NEW YORK — Judging from the buoyant turnout at its inaugural event on Jan. 10, the new Gem Awards gala sponsored by the Jewelry Information Center is destined to become a key event in the jewelry industry calendar.After a board meeting of the JIC last week, there are plans to go forward with the event, although it is not certain yet whether the Gem Awards will be held on an annual or biannual basis. The JIC will continue to give a Lifetime Achievement Award and Corporate Communications Award, although other specifics of the gala are still being determined."Since there were so many people attending, we may move to a bigger venue," said Elizabeth Florence, the JIC’s executive director.More than 700 executives and jewelry industry members attended the first gala, which is designed to salute journalistic excellence in the coverage of fine jewelry and related issues. The black-tie evening also honored two industry pioneers: Tiffany & Co. received the Corporate Communications Award for its marketing campaigns, while Gedalio (Gerry) Grinberg, chairman of Movado Group, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, as reported."The idea came because we want to encourage and reward excellence in the coverage of fine jewelry, watches and related issues," Florence said. "By recognizing journalists who are doing their jobs so well, we hope to encourage better coverage in the future."Many attendees praised the turnout and said events like this are needed to bring the industry together. The jewelry industry doesn’t have an event such as the CFDA Fashion Awards, which every year gives a variety of awards to people in the fashion business. Among the jewelry crowd’s yearly gatherings are the 24-Karat Club dinner, the Jewelers Charity Fund gala and the WJA Awards of Excellence gala, as well as other small events and ceremonies held during trade shows.Among the many jewelry designers and executives attending the premiere gala were David and Sybil Yurman; Stanislas de Quercize of Cartier Inc.; Bob Wexler of Tourneau; designer Jose Hess; John Green of jewelry chain Lux, Bond & Green; Matt Runci of Jewelers of America; Charles Fieramosca of Bailey Banks & Biddle, and Stacie Orloff of Corum.One reason for the big draw is that many jewelry executives were in town for the 24-Karat Club dinner, the annual industry event held the following night, according to Florence. Other key industry events are also always held that weekend of the year, including luncheons sponsored by the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and the Jewelers Security Alliance, which is why the JIC picked that date.Steven Kaiser, chairman of the JIC, said, "Our goal is to focus on the media and on people who are legends to give a different event for the jewelry industry. We want to make sure it’s really special. We have a different focus from the other events in the industry and we bring together retailers, manufacturers and people from different sectors."Lowell Kwiat, a co-chair of the event, added: "The event gives people a chance to see people you know and meet ones you don’t know."

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