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American Gem Society Awards Honorees

The American Gem Society presented several prestigious awards during Conclave in Dallas, Texas, September 12–14.

On September 12, during the Morning Breakfast Keynote, Marc Altman, CGA, Chair of the International Guilds Council, presented three awards, the John J. Kennedy Award, the Guild of the Year Award for 2020, and the Guild of the Year Award for 2021.

The John J. Kennedy Award, which is given to individuals who have been exemplary in their contribution to the safety and security of the entire jewelry industry, was presented to FBI Special Agent Daniel Gimenz, “We selected Special Agent Gimenz for all his efforts in helping to protect our industry,” Mr. Altman noted.

Pictured left to right: Marc Altman, CGA, and FBI Special Agent Daniel Gimenz

The Guild of the Year Award for 2020 went to the North Jersey Guild. “This is a young Guild yet the amount of energy that gushed out was spectacular!” said Mr. Altman. “This Guild pulls from attendees from a large geographical area in northern New Jersey along with many fun and creative social meetings.”

Mr. Altman presented the 2021 Guild of the Year Award to the Keystone Guild in Pennsylvania. “They are the mothership of Guilds! This is where the new Guild era started! Everything they do sets the tone for how Guilds should and could evolve,” said Mr. Altman.

Pictured from left to right: Bryan Aderhold, CG, accepts the 2020 Guild of the Year Award on behalf of the North Jersey Guild, from Marc Altman, CGA.
Marc Altman, CGA, poses with Cathy Calhoun, CGA, who accepts the 2021 Guild of the Year award on behalf of the Keystone Guild.

At the Titleholders Luncheon held on September 14, Sarah Nanasi Russell, CG, Chair of the Young Titleholders Committee, also gave out two awards. The first, the 2020 Young Titleholder of the Year, went to Alexis Padis, CGA, of Padis Jewelry, Vice Chair of the Young Titleholders Committee.

“Alexis has helped across social media, communication, and has been a standing pillar of the committee leadership for the last six years,” said Ms. Russell. “Her strategic guidance, ‘fun voice of reason,’ and industry relationships have helped propel the Young Titleholders to new heights.”

The 2021 award was given to Dave Bindra of B & B Fine Gems, Events Chair of the Young Titleholders Committee.

From left to right: Alexis Padis, CGA, Dave Bindra, and Sarah Russell, CG

“Dave has been in charge of events for the committee for the last few years, and up until COVID, continued to grow in-person events year over year,” Ms. Russell noted. “When in-person events came to a screeching halt, Dave adapted quickly and didn’t skip a beat, hosting virtual trivia nights, cooking nights, and cocktail making events. In addition to his role as the Event Chair, in July of 2020, he joined our newly formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force and was key in executing many of our new DEI initiatives. We’re so grateful for his leadership.”

The Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC) collaborated with the Young Titleholder’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to award one BIJC member a grant for Conclave. Ms. Russell announced the recipient of this grant, Natacha Metayer. The grant covered the cost of registration, hotel, and provided a $500 stipend from AGS towards travel expenses.

“The Young Titleholders are proud of this new scholarship and are grateful to the Black in Jewelry Coalition for helping them execute it in a timely and meaningful way,” said Ms. Russell. “We pushed the boundaries of our usual scholarship process and offerings to align with their continuing goal of ensuring a diverse and inclusive American Gem Society community.”

The next Conclave will be held April 25–27, 2022, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Stay tuned for more details coming soon. To learn more about Conclave, visit ags.org/Conclave.

The American Gem Society would like to thank Wells Fargo, who sponsored the Monday Morning Keynote Breakfast, as well as the American Gem Trade Association, who sponsored the Titleholder Lunch. A big thank you goes to Jewelers Mutual Group, who is the premier sponsor of Conclave. It is through their generous support that the American Gem Society is able to bring a high level of talent to Conclave.