Jewelry Industry & People: September 2013


>>?Mark Vadon, who cofounded Blue Nile, is stepping down as chairman of the company and from its board Dec. 31. He will be succeeded as chairman by current CEO Harvey Kanter.

>>?Paris jeweler Mauboussin has appointed ­Thierry Chaunu CEO for North America. Prior to joining Mauboussin, Chaunu was CEO for North and South Americas for the Italian jewelry brand Damiani.

>>?Mahiar Borhanjoo will step down from one of De Beers’ most powerful positions, senior vice president of global sightholder sales, later this year, and will be replaced by Nigel Simson. Borhanjoo decided against moving with De Beers’ sales operations from London to Botswana.

>>?Georg Jensen S/A named Alexander Weindling president of Georg Jensen North America and managing director for global jewelry and gemstones. 

>>?Thierry Andretta has been appointed CEO of Italian jewelry company Buccellati. Andretta most recently served as CEO of fashion house Lanvin.

>>?Zale Corp. has promoted Bridgett Zeterberg to senior vice president, general counsel, and ­corporate secretary. Zeterberg joined Zale in September 2010 and became general counsel and secretary in ­February 2012.

>>?Signet Jewelers announced that ­Rob ­Anderson, CEO of its U.K. division, has left the company. ­Sebastian Hobbs has been promoted to the new position of managing director for the United Kingdom. Signet also has appointed Helen E. McCluskey, Eugenia M. Ulasewicz, and Robert J. “Bob” Stack as independent directors.

Mark Davidovich

>>?Mark Davidovich has left Studio PR to open the New York City–based Mark Davidovich Communications, specializing in media relations, custom content, event planning, and digital marketing for luxury fine jewelry and watch brands. 

Kim Alterini

>>?European luxury brand Metalsmiths ­Sterling has appointed Claudia Evans Zale Southern regional vice president. She most recently worked at Stuller as director of merchandising. Kim ­Alterini was named Midwest regional vice president. She previously worked as regional sales manager for Gucci Watches and Jewelry. Susan Parker, the new Southeast regional vice president, previously worked for LVMH.

Claudia Evans Zale, the new Southern regional vice president for Metalsmiths Sterling

>>?Kara Ross New York has announced that Diane M. McNulty will join the fine jewelry and accessories company as its president.

>>?Sterling Jewelers has appointed Bo J. Shim vice president of IT technology strategy and services; Kristine Land was appointed vice president of marketing for the outlet division and international tourism; and Ann-Marie Patton was promoted to divisional vice president of Jared and repair shops. The company also named David Gaynes to the newly created post of vice president of corporate product development.

>>?Jared Ashland has been promoted to vice president of information technology at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. Ashland will replace Joel Matthies, who was recently promoted to senior vice president of personal lines.

>>?British luxury jewelry brand Astley Clarke has appointed Scott Thomson as its managing director. Thomson most recently served as CEO at Claudia Schiffer.

>>?Frederick Goldman has brought Michele ­Dowling Johnson aboard as its new chief marketing officer. Dowling Johnson has held various senior-level positions in marketing, strategy, and global brand management at L’Oréal, Revlon, and Kings and Balducci’s food markets.

Avi Paz, the newest president of the World Diamond Council

>>?Avi Paz has succeeded Eli Izhakoff as president of the World Diamond Council. Izhakoff stepped down in June after 13 years heading the group.

>>?Jewelers of America has hired Matthew ­Tratner as its director of membership and sales. ­Previously, he was the chief operating officer and partner at ­ The group also hired ­Lauren Kalma as public relations and marketing ­coordinator. In addition, Molly ­Fallon’s title has changed from ­director of marketing and membership to director of marketing and communications; Amanda Gizzi’s title changed from director of ­communications to director of public relations and special events; Susan Thea Posnock is now ­director of public affairs and education; and ­Madeline Rivera is taking on the new role of member services representative.


>>?Zalemark Holding Co. signed a major television distribution agreement with Destino Media Group for the Aug. 15 launch of its CompraLux home ­shopping network. The deal means CompraLux will debut in the 79-city Puerto Rican market.

>>?Zale Corp. announced it has signed a multiyear private-label credit card program agreement with Alliance Data Systems Corp.


>>?Birks & Mayors has entered into a lease agreement with Varilease Finance that will finance up to $3 million in remodeling costs for three Mayors stores in Florida.

>>?Zale Corp. rejoined the Russell 3000 Index after Russell Investments reconstituted its U.S. and global equity indexes June 28.

