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International Conclave Wraps in Chicago

International Conclave Wraps in Chicago

American Gem Society™ calls annual event an "overwhelming success"


LAS VEGAS - The American Gem Society's Conclave® wrapped in Chicago recently after four days packed with a sold-out Supplier Showcase, filled-to-capacity educational workshops, and industry addresses that were relevant and informative.


The April 1-4 event - which also marked the Society's 75th anniversary - was an "overwhelming success," said Ruth Batson, executive director and CEO of the American Gem Society.

"This was an exceptional year at Conclave for many reasons," agreed Mark Moeller, president of the American Gem Society. "We were marking a milestone anniversary for the Society, and invited non-member guests for the first time in Conclave history. Our staff and sponsors worked hard to make this an enriching, productive week for American Gem Society members, and from the educational programs to the evening galas - they truly delivered."

The Supplier Showcase, a private, two-day selling show held during Conclave on Wednesday and Thursday, sold out of booth space long before the event. Forty-one retailers from around the world showcased and sold their jewelry, and many lent their designs for the Society's Fashion Show - a favorite Conclave tradition that capped off the Supplier Showcase on Thursday evening this year.

Response to the educational program was enthusiastic, with perennial favorites like the gemology classes returning and new additions like the graduate-level business school courses, sponsored by Venus Jewel, filling to capacity and earning rave reviews.

"We heard from many participants who enjoyed classes like ‘Family Business Succession: Making Transition Work.' They're subjects so relevant and needed in today's business climate, but we haven't addressed them at this level during Conclave before," said Margaret De Young, deputy executive director of the American Gem Society. "We had many people whose only complaint was that the class was so helpful they wanted it to last longer."

Attendees also had the opportunity to learn from both outside- and inside-industry speakers every day, and network at special evening events.

Author and marketer Seth Godin delivered Friday's Opening Session keynote address, during the breakfast sponsored by Hearts on Fire. Godin spoke about the leadership concepts behind his latest bestseller, "Tribes," and discussed how attendees could differentiate themselves from the competition.

Award-winning celebrity chef Jeff Henderson, "Chef Jeff," delivered an inspirational message about the power of change in Friday's afternoon keynote address, held during the Titleholders' Luncheon, and participated in a spirited Q-and-A session with the audience.

The Titleholders' Luncheon, which was sponsored by the National Colored Diamond Association, was held in honor of the 59 new American Gem Society titleholders in attendance, each of whom was officially recognized at the event.

Friday night's dinner event, "Jeans and Jewels," featured Chicago's famed theater group, The Second City.

Saturday opened with the American Gem Society Membership Breakfast, sponsored by Wells Fargo Financial Services, and continued with the Robert M. Shipley Luncheon, sponsored by the Gemological Institute of America.

During the luncheon, Clayton Bromberg, CG, conferred the Society's highest honor, the Robert M. Shipley Award®, to members Charles and Ellen Lacy. The couple, who own Texas-based fine jeweler Lacy & Co., were recognized "for outstanding service to the Society, for significant contribution to the science of gemology, and for exemplifying the high purposes, objectives, and ideals of the Society in the member's community."

Saturday - and the entire four-day event - concluded with an evening cocktail reception, sponsored by American Gem Society Laboratories, and a birthday gala celebrating the Society's 75th anniversary that was sponsored by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company. The party included dinner and live swing, Motown, soul, and rhythm and blues music by The Blooze Brothers, a popular Chicago-based tribute band.

"The whole week of Conclave really was a celebration," said Batson. "We're celebrating 75 years of outstanding service to consumers and to members of the jewelry industry, and looking forward to many, many more."

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), Registered Supplier (RS), 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 www.AmericanGemSociety.org.