA Research for their Winter 1997 article, “Synthetic Moissanite: A New Diamond Substitute.”

Second place was awarded to Thomas M. Moses, Ilene M. Reinitz, and John M. King of GIA GTL New York and Mary L. Johnson of GIA GTL Carlsbad, also with James E. Shigley, for their Winter 1997 article, “A Contribution to Understanding the Effect of Blue Fluorescence on the Appearance of Diamonds.”

Third-place awardees were James E. Shigley, Shane Elen, Shane F. McClure, Thomas M. Moses, and Ilene M. Reinitz together with Emmanuel Fritsch of Nantes University, France, for their spring 1997 Gems & Gemology article, “Gemological Properties of Near-Colorless Synthetic Diamonds.” Biographies of the award-winning authors are published in the Spring 1998 issue of Gems & Gemology.


A silent auction at the recent semi-annual conference of the Independent Jewelers Organization held in Palm Springs, Calif., netted $9,473 for the Connecticut Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation grants the wishes of terminally ill children. Donations of 55 jewelry and jewelry-related items were received from 47 IJO member manufacturers and retailers. IJO has designated the Make-A-Wish Foundation the beneficiary of all its future silent auctions, which will be held each February at the IJO spring shows.



Cost and convenience, rather than any disagreement over trade show policy, has led Tiffany & Co., a premier retailer and distributor of luxury goods, to leave the world’s largest annual watch, clock, and jewelry fair, held in Basel, Switzerland.

The firm now believes it can provide “fuller service to its wholesale business partners” at its European headquarters in Munich, Germany, and its New York showrooms, according to a company statement.

Tiffany has shown at the Basel fair since 1993 and developed “many business relationships as a result,” according to the statement. It was the only fair at which Tiffany exhibited.

However, “as our trade business has matured, it is easier to meet with customers in venues other than Basel,” Tiffany president Michael Kowalski tells JCK. “The great exposure” offered by Basel helped establish those contacts, but Tiffany’s relationship with its overseas clients has developed to the extent that Basel is “no longer critical” to Tiffany’s strategy, he says.

Another factor was cost. Basel is rebuilding Exhibition Hall One (demolition and re-construction began May 8), its main watch and clock exhibition structure, which dates from the 1920s. Tiffany had a two-story pavilion (including a replica of its famous Atlas clock) in the building. The cost of replacing it (more than $2 million) and the annual expense to bring many staffers to the show figured in Tiffany’s decision, according to the company.

Tiffany is the fourth exhibitor to leave the Basel show this year. The World Gold Council was absent, reportedly for cost reasons, as were two luxury watch brands, which defected to Cartier’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva.

“We regret very much losing this important, internationally known exhibitor,” says Tilman Hengevoss, the new director of the Basel Fair’s international shows and a member of its board. “We understand that it has nothing do with the Basel ‘concept’ or its importance, but with changes in business plans [in which] money is invested for different purposes.”

He tells JCK, though, that Tiffany is “a special case.” No other vendors have left, and in fact some American exhibitors are asking for more space in the new Building One, which will be ready for Basel ’99.

JA SHOW nearing

Jewelers of America International Jewelry Show will come to New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center July 18-21. Special events during the show include the American Jewelry Design Council’s Saturday evening reception, Diamond Day Monday, Antique & Estate Jewelry Day (Tuesday), and the return of the Platinum Pavilion, created by the Platinum Guild International. For information, call (800) 829-3976 or (201) 346-1400, fax (201) 346-1602.

Exhibition Set in Denver

The Denver Merchandise Mart Gift, Jewelry and Resort Show will be held Aug. 22-25 with a pre-show of Mart permanent tenants on Aug. 20-21. The show will feature 650 exhibitors representing more than 6,000 lines. Product categories include traditional and upscale gifts, handcrafts, collectibles, gourmet items, garden items, home furnishings, decorative accessories and jewelry. Services include free seminars, three nights of entertainment featuring complimentary buffets, information hosts to answer quetions, five computerized registration areas, free parking, and hotel shuttles.

The Buyer Services Department will offer orientation sessions during the market, and Colorado State University will present a Merchandising Consultation program. For information, call (800) 289-6278 or (303) 292-6278, Ext. 5260.


The American Craft Council will hold its 23rd Craft Market San Francisco Aug. 5-6 at the Fort Mason Center. The event – the oldest craft fair in the West – will feature 300 jury-selected exhibitors. Attendance is limited to buyers who intend to purchase crafts for resale and who can present documentation of their business affiliation. For information on buyer registration, call (800) 836-3470, fax (914) 883-6130.


The 41st Pacific Jewelry Show, which takes place Aug. 22-24 at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, will offer a multimedia seminar on selling pearls and pearl jewelry. The Gemological Institute of America’s Debbie Hiss-Odell will present the program, which is sponsored by the Cultured Pearl Information Center and G.I.E. Perles de Tahiti. Hiss-Odell will review pearl varieties and the types of cultured pearls available, how cultured pearls are created, and the processes of harvesting, treating, and sorting pearls. To complement the seminar, PJS will feature a showcase of pearls and pearl jewelry on the exhibit floor.

New name for L.A. MART

L.A. Mart’s bi-annual market week, now called L.A. Mart Gift, Decorative Accessories and Furniture Festival, is set for July 14-21. For information, call (800) 526-4278.

MEMPHIS is site of august event

The Memphis Gift & Jewelry Show will run Aug. 8-11 at the Memphis-Cook Convention Center. The show targets wholesale buyers from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and neighboring states. More than 325 vendors are expected. For information, call (800) 541-8171, fax (630) 241-9870.


The New Orleans Gift and Jewelry Show will be held Aug. 22-25 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La. More than 400 vendors and 14,000 buyers are expected. For information, call (800) 541-8171, fax (630) 241-9870.