Delegates from around the world came to a diamond summit in Russia in June expecting the announcement of a breakthrough agreement between Russia and De Beers.

What they heard instead was a Russian declaration of independence. Russian diamond officials said they want – and need – the right to polish and sell more diamonds on the outside market and are expanding their marketing plans to do just that.

For U.S. retailers, this could mean more Russian polished goods on the market. It also could mean continued uncertainty in the diamond market and lower prices if the Russians fail to synchronize their supplies with world demand.

The summit, called to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Russian diamond production, brought key diamond dealers, producers, bankers, mining engineers and diplomats together with top De Beers executives and all of Russia’s major diamond players to discuss Russia’s emergence as a diamond superpower.

Russia’s intent became clear early in the proceedings. In his opening speech, Evgeny Bytchkov, chairman of Komdragmet, translated as the State Committee on Precious Minerals, said Russia not only wants to polish and sell more diamonds directly on world markets, but also that it’s ready to “share responsibility for maintaining a stable diamond market” with De Beers’ Central Selling Organisation. He said diamond polishing operations are vital to his country’s future because they generate jobs and add value to its diamond resources.

Plans call for expanded sales facilities in Moscow and creation of a diamond bourse, similar to those in New York City, Antwerp and Israel. The bourse, he said, would attract more foreign buyers to Russia and allow Russian companies to get more for their diamonds by selling direct.

Joint ventures are expected to play a big role. In fact, joint ventures with U.S., Belgian and Israeli diamond companies already have helped Russia to double its polished diamond output in the past five years, said Bytchkov. “In 1991, we had seven polishing factories,” he said. “Now we have more than 50.”

Regarding De Beers’ complaints that these joint ventures are responsible for major rough diamond leakage into outside markets: “We realize to our great regret that there are opponents to further development of our polishing industry,” he said. “But this process cannot be stopped because the Russian cutting industry is developing in response to market demand and grows stronger from year to year.”

Bytchkov also said that contrary to rumors, his agency doesn’t sell rough diamonds at a discount to joint-venture partners. “We have a single, coordinated price structure,” he said. “The only exception is that state-owned polishing plants can receive two months’ credit.”

The goal of increasing diamond earnings is a top priority for central and provincial government officials trying to meet their obligations to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and to fund development projects. “[The government’s] main task is to build added value into our diamonds by increasing our diamond cutting industry,” said Viktor Cherno myr din, the country’s vice president. This would not only build foreign exchange reserves and increase employment, he said, but also attract foreign investment in joint ventures.

Sakha demands: Sakha Province, which produces all of Russia’s diamonds, won the right in 1991 to keep 20% of diamonds mined there. It’s now seeking more independence from Moscow – though not necessarily from De Beers, said Mikhail Nikolayev, president of the province. Sakha now sells all of its share of rough diamonds through the CSO, and Nikolayev said he supports De Beers’ single-channel marketing system.

But Russia’s law governing provincial mining and marketing rights is coming up for revision, as is the law governing the mining and sale of diamonds and other precious materials. “We are insisting on a high degree of local sovereignty and local control of our resources,” he said.

Nikolayev believes De Beers should form an exploration and research partnership with Almazi-Rossii-Sakha, which controls the mining and marketing of new diamond production. This would help to fund an ambitious program to build railroads, schools, highways and other public works, he said.

In addition, the mines themselves are in dire need of improvements. But neither the central government nor Sakha has the money to accomplish them. The older Mir mine is flooded and technicians have been unable to extract the water. Several mines have been worked to the point where they need underground shafts. And the opening of the new Jubilee Mine has been delayed several years for lack of money to build the processing plant.

Nikolayev, like his counterparts in Moscow, believes a local diamond cutting industry is the answer to the problems. Already creating capital for improvements are two “joint-stock” companies (having government and private shareholders) that have established diamond polishing plants in the capital city of Yakutsk. Fourteen more polishing plants – primarily joint operations with foreign companies – are planned. In addition, the province just opened a high-rise diamond center next to a new hotel capable of accommodating foreign buyers.

