Ruby and sapphire expert Richard W. Hughes has joined Pala International, importers and exporters of colored gemstones based in Fallbrook, Calif.

Hughes will develop Pala Inernational’s sales on its Web site,

Hughes spent nearly a decade as executive vice president of Bangkok’s Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences. He has traveled the world in search of precious stones and is the author of books and articles on all aspects of the gem and jewelry trades. His 1997 book Ruby & Sapphire was highly acclaimed.

Most recently, Hughes headed the colored stone department of the Gem Quality Institute in Los Angeles. He is a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain and a graduate of AIGS.


The JCK International Publishing Group has expanded its global sales operations by adding two international sales representatives to its team.

In Italy, JCK will be represented by Anthony Rochman. Rochman may be contacted at Charter House, 29a London Rd., Croyden, Surrey CR0 2RE, England; tel. 44 (20) 8760 9929, fax 44 (20) 8680 9484, e-mail: or

In Thailand, Alan Feigen of the independent firm Feitech Industries will be JCK’s representative. Feigen may be contacted at 178/9 Soi Watana Prannok, Bangkok 10700, Thailand; tel. 662-866-1575 (77), fax 662-866-1579.


Ghislain d’Humières has been appointed to head Christie’s jewelry department on the West Coast. Born in France, he graduated from the Sorbonne University in Paris and began working for renowned porcelain dealer Michel Vandermeersch. He later joined an auctioneer at the Hotel Drouot, dealing with daily valuations and weekly sales. He has also been a furniture specialist at a major auction house in London. He moved to the United States in 1995, attended the Gemological Institute of America, and has had intensive training in appraising and cataloging jewels.

The Gemological Institute of America has promoted two staff members. Susan Elliott, G.G., is now dean of students. She has been at GIA for nearly a decade and has also worked in the retail and manufacturing sectors of the industry. Anna Lisa Johnston has been named manager of career services. She has been at GIA for five years and has a background in fund-raising and developing new programs.

George S. Frankovich has been promoted to vice president, secretary, and general counsel at Sterling Jewelers Inc., Akron, Ohio. Frankovich, previously corporate secretary and general counsel, has been with the company since 1986.

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., Neenah, Wis. has made two personnel changes. David Sexton has been promoted to vice president of select accounts. He will provide security and insurance consulting to large jewelry businesses. A 20-year veteran of the company, Sexton has led the company’s underwriting team for multiple-location and manufacturing jewelry accounts. Scott Hewitt has joined the company as commercial underwriting manager. Hewitt has more than 10 years’ underwriting and marketing experience with Westfield Companies, a property and casualty insurance company in Westfield, Ohio.


Robert Grelick, 85, the founder of Bomi-Grelick Corp., a gemstone importer in Amherst, N.Y., died of lung cancer Oct. 17. During the Depression, he sold watch bands and pens from his car. He founded Bomi—named for the first two letters of his nickname, Bob, and his wife’s name, Millie—in 1935 and never retired from the business. At the end of his life, he worked part-time with his son and partner, Gary Grelick. In addition to his jewelry career, he played professional basketball and football and was also a wrestler, golfer, and handball player.

Edmund T. Ahee Sr., 77, owner, founder, and CEO of Edmund T. Ahee Jewelry Co., Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., died of a heart attack July 12. He started with a few showcases in his uncle’s bowling alley in 1947. In 1968, the store moved to its current location. One of Michigan’s largest independent jewelers, it continues to be operated by his six sons and daughter. He was known for his generosity and aid to charities, most notably the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit. An annual benefit for the soup kitchen underwritten by Ahee’s store raised more than $3 million during the past 18 years. He was actively involved in the store until his death.


Alex Giritlian, 43, a partner in Universal Jewelry Designs, New York City, died of cancer Oct. 25.

Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Giritlian came to the United States to study at the University of Delaware after serving in the Turkish Army. Struggling to make ends meet, he left school and became an apprentice with a jewelry manufacturer. Five years later, he was introduced to Zack Dulgerian through a mutual friend, and the two of them began Universal Jewelry Designs.

In 1988, he married Adrine Sarmisaklioglu. Ten years later, he was diagnosed with cancer, which spread throughout his body despite chemotherapy.

A scholarship fund has been established in Giritlian’s memory to aid students pursuing a university education, a luxury he couldn’t afford for himself. Those wishing to contribute should make checks payable to PNC Brokerage and send them to Alex Giritlian Scholarship Fund, c/o Adrine Giritlian, P.O. Box 213, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010.

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