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NEW YORK — Some like to refer to diamonds as “ice,” but at the Jewelry Information Center’s second annual Gem awards Friday, the mood was glittery and warm despite the arctic chill that hit Manhattan that day.

About 650 jewelry executives came to the black-tie event, which was held at Cipriani 42nd Street and celebrates the $43 billion industry and some of its brightest stars.

After a challenging two years, many used the night to toast the strong fourth quarter and show off their shining confidence in 2004.

“What a great time for everyone to get together and celebrate a successful holiday season,” said Efraim Grinberg, president and chief executive of Movado Group.

Daniel Lalonde, president and ceo at LVMH Watch & Jewelry North America, agreed: “The last three months have been a success and it’s going to be a big year. Most colleagues I spoke to tonight feel optimistic.”

That night, the JIC, the nonprofit marketing arm of the fine jewelry and watch industry, honored David and Sybil Yurman with the Lifetime Achievement Award; Cartier with the Corporate Communications Award, and Carmen Borgonovo, accessories director of W magazine and editor of W Jewelry (both owned by Fairchild Publications, WWD’s parent), with the Excellence in Media Award.

“It’s a surprise because we are two artists who just do what we love doing,” said Sybil Yurman. “David started making jewelry to please me on a date. I forgot to wear a belt and he made me one. He did it to show off.”

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recalled how, during her years in government, she would use jewelry to convey the sentiment of America.

“I love jewelry and had a lot of fun wearing pins that had a meaning,” she said. “My favorite piece is an antique eagle pin I got for myself when I was named Secretary of State.”

Presenting the award to Cartier’s president and chief executive officer, Stanislas de Quercize, she told the crowd that when an Iraqi poem branded her a snake, she purchased a snake pin and wore it to greet an Iraqi ambassador.

This story first appeared in the January 13, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“The first president Bush said, ‘read my lips’,” she quipped. “I said, ‘read my pins.’”

At the gala, Albright’s pin was from Cartier, of course.