The diamond center houses dealers’ offices, viewing rooms, sorting operations and a diamond exchange for trading in a modern building with full international telephone facilities, said Alexei Safonov, a director of Almazi-Rossii-Sakha.

Delegates to the summit toured a plant in Yakutsk that produces mainly small goods from five points to a quarter carat. But the plant’s output remains restricted because few buyers make the 4,000-mile trek from Moscow northeast to Yakutsk.

Encouraging unity: Revisions to the diamond-policy law are scheduled for debate in August, according to several high government officials. Proponents want Bytchkov’s agency (Komdragmet, which controls Russia’s stockpile and marketing) and Almazi-Rossii-Sakha (which controls mining and some polishing operations) to present a unified list of demands to De Beers by then. The corresponding agencies in Sakha are expected to do the same.

The primary focus of this policy will be diamond polishing, not outside rough sales, according to government officials. They want to expand the current practice of allocating the best rough to domestic and joint-venture cutting operations and sell the remainder to the CSO. Already, such operations take 26% of all Russia’s diamond production, they said.

At least one key Russian official has submitted a farther-reaching plan. Leonid Gourevich, deputy chairman of Komdragmet and a former member of Duma, Russia’s legislative assembly, has proposed setting up a Federal Diamond Center in Moscow to sell rough and polished goods. The center would function as the “Russian CSO”; De Beers’ CSO would be relegated to a minor role of buying rejected goods.

Gourevich said the center would be a kind of free-trade complex where dealers could buy and export diamonds with minimum red tape. All the diamonds would be sold at “prevailing world prices” to minimize the effect on world markets. An unstated percentage of rough would continue to be sold through the CSO. Gourevich predicted that such a scheme would nearly triple the $1.1 billion income derived from sales to the CSO last year.

Plugging the leaks: The contract under which the CSO markets Russian rough diamonds ends in December. Negotiations for a new contract have been under way for almost a year. While all sides pledged not to comment publicly, ARS officials noted their positions have “much common ground” with De Beers. Bytchkov and Komdragmet, however, remain defiantly independent.

De Beers’ top man on the Russian desk, Gary Ralfe, praised Russia’s achievements over the past 40 years. But he attributed the depressed state of the diamond trade in large part to the “leakage” of Russian rough on the market. He said De Beers understands Russia’s desire to increase jobs and add value to its resources, but that joint ventures exporting rough for polishing abroad do neither.

Ralfe said the logical course would be to sell all diamonds to the CSO, which would supply the polishing plants as needed. “I am told there are [legal] obstacles which stand in the way of this full partnership, so we are exploring other options,” he said. If an agreement with Komdragmet can’t be reached, he said, “both sides must recognize the need to continue as close a cooperation as possible.”

International influence: During the conference portions of the summit, diamond officials from other countries implored their hosts to restore stability to the world diamond market by closing the independent rough channel.

Mrs G.K. Chiepe, Botswana’s minister of education, appealed to the Russians to “cooperate in maintaining orderly management of the diamond market for all of our mutual benefit. It is each government’s sovereign right to determine and pursue its national interests. The reality of the diamond industry is, however, best served by orderly marketing and mutual restraint.”

Maurice Tempelsman, chairman of Lazare Kaplan International in New York City, warned Russia and De Beers that communication and cooperation among everyone involved are essential because the industry faces some “harsh realities” that include:

  • A potential oversupply of diamonds from new deposits in Canada and Russia and a resurgence of mining in Angola if that nation ends its long civil war.

  • Increasing consumer price resistance, which means diamond companies will have to devise more innovative marketing and advertising programs to maintain and boost sales.

  • An increasingly standardized diamond market (thanks to grading reports and price lists) that has created intense price competition and diminished profits.

