James F. Marquart, a veteran manager of state and national associations, is the new president and chief executive officer of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America. Marquart succeeds Matthew Runci, who resigned earlier this year to become executive director of Jewelers of America.

Marquart, whose appointment was effective Oct. 16, most recently served as president of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association in Albany. “Jim brings to MJSA a wide range of association management experience, including expertise in financial management, strategic planning, government relations and organizational development,” says MJSA Chairman Alan Klitzner. “[His] background includes several examples of expanding member programs and services and other strategies to achieve growth in association membership and revenue.”

The new president says he is eager to take over the reins. “MJSA has a long history of leadership and innovation in the jewelry industry,” he says. “I look forward to working with the board and the staff to expand our vision of MJSA’s future. With our dedicated board and our fine staff, I want to build on the momentum of the past couple of years to move MJSA even farther ahead.”

Marquart is a U.S. Navy veteran and earned a master’s degree in business administration at Long Island University and the Certified Association Executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives. He also has received several awards for his service to several state and national associations. He and his wife, Nancy, will relocate from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to Rhode Island.


Paul D. Thompson was elected chairman of the Gems and Jewelry Committee of the American Society of Appraisers. He succeeds Larry D. Phillips.

Other committee officers are Nancy F. Stacy, vice chairwoman; Charles Kirk Root, treasurer; and Christine York, secretary. Chosen to oversee specific committee activities were Elie Kassab, public relations; Dana Lynn Richardson, publications; and Joseph A. Mackley, membership. Susan Eisen is the new parliamentarian.


The Diamond Information Center and Elle magazine sponsored four showings of the Diamonds Today Signature Collection to celebrate Real Jewelry Month in November.

The 28-piece collection was scheduled to be shown Nov. 2-4 at Kolman Jewelers Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Nov. 8-11 at Donald Haack Diamonds in Charlotte, N.C.; Nov. 15-18 at R.F. Moeller Jeweler in Minneapolis, Minn.; and Nov. 29-Dec. 3 at Sonny Nedler’s Precious Jewels in Denver, Colo. Guests had an opportunity to speak with an Elle fashion editor as well as view the collection.


The Gift Association of America now offers a credit-card charge program to manufacturer members that formerly was available only to retailer members.

Expansion of the program will allow manufacturers to accept VISA and MasterCard charges from their customers at a low rate based on their average ticket. “This allows trade show exhibitors and buyers to transact business without extensive credit clearances and expensive C.O.D. shipments,” says Lenore Staffieri Pitsilos, the association’s managing director.

Gift Association of America, 612 W. Broad St., Bethlehem, PA 18018-5221; (610) 861-9445, fax (610) 861-0948.


An infomercial that teaches consumers how to buy jewelry is available from Jewelers of America. You can sponsor and broadcast the half-hour show, titled “What You Should Know About Buying Jewelry,” as an education and marketing tool.

JA says the infomercial is designed to enhance your image by helping customers understand the importance of buying fine jewelry from a professional and by providing information they should know when shopping for jewelry. It also is designed to improve your sales because you can run your own commercial three times during the infomercial.

The infomercial includes a 28-minute ready-for-broadcast master tape, a 30-second general commercial, one VHS copy of the entire program and an instruction manual on how to customize the program and cross-promote it with your other advertising. The cost to JA members is $49.

Depending on market size and time slot, local cable channels average $100-$500 per half hour. Broadcast channels average $200-$3,500.

Jewelers of America, 1185 Ave. of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036; (800) 223-0673, fax (212) 768-8087.


Members rate the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America highly in areas such as friendly attitude, willingness to help and knowledge of the industry, its markets and government regulations.

Scores were lower for frequency of MJSA’s trade shows and its effectiveness as an advocate, according to an article in Benchmark, the association’s newsletter.

Some of the biggest increases in “excellent” and “good” responses between 1991 and 1995 were reserved for response time to requests (up from from 69.4% to 79.6%), knowledge of the industry (up from 68.3% to 82.7%) and overall value of membership (up from 59.7% to 70.5%).

