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Northwest Jewelry Conference Sets August 2015 Dates

Oct 28, 2014 12:54 PM   By Northwest Jewelry Conference
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Press Release: The third annual Northwest Jewelry Conference (NWJC) will be held August 14 to 16, 2015 in Bellevue, Washington with a focus on collections and color and an in-depth look at the mechanics of quality jewelry construction.   Speakers will also examine Cartier of Paris and a slice of cultural history from the 1960s.

“The concept of NWJC is to provide attendees direct access to world-class presenters, with topics of interest to period jewelry collectors, dealers and appraisers,”  said the event's host, Ted Irwin, who is the director of Northwest Gemological Institute (NGI). It has specialized in small group gemology instruction since 1978.   For over 25 years, NGI has  offered classes in period jewelry, which were developed into weekend programs with notable jewelry historians Christie Romero and Peter Shemonsky and then evolved into the current speaker program in 2013.   Shemonsky  will mark his fifth year of teaching for NGI and joins jewelry historian Diana Singer for their third year of NWJC presentations.  

The collections highlighted in 2015 are also arguably the country’s best public and private sets.   Jeffrey Post, the curator of the gems and minerals of the Smithsonian Institution, will present "Jewels of the Smithsonian" with a first-hand, behind-the scenes look at these  national treasures.   From the history of amassing the mineral specimens to the Winston Jewelry Gallery and the Hope Diamond (whose exact replica NWJC 2014 students got to handle), Post answers questions of both science and lore.
"Somewhere In The Rainbow" (SITR), billed as one of the world’s most impressive private collections of gemstones, will be hosted by  gemologist/consultant Craig Lynch as he explores its roots and the quest for new additions. It will also complement the Brazilian gemstones in Shemonsky’s presentation "Gemas e Jóias do Brasil."

The many colors of jade will be revealed by one of the world’s preeminent authorities -- Don Kay in Stone of Heaven, an interactive workshop that teaches how to judge the subtle attributes of this enigmatic gem.  Kay also examines the meteoric rise in value for the world’s top jade at market and auction.

In prior NWJC sessions, organizers emphasized how to recognize excellence in jewelry construction.   This conference will take students through the processes from concept to creation in creating a jewelry masterpiece, as classically trained gold/platinumsmith Jeremy Dunn gives a customized presentation of his well-received AGS Conclave talk from 2014.  Students will see how techniques applied through the ages have evolved into today’s cad-cam and 3D printer capabilities.   In "Pocket and Pendant Watches – Inside and Out," master horologist Ron Rogers will delve inside this specialty arena -- how the parts work and what makes for quality and collectability.   In addition, discussions will focus on  historical ornamentation of watch cases, enameling techniques, engravings and jewels that are placed on the outside to transform function into jewelry statements.

In "Another Time and Place - It’s the '60s, Baby,"  Singer explores the culture, society and jewelry produced in the 1960s.  This, now yearly NWJC feature, places the jewelry from a narrow time or culture span into a 360 degree context with the world around it.

Singer and Shemonsky, who both tackled Tiffany & Co. during the last conference, will closely examine Cartier in a double session that explores  the remarkable achievements throughout  the brand's history.

The conference begins with a Friday night reception and a first session, followed by  a full day of sessions on Saturday and it ends early Sunday afternoon.   The small classroom environment allows a limited number of students and well-over half the seats were reserved by the students from of NWJC 2014.  Tuition of $695 covers all sessions, breakfasts, lunches and the reception.   Interested attendees are encouraged to register before the Tucson Gem Show, where remaining seats are expected to sell out.  Contact Irwin at 425.455.0985 for further information and registration.

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