“The result is that most producers’ incomes are down, cutting and trading incomes are down and an industry built on confidence and predictability is jeopardized by a shortfall of both,” he said.

He encouraged delegates not to look for scapegoats but to point the way to change. “The Russians have no desire to wreck the international market, and they recognize the need to curb irregular or unwelcome commercial activities that are unworthy of a great power,” he said. “Their objectives for their diamond industry are neither surprising nor unreasonable, but are consistent with their own national interest.”

The questions, he said, are how best to achieve Russia’s long-term objectives in a manner consistent with the long-term health of the global industry and how best to return the industry to stability and prosperity. “The solution lies in the very essence of this conference – communication,” he said. “Our friends in Russia, other producing countries and De Beers must deepen their understanding of each other’s needs, concerns and objectives.”

After the conference in Moscow, the delegates flew overnight to tour two mine sites in Sakha: the original Mir pipe, discovered in 1955, and Udachyniya, which now produces about 80% of Russia’s diamonds. There they learned how the mines operate year-round despite some of the most hostile conditions on earth: in winter the temperature plunges to minus 60ß centigrade; in the summer, the melting permafrost makes traveling difficult.

– by Russell Shor


A new era will begin for Jewelers of America when Matthew A. Runci becomes executive director Sept. 30. Runci, currently president and chief executive officer of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America, was chosen after a three-month search to replace Michael D. Roman, who is retiring after 20 years as JA chairman. Roman now will become director emeritus.

Runci, 49, will be responsible to the JA Board of Directors for the association’s overall operation, including strategic planning, operations and financial management. He comes to JA with considerable experience. At MJSA, which he joined in 1986, he has directed operations and, among numerous accomplishments, has been credited with steering the association through a difficult financial crisis. He recently led a year-long strategic planning project that resulted in a refocused mission, reformed governance structure, redefined membership eligibility and development of an operating plan targeting member needs.

Runci’s tenure at MJSA has been an “unparalleled success,” says Alan J. Klitzner, chairman of the MJSA Board of Directors. “Because of Matt’s talents and dedication, MJSA is a much stronger organization in terms of our member services, our finances and our strategic direction. While we accept his decision with some sadness, we also wish him all the best. We know first-hand that our friends at JA are getting the best man for the job.”

JA’s search committee considered numerous candidates inside and outside of the jewelry industry, says Irving Getz, chairman of the committee and a past president of JA. “We unanimously agreed Matt has the credentials to lead JA forward and build on the foundation Mike Roman laid,” he says.

Dale Perelman, incoming president of JA, looks forward to working with Runci. “His combination of association, academic and business skills makes him eminently qualified to lead JA into the 21st century,” says Perelman.

Industry service: Runci has participated in many national and international programs. He cochairs the American Jewelry Council, working to increase awareness in the nation’s capital of the economic, social and political significance of the jewelry industry. He also cofounded the Jewelers’ NAFTAN Network, a consortium of jewelry industry trade associations in North America, and has served as a U.S. delegate to the annual meeting of CIBJO, a consortium of international jewelry industry associations based in Europe.

Before his current position, Runci served in other key management positions with MJSA, managing its federal and state government relations programs and export development services. Runci graduated from Boston College, earned a doctorate in foreign affairs at the University of Virginia and taught political science at the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, N.Y., serving as department chairman from 1976 to 1979.

He is a member of the American Society of Association Executives, the Twenty-Four Karat Clubs of the City of New York and Southern California, Boston Jewelers Club, Providence Jewelers Club and Women’s Jewelry Association. He also volunteers as president of the Diamond and Jewelry Industries Development Corp. of New York City Board of Directors and serves on the Jewelers Vigilance Committee Board of Directors and Jewelers Education Foundation Board of Governors.

MJSA has appointed a search committee to recommend a replacement for Runci, with Klitz-ner as chairman. Serving with him are Kenneth Weiss, Alan Kaufman, Peter Fuller and Curt Ley. The committee hopes to have a recommendation in September.


