The New York State Jewelers Association welcomed new officers and presented achievement awards at its annual convention, held May 20-22 at the Marriott Wind Watch in Hauppauge, N.Y.

This was the first time in about 15 years the convention was not in the Catskills. The location was changed to be closer to a greater majority of the membership and to provide more family activities, said Emanuel Fuchs, executive director of the association. About 100 people attended, and many of them brought their children.

The association honored Takashi Wakuyama, president of Seiko Corp. of America, as its Industry Man of the Year. “Jewelry retailing in New York State is conducted with a kind of savvy, passion and style rarely equaled anywhere else in the world,” said Wakuyama. “And Seiko Corp. of America is proud to be a supplier to many – if not most – of your members…. Their dedication to the industry’s highest levels of service makes this award truly memorable and special.”

Betsey Irwin, who is retiring from the Diamond Promotion Service after 39 years of service in the industry, received the association’s 1995 Special Achievement Award.

The association named Varda Singer of ICD Contemporary Designs Ltd., with stores in Chappaqua and Rye, as Jeweler of the Year. Robert Torcivia, territorial sales manager for Wittnauer International Corp., was named Salesman of the Year.

Outgoing President Albert Solomon of Solomon’s Fine Jewelry in Plainview was honored for his service in the association’s top spot since 1991.

The association’s new president for 1995-’97 is Joseph LaPoche of LaPoche Jewelry Enterprises and Monique Fine Jewelry in Jackson Heights. He was sworn in by New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone. Serving with LaPoche are Danny Arbusman of Jewels by Viggi Ltd. in Great Neck, first vice president; Louis Fortunoff of Fortunoff in Uniondale, second vice president; Brian Heaps of Talner Jewelers in New Rochelle, treasurer; and Larry Bennett of Erik Jewelers Inc. in Tonawanda, secretary.

The convention education program featured “How to Do Watch Business from the ’90s into the 21st Century,” presented by Rick Birnbaum, Bob Hillebrecht and Bob Perry of Seiko Corp. of America, and “Your Customers – What Motivates Them to Buy,” presented by Bob Wheeler, a regional director of the Diamond Promotion Service.

Social activities included a barbecue, golf and tennis tournaments and a champagne brunch.


The Arkansas Jewelers Association held its annual convention March 31 to April 2 in Eureka Springs.

The association named Pat Henneberry of the Diamond Promotion Service as 1995 Traveler of the Year. “Pat is an outstanding supporter of AJA,” says Caroline Stanley, the association’s president. “She is always looking for ways to support us, helping with our annual convention and our fall seminar.”

Meanwhile, the Arkansas Jewelers Association’s Travelers named LeeAnn Hartley and Charles Sheppard of Sheppard’s Jewelers in Russellville as Jewelers of the Year. The Travelers group comprises sales and service representatives who interact with jewelers across the state.

Also at the convention, AJA named Mike Gerwig of Cecil’s Fine Jewelry in Little Rock and Faye Rodgers of Faye’s Diamond Mine in Clinton to three-year terms on the board of directors.

The association announced winners of its 1995 CARAT (Creative Achievement Recognizing Arkansas Talent) Award for jewelry design. The winners included Richard Lang of Roberson’s Jewelry in Ft. Smith, William J. Murray of the Jewel Chest in Mountain Home, Peter D. Barr of Sissy’s Log Cabin in Pine Bluff, and Judy Roberson of Roberson’s Jewelry.

The association has about 100 retail and manufacturing jeweler members. Activities include an annual convention, fall seminar, jewelry design contests and a $1,000 drawing in November – Real Jewelry Month. Arkansas Jewelers Association, 3422 JFK Blvd., North Little Rock, Ark. 72116; (800) 297-9775, fax (501) 753-1110.


John Lilly, president of Lillys’ Crown Jewelers Corp. in Beckley, W.Va., was to become president of the Diamond Council of America at a membership luncheon during The JCK Show in Las Vegas. He succeeds Francis Call of Call Jewelers in Phoenix, Ariz.

