Second Annual Northwest Jewelry Conference Coming in August

The history, science and artistry of fine jewelry will be highlighted at the second annual Northwest Jewelry Conference August 15-17 in Bellevue WA.  

Noted jewelry historians Diana Singer and Peter Shemonsky will be returning with new topics of value to collectors, jewelers and appraisers. 

In all, eight industry leaders will provide in-depth presentations plus hands on workshops for up to twenty-four students.

“This is an information-dense weekend” explains Ted Irwin, director of Northwest Gemological Institute (NGI), the conference host.  

“It all started 25 years ago with period jewelry seminars by Karen Lorene (who will also be speaking this year), and grew into full weekend programs, first with Christie Romero and then Peter Shemonsky.   

“Last year we transitioned to a multi-speaker format.  Our intent is to bring world-class speakers to a small group environment.   It may not make the school money but it does provide an opportunity for those passionate about period jewelry to explore the topic at home in the Pacific Northwest.”

The NGI classes have expanded outside its original localized audience.  Students have come from seven western states and Canada to attend the NGI programs, and inquiries have spread to the other coast. “We are not trying to compete with the other great programs out there” says Irwin, “but offer a unique class where students can really interact with their instructors”.  And the instructors seem to like that.  

“Diana’s “Great Jewelry Heists” was a big hit last year and Peter has been an NGI favorite instructor here for several years, so they have to be back – both even asked if they could return.”

The conference kicks off this year with a champagne/hors d’ oeuvre reception on Friday, August 15 where Singer will present “What Makes Good ‘Good’?”  We know it when we see it; good things always stand out from the crowd. But what are the elements that determine excellence in jewelry?  

Singer will discuss stone quality, workmanship issues, and the components of good design, including mathematical principles, color usage, negative and positive space.  You will never look at jewelry the same way again. 

On Saturday, August 16, Singer and Shemonsky will team up to cover the formidable history of Tiffany & Co., its innovations, designers and imposters.  This presentation is the launch of an in-depth coverage of one major jewelry house at each conference.  

Another planned yearly presentation is “Another Time and Place,” which will offer a 360-degree look the influences, developments and transitions within a slice of jewelry history.  

This year, Shemonsky will examine 1890-1905, the closing of the 19th Century to the dawning of a new era, navigating the political, socio-economic and technical influences that shaped the 20th century and the jewelry associated with it. 

Diana Singer is owner of D & E Singer Inc., buyers and sellers of estate jewelry and gemstones out of New York City.  She is a founding member of the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA), recipient of WJA Retailer of the Year Award in 1988.  Singer is a Board of Directors member and Program Chair of the American Society of Jewelry Historians (ASJH); frequent lecturer including Tucson Gem Fair, GIA Symposium, Annual Period and Estate Jewelry Conference, Jewelry Camp, auction houses, and industry shows.  She has been published in Rapaport Diamonds, JCK and other trade publications.   

Peter Shemonsky, is president of Peter Jon Shemonsky Fine Antique Jewelry, as a buyer and seller of estate jewelry based in San Francisco, and provides restorations, design and appraisals.  He is the author of the International Society of Appraisers Antique and Period Jewelry course, co-director of ASJH West Coast chapter; past Jewelry department head of Grogan & Co, Bonhams, and buyer for CIRCA Jewels, San Francisco and Hong Kong.   

Peter is a frequent lecturer including American Gem Society (AGS) Conclave, National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA), American Society of Appraisers (ASA); and a regular of TV’s Antiques Roadshow for the past ten years.  This will mark his fourth year as instructor with NGI.

“The Evolution of Diamond Cutting” will be a comprehensive history from Al Gilbertson cut historian at the Gemological Institute of America, and Scott Sucher, principal of The Stonecutter who provides museums with replicas of the world’s most famous diamonds.   