De Beers’ Central Selling Organisation has taken the unprecedented action of lowering prices on certain types of smaller, lower-quality rough diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia.

The prices were reduced an average 10% beginning July 1, according to an announcement by Ashton Mining of Melbourne, Australia, a junior partner in the mine.

The move is not considered a price decrease because there has been no overall change in diamond price, said De Beers board member Gary Ralfe. But at a news conference in Moscow, he said, “We are indeed realigning or rebalancing our price book as a matter of periodic routine to bring it back into line with the market of rough and polished diamonds.”

The claim that there’s no overall change in diamond prices indicates the CSO has raised prices of other types of rough to make up the difference. CSO sightholders said they wouldn’t know which goods were raised in price until after the sight allocation in mid-July, after JCK press time.

Rough dealers and analysts said the market for small rough, particularly lower qualities, has been glutted for several years because of Argyle’s higher-than-expected production (40 million carats annually, about 12% more than forecast when the mine was developed a decade ago) and the high volume of Russian “technical” diamonds sold onto the market in the past two years (some of which can be cut into lower quality gems).

John Robinson, chief executive of Ashton Mining, said the price decrease “appears to be a reaction to continued price discounting on the open market of rough diamonds sold from Russian stocks and a need by the CSO to defend its market share.”

He predicted that profits for Argyle and Ashton would fall because of the CSO “realignment.” Ashton, which owns 40.1% of Argyle, earned $33.6 million from Argyle and other operations last year. Its shares fell nearly 10% following the announcement.

– by Russell Shor


The issue of gemstone enhancement disclosure highlighted an ambitious agenda at the International Colored Gemstone Association Congress, held June 18-23 at the Asakusa View Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. The event attracted member delegates from around the world, including miners, producing country officials, laboratory representatives, gemstone dealers and retailers.

Members overwhelmingly agreed that full disclosure of any treatment or enhancement of gemstones is essential at every level of the trade to maintain integrity and credibility in the gem and jewelry business. But there was sharp division – and heated debate – as to how the disclosure should be made.

Since 1989, ICA members generally have followed CIBJO rules regarding gemstone enhancement disclosure. (CIBJO – the International Confederation of Jewellery, Silverware, Diamonds, Pearls and Stones – was formed in 1926 to coordinate the work of independent national jewelry trade organizations; members include many European nations as well as Australia, Canada, India, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the U.S.)

The wrangling began after an ICA committee proposed adoption of disclosure codes which were developed during a gemstone “United Nations” meeting held last year in Bangkok, Thailand. The proposed codes:

  • N – Gemstones that have not been enhanced, other than normal cutting or polishing.

  • O – Gemstones enhanced by colorless oil substances or traces of previous enhancements.

  • E – Gemstones enhanced with heat, colorless, non-hardened natural or synthetic resin (including cedar oil and canada balsam).

  • T – Gemstones enhanced with heat, colored and/or hardened fillers, glass filling, diffusion treatment and other treatments.

ICA members voted not to adopt that system, so the proposal remained unresolved pending further study. Most of the acrimony centered on disclosure methods to be used for emeralds, which are treated with natural and synthetic resins. Members argued the system would unfairly prejudice certain emerald treatments, thereby deeming other treatments more “acceptable.” A consensus of lab representatives at the congress further noted it’s not possible to positively identify all enhancements in emerald, thereby making a division in the coding much less enforceable.

Among other suggestions from members:

  • Use the Gemstone Enhancement Manual used by the American Gem Trade Association. (AGTA has said ICA may use or modify the manual to suit its needs.)

  • Adopt a coding system using the letters N, E and T, with E covering oil, resin and heating treatment and accompanied by a written description of the exact treatment.

While the “how” was not resolved, ICA members still are required to disclose in full all treatments or enhancements on all paperwork related to gemstones that are sold or memoed – much along CIBJO guidelines.