The ratings that members gave to MJSA products and services reflect their interest in information. AJM, the association’s monthly magazine, is the most popular one, with 90% of members rating the publication as “very useful” or “moderately useful.” The second most popular service is the association’s trade shows, which earned a “very useful” or “moderately useful” rating from about three quarters of members.

The MJSA board was scheduled to meet in late October to review the report and discuss follow-up actions.

In other news, the group announced its schedule of activities for 1996. Here’s the rundown:

  • AGTA GemFair, Jan. 31-Feb. 5. MJSA’s pavilion at the event opens with a celebration at noon Jan. 31 on the show floor.

  • New York Gala, March 2. The event will be held in the new Copacabana in New York, N.Y.

  • Expo New York, March 1-5. The show will be preceded by a two-day educational program this year. The program includes World Gold Council seminars on how to improve the profitability of making gold jewelry and presentations by the Platinum Guild International-USA Jewelry on topics related to working with platinum.

  • Annual banquet, May 4. The event will be held in the ballroom of the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

  • Expo Providence, May 4-7. A new feature will be Technology Day on May 4, featuring demonstrations, seminars and workshops in conjunction with CIBJO, the international confederation of jewelry trade associations. The show also will feature a display titled “Manufacturing Facility of the Future.” It will showcase some of the most advanced jewelry manufacturing techniques and equipment.

MJSA, One State St., Sixth Fl., Providence, R.I. 02908-5035; (401) 264-3840.


The Jewelers of Louisiana recently marked its 50th anniversary at a convention that featured the installation of new officers, presentation of various awards and an education program.

Richard Melancon of Melancon Jewelers Inc. in Abbeville is the new president. He succeeds Eric Armentor of Armentor Jewelry in New Iberia. Other officers are Johnny Tate of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry in Baton Rouge, first vice president; Chris Roussel of Roussel Antique Gifts & Jewelry of Gramercy, second vice president; and LaNell B. Mire of Melancon Jewelers, secretary-treasurer.

The association named Shelby Rotolo of Pulsar Watches as Salesperson of the Year and Steven Dupont of Dupont Jewelers in Rayville as Jeweler of the Year.

Three of the new officers also won first-place awards in the association’s jewelry design contest: Roussel in the more-than-$3,000 category, Melancon in the $1,000-$3,000 category and Mire in the less-than-$1,000 category. Melancon also won the overall jewelry design prize for a pearl, emerald and gold necklace.

Sherman Titens of Titens Consulting Group in Kansas City, Mo., was the keynote speaker in an address sponsored by Jewelers of America. The education program also included round-table discussions, a bench seminar on the latest wax techniques and exams for JA’s Certified Store Manager designation.


Stuart Palestrant of Wendel’s Jewelers in Lancaster was named president of the Ohio Jewelers Association for 1996-’97.

Serving with him will be Jack Seibert of Jack Seibert Goldsmiths in Columbus, vice president; Alan Rodriguez of House of Stones in New Philadelphia, secretary; and James Schwartz of Schwartz Jewelers in Cincinnati, treasurer. Adriana Sfalcin continues as executive director.

Ohio Jewelers Association, 50 W. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43215; (800) 652-6257 or (614) 221-7833, fax (614) 221-7020.


The Intermountain Jewelers Association and the Montana/Wyoming Jewelers Association held a joint convention Sept. 15-17 in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Chris Almquist of the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, Cal., presented seminars on fracture-filled diamonds and detecting treatments in ruby, sapphire and emerald. Judith Reiss of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., taught jewelry design techniques. Other speakers included IJA President Ann Marie Molenaar-Schram, MWJA President Margaret Johnson, Ron Dean of the Diamond Promotion Service and Alan Leopold, deputy executive director of Jewelers of America.


The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors will hold its 50th anniversary meeting Jan. 29-31 in the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The meeting will include a presentation on opportunities afforded by a pro-business Congress and discussion on a new study that examines the future of the wholesale distribution industry. Attendees also will have opportunities to network during a welcome reception Jan. 29, roundtable discussions Jan. 30 and an association dinner Jan. 31.

National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, 1725 K St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006; (202) 872-0885, fax (202) 785-0586.