Al Gilbertson has helped develop many of the industry’s analytics that determine a diamond’s light performance, including the American Gem Society’s (AGS) cut grade system and GIA’s cut grade system with his current research being on the metrics for fancy cuts as GIA’s Cut Project Director, Carlsbad, CA.   He is author of “The American Cut – the first 100 years.” 

Scott Sucher has degrees in semiconductor manufacturing, chemistry and management.   He has done exhaustive historical and hands on studies of the Hope Diamond and its lineage from the French Blue as published by GIA’s Gems and Gemology as well as television  productions by National Geographic and The Discovery Channel.  

He will present his exact replicas of the World’s Most Famous Diamonds, where students can see and feel just how impressive they really are.

Jewelry as Art is Karen Lorene’s look at designers who create jewelry for artistry sake over intrinsic value and how it is evaluated.

Karen Lorene is the owner of Facèré Jewelry Art, Seattle, WA featuring dozens of local and international artists and has appraised jewelry art since 1987.   She is an authority on antique jewelry as an appraiser since 1972 and author of “Buying Antique Jewelry – Skipping the Mistakes.”  She published the memoir/business workbook “Building a Business – Building a Life,” and her second novel should be out by Conference time.  Lorene is a senior member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers and participated in the Antiques Roadshow for several years.

A lighter, but informative close to Saturday’s schedule will be a Pearl Stringing Demonstration by Evie Chung, who presented a comprehensive pearls workshop last year. Students will see what happens when a strand is submitted for re-stringing.  While she demonstrates the traditional Japanese hand-knotting technique, Chung will discuss stringing options and restoration of period pearl strands.

Sunday’s sessions are heavy-duty workshops on materials and markings to aid in the identification, origin and time placement of jewelry. Shemonsky will present “What is It?” with examples and testing procedures for the many organics and their substitutes used in jewelry.   

William Whetstone and Danusia Niklewicz of the Hallmark Research Institute will provide great insight into deciphering jewelry marks through their presentation Where is it From?;an interactive presentation and hands on hallmarks workshop.  With Lindy Matula, Whetstone and Niklewicz are the authors of “World Hallmarks, Volume One, Europe,” and are doing continuing research for hallmarks outside of Europe for volume two, due out later this year.

William Whetstone is a historian, antiquarian jeweler, numismatist, educator and goldsmith.  He is twice past president of the International Society of Appraisers, where he wrote and taught on the appraisal of gems, jewelry and fine arts. He has been a dealer and collector of ancient and world coins as well as precious metal objects d’ art for over forty years.

Danusia Niklewicz is a highly respected independent jewelry appraiser to the antique and high-end jewelry community in the Los Angeles area for over twenty of her thirty year industry career.  She taught at GIA and ISA, holding G.G. and CAPP credentials, and earned her fellowship from the Gemmological Association of Great Britain as well as credentials with the American Society of Appraisers.  She and Whetstone have provided their interactive lecture series across Canada and the U.S.

Cost of the conference sessions, which includes the reception, breakfasts and lunches is $595 and will be held at Northwest Gemological Institute in Bellevue WA.   


Further information on the Institute is available through, with complete conference and registration details at

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TimeCrafters Luxury Watch Show Returns to Park Avenue

TimeCrafters, America’s Premier Luxury Watch Show, will return to the Park Avenue Armory this Spring, May 16–18.

Industry paragons that will exhibit and celebrate the fine art of watchmaking include A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet,Bulgari, Chopard, Christophe Claret, De Bethune, Frederique Constant, Hublot, HYT, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Parmigiani Fleurier, Richard Mille, Tag Heuer, Urwerk, and Zenith.

American horological aficionados will have a rare opportunity to gather at the beautiful and historic Park Avenue Armory over three event-filled days, where they can peruse the most cutting-edge timepieces, all of which were presented by the world’s leading “haute horologie” brands not more than three month ago at Baselworld or SIHH.

