Speakers

2017 Speakers & Sessions

KEYNOTE DINNER - SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1ST, 2017 - THE SENTINEL HOTEL

THIS IS THE YEAR OF FUTURE THINK!

The future is upon us and adaptation is critical for success in the evolving jewelry marketplace. Every year our keynote dinner kicks off both the spirit and substance of PJS.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: THE FUTURE FOR RETAIL JEWELERS - PETER SMITH, AUTHOR, JOURNALIST & PRESIDENT OF VIBHOR GEMS


PETER SMITH

PRESIDENT, VIBHOR
COLUMNIST, NATIONAL JEWELER, THE JEWELRY BOOK, WORLD DIAMOND MAGAZINE

Retail is changing at a ballistic pace. We’ve seen thousands of jewelers close their doors in recent years and, amidst the chaos, it is hard to know what to do. Are brick and mortar stores losing relevance? Do Millennials care about jewelry? How can you compete with online competition? Is jewelry itself, waning as an aspirational entity? In this session, Smith will speak to the aforementioned questions and offer his very candid views on what retail jewelers need to do to get and/or remain relevant for the near and long-term.

 

Peter Smith is an industry veteran with more than thirty years in both retail and wholesale Jewelry. The Irish native is the author of two books, Hiring Squirrels, 12-Essential Interview Questions To Uncover Great Retail Sales Talent and Sell Something, Principles and Perspectives for Engaged Retail Salespeople. Smith is a columnist for National Jeweler, where he writes about the retail experience, including hiring, sales personnel and branding. He is also a contributing columnist for The Jewelry Book and World Diamond Magazine. His column on the Future of Retail Stores was named by National Jeweler and JCK Online as one of the best articles of 2016. Smith is president of VIBHOR, a US. manufacturer of high-quality private-label core diamond essentials. He previously spent 11 years as executive vice president of Hearts On Fire and 8 years in sales and operations management with Tiffany & Co. He has a BA from Boston College and he is a graduate of the Key Executives Program at the Harvard Business School. Smith is a frequent speaker at industry events and a recent addition to the AGS Global Guild Speakers.

EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS - MONDAY, OCTOBER 2ND, 2017 - THE SENTINEL HOTEL

PROMOTING CUSTOM DESIGN ON SOCIAL NETWORKS: A PANEL DISCUSSION - PEGGY JO DONAHUE MODERATOR

What does it take to build a social networking presence for a custom design business? What is it that connects with consumers, compels them toward you, and builds trust? Three custom jewelers, who are also master communicators, will share their insights, tips, and best practices. This session will also cover which social networks are best for conveying custom stories, what to do if you’re not a natural-born communicator, and advice on building content, images, and video.


PEGGY JO DONAHUE

OWNER
PEGGY JO DONAHUE, WRITER
LinkedIn Peggy Jo Donahue

Peggy Jo Donahue creates content for the websites, blogs, and social networking feeds of various jewelry industry clients, including retailers, designers, and brands. She served as editor in chief of both Professional Jeweler and JCK magazines, where she earned two Jesse H. Neal editorial awards from American Business Media. She was also the first editor of MJSA Custom Jewelermagazine. During her time as director of the MJSA Education Foundation, Donahue co-created the BeAJeweler initiative with Blaine Lewis of New Approach School for Jewelers. BeAJeweler.com is an effort to attract newcomers to the jewelry making field. Donahue is the author of five books, and is a passionate social networker via her personal feeds on various social networks as @PeggyJoDonahue

 

PANELIST


LISA KRIKAWA
CEO, FOUNDER, DESIGNER
KRIKAWA JEWELRY DESIGNS

Lisa Krikawa is the Designer and Founder of Krikawa Jewelry in Tuscon, Arizona. Her jewelry is inspired by historic and futuristic forms, influences that stem from Lisa’s studies in traditional and contemporary styles of jewelry and metalsmithing, as well as her studies in art history. Lisa Krikawa is an award-winning mokume gane artist, and is recognized world wide as one of the leading mokume ring makers. With clients from Australia through the U.K. to Canada and all across the 50 United States, Krikawa has quite singularly nailed the mokume-gane bridal market with her client-inspired, co-created, one-of-a-kind masterpieces. She launched the dot com in 2002, and 15 years later she launched her coaching business! She is a life/ business coach with a focus on helping business owners in the jewelry industry create extraordinary results for themselves!

