By Jennifer Heebner, Editor in Chief
Change is happening at Gemworld International. Stuart Robertson, longtime vice president and research director, steps into the role of president, founder Richard Drucker is now president emeritus, and Brecken Branstrator is GemGuide’s editor in chief.
Headquartered in Glenview, Ill., Gemworld International has provided the gem trade with independently researched gem-focused market trend and pricing information since 1982. The changes will bring about increased editorial coverage and new courses, among other initiatives.
Robertson, who joined the company in 1998, serving as its research director for more than two decades, will oversee Gemworld’s day-to-day operations. He is a frequent lecturer on gemology and co-developer of the industry course “Corundum Treatments and Pricing” as well as a senior member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers and chair of its conference committee. Robertson is also the immediate past president of the Accredited Gemologists Association and has been honored with the Accredited Gemologists Association’s Antonio C. Bonanno Excellence in Gemology award.
Branstrator, a GIA graduate gemologist, joins the company from trade publication National Jeweler, where she reported on supply and pricing, traceability and transparency, color trends, and more, since 2013. She most recently held the role of senior editor. She will continue to be based in New York City and will coordinate the content and editing of each issue. Branstrator has been nominated for Media Excellence Awards by both the WJA and the Gem Awards committee.
Drucker founded the company more than 40 years ago and will continue to serve as GemGuide publisher. Under his leadership, the company debuted the GemGuide Appraisal Software for jewelry appraisers, hosted several World of Gems conferences, and co-developed the World of Color, a comprehensive color grading system for colored gemstones. Like Robertson, he has also been honored with the Accredited Gemologists Association’s Antonio C. Bonanno Excellence in Gemology award.
GemGuide is renowned in the trade for its unbiased editorial and gem pricing information. The publication is entirely funded by subscribers in 40 countries and does not accept advertising.
“At its core the GemGuide strives to present unbiased, colored stone focused pricing, and market trends news,” says Robertson.
Adding Branstrator to the masthead reaffirms GemGuide’s commitment to strong colored stone coverage, which is expanding. New content will include “more coverage on Pearls, the mineral world, and a closer look at developments in colored stone source countries,” says Branstrator. Other topics of interest are auctions results, Fair Trade gem trends, profiles of notable designers working in color, cutters and dealers with interesting histories and backgrounds, and retail stores working with color.
“The print publication’s design won’t be changing at this time, but we will eliminate some pricing segments no longer relevant for the trade, thereby giving me the chance to expand the editorial content to all the topics above as well as other important issues that pop up in the gem trade,” she adds.
“We will be working with our advisors, many of whom are longtime AGTA members, to develop and report those stories that really are specific to colored stone trade,” says Robertson. “We are also planning to establish a workable table of definitions for use in our publications related to origins, sourcing, and other value factors that are not particularly well understood in the broader market.”
Meanwhile, GemGuide’s Gem Focus digital newsletter, which is currently published monthly, will increase in frequency to offer more distinct, newsworthy content for the gem trade.
Besides helping to plan increased editorial coverage, Robertson will also explore areas of growth and represent Gemworld at industry events. Also on tap: working on practical colored stone courses and a video series geared toward consumers on appreciating gemstones.
Robertson will still head up research for GemGuide as well as the special projects for trade clients, though Gemworld’s project manager, Rachel Black, will be “increasingly involved in the analysis of the data collected by our research team,” he notes.
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