Highlights will include:

Christophe Claret: Margot is Christophe Claret’s first ladies’ watch complication. It features an ingenious mechanism that helps to ‘predict’ – or at least tries to – one of nature’s paramount questions: “Does he love me?” A simple press of the pusher at 2 o’clock brings the watch to life. With each press, a petal – sometimes a pair of petals, subtly disappears under the dial in a smooth action, perfectly depicting the delicate undressing of the flower. The eagerly-awaited answer appears at random in calligraphic letters (in French) on the dial at 4 o’clock: Un peu (a little) – beaucoup (a lot) – passionnément (passionately) – à la folie (madly) – pas du tout (not at all)? Need to know more about this intriguing ladies’ watch – come see it for yourself at TimeCrafters 2014.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Artistica Collection exclusively premieres in New York at TimeCrafters: The unique spirit of inventiveness and the 180 century-old skills of the Grande Maison will be brought to life thanks to Hybris Artistica, a collection of twelve precious timepieces.  Symbolizing the horological excellence of the Manufacture and combining as never before watchmaking art and transcendent creativity, the Hybris Artistica collection will make a grand debut at TimeCrafters, and will be in the spotlight of the luxury exhibition. 

Parmigiani Fleurier: Parmigiani Fleurier is proud to announce its new partnership with Pomellato, the prestigious Italian Jeweler, combining the exceptional expertise of both companies and redefining the realm of ladies’ watches. The Arabesque-inspired Tonda Pomellato, is characterized by a pattern of openings in rose gold, which give way to transparent elements with colored precious stones. The watch is available in shades of beige, with or without stone setting, and in shades of graphite with a setting on the four lugs.

Zenith: A movement well-known to collectors beats at the heart of the latest Zenith watch: Calibre 410. Created in 1969 as a variation of the legendary El Primero, it combines the performances of the world’s most accurate automatic chronograph with triple calendar and moonphase indications. Steadily perpetuated over the years, it now appears in a form bridging past and present, orchestrated around a display loyal to the historical model, while the case displays resolutely contemporary lines.

TimeCrafters Seminars are planned over the course of the show, including a panel discussion hosted by famed auction houseChristie’s, titled “Trends in Watches and Jewelry: How to Build a Collection, which will be held onSaturday, May 17 at 11:15 AM. The panel will include Christie’s Reginald Brack, VP, Director of Privates Sales, Watches, and Tom Burstein, SVP, Senior Jewelry Specialist, Hodinkee’s Associate Editor Stephen Pulvirent, private collectors Paul Boutros, and Andrew Jacobs, and will be moderated by local TV personality Bill McCuddy.


TimeCrafters will be open for general admission May 16 – 18, 2014, from11:00am-6:00pm. Advance registration is open online at Tickets are $10 online, or $20 at the door.

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GIA Names Crimmin VP-Lab Operations

The Gemological Institute of America has appointed Matt Crimmin as vice president of Laboratory Operations.

Crimmin, who helped lead operational aspects of GIA’s international lab expansion from 2006 to 2009, brings valuable experience with global management and strategic initiatives to the role.

“As a member of our growing team, Matt Crimmin will help improve operations at GIA’s laboratories,” said Tom Moses, executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer for GIA.

“He made a significant contribution to the development of lab processes as GIA expanded, and has since gained experience in cross-functional management on a global scale. I’m confident that Matt will again make a significant contribution as we work to meet the expanding demand for services while maintaining our quality standards.”

Crimmin joins GIA from multinational consumer goods company Procter & Gamble. From 2010 to 2011, he served as GIA’s director of Laboratory Strategic Initiatives; prior to that he worked as consultant for GIA and other consumer and luxury goods companies. He holds a Masters in Business Administration from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University.

Crimmin began his current tenure with GIA on April 8 and will report to Tom Moses. He will oversee regional laboratory operations, focusing on Africa and the Middle East.