>>?Pandora Group has upgraded its 2013 financial guidance after seeing “solid performance” from all regions. A statement noted that U.S. second quarter sales at its concept stores rose 8.8 percent over 2012 figures, and there were also gains in Australia (22.4 percent), United Kingdom (11.6 percent), and ­Germany (1.7 percent).

>>?On June 24, Neiman Marcus filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. In the SEC filing, the department store chain said it hoped to raise $100 million.

>>?David Yurman Enterprises received a $631,223 grant from New Jersey to set up a facility in Lyndhurst. The grant, based on the company’s taxes, was awarded by the state’s Economic Development Authority.


>>?On July 23, a federal judge tossed out a legal challenge to the Dodd-Frank Act provision on conflict minerals brought by the National Association of Manufacturers and other businesses. The judge ruled that financial regulators acted appropriately after Congress passed the law.

>>?Former Tiffany vice president Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun pleaded guilty to stealing more than $2 million worth of jewels from the famed retailer, after allegedly “checking out” items and then not returning them.

>>?Las Vegas jeweler Nabil Sakkab, 39, pleaded guilty in federal court July 29 to two counts of receiving and selling stolen goods totaling $196,500. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.

>>?A new Rhode Island law will prevent employers in the state from asking prospective employees about their criminal history on job applications. The “Ban the box” law, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, still allows employers to ask about criminal histories during job interviews, and the legislation also does not prohibit background checks.

>>?In a suit similar to the one Tiffany & Co. filed against Costco, Michael Kors claims the warehouse giant falsely advertised pictures of Kors handbags in a Mother’s Day ad, despite not selling them.


>>?Sam Rubin Jr., the former owner of R&A ­Jewelers in Monroe, La., died on July 22 at age 86. Although he closed the store in 2005, he continued to work as a personal jeweler until his death.

>>?Dr. Louis J. Castiglione Jr., owner of Castiglione Jewelers in Gloversville, N.Y., died June 8 at age 68 after a battle with cancer.

>>?On July 3, Steve Magner, former executive vice president of precious jewelry at Neiman Marcus in Texas, died at age 63. He was also divisional president of Diamond Cellar Holdings, which operates two stores in Columbus, Ohio.

>>?Industry veteran Cheryl ­Nickell died of cancer on July 15 at age 60. ­Nickell held positions at Mikimoto, Scott Kay, and Roberto Coin, and spent her last three years at Verragio.

>>?Philip Minsky, owner of Wyman Jewelers in Stoughton, Mass., and winner of the American Gem ­Society’s prestigious Robert M. ­Shipley Award, died on July 22.

>>?Margaret Locke, who owned and operated James Locke Jewelers in East Liverpool, Ohio, with her husband, James, died July 20 at age 91. Locke ran the store with the help of her sons until it closed in early 2013.


>>?The Women’s Jewelry Association honored Candy Udell, president of London Jewelers, with its Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award at a dinner July 29. In addition, Standard Chartered Bank received the Corporate Hall of Fame Award, and Darwin Copeman, CEO of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., was honored with the Ben Kaiser Award, which is bestowed on industry men who show extraordinary support of women in the business. 

>>?Joseph M. Menzie was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Colored Gemstone Association in May at the group’s biennial congress in Changsha, China.

>>?On July 29, Toronto-based Holly Dyment received the 2013 Mort Abelson New Designer of the Year Award at the Jewelers of America Summer Show in New York City.

Laurence Graff

>>?Laurence Graff, chairman of Graff Diamonds, has been appointed to the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

>>?The Diamond Empowerment Fund will honor Forevermark, JCK Events, and Fred Meyer Jewelers at its third annual GOOD Awards at the Empire Penthouse Lounge in New York City on Jan. 9.


>>?Men’s Wearhouse has signed an agreement to buy the parent company of American men’s clothing brand Joseph Abboud. The price was approximately $97.5 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments.


>>?Grunberger Diamonds announces its 2013 Grunberger Jewelry Design Competition, open to all designers, manufacturers, and bench ­jewelers. Consumers will be asked to judge entries—which must incorporate Grunberger ideal-cut hearts and arrows diamonds—on social media. For details, see


>>?The American Gem Society is offering a free peek inside Conclave 2013, posting two full-length videos of presentations from the annual event on through the end of September. The videos show the keynote by Jim Stengel, author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies, and speaker Dave Mitchell’s presentation on “The Power of Understanding People.”