 

PANELIST


CALLA GOLD
OWNER/DESIGNER

CALLA GOLD JEWELRY

Calla Gold is owner/designer of Calla Gold Jewelry founded in 1983. She is also an author of the book, “The Language of Jewelry Design,” written to help the bride-to-be design her dream ring. An avid jewelry blogger with her blog “Jewelry Without Walls” she recently posted her 550th entry. A networker since the founding of her second of four small businesses, Calla is also an early adopter of social media and online marketing in her jewelry field.

In 2010 Gold founded SMART, Social Media Action Relationship Team, a social media networking and accountability group that meets monthly at the University Club of Santa Barbara. She helps local businesses craft online marketing strategies and implement them with the help of other SMART group members. Calla’s social media expertise has not only increased sales of Calla Gold Jewelry, but it captured her highly coveted media coverage in the Real Simple, NPR, Fox Business News and Jewelry industry publication MJSA Journal. In 2014 Calla won the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award in the retail division.

 

PANELIST

WENDY BRANDES
DESIGNER, FOUNDER, BLOGGER
WENDY BRANDES JEWELRY

Designer Wendy Brandes is the 2012 winner of Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award for fine jewelry. Her 18K gold and platinum signature line — inspired by the true stories of powerful women — is known for its fierce designs, attention to detail and “covert luxury,” including hidden gems and pieces that open up, twist into new shapes and even whistle.

Wendy also finds time to be a sly satirist and blogger on fashion, popular culture and history. She led the luxury-goods industry in the social-media realm when she launched her humorous and frank blog in 2007. That playful side of her personality and her social-media know-how are on display in her WENDYB by Wendy Brandes silver diffusion line, which features designs such as a SRSLY? necklace, emoji earrings, and her much-imitated F@#! ring set. Prior to becoming a jewelry designer, Wendy spent more than a decade as a journalist at the Wall Street Journal, CNN and People magazine. Today, besides blogging daily under her own name, she writes for the Huffington Post.

IDENTIFYING PRECIOUS METAL ALLOYS ON YOUR BENCH AND IN YOUR CASE: XRF TECHNOLOGY FOR JEWELERS - JENNIFER CABAN, OLYMPUS IMS

The session will focus on what X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) is and how it can be used by jewelers in several areas of their business. First, the physics of XRF will be explained in easy-to-understand terms. Visual aids will be employed to elucidate concepts for non-technical and technical attendees alike. The non-destructive aspect of XRF, which greatly enhances its utility for jewelers, will also be explained. Penetration depth and XRF’s ability to detect plated materials will be highlighted in the technical discussion. XRF will then be compared against other common precious metals analysis techniques like fire assay, acid tests, and ICP. XRF instrument types and models from several manufacturers will then be introduced and explained. The difference between benchtop and handheld models in terms of capacity, functionality, and pricing will be shown. Data display formats will be reviewed including precious metal and alloying element percentage, karat weight, and fineness. Available software packages and reporting mechanisms will also be described. Finally, the speaker will show real-world examples of how XRF is currently being used in various sectors within the precious metals industry. Attendees will be invited to share their own stories and ideas about how this technology could help their business.


