Angelica Introduces Commemorative “Friends” Bracelets

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series premiere of the classic Emmy-winning comedy “Friends,” Angelica jewelry, an imprint of Royal Chain, has partnered with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create a special edition series of 23 adjustable bracelets featuring charms inspired by the hit series.

Available in a variety of metal colors, themes will include Phoebe’s “Smelly Cat,” Central Perk, the famous “Friends” couch and many others, all designed to bring back the happy times fans shared while watching the series.

Angelica bracelets are made in the USA from recycled metals, and Angelica will continue to donate $0.25 from each bracelet sold to Generation Rescue, a charity that supports programs for families affected by autism.

The “Friends” charm bracelets are now available at the Central Perk pop-up shop located at 199 Lafayette Street in Manhattan’s SoHo district and at over 1,500 Angelica retailers around the country.

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Signorino and Basta Honored by LA’s 24 Karat Club

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 AngelesCalifornia 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.  

 

For tickets and sponsorship information, contact Lisa Schoening at info@jewelers24karatclub.com.

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Global Diamond Demand Reaches Record Levels

Global demand for diamond jewelry reached a record high of $79 billion in 2013 according to the inaugural Diamond Insight Report, published today by The De Beers Group of Companies.

Demand is expected to continue to grow over the long-term, driven by the ongoing economic recovery in the US (the world’s largest diamond jewelry market) and the growth of the middle classes in developing markets such as China and India. Sales of polished diamonds in the US increased seven per cent in 2013, while both India and China have seen their domestic diamond jewelry markets grow by a compound annual growth rate of 12 per cent in local currency terms between 2008 and 2013. 

The report cautions that while diamonds retain their special allure with consumers around the world, future demand levels cannot be taken for granted. The overall category is facing increasingly strong and sophisticated competition from other luxury categories, with diamonds’ share of advertising voice in the US market having reduced within its competitive set. 

Global rough diamond production in 2013 increased by seven per cent in carat terms over 2012 levels to a total of around 145 million carats. However, this remains well below the 2005 peak of around 175 million carats. The report further highlights that a forecast reduction in supply from existing sources will likely not be matched by new production coming on-stream in the years ahead and diamond supply is expected to plateau in the second half of the decade before declining from 2020 onwards.

Meanwhile, as mining moves deeper into the earth and towards more remote locations, the extraction process is becoming increasingly complex and costly. The three principal input costs – labour, electricity and diesel – have all seen increases well above local inflation levels in the main diamond producing countries over the last decade and this trend is set to continue. 

Substantial investment will be required in diamond production, technology and branding, marketing and retail standards if the industry is to sustain its recent levels of success into the future, the report says.

The report also reveals that: 

China is the world’s fastest growing market for diamond jewelry sales, with the number of diamond jewelry retail doors in the country increasing by almost 30 per cent between 2010 and 2013.

Online has become an increasingly important channel for the diamond industry. Over one in six diamond jewelry purchases in the US was made online in 2013 and in China the internet is already used by a quarter of acquirers for research purposes before purchase.

Diamonds were a major contributor to the economic performance of producing nations in 2013. In Botswana, diamonds represented more than 25 per cent of GDP and over 75 per cent of overall exports, whereas in Namibia they represented eight per cent of GDP and almost 20 per cent of all exports. 

 

Philippe Mellier, Chief Executive, De Beers Group, said: “Consumer demand remains the one true source of value for the diamond industry. With demand forecast to increase further from 2013’s record levels, the opportunity for growth is clear. But this must not be seen as cause for complacency. The industry will continue to lose ground to other categories if it does not invest significantly in production, marketing and technology.”

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India Plans World Diamond Conference for December

World Diamond Mark Foundation, in cooperation with the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, India, will organize an international World Diamond Conference supported by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, in upcoming December

The conference will be held December 11-12, 2014. 

The event, which will be attended by representatives of the world's leading mining countries, major diamond producers, diamond and jewelry manufacturers, retailers and industry interest organizations, will focus on the most urgent issue that worries the international diamond industry and trade: the revival of consumer enthusiasm for diamonds and the consequent increase of market share for diamond jewelry in the luxury sector. 

The World Diamond Mark Foundation, together with its early adopters and supporters, believes it holds the keys to the vehicle that will help boost consumer demand for diamonds and diamond jewelry.

The decision to hold the conference was finalized in a meeting between GJEPC Chairman Vipul Shah and WDMF Chairman Alex Popov.

"The global diamond industry is subject to challenging times," WDMF Chairman Alex Popov stated. "Consumer demand for the category needs a tremendous boost and thus Global Marketing is a significant area that needs detailed deliberation.

“World Diamond Conference is an effort to consolidate the industry under one roof and plan way forward. I wish to congratulate the GJEPC for its vision and its precious cooperation. It is also very fitting that we hold this event in India's capital Delhi, where there is a new wind blowing. I certainly hope will catch some of its breeze," Popov added. 

"The conference's timing and location were more proof of India's changing role in in the global gem and jewelry industry and trade," GJECP Chairman Vipul Shah said.

 

"India is not only the world's major diamond producer; we are also a huge manufacturer of jewelry and, last but not least, an enormous, expanding consumer market. Also, with our economy growing strongly and with a middle class that continues to expand and develop a taste for luxury, a lot of the WDMF's marketing and promotion programs will fall on fertile ground. We have high expectations of this event," he concluded.

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