The winners of the American Gem Society Awards during the Conclave

(PRESS RELEASE) OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The American Gem Society (AGS) presented several prestigious awards at its annual Conclaveags this week.

On April 27, at the Titleholders Luncheon, Sarah Nanasi Russell, CG, former Chair of the Young Titleholders Committee, presented the 2022 Young Titleholder of the Year award to Maria Brown, RJ, of Exclusively Diamonds.

“Maria has been a consistent and tireless contributor to the Young Titles Committee since her arrival five years ago,” Ms Russell said. “She has never missed an opportunity to volunteer for a task when we need extra help and her commitment to our day-to-day operations has been critical to our success.”

The Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC) worked with the Young Titleholder’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee to award a BIJC member a grant for Conclave. Ms. Russell announced the recipient of this scholarship, Latoya Boyd. The grant covered Conclave registration, accommodation, and provided a $500 AGS gift card for travel expenses.

“Young stockholders are proud of this new scholarship and are grateful to the Black in Jewelry Coalition for helping them run it in a timely and meaningful way,” Ms. Russell said. “We have pushed the boundaries of our usual scholarship process and offerings to align with their ongoing goal of ensuring a diverse and inclusive American Gem Society community.”

Additionally, Ms. Russell announced the recipients of the Young Titleholder Conclave Scholarship. This year, they bestowed the honor on five individuals, which resulted in free registration to the Conclave. The recipients were:

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  • Annie Daniels: Duke Jewelers
  • Mollie Effler, CG: Wm. Effler Jewelers
  • Bryce Melius: exclusively diamonds
  • Taele Polamalu, RJ: Zachary’s Jewelers
  • Amy Root: From Form to Feel

Marc Altman, CGA, former president of the International Guilds Council, presented five awards.

The Sallie Morton Awards for 2020 and 2021 were presented with the 2022 recipient. The Sallie Morton Award for 2020 went to Harold Dupuy of Stuller, Inc., and Shelly Sergent of Somewhere In The Rainbow Collection received the 2021 honor.

“This award recognizes the contribution of individuals who have gone above and beyond in their service to the AGS Guilds each year. Our members have been able to tap into the abundant knowledge of Harold and Shelly and both have welcomed calls to meet the specific needs of our guilds,” Mr. Altman said.

The 2022 prize was awarded to Meier Opalek. “Meier worked tirelessly making thousands of phone calls, coordinating with guild officers, helping to schedule meetings, engaging countless speakers to speak at local guilds, and developing a tremendous relationship with the FBI.” Mr. Altman adds, “His efforts to develop guilds across the United States, Canada and Mexico have grown this organization from four to 42 today.

The Guild of the Year award for 2022 went to the Greater Cincinnati Guild. “This Guild, along with its President, has been a great supporter and instrumental in helping us develop the national program we have today,” Altman said.

The John J. Kennedy Award, given to outstanding law enforcement and security professionals who have served the jewelry industry, was presented to Joseph Metsopulos with Major Case Squad of the New York Police Department York.

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The next Conclave will be held May 1-3, 2023 in Louisville, KY. More details coming soon.

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