New tests show deposits may be even richer than previously thought at a diamond mining project proposed by Dia Met/BHP in Northwest Canada.

A recent 905-ton sample from the Misery kimberlite pipe (the largest in the area) yielded 26% more carats of diamonds than previous tests there, says Dia Met Chairman Charles Fipke.

Smaller samples taken from other pipes in the complex “enhance or confirm” grades taken in previous samples. The Koala pipe yielded 2.46 carats per ton in a 205-ton sample, triple the amount in previous test results. The Panda pipe, which reportedly has the highest value per carat, came in slightly higher than previous results with 1.27 carats per ton.

Dia Met also took bulk samples from five other pipes that had not been tested before. Results of these samples will be announced later this year.

Fipke said all diamonds recovered in the latest tests were sent to valuers for commercial evaluation and that results would be available in late summer.

Production schedule: The Dia Met/BHP project is expected to be Canada’s first working diamond mine, coming on stream sometime in 1997. Koala is expected to be the first pipe developed, said BHP, which is the senior partner and will do the mining. Panda and Misery will follow soon after.

The production schedule depends on approval by federal and local environmental agencies. The federal Environmental Assessment Review Process agency presented Dia Met/BHP with its guidelines in May. Dia Met/BHP was expected to complete the final draft of an environmental impact statement by mid-July. “This report took more than two years of environmental work, more than three years of community consultation and two years of detailed engineering design,” said Fipke.

Unlike the kimberlite pipes of Africa and Russia, all of those found in Canada are small in diameter, requiring BHP to mine them in clusters instead of individually.

Ghana operations: On the other side of the world, De Beers has pulled out of a project to revive Ghana’s Akwatia and Birim River diamond operations. De Beers said the potential returns would be too little to justify the cost of developing the operations.

De Beers had concluded an agreement in November 1993 with the government of Ghana and Lazare Kaplan International of New York City, which had long held mining rights there, to study whether the sites could be revived and expanded.

In 14 months, the partners mined 387,000 carats of industrial and lower grade “near gem” diamonds – a 55% increase from previous years. They also helped to modernize treatment plants.

The increased production and cost-cutting measures helped the mine to show its first profit in years. But De Beers decided the small return would not justify the cost of keeping the mines in operation.


Pan American Diamond Corp., a diamond importer and jewelry manufacturer in New York, N.Y., and five of its subsidiaries were placed under bankruptcy protection in June when their largest creditors filed petitions to recover nearly $81 million in loans and consigned gold.

Two petitions were filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. One was filed by Merrill Lynch Capital Corp., which says it is owed $30 million; ABN Amro Bank, $13 million; Mellon Bank, $13 million; NatWest Bank, $13 million; Standard Chartered Bank, $7.4 million; and Swiss Bank Corp., $4.1 million. Merrill Lynch also filed a separate petition to recover its share. Pan American’s assets and liabilities were to be made public July 31.

The creditors agreed to let Pan American continue manufacturing with cash collateral. That should last at least until the end of the year, said attorney David Walsh of Alvarez & Marshal in New York City, a court-appointed trustee for Pan American.

Walsh said Pan American was hurt by its large inventory of màlÇe diamonds and lower sales in the past year as competition increased in the mass merchandise market.

Walsh said several top executives have left the company, including President Eli Nhaissi, Chief Executive Alan Glazer, Executive Vice President Josef Eisenberg and Secretary/Treasurer Ira Granberd.

The Pan-American subsidiaries involved are Jaguar Chain Corp., Jaguar Gold Products, Diamond Distributors Inc., Faleck & Margolies Manufacturing Corp. and Spectrolite Diamond Corp. All are based in New York or Long Island City, where the company has another facility. Another subsidiary, F&M Caribbean Inc. in Puerto Rico, filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May. Court papers list F&M with assets of $57.4 million and liabilities of $74 million, including $44.4 million in disputed unsecured claims.


