Rapaport Magazine

Welcome Back Veterans

The Silver Promotion Service has teamed with select Savor Silver brands to develop a special jewelry collection to benefit Jewelers for Veterans Foundation.

By Amber Michelle
One of the great disconnects in our society at this moment is the lack of concern for military personnel who have laid their lives on the line for our freedom. The least we can do is help reintegrate them back into society,” says Todd Wolleman, founder and president of the nonprofit Jewelers for Veterans Foundation (J4V) that launched in 2012 with the mission of connecting U.S. veterans with employment opportunities in the jewelry industry.
   Since 2001, approximately 2.5 million Americans have been deployed to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many serving multiple terms overseas. Returning to civilian life has proven challenging for some and searching for a job has been a contributing factor.
   According to Wolleman, J4V was formed out of the 24 Karat Club of the City of New York as an adjunct project that recognizes both the sacrifices of returning war heroes and the employment challenges they face. The foundation is staffed by volunteers and based in New York City’s World Diamond Tower at 580 Fifth Avenue — where the building has donated office space to the cause. Its job website connects jewelers in all aspects of the industry with veterans who are looking for employment. “Veterans put aside their career tracks to serve and it behooves us to do everything we can to help them,” says Andrew Kohler, secretary and director of communications for J4V.
   The centerpiece of the website is a job board where jewelry industry firms from manufacturers to retailers can post an employment listing at no cost and veterans can search for jobs for free. “To hire a veteran, go to the job board at jewelersforveterans.org, register and post a job at no charge,” explains Kohler, who also notes that there are other resources for veterans on the site and that the employment postings have expanded beyond the jewelry industry.
   Although the nonprofit is run by volunteers and the services are complimentary, it still takes money to keep the website going and to reach out to veterans and employers to let them know about the site. To that end, Wolleman and Michael Barlerin, director, Silver Promotion Service (SPS), brainstormed and came up with the idea for “Silver Salutes the Service,” a collection of patriotic-themed jewelry from some of SPS’ Savor Silver brands.
   The collection was formed to introduce a cause-related shopping event for retailers to coincide with such patriotic holidays as Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. Participating designers are Ariva Fine Jewelry, Cynthia Gale Jewelry, Frederic Duclos, Phillip Gavriel, The Samuel B. Collection and Thistle & Bee. The designers of the collection have agreed to contribute 5 percent of the proceeds from the wholesale price of the pieces to J4V, and 10 percent if a piece sells on the designer’s website. Retailers who carry the collection are encouraged to donate 10 percent to the organization as well. “As a veteran myself, I was grateful when the Silver Promotion Service was asked to lend our support to the Jewelers for Veterans initiative. It is truly an initiative in which all the participants can be justifiably proud,” concludes Barlerin.
   For further information, visit jewelersforveterans.org

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - November 2014. To subscribe click here.

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