JENNIFER CABAN

APPLICATIONS SPECIALIST, XRF & XRD PRODUCTS
OLYMPUS

Jennifer Caban is an Applications Specialist and Sales Engineer with Olympus Corporation of the Americas. She has over 8 years’ experience working with X-Ray Fluorescence and X-Ray Diffraction technologies in pre and post-sales support functions. In her current role, Jennifer travels extensively throughout the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. She works with customers in a wide range of industries including scrap metal recycling, large-scale and small-scale mining, government regulatory, consumer product manufacturing, environmental remediation, infrastructure inspection, oil & gas production, academic geology, anthropology, and earth science, and precious metals refining and trading. Jennifer also leads Olympus’s business development efforts for mining, geochemistry, and earth science applications in the Americas. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Economics from Bates College. She is also fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese.

THE FUTURE IS NOW - TRENDS IN DIGITAL MANUFACTURING - KEVIN ABERNATHY, BIS VENTURES

Technology changes are all around us, and coming faster than ever. But no longer are we waiting and wondering how the latest digital technology innovations will change things; rather, we’re taking control and implementing new technology to fit our needs, large and small. In this session we will explore how emerging technologies are being used in multiple industries to push the envelope of design and manufacturing and how these technical innovations may impact our own jewelry industry.


KEVIN ABERNATHY
CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER
BIS VENTURES

Kevin Abernathy is a consultant with over 30 years of expertise in high level CAD/CAM and Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) technologies. Abernathy spent part of his career in the research and development division of the Jostens Corporation, a company specializing in the manufacture of high-volume customized karat gold products for the collegiate and professional athletic markets. His deep interest and passion for next generation CAD/CAM and Additive Manufacturing technologies has driven him to become a leader and a mentor in the field. Over the span of his career, he has provided design and consulting services for a broad spectrum of companies and industries. He is a co-applicant on several patents relating to the use of additive manufacturing in jewelry production.

BENCH SESSIONS: GROWING & PREPPING RESIN MODELS FOR CASTING / DETECTING LABORATORY GROWN DIAMONDS - KRISTI BROUSSARD, STULLER, INC.

BENCH SESSION 1: Growing & Prepping Resin Models for Casting
This session offers insight into the 3D Printing lab of the future.  It will include on-site 3D printing followed by detailed resin preparation with tools designed specifically for this purpose. All of this will be done on a new concept bench loaded with custom features.


BENCH SESSION 2: Detecting Laboratory Grown Diamonds

With the recent surge in laboratory grown diamonds, many jewelers are keenly interested in equipment that can distinguish between these and natural diamonds. This session will focus on state-of-the-art tools that exist to detect lab grown diamonds today.


KRISTI BROUSSARD
STULLER, INC.

Kristi Broussard stepped into her role as Stuller’s Tools Product Testing Specialist after more than 19 years with the company. She first joined the Stuller team as a stone setter in 1995, and over the next five years she developed her skills from novice to master stone setter. She remained an important fixture on the stone-setting team until 2010 when she became one of the stone setters for the CAM Services team. Now in her new role on the Tech Team, measuring the reliability, usability, and performance of products is her top priority. She is responsible for ensuring both new and current products continue to meet established standards of quality.

SPARKING THE CREATIVE FIRE - ANDREA KOENIG, ANNIE K JEWELRY

Don’t you just love that feeling when everything flows and seems to effortlessly fall into place, and that genius solution just seems to pop into your head out of nowhere?

Whether it’s creativity for artwork or a business project… it’s that place of intense focus, that I call the Creative Fire, where I am both the most creative and most productive. And I want more of it. BUT the problem is, it’s something that just seems to happen. I wondered, was there a way to make it happen more often? Could I purposely build that Creative Fire? After much investigation for a paper I presented earlier this year at Santa Fe Symposium, I learned that YES, there is a way to do that.

Essential to building the Creative Fire is an understanding of how your brain works with creativity, stages of learning and anxiety. With this new understanding, you can look how your own brain works best. There are tools you can use to train your mind- similar to how athletes train their bodies for best performance. Using all this in a way that works with your lifestyle, you can set yourself up to spend more time in your Creative Fire, where you’re able to create the most innovative design or business solutions in the least amount of time.