Linda Rubin, a collector and importer of African beadwork, was the guest speaker at a recent meeting of the Chicago chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association.

Rubin was born in South Africa and lived there for 15 years. She earned a master of arts degree in education at the University of Chicago, where she also developed a project on teaching different subjects with works of art. At the WJA presentation, she showed artwork to demonstrate different African tribes and beadwork specific to each one.


Jewelers in Naples and Bonita Springs, Fla., have formed the Collier County Professional Jewelers Association. The purpose is to share information, educate the public and enhance the high standards and image of local jewelers.

Barry Nicholls of Paradise Jewelry is president; José Aragon of José Aragon Inc. is vice president; and Cindy Carlson of Carlson Fine Jewelry is secretary-treasurer.

Membership is open to jewelers and associated professionals who have had a business license and a place of business for at least one year in Collier County and as far north as north Bonita Springs. For information, call Nicholls at (813) 591-2645.


Wholesaler-distributors are now eligible for property and casualty insurance designed especially for them and available through the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. The program, which issued more than $2 million in policies in the first 90 days, is underwritten by General Accident Insurance Co. of America.

Among other features, the program covers inventory and other business property even when it’s in transit, protects a wholesaler-distributor found to be legally liable and even helps a wholesaler-distributor meet its delivery commitment if inventory is damaged en route to a customer.

National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors Administration Center, 1725 K St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006; (800) 922-5703, fax (202) 785-0586.


The World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturing Association will sponsor the 27th World Diamond Congress May 26-29 in Tel Aviv, Israel.

WFDB and IDMA say diamond industry and government officials from all producing, polishing and trading countries are expected to attend.

For more information, contact Dan Hadany, managing director of the Israel Diamond Exchange, at (972-3) 576-0203, fax (972-3) 575-0652.


The Society of Jewelry Historians has set its sights on the future by striving for a more prominent role in the industry and including more contemporary jewelry industry members.

“We have always been known as the voice of the antique and estate jewelry lover, but our existing membership is actually quite diverse,” says President Joyce Jonas, author, lecturer and authority on antique and estate jewelry. “We feel it’s important that our public persona match our actual membership. The society focuses on the entire history of the jewelry arts, and that includes the contemporary artisans.”

The society has broadened its activities to include lectures on all aspects of jewelry art, a national membership directory, an annual journal of scholarly essays and special events and viewings at private museums and galleries. It will launch an international jewelry symposium in 1997.

The society recently began a membership drive. “Contemporary jewelry designers and manufacturers should join so they can learn about jewelry design and techniques throughout history and to expose their own work to a larger public,” says Jonas. “Antique and estate jewelry dealers, appraisers, historians and retailers should join to learn more about their field and the secondary market they all play in.” Non-professional jewelry collectors are welcome. Annual dues are $45 for individuals, $55 for family membership (limited to two) and $75 for corporate membership (limited to three). Student membership is available.

Society of Jewelry Historians, 215 E. 80 St., New York, N.Y. 10021; (212) 535-2479, fax (212) 988-0721.


The 1995-’96 edition of the American Gem Trade Association Source Directory is now available. It includes 550-plus AGTA member companies in the U.S. and Canada, including 340 colored gemstone suppliers, 100 designers, 98 retailers, 64 appraisers and 45 lapidaries. All are listed alphabetically and geographically by company. Sections are color-coded; information is cross-referenced for quick access.

Included is general information about AGTA, its programs and competitions, anniversary gemstones, birthstones and treatment disclosure.

The directory is $15 for U.S. delivery, $24 for international delivery. American Gem Trade Association, World Trade Center, Suite 181, P.O. Box 581043, Dallas, Tex. 75258; (800) 972-1162, fax (214) 742-7334.


The Diamond Industry Steering Committee will hold its annual dinner July 30 in the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. At the dinner, DISC will honor inductees into its Hall of Fame and present its Lifetime Achievement Award. Matthew Runci, executive director of Jewelers of America, is dinner committee chairman.

Diamond Industry Steering Committee, 580 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10036; (212) 869-9777, fax (212) 869-5164.