Simons, a jewelry retailer in St. Louis, Mo., charges competitor Elleard B. Heffern with unfair competition in a lawsuit filed June 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Simons owner Simon Katz alleges that Heffern falsely accused it of selling a fracture-filled diamond, conspired with a manufacturer to fix retail prices and made disparaging remarks about Simons.

Kit Heffern, an owner of the Heffern store, says his legal counsel advised him not to comment on the case.

Regarding the first point, Katz says a Heffern employee told a customer that a pair of diamond stud earrings from Simons contained a stone that was fracture-filled. The woman, who received the earrings in an insurance replacement arrangement, then returned them to Simons. Katz sent the earrings to the Gemological Institute of America’s Gem Trade Laboratory, which found no evidence of fracture filling.

“Heffern’s false statements were intended to injure Simons and create a false and injurious impression in the community about Simons,” says the suit.

The second issue involves Oscar Heyman & Bros., a fine jewelry manufacturer in New York City that sold merchandise to both jewelers. The lawsuit alleges that Heffern complained about Simons’ lower pricing of Oscar Heyman merchandise and asked the manufacturer to stop doing business with Simons “to maintain high retail prices.” Katz says Oscar Heyman stopped selling to him May 25 with no advance notice, though Missouri franchise statutes require at least a 90-day advance written notice of termination.

This part of the case was being negotiated in early July, and Katz was optimistic an agreement would be forged allowing him to continue selling Oscar Heyman jewelry.

Adam Heyman at Oscar Heyman & Bros. says his legal counsel advised him not to comment on the case.

The suit also alleges that Heffern used false information and disparaging remarks in advertisements to claim it owns rights to a jewelry chain design.

Katz says he wants Heffern to halt its “false and misleading statements and representations” in ads, and seeks fees and damages. A court date has not been set.


An organization called African Coalition Against Racism, Brooklyn, N.Y., planned to organize a “mass human rights demonstration” at Rockefeller Center and the Jacob Javits Convention Center during the JA International Jewelry Show in July in New York City.

In a letter sent to many jewelry manufacturers in June, the coalition charged that M. Fabrikant & Sons Inc., which is headquartered at Rockefeller Center, sells jewelry to U.S. armed forces exchanges without conforming to federal affirmative action laws required for government contractors.

Charles Fortgang, chief executive officer of M. Fabrikant, had no comment.

The coalition’s letter also said the diamond industry “will continue to prevent African people, from both sides of the Atlantic, from participating” in the JA show. Jewelers of America, show sponsor, had no comment. Officials at Blenheim Jewelry Group, show producer, said a similar action attempted last year never materialized. They expect no problems this year.

John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, said JSA brought the coalition’s plans to the attention of the New York City Police Department.

JCK could not reach a spokesman for the coalition.


Sales of rough diamonds by De Beers’ Central Selling Organisation totaled $2.54 billion in the first half of 1995, down 1.6% from the same period of 1994.

The decrease occurred despite good retail diamond jewelry sales in the U.S. and some other parts of the world. The reason: Russia has been selling rough and polished diamonds outside of the CSO network of producers.

De Beers executives say Russia’s outside sales have been running at a slower pace than last year, when they totaled an estimated $1 billion. But reports in late June indicated that large amounts of smaller Russian goods had just arrived in the diamond centers of Bombay and Antwerp.

The Russian situation and an uncertain economic outlook in the U.S. have combined to leave CSO officials cautious about second-half sales.

Last year, retail diamond jewelry sales rose 7% in the U.S., the largest market. However, sales in Japan, the second largest market, fell 5% in terms of yen. Elsewhere, sales grew by 8% in East Asia and started to improve slightly in recession-plagued Europe.

CSO sales totaled $2.58 billion in the first half of 1994 and $1.67 billion in the second half for a total of $4.25 billion. This was slightly behind a record high $4.37 billion in 1993.