ANDREA KOENIG

PRESIDENT
MOTORHEAD JEWELRY
ANNIE K JEWELRY

Andrea Koenig is an international award-winning jeweler known for her beautiful and innovative designs. Her signature look that contrasts refined textures and fluid sensuous shapes makes each piece a luxe work of art. Her design studio, founded in in 1993, focuses on one-of-a-kind, custom and limited production work. She also founded MotorHead Jewelry in 1998 to cater to the automotive demand for high-end emblems and emblem restoration.

Andrea’s awards include first place 2015 MJSA Vision Awards CAD/CAM Distinction, finalist 2015 Dubai Jewellery Design Award CAD/CAM Technology, second place 2014 Saul Bell Design Award Competition, Gold/Platinum category, and first place 2013 MJSA Vision Award Custom Distinction. Andrea is a member of the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group, dedicated to the highest standards of design.

A GIA Graduate Gemologist, Andrea has studied with masters renowned in the jewelry trade. She is past president of the Kentucky Jeweler’s Association, and currently serves as treasurer of the Ohio/Kentucky Chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association. Andrea has presented three times at the Santa Fe Symposium®, receiving their Jewelry Technology Leader Award in 2015 and their Business Innovation Award in 2016.

DIE MAKING FOR DETAIL - G. PHIL POIRIER, BONNY DOON ENGINEERING

Over the last several years I’ve noticed a question that keeps being asked, “How do I get finer detail in my jewelry when using dies for the press”? This always makes me stop and think of how best to answer the question, and leaves me with the thought that it’s too big of a question to answer simply.

There are many paths that can be taken for any given jewelry design. Understanding the pros and cons of each path will help us choose the most efficient path for our needs. I will be looking at new approaches to die making and specifically the quest for finer detail. Fine detail typically requires the use of hardened steel dies which can hold up to the higher forces that must be exerted upon the metal. We will be describing the techniques of nonconforming dies, conforming dies, and coining dies made of tool steel.

There are also many paths and processes available for making dies in a small studio setting. What I hope to accomplish with this presentation is a short overview of a few paths suitable for the studio craftsman, somewhat like a road-map suitable for their studio environment, which may be limited by the type of tools and technology available. .


G. PHIL POIRIER

CEO
BONNY DOON ENGINEERING
www.gphilpoirier.com

G. Phil Poirier is a goldsmith residing near Taos, NM. He started designing and creating jewelry and the tools needed in 1972 after having discovered the art of metalsmithing in a high school art class. Phil studied with goldsmithing masters in the 70’s and 80’s and has since become an internationally recognized artist, designer and inventor. Phil started designing tools for Bonny Doon Hydraulic Presses in 1995. In 2005 he purchased the company and has increased the number of innovative tools now available to metalsmiths five fold. He has also taught these new techniques across the USA, Canada, England, and Italy. His jewelry work has been featured in many publications including the books titled “1000 Rings”, a collection of contemporary rings from around the world, and “500 Wedding Bands”, an overview of the latest wedding band designs. Most recently his guilloche techniques have inspired a book by Calina Shevlin titled “Guilloche, A History and Practical Manual”, 2017. He was also recently featured in the “Jewellery in Britain” magazine article “The US Masters”. In 2012 he was awarded the first Tony Reyna award for Excellence in Jewelry, and in 2015 the Technical Innovation Award at the Santa Fe Symposium.

BEYOND MAINSTREAM - SHERRIS COTTIER SHANK, GEMSCAPES

Those individuals who have a passion for the unusual and crave fine jewelry can easily feel ignored and out of place in a world of halo designs and micro pave. While they may appreciate those designs, they also have a taste for the exotic, and are often collectors. These are the lovers of contemporary carved gemstones, and they can be courted to help jewelers build a collector clientele.

A hundred years ago carved gems were primarily produced to use up inferior grade gem rough. Those days are long over. Gem carvers now work in all grades of rough, including the finest, and the art form has attracted some of the most talented craftspeople in the world. Carved gems can help excite and engage both current and new clients, and the jewelry created with these gems can’t be shopped on the Internet.

