The American Gem Society awarded its highest honor, the Robert M. Shipley Award, to Pennsylvania jeweler Cathy Calhoun.
Los Angeles--At Conclave last Friday, when former Robert M. Shipley Award recipient Clayton Bromberg announced Cathy Calhoun as this year’s winner, he joked that “shy, timid, quiet, modest” were adjectives that “had never been used to describe the 2017 Shipley Award winner.”

Joking aside, Bromberg commended Calhoun, with whom he served on the board of the American Gem Society Laboratory Board of Managers, for being the first female to serve on that board.

“Cathy Calhoun has made a lasting impact upon the American Gem Society because of her outstanding commitment to professional excellence, education, innovating, and customer and community service,” said Bromberg.

Calhoun is the owner of Calhoun Jewelers, located in Royersford, Pennsylvania.

Her many industry accomplishments include serving as president of the AGS from 2010 to 2012 and winning the organization’s inaugural Sallie Morton Guild Award in 2014. In addition, she was named Pennsylvania Jeweler of the Year in 2009.

She currently serves on the boards of directors for Jewelers of America, Jewelers for Children, the Diamond Empowerment Fund and Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.

A teary-eyed Calhoun joked that she was “doing that ugly cry thing” as she accepted her award.

She mentioned her initial lack of career direction and humble beginnings, which included leaving home and living in a car at age 14. She explained how after entering the jewelry industry by chance, she soon became aware of the AGS and its reputation for excellence, which led her to become a gemologist.

Calhoun thanked several AGS members for their influence on her career, including last year’s Shipley award winner Ruth Batson. “She and I have a lifelong friendship,” Calhoun said.

She concluded, “When I come to Conclave, I feel like it’s my family.”

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