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Multiple Honorees Recognized at the 2023 Titleholder Luncheon

The American Gem Society (AGS) presented several prestigious awards on May 3 during the Titleholders Luncheon at Conclave in Louisville, KY.

Maria Brown, RJ, Chair of the Young Titleholders Committee, gave out the 2023 Young Titleholder of the Year Award to Courtney Sivard, CSA, of BC Clark Jewelers in Oklahoma City, OK.

“Courtney joined the Young Titleholder Committee and leapt into action developing our presence on social media,” Ms. Brown noted. “She is incredibly creative, driven, and determined. She will continue to impact the Young Titleholders to reach all new levels for the next generation of our AGS community.”

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. Brown announced the recipient of this grant, Nifé Le Blanc. The grant covered the cost of Conclave registration and lodging and provided a $500 gift card from AGS toward travel expenses.

Courtney Sivard, CSA, 2023 Young Titleholder of the Year Award Recipient
Nifé Le Blanc, recipient of the 2023 Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC) grant.

Additionally, Ms. Brown announced the recipients of the Young Titleholder’s Conclave Scholarships. This year, they awarded seven individuals with this honor, which provided each a free registration to Conclave. The recipients were:

  • Amberlee Haddix, Ross Elliot Jewelers, Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Abigail Hinds-Aldrich, Brown Goldsmiths & Co., Inc., Freeport, Maine
  • Andrea Lopez-Irlanda, Jae’s Jewelers, Coral Gables, Florida
  • Lex Melendez, Carter’s Collective Fine Jewelry, Petal, Mississippi
  • Andrea Pooler, Hill & Company, Yorkshire, England
  • Taryn Quigley, TQ Diamonds, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Tiana Yamaguchi, Vardy’s Jewelers, Cupertino, California

Amanda Coleman-Phelps, CGA, Chair of the International Guilds Council, also presented several awards at the Titleholders Luncheon.

The Sallie Morton Award for 2022 went to Meier Opalek of AGTA, who was unable to attend last year’s presentation. William Frost, who was with the Roanoke and Maryland National Capital Guild, won the award for 2023. Ms. Coleman-Phelps praised both recipients for their outstanding contributions to the AGS community and the gemstone industry.

“Meier has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the advancement of the American Gem Society and its growth of membership, and he has made significant contributions to the gemstone industry through innovation, teaching, and his connections with people,” Ms. Coleman-Phelps said.

Of Mr. Frost, she noted, “From traveling cross-country to spread the word of AGS to traveling four and a half hours every time we had a Guild meeting for the Maryland National Capital Guild, your dedication has been noted and greatly appreciated.”

Amanda Coleman-Phelps, CGA, and Marc Altman, CGA, present Meier Opalek (center) the 2022 Sallie Morton Award.
William Frost, recipient of the 2023 Sallie Morton Award.

The Guild of the Year Award went to the St. Louis Guild. The Guild’s President, Anne Howitt, accepted the award.

“The AGS Guild of the Year Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, education, and service to the AGS Guilds and its members. Therefore, Anne Howitt, who has demonstrated exceptional achievements and contributions in the industry, is the perfect selection and most deserving candidate for this award,” Ms. Coleman-Phelps noted.

The John J. Kennedy Award, given to outstanding law enforcement and security professionals who have served the jewelry industry, went to Special Agent Mark Dennis Jr. of the FBI’s Tampa division.

“As a Special Agent, Mark Dennis Jr. embodies dedication, integrity, and excellence in service to his country. Mark Dennis Jr. helps the jewelry industry by identifying and tracking down criminals who are involved in jewelry theft, fraud, and other crimes related to the industry,” said Ms. Coleman-Phelps.

Amanda Coleman-Phelps, CGA, (left) presented the Guild of the Yearaward to Anne Howitt (right).
Special Agent Mark Dennis Jr. (center) accepts the 2023 John J. Kennedy Award. He's joined by Amanda Coleman-Phelps, CGA, and Scott Guginsky.