Lilly joined the family business in 1960, the same year it opened its second store; today, the company has 10 stores in West Virginia and Virginia. He has been a member of the DCA board since June 1986 and has served in various capacities, including treasurer, secretary, second vice president and first vice president. He also is a past president of the West Virginia Retail Jewelers Association and a past president of the Council of Affiliates Division of Jewelers of America.

Also at the luncheon, DCA will honor its top students and present its Myer B. Barr Award.


The Created Emerald Producers Association has been formed to establish a unified voice for producers of laboratory-grown emeralds.

CEPA will speak for member producers and “deal with attempts by outside associations and governing bodies in many countries to regulate our industry, [including] continuing attempts to force jewelers to use the word ‘synthetic,'” says Chatham Created Gems of San Francisco, Cal.

The association was formed in Bangkok, Thailand, at a meeting of producers from around the world. Among those represented, in addition to Chatham, were Biron Corp. Ltd. of Australia; Tairus, a joint venture of Pinky Trading of Thailand and the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Turgil/Gilson of Japan.

CEPA differs from the U.S.-based Crystal Growers Association because it involves only lab-grown emeralds and not other material. Initial projects will include a close look at the terminology used to describe lab-grown gemstones, other nomenclature issues and government regulations.


The Women’s Jewelry Association has named the Charles Group Inc., Fairfield, N.J., as its full-service management and consulting firm. The move was prompted by the association’s growth.

Carol Davis-Grossman, managing partner of eight-year-old Charles Group, will serve as WJA administrator. She has more than 20 years of experience in the association management field.

The Charles Group will provide WJA with administrative management, membership development and financial planning services, as well as a new headquarters address and telephone and fax lines. The new address is WJA, 333B Route 46 W., Fairfield, N.J. 07004; (201) 575-1444, fax (201) 575-1445.


The Independent Jewelers Organization announced some of the speakers for its Fall Seminar/Buying Show, scheduled for Aug. 5-10 in Boston, Mass.

Tom Tivol of Tivol Jewelers, Kansas City, Mo., will deliver a keynote address on making salespeople more productive. Other featured speakers include Michelle Gravelle of the Diamond Promotion Service, speaking on “The Diamond Dream Team”; Patti Geolat, “Appraisals for Profits”; and IJO President Jack Gredinger, “Your People.”

The seminar program also will include “A Day With Diamonds for Adults and Teens,” “Pearl Workshop,” “Color Grading With Gem-Set,” “The Internal World of Gemstones,” “New Gold Seminar,” “Identifying Fracture-Filled Diamonds,” and workshops and programs for children and teens. For more details, see JCK, June 1995, page 389, or contact IJO, Two Railroad Place, Westport, Conn. 06880; (800) 624-9252, fax (203) 454-4371.

In other news, Jeff Roberts was promoted from vice president to executive vice president of IJO. He will have more responsibilities in developing new products and services for members among U.S. and foreign vendors.

Roberts owns a retail jewelry store in Wooster, Ohio, that serves as a prototype for demonstrating IJO-recommended business methods and management systems. Roberts joined IJO in 1979 and was named buying group director in 1992 and vice president in 1993.


The Jewelry Information Center has moved its offices to mid-Manhattan to be closer to the jewelry district. “That’s where the action is and where many of our members work,” says Lynn Ramsey, JIC’s president and chief executive. JIC’s reference library of jewelry books, back issues of trade magazines and industry research files also will be more accessible to members, says Ramsey.

JIC, 19 W. 44 St., Ninth Fl. New York, N.Y. 10036; (800) 459-0130 or (212) 398-2319, fax (212) 398-2324.


For the first time in its 108-year history, the British Jewellers’ Association elected a woman vice chairman.

Carole Mason, sales director of Acme Jewellery, a mass-producer of 9k gold jewelry, is now in line to become chairman in 1996 when the current chairman, Lawrence Brewer, steps down.

Mason, 33, also is thought to be the youngest person to hold the post. A member of BJA’s national committee since 1993, Mason says she wants to study the feasibility of offering management training seminars and help members build business and become more marketing oriented.

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