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July 15, 2008



Journalists to be honored at Ninth Annual Circle of Distinction Dinner

LAS VEGAS - The American Gem Society announced today the winners of the 2008 Richard T. Liddicoat™ Journalism Awards, to be presented at the Society's Ninth Annual Circle of Distinction dinner July 29 in New York City.

Jennifer Heebner and Carrie Soucy will be acknowledged in the Industry/Trade Reporting category for "Seal of Disapproval," from JCK Luxury Magazine. Russell Shor will receive the award in the Trade Journal category, for the Gems & Gemology feature "From Single Source to Global Free Market: the Transformation of the Cultured Pearl Industry."

"As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Richard T. Liddicoat Journalism Awards, the American Gem Society is proud to honor these outstanding trade journalists," said Ruth Batson, executive director and CEO of the Society. "Jennifer, Carrie, and Russell have each made exceptional contributions to the gem and jewelry industry this year."

The Richard T. Liddicoat Journalism Awards were founded in 2003 in remembrance of "The Father of Modern Gemology." Liddicoat was the longtime president of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and editor-in-chief of Gems & Gemology, which was first published by GIA under his leadership. He was a prolific author, and his Handbook of Gem Identification is a standard for gemological research.

The awards are given to those journalists who make an exceptional contribution to the understanding of gemology and the jewelry industry, and who uphold the Society's ideals of ethics, education, and consumer protection. Each article is acknowledged with a $1,500 cash prize and an etched crystal award inscribed with the author's name. The American Gem Society also makes a $1,000 contribution to the Richard T. Liddicoat Scholarship Fund at GIA in the name of each winning article.

Heebner and Soucy's "Seal of Disapproval," from the Winter 2008 issue of JCK Luxury Magazine, investigates heightened consumer interest in product origins due to recent issues on imports - like high lead counts in jewelry - and a federal law mandating disclosure of origins. The article claims the industry has largely ignored the law, poising it for legal and retail woes and consumer distrust.

Shor's article, "From Single Source to Global Free Market: The Transformation of the Cultured Pearl Industry," appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Gems & Gemology. The piece documents the cultured pearl industry's

dramatic transformation in the past 15 years from Japan being the lone producer - offering only white and round cultured pearls - to a truly international business creating an ever-growing variety of products. Shor, a two-time Liddicoat Award winner who was acknowledged in the Industry/Trade Reporting category in 2006, is the only author to have fully documented these changes in print.

The American Gem Society will honor Heebner, Soucy, and Shor at the Ninth Annual Circle of Distinction Dinner, held July 29 at the Rainbow Room in New York City's Rockefeller Plaza. The Society will also induct industry leaders John J. Kennedy, Hugh Glenn, and Anna Martin into its Circle of Distinction that evening. Tickets are still available; contact Peggy Campbell at 866.805.6500 x1005 or pcampbell@ags.org for further information.

The American Gem Society, founded in 1934 by Robert M. Shipley, is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to proven ethics, knowledge, and consumer protection within the jewelry industry. The American Gem Society is the international professional organization awarding credentials of Registered Jeweler (RJ), Certified Gemologist (CG), Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA), and Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser (ICGA). Members are held to the highest ethical and professional standards in the industry and must pass annual recertification examinations to maintain their American Gem Society titles. Less than five percent of jewelers in the country have met the exacting requirements necessary for membership.

For more information regarding the American Gem Society, please call 866.805.6500, or visit their Web site at http://www.americangemsociety.org/.