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May 2011

Press Releases for May, 2011:

AGS Announces 2011 Circle of Distinction Honorees

May 17, 2011 - Las Vegas –The American Gem Society has announced the 2011 Circle of Distinction Honorees, who will be recognized at the Society’s 11th Circle of Distinction Dinner on July 26 at the iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City.

The recipients of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award are David and Sybil Yurman of David Yurman. David is the design force behind the eponymous brand of jewelry, and Sybil is the Chief Marketing Officer.

This year’s recipients of the Triple Zero Awards are Kathryn Kimmel, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the Gemological Institute of America, and David L. Rocha, Executive Director of Jewelers for Children.

“The Circle of Distinction is one of the highlights of the Society’s year, and this event will be no exception,” said Ruth Batson, Executive Director and CEO of the American Gem Society. “We’re so pleased to honor these individuals: David and Sybil Yurman—who have created one of the world’s most recognizable jewelry brands; David Rocha, a tireless advocate for a beloved charity among the AGS membership; and Kathryn Kimmel, who has led the way in marketing and PR at one of the industry's most respected institutions.”

The Circle of Distinction event will begin at 6:00pm with cocktails, followed by a three-course dinner and the awards presentation at 7:00pm. To order dinner tickets or to learn about advertising opportunities in the Circle of Distinction Tribute Book, contact Peggy Campbell at 866-805-6500 x1005 or email pcampbell@ags.org.

About The American Gem Society
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 an international professional organization awarding credentials for its members, who are held to the highest ethical and professional standards in the industry and must pass annual recertification examinations to maintain their 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.


Increased Attendance Caps Off a Stellar 2011 Conclave

May 9, 2011 - Las Vegas. Maybe it’s a sign that the jewelry industry is feeling more positive about the economy; or maybe it was the top-caliber line-up of speakers and programs. Whatever the reason, the American Gem Society is pleased to report that the 2011 Conclave saw a 10% increase in attendance, and one thing is for certain: the event drew record praise from the membership.

Daniel Pink, the author of Drive, was the opening speaker, and left members with a challenge: come up with one sentence to describe your purpose—a challenge echoed by featured speaker, Patricia Fripp, in her marketing and sales workshop. Blue Zones author, Dan Buettner, in a departure from the usual topics discussed at business events, riveted the audience with his travel stories from around the world where he explored pockets of society that enjoy centenarian longevity—and the lessons we can all learn from his findings. Tony Hsieh, Zappos.com’s CEO, discussed how he fine-tuned the focus of Zappos over the years until he had narrowed the corporate philosophy to one single purpose for employees and toward customers: delivering happiness. Baseball legend, Jim Abbott, inspired the audience with his motivational story of overcoming adversity. Janine Driver, a body language expert, taught participants that gestures

and postures can have an impact on how others perceive us and gave insights into how to exude confidence and trust. Finally, Jake Greene, author and communications consultant, helped bridge the communication gap between an older generation of computer users and a new generation of mobile device-savvy workers.

Beyond the speakers, highlights included a presentation from Ian Smillie, the Chairman of the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI). Smillie described the mission of DDI and encouraged retailers to take part in the new Friends of DDI program. Another highlight: GIA offered up more than eight hours of hands-on classes that helped not only increase the members’ gemological education, but offered tools to increase business.

One of Conclave’s most memorable and touching moments came when Cathy Calhoun, President of the AGS Board of Directors, surprised both the audience and longtime jeweler and Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA) Cos Altobelli with the announcement that the Society was naming its library in honor of him. Altobelli has spent countless hours educating and mentoring future CGAs.

As previously reported by the American Gem Society, longtime member Ronnie Cox, Certified Gemologist, was awarded the coveted Shipley Award, the highest honor the Society bestows on members.

“All week long, our phones have been ringing and we’ve been getting emails and texts from members telling us that this Conclave stood out from all the others,” say Ruth Batson, Executive Director and CEO of the American Gem Society. “It was a combination of several factors converging: the location, San Francisco, the historic Westin St. Francis hotel with its rich history, and of course the programs and speakers. More so, I think the AGS membership came with an open mind, were ready for a great learning experience, and they walked away inspired. I want to thank everyone who came and participated, including our board members and sponsors. We could not have given our members this level of quality programs without their efforts. I truly believe this was the best Conclave yet!”

Next year’s Conclave takes the Society and its members to Miami, Florida April 25 - 28. 

About The American Gem Society
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 an international professional organization awarding credentials for its members, who are held to the highest ethical and professional standards in the industry and must pass annual recertification examinations to maintain their 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.


 Ronnie Cox 2011 Robert M. Shipley Award
Photo of Ronnie Cox standing next to the Shipley Plaque.
With Ronnie are Ellen Lacy and Chares Lacy, who are also previous Shipley Award Winners.

Ronnie Cox wins the 2011 Robert M. Shipley Award
AGS Awards its Highest Honor at Conclave

May 3, 2011, Las Vegas. Ronnie L. Cox, CG, owner and President of Cox Jewelers in Sweetwater, Texas is the 2011 recipient of the American Gem Society’s Robert M. Shipley award. AGS members presented him with the award at their annual Conclave in San Francisco, CA on April 30.

Ronnie received the award based on hisexpertise and commitment to his community, personal business, the jewelry industry, and the American Gem Society, and because of his outstanding service to the AGS and his participation in local civic groups, service organizations, and industry charity boards.

“Ronnie has demonstrated his dedication to the ethical standards of the American Gem Society through his professional career and his volunteer service,” said Ruth Batson, Executive Director & CEO of the American Gem Society. “He’s an enormous asset to the AGS and the AGS Laboratories through his leadership and guidance, especially through the recent economic climate.”

“I am both humbled and thrilled to receive this award,” said Ronnie. “Cox Jewelers has always operated on the principals of the highest standards of business ethics, like those established by Mr. Shipley for the American Gem Society. To be recognized in this way is a great honor.”

Ronnie has an extensive and impressive list of achievements from not only within the jewelry industry, but also in his community. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the First Financial Bank of Sweetwater, as well as the First Financial Trust & Asset Management Company, in Abilene, TX and also the Nolan County Foundation Board.

Since 1965, when he took the store over from his father, Ronnie has been at the helm of Cox Jewelers. The business has operated in three centuries, and in 1995, his daughter Lisa became the 4th generation active in Cox Jewelers.  She now runs the Abilene store, which opened in 2000.

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 a professional organization awarding credentials for its members, who are held to the highest ethical and professional standards in the industry and must pass annual recertification examinations to maintain their 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.