Nuys Inc. of Van Nuys, Cal., which changed its name from Nova Stylings earlier this year, filed a petition for relief under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code June 14 in Los Angeles.

The diamond jewelry manufacturer has been under financial duress since at least 1992, when it asked all creditors for a 19-month extension. For some creditors, the extension was lengthened to January 1994; the rest agreed to payment plans through January 1996.

President Martin Gruber incorporated the business in 1973, a successor to the company his father, Isaac, started in 1961. The company’s assets and liabilities were not available.


Jan Bell Marketing Inc. of Sunrise, Fla., has solidified its finances with a two-year $30 million working capital loan. Part of the loan will be used to reduce debt from $35 million to $26.5 million, says Rosemary Trudeau, senior vice president of investor relations.

The loan, made by Gordon Bros./Foothill Capital of Boston, Mass., allows Jan Bell to continue operations and eases concern the company itself disclosed in a quarterly financial report issued May 15. As a result of the loan, the company has reissued the report.

“We are pleased that the financings have been successfully completed and we can now focus all our attention on the successful operation of the business,” says Joseph Pennacchio, chief executive and president.

Jan Bell provides jewelry, watches, writing instruments, fragrances and other accessories to Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Warehouse Clubs through leased departments.


A book reviewed on page 242 of the July 1995 issue of JCK is no longer available from the publisher listed. The book, Cheap Thrills in the Tool Shop: Inexpensive Equipment Options and Bench Tricks for Goldsmiths, is now available from the author, Charles Lewton-Brain, at (403) 263-3955.


Announcement of a new scholarship program for disadvantaged youths highlighted the 50th anniversary graduation exercises at the Joseph Bulova School in Woodside, N.Y.

The American Watchmakers Association created the program, called Project Time, to pave the way for disadvantaged students to study at the school. Simon Critchell, chief executive officer of Cartier, announced the scholarship during the graduation ceremony June 30.

Other speakers were Josephine Nieves, assistant associate secretary for employment and training at the U.S. Department of Labor, and entertainer and comedian Henny Youngman.

Twenty-nine students received graduation certificates. Administrators also set up a display of antique watchmaking artifacts, photographs and awards detailing the school’s history.

The school was founded 50 years ago to help disabled veterans of World War II reintegrate into peacetime society by teaching them watchmaking and watch repair. Since then, the school has added jewelry design and jewelry repair to the curriculum and now is open to disabled and able-bodied students.


Matthew G. Stuller, founder and chief executive of Stuller Settings Inc., Lafayette, La., received a Regional Entrepreneur of the YearRegistered award at a banquet held in New Orleans in June. The event was part of the National Entrepreneur of the Year awards program founded by Ernst & Young, a professional services company, and sponsored nationally by Inc. magazine and Merrill Lynch.

The program honors entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Stuller was honored in the Wholesale/Distribution category. He now becomes eligible for the national award.

In addition, Stuller as a company was ranked first among the region’s top 100 privately held companies by the Times of Acadiana. The region of Acadiana includes Lafayette and the six surrounding parishes (counties).


Metals refiner Handy & Harman, New York, N.Y., has abandoned production of karat gold wire and other products for the jewelry industry. The company made the decision in order to reduce debt and interest expenses after reporting a pretax loss of $4 million last year at its gold fabricated products division in East Providence, R.I.

Chief Executive Richard Daniel said the company hopes to improve profits at the East Providence facility by servicing the silver market and specialty materials for the electronics industry.


JCK has rescheduled its 1996 International Jewelry Show. Dates originally announced were Monday through Thursday, June 3-6. But polls of buyers and suppliers showed a strong preference for weekend dates – and for a longer show to allow more time for visiting the approximately 2,200 exhibitors. So the 1996 JCK Show now is scheduled for Friday through Tuesday, May 31-June 4, in the Sands Expo & Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev. The preshow conference program will be held May 29-30.

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