Industry & People


>>?Freddy J. Hanard, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the umbrella organization for the city’s diamond industry, retired Dec. 31. Former deputy CEO Ari Epstein took over the role Jan. 1.

>>?In January, Jim Gowans became managing director of Debswana, the joint venture between De Beers and the Botswana government. Since February 2010, Gowans has been chief operating and technical officer of the De Beers Group. Prior to that, he was CEO of De Beers Canada.


>>Florida’s Mayors ­Jewelers partnered with Rolex to open Rolex by Mayors at the Mall at Millenia in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 8. Within a half hour of opening, the store sold its first timepiece. 


>>?Reising Jewelers & Gemologists in Cincinnati closed Dec. 23. Owner Ed Kuhlman says it was simply time to retire: “I started off with nothing as a salesperson and ended up owning my own business. I’ve had a good career.”

>>?Grand Forks, N.D.’s Plaza Jewelers closed its showroom Christmas Eve after 23 years. The company will remain in the jewelry repair business and revert to its original name: K&J Jewelers.


Hublot’s ad with Bernie Ecclestone

>>A brutal mugging turned into an eye-catching ad for a luxury watch brand. When Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone’s watch was stolen during a Nov. 25 robbery in London, the hospitalized executive sent a picture of his injuries to Hublot CEO Jean-Claude Biver, adding the line: “See what people will do for a Hublot.” Now that e-mail has become a one-shot ad (topped by Ecclestone’s unretouched photo), which ran in the Financial Times and International Herald Tribune in December.


>>?Lior Bitton, owner of Pacific Diamonds and Gems in Westminster, Calif., was charged Dec. 2 with one felony count of insurance fraud, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office. Bitton allegedly reported a diamond as stolen, and then sold it to a wholesaler.


>>?The Jewelers Board of Trade shut its New York office at the end of 2010 and consolidated it into the group’s Rhode Island headquarters. JBT president Dione Kenyon says the shutdown was precipitated by the retirement of longtime New York office head Warren Ogden.

>>?The Jewelry Information Center announced Dec. 1 the winners of “Gems Among Us,” its nationwide essay contest that recognizes individuals who make the world a better place. Carlene Sperry of Auburn, Maine, a seven-year breast cancer survivor and advocate, was chosen as the grand-prize winner. Nearly 10,000 votes were cast.


>>?Robert Racusin, owner of Roberts Jewelers in Corpus Christi, Texas, for 61 years, died Dec. 9 at the age of 91 in Houston.


The Jwaneng Mine

>>The Jwaneng Mine’s Cut-8 extension project, the largest single investment in the history of Botswana’s mining industry, was officially launched Dec. 13 by Debswana. Cut-8 will extend the life of Jwaneng, considered the world’s richest mine, to 2025.

(Additional reporting by Jennifer Heebner and Lindsey Wojcik)

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