Events & Awards

AGS Honors Industry Members at Titleholders Luncheon

Events & AwardsMay 10, 2023

AGS Honors Industry Members at Titleholders Luncheon

During its annual Conclave event, AGS gave out several awards, including Young Titleholder of the Year and the Sallie Morton Award.

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Amanda Coleman-Phelps (left), chair of the AGS International Guilds Council, presented the 2023 Guild of the Year Award to the St. Louis Guild, which was accepted by Guild President Anne Howitt (right), during the annual Titleholders Luncheon. (Image courtesy of the American Gem Society)
Louisville, Ky.—The American Gem Society honored several industry members and organizations during its annual Titleholders Luncheon, held May 3 during Conclave.

Maria Brown, chair of the Young Titleholders Committee, awarded the 2023 Young Titleholder of the Year Award to Courtney Sivard of BC Clark Jewelers in Oklahoma City.

“[Courtney] joined the Young Titleholders Committee and soon became the social media chair. She catapulted our social media and reached all new heights with creative and informative content,” said Brown.

“She is always one of the first ones to volunteer and assist other chairs and has made a lasting impact on our community.”

Sivard, who recently welcomed a baby girl, was not able to attend the ceremony.

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The 2023 Young Titleholder of the Year Award was presented to Courtney Sivard of BC Clark Jewelers. (Image courtesy of the American Gem Society)


The Black in Jewelry Coalition partnered with the Young Titleholders’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to award one BIJC member a grant for Conclave.

Brown also honored that recipient, Nifé Le Blanc. The grant covered the cost of Conclave registration and lodging and provided a $500 gift card from AGS for travel expenses.

Brown also congratulated the seven recipients of the Young Titleholders’ Conclave Scholarships, who each received a free registration to Conclave.

The recipients were:
Amberlee Haddix of Ross Elliot Jewelers in Terre Haute, Indiana;
Abigail Hinds-Aldrich of  Brown Goldsmiths & Co., Inc. in Freeport, Maine;
Andrea Lopez-Irlanda of Jae’s Jewelers in Coral Gables, Florida;
Lex Melendez of Carter’s Collective Fine Jewelry in Petal, Mississippi;
Andrea Pooler of Hill & Company in Yorkshire, England;
Taryn Quigley of TQ Diamonds in Madison, Wisconsin;
Tiana Yamaguchi of Vardy’s Jewelers in Cupertino, California.

Amanda Coleman-Phelps, chair of the International Guilds Council, also presented awards at the luncheon.

She presented the 2023 Sallie Morton Award to William Frost of the Roanoke and Maryland National Capital Guild.

The award recognizes those who have made exceptional contributions to the AGS national guilds, named in honor of the society’s first female president.

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AGS awarded the 2023 Sallie Morton Award to William Frost of the Roanoke and Maryland National Capital Guild. (Image courtesy of the American Gem Society)


Frost was unable to receive his award in person.

“From the moment I met William, I know of no other person who has the level of dedication and integrity that he has exhibited for our jewelry industry. He encompasses the epitome of what makes an AGS member the top of their class when it comes to industry standards, consumer protection, and overall ethics,” said Coleman-Phelps.

“From traveling cross-country to spread the word of AGS to traveling four and a half hours every time we had a guild meeting for the Maryland National Capital Guild, his dedication to our industry is obvious.”

Coleman-Phelps also recognized Meier Opalek of the American Gem Trade Association, who received the 2022 Sallie Morton Award but was unable to attend last year’s ceremony.

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Amanda Coleman-Phelps (left) and Marc Altman, past chair of the International Guilds Council, (right) presented Meier Opalek of the American Gem Trade Association with the 2022 Sallie Morton Award as he was unable to attend last year’s ceremony. (Image courtesy of the American Gem Society)


“Meier has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the advancement of AGS and its growth of membership, and he has made significant contributions to the gemstone industry through innovation, teaching, and his connections with people,” said Coleman-Phelps.

 Related stories will be right here … 

The 2023 Guild of the Year Award was presented to the St. Louis Guild. Guild President Anne Howitt accepted the award.

“The AGS Guild of the Year Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, education, and service to the AGS Guilds and its members. Therefore, Anne Howitt of St. Louis, who has demonstrated exceptional achievements and contributions to the industry, is the perfect selection and most deserving candidate for this award,” said Coleman-Phelps.

The John J. Kennedy Award, presented to outstanding law enforcement and security professionals who have served the jewelry industry, went to Special Agent Mark Dennis Jr. of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Tampa division.

“As a special agent, Mark Dennis Jr. embodies dedication, integrity, and excellence in service to his country. Mark Dennis Jr. impacts the jewelry industry by identifying and tracking down those criminals who are involved in jewelry theft, fraud, and other crimes related to the industry,” said Coleman-Phelps.

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Amanda Coleman-Phelps (left) and Scott Guginsky (right), vice president of the Jewelers Security Alliance, presented Special Agent Mark Dennis Jr. with the John J. Kennedy Award.


During a separate ceremony the previous day, the 2023 Robert M. Shipley Award was presented to Susan Jacques, president and CEO of GIA.

AGS Conclave 2024 will be held April 15-17 in Austin, Texas, with more details to follow.

Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.
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