The Jewelers 24 Karat Club of Southern California will honor Karen Signorino of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Services and Ricardo Basta of Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry with the prestigious “Excellence in Service Award” at the club’ 69th Annual Dinner Dance and Gala on Saturday, October 11.
This year’s exclusive event will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, a new venue for the Gala.
The award has been presented annually to deserving jewelers since 1998 and is bestowed upon those whom exemplify the values of the 24 Karat Club: social responsibility, integrity and honor, as well as someone who has made a significant contribution to the industry.
"We are honored to present this year's 'Excellence in Service Awards' to Karen Signorino of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Services and Ricardo Basta of Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry," says Rossana Aguilar, 24 Karat Club President. "These individuals are pillars in the jewelry community and deserve to be recognized for their exceptional leadership, dedication and outstanding contributions to our industry."
Karen Signorino has been an integral part of the jewelry industry for over 35 years. She is currently the Regional Sales Director for JM Insurance Service LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company. She has represented Jewelers Mutual as one of their insurance agents since 1978; she has served on their Agent’s Advisory Council numerous times over the years and was recently inducted into their Inaugural Agent Hall of Fame, established in 2014 to honor Jewelers Mutual’s most exceptional agents.
Karen Signorino has distinguished herself as a leader in the jewelry industry by giving unselfishly of her time to many jewelry industry endeavors and through her involvement in numerous industry organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors of The Jewelers 24 Karat Club of Southern California and the California Jewelers Association. She is also a member of the Women’s Jewelry Association, Northern California Chapter. In addition, she supports numerous charities and community service organizations.
Karen began her career representing jewelers working for a small independent agency, McNary and McNary. In 1984, George McNary sold his agency to Marsh & McLennan, Inc. and she continued her career serving the jewelry industry, while employed by Marsh. In 2000, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company purchased Karen’s book of Business and started their own agency, JM Insurance Services, LLC. Under Karen’s sales leadership, the agency is now helping jewelers in California, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington and Alaska.
Karen Signorino has been married to John, her high school sweetheart, for 44 years. They have 2 grown children, Nicole and Daniel, and two granddaughters, Lilyann and Annalee.
Ricardo Basta was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the age of 19, Basta moved to the United States. He arrived in Los Angeles, California and began working for his uncle who owned and operated a jewelry store. Basta began by sweeping floors and eventually apprenticed with European-trained jewelers.
Early in his career, Basta began working for Frances Klein. There, he restored pieces from the Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Deco periods. Basta gained an appreciation of the designs and craftsmanship which in turn inspired his own award-winning creations, one-of-a-kind custom-made designs that have been showcased in some of the most exclusive jewelry stores in the world. Basta is one of the rare breed of modern jewelers who actually sits at the bench and meticulously handcrafts each piece, and is recognized as one of the premiere platinum jewelry designers in the country. Basta has written articles on designing in platinum and some of the top jewelry designers and design houses in the world entrust their designs to him to manufacture. Basta's platinum bridal creations are renowned for both the quality of the gems and the intricacy of the design and style of the rings.
Basta has collaborated on three books on the restoration and repair of antique and estate jewelry and has developed and refined valuable restoration techniques utilized by the jewelry industry today. Basta has restored pieces from every period in history, and has worked with Asprey-Garrard to restore a tiara that converts into a necklace, worn by actress Hilary Swank at the 72nd Academy Awards in 2000.
Basta has won numerous jewelry design awards for his cutting edge and trend-setting designs. In 2004, he won 1st place in the Bridal Category in the coveted American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Spectrum Awards that honor America's top jewelry designers. He also won additional Spectrum Awards in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009, and recently a platinum honors in 2013. In 2005, he was honored by the prestigious invitation to be an AGTA Spectrum Awards judge. He also won two MJSA awards in 2003 and 2004 in recognition of his outstanding designs. Considered one of the premiere jewelry designers on the scene today, his jewelry is now a staple worn on the Red Carpet by celebrities such as, Stockard Channing, Nancy O'Dell, Gladys Knight, Zooey DesChanel , Vivica Fox, Lisa Raye, Debra Messing, Sheila E, Gabrielle Union, and the late Brittany Murphy.
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