Using photo essays to illustrate her own personal process, Sherris will walk us step by step through choosing gem rough, shaping the preform, carving the design, and sanding and finishing the gem. She will show before and after photos of finished gems that she has recut to dramatically increase their beauty. She will also discuss how a gem carved with the jeweler in mind is not so very different to set than a well-cut facetted or cabochon gem. Demonstrating this concept Sherris will show photos of finished pieces from a variety of custom jewelers featuring carved gemstones.

Sherris_Cottier_Shank_2017
SHERRIS COTTIER SHANK

Owner
GEMSCAPES
www.gemscapes.com

Recognized as one of the world’s most talented gemstone artists, Sherris has a unique gift for looking into the heart of each gem to find its hidden beauty and reveal it to the world. Sherris’ gem sculptures have been sold at Christies in England and acquired by the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. She has nine AGTA Cutting Edge Awards as well as an award from The Competition For The Advancement In Gemstone Engraving in Idar Obertsetin, Germany. Her work is regularly featured in books and magazines, and she has spoken multiple times at AGTA, RJO, and AGS.

THE FUTURE IS RESPONSIBLE: TAKING THE FIRST STEP - MONICA STEPHENSON, ANZA GEMS

Responsibility in sourcing isn’t an impossible checklist or (seemingly) unattainable goal achieved only by an elite few. It IS an important way to stay relevant to an increasing number of consumers. Monica Stephenson, award-winning jewelry writer and “accidental” gem dealer, will weave a story of her own experiences supporting gemstone communities in East Africa, explore current initiatives and successful strategies that are working for people around the globe, and take a peek at what the future might hold. A journey starts with a single step, and responsible sourcing is more than a buzzword: it is a movement with a community to help and support.


MONICA STEPHENSON

FOUNDER, PRESIDENT
ANZA GEMS
IDAZZLE.COM

Monica Stephenson is a writer, jewelry expert, and entrepreneur. She chronicles the stories of artisan jewelry and designers on the award-winning jewelry blog, idazzle.com. After a trip to East Africa, Monica founded ANZA Gems in 2015, which fuels development of the gemstone industry in Kenya and Tanzania through fair trade purchasing and supporting education in gemstone communities. She is active in the industry as a board member of the Women’s Jewelry Association and Ethical Metalsmiths, and is thrilled to be a frequent speaker about social media and responsible sourcing. Her adventures as a writer and an “accidental gem dealer” lead her all over the globe: you can follow along on social media at @idazzle or @anzagems.

SUCCESSION PLANNING & EXIT STRATEGIES THAT WORK - BECKA JOHNSON KIBBY, G.G., THE EDGE RETAIL ACADEMY

Hope is not a strategy!  No matter what age you are now or how far through the ‘business life cycle’ you are, it’s vital to know what your retirement options and requirements are, and to have a workable plan in place to achieve them. During this seminar, we will outline the retirement options. We will show you how to maximize your time, efforts and profits without you having to spend extra years on the job when you could be, and should be, enjoying your golden years.

BECKA JOHNSON KIBBY
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
THE EDGE RETAIL ACADEMY

Becka Johnson Kibby’s 25+ years of experience in retail fine jewelry sales and training demonstrate her passion for jewelry and an understanding of today’s competitive marketplace. Her career path includes both training and management positions for Q Report, Robbins Brothers The Engagement Ring Store and Borsheims. Becka is a Graduate Gemologist (GIA), worked as an instructor with the Gemological Institute of America and is a past member on the Program Advisory Committee for GIA. She also sits on the International Board of Directors for the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA), in charge of New Chapter Development. In addition, Becka has been an independent jewelry educator and consultant, offering specialized training in the areas of selling skills, jewelry product knowledge, communication, and retail management. She has conducted seminars and training programs for retail jewelers and various jewelry industry events and shows across the United States and Internationally. Becka is committed to using her expertise to help jewelers and sales associates build their selling skills and grow their business.