Findings: The Award Goes To… Times, They Are A Changing… Waris Hits London…

More than 550 jewelry industry figures attended the Women's Jewelry Association's 24th annual Awards for Excellence Gala at Pier 60 in Manhattan last month.

THE AWARD GOES TO: More than 550 jewelry industry figures attended the Women’s Jewelry Association’s 24th annual Awards for Excellence Gala at Pier 60 in Manhattan last month.

Awards went to Paula Crevoshay, president of Mellika Co., for designer of fine jewelry and watches; Eve Goldberg, vice president of William Goldberg, for manufacturer/dealer/supplier of fine jewelry, gemstones, metals and watches; Tryna Kochanek, senior vice president of Sterling Jewelers, for retailer with more than 15 stores; Susan Eisen of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches, for retailer with fewer than 15 stores; Janet Goldman, chief executive officer of Fragments, for sales; Diane Warga-Arias, educationalist and business consultant for DWA Communications, for marketing and communications; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, jewelry editor for Veranda, for editorial/reporting/publishing, and Susan Elliott, dean of students for the Gemological Institute of America, for special services.

TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’: Casio Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Casio Computer Co., has changed its name to Casio America Inc. The name change follows the company’s 50th anniversary celebrated in June. Casio has evolved from manufacturing some of the world’s first calculators to developing digital watches, electronic musical instruments and digital cameras.

“Casio America Inc. clearly demonstrates Casio’s position as an innovative global company with many subsidiaries in the world,” John F. Homlish, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Casio America Inc., said in a statement. “We want our company name to articulate the responsible sales activity area and we feel that the sales sector will be better understood under one all-encompassing name.”

WARIS HITS LONDON: “I’ve given up on the idea of separating church and state,” jeweler and actor Waris Ahluwalia said of his dual career at London’s Dover Street Market last month, where he hand-delivered his latest fine jewelry collection from the House of Waris line.

Ahluwalia created the pieces — which include crystal, ebony and rose quartz stones set in pendants, chains and earrings, all covered in a fine netting of 18-karat gold — between shooting “The Darjeeling Limited” with director Wes Anderson in Jodhpur, India. During the shoot, the designer would hot-step to his workshop in Jaipur to perfect the pieces. He first spotted the bright orange carnelian, one of the stones used in the collection, in the brickwork of the Taj Mahal.

This story first appeared in the August 6, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I thought, ‘If it’s good enough for the Taj Mahal…,'” Ahluwalia said, grinning. “It’s got a bizarre, supernatural glow. It pulls me in.”

Meanwhile, he said that he also planned a visit to London’s National Portrait Gallery, where a portrait of him by artist Sandro Kopp hangs. The work was a winner of the gallery’s BP Portrait Award.

“I love working with amazing craftsmen,” said Ahluwalia, who added that he takes the same approach to his own collection, which is produced by hand in workshops in India and Rome. “The process is as important as the product.”

Ahluwalia said he plans to open his own stores in New York and Tokyo.

“It takes a day and half to make one of these necklaces,” he said. “It’s luxury because of that time and care.”

HIPPIE HANDBAGS: Paris-born graffiti artist Gilles Jourdan has created a limited edition spring handbag collection for The Sak. The collaboration marks the 13-year-old brand’s renewed effort to reach out to hip, fashion-forward customers through Jourdan’s colorful designs.

“We really liked his use of color and print, it’s like Filmore in the Sixties,” said Mark Talucci, ceo and founder of The Sak. “We are a San Francisco-based company and our heritage is important to us. The Sak is a free-spirited product and Jourdan’s identity is a perfect collaboration.”

The collection, featuring satchels, hobos and shoppers, will wholesale from $40 to $75 at department stores such as Macy’s and Dillard’s.

BERYLL’S NEW HOME: Beryll christened a new Southern California headquarters late last month by throwing a party to mark the sunglass company’s move from Vienna.

“The L.A. style fits well with our image, and L.A. has become more important for fashion,” said Sigmar Berg, ceo and designer.

Berg said he created the gleaming white space in Santa Monica staying true to his “reduced to the max” ethic. A capsule collection of unisex jewelry and sunglasses, about 1,500 of which are produced in each style, are displayed in a white case at the center. The display is accompanied by pictures of celebrities, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt among them, wearing Beryll.

Next up is a line of vintage-inspired belts set to hit stores this year. Berg estimated that sales in the U.S., around 5 percent of the company’s total, would increase to 30 to 35 percent in a year. Beryll sunglasses, which cost $250 to $400 in stores, are available at Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, Selfridges, Lane Crawford and Holt Renfrew.