For more information about GIA, visit the website at

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Diamond Empowerment Fund Gala Gains Major Support

Major leaders spanning the breadth of the diamond and jewelry industry have joined as Sponsors of the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s Diamonds in the Sky Las Vegas gala including: Premier Presenting Sponsors: Rio Tinto, Signet Jewelers Ltd., The De Beers Group of Companies; Premier Partner Sponsor: Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Limited; Premier Patron Sponsors: KGK Group, Le Vian Corporation, Tiffany & Co.

Anna Martin of Standard Chartered Bank and D.E.F board member said, “The immediate embrace by these global leaders of the ‘Diamonds in the Sky Las Vegas’ gala signifies a momentous coming together of the industry in support of D.E.F’s Diamonds Do Good mission.”

Concurs Philippe Mellier, CEO, The De Beers Group of Companies, “We are a founding partner and proud supporter of the Diamond Empowerment Fund. In our 45th year of partnership with the people of Botswana, we are delighted to be part of this special occasion honoring the country’s unique record of success in transforming its natural resource into sustainable, broad-based development.

The elegant affair will bring together a unique mix of the international diamond jewelry industry, government officials from diamond producing nations, and celebrities from fashion and entertainment. The proceeds will benefit D.E.F.’s recently expanded mission that supports diamond communities around the world.

Jean-Marc Lieberherr, Managing Director, Rio Tinto Diamonds says, “With this expanded mission D.E.F has become the industry organization that is taking the role to communicate to the consumer all the good things that diamonds do today and will continue to do tomorrow. We are honored to support this endeavor.”

Kent Wong, Managing Director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery notes, “We are proud to be part of an industry that gives back. We salute the good works of H.E. President Khama, the Government of Botswana and the role D.E.F is taking to communicate this to consumers around the world.”

Phyllis Bergman, President of D.E.F.’s board of directors concludes; “We are thrilled to welcome such an esteemed list of industry leaders as Premier Sponsors of Diamonds in the Sky Las Vegas.”

The Premier Sponsors are joined by Benefactor Sponsors; Arjav Diamonds, Blue Star Diamonds, Dali Diamond Co., Diacore, Diarough, Eurostar Diamond Traders, Julius Klein Group, M. Suresh Company, Pluzcenik, Rosy Blue, Shree Ramkrishna Exports, Sustainer Sponsors; American Gem Society Laboratories, Christopher Designs, Crossworks Manufacturing, Dalumi Group, Dominion Diamonds, GIA, Interjewel, JCK, Leo Schachter, Niru Group, Rapaport Group, Taché, Y.Dvash and Empowerment Circle Partners; Forevermark, Dalumi Group, Malca-Amit, Brilliant Earth, Exelco, Leo Schachter, Sarine Technologies, Tiffany & Co.

The Diamond Empowerment Fund was co-founded by Russell Simmons and leaders in the diamond industry in 2007. For more information on tickets, journal ads and sponsorship opportunities please contact Executive Director Nancy Orem Lyman at or visit

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Sponsors Sign On for Rings of Strength Bike Event

To date, TAG Heuer, JCK Events, Rio Tinto Diamonds, Blue Nile, Brinks, the Harmon Group, Jewelry Creations, Coast Diamonds, Leo Schachter Diamonds, Malca-Amit, and Freeman have signed on to sponsor the Jewelers for Children Rings of Strength Tour bike-run event that takes place on Thursday, May 29.

Participants can bike—with their own cycles or with a rented one—either a 50k route through Red Rock Canyon or a 15k route that snakes along local roads in clearly defined bike lanes. Runners and walkers, meanwhile, can work a 5k route at their own pace.

The event kicks off at 5:30 a.m. to avoid the heat of the day, and rest stops along the route will ensure that everyone stays hydrated and energized to help raise funds for children in need.

Sign up as an individual or a team at, and create your own fund-raising page and URL that can be forwarded to encourage others’ support.

Participants can visit to sign up.

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