Former Shipley Award recipient Bill Farmer (at right) presented the award to the 2019 winner, Kelly Newton.
Seattle—Kelly Newton wears many hats. Jeweler, gemologist, husband, grandfather and now a Robert M. Shipley Award recipient.

The award, named after the world-renowned gemologist and GIA founder, is given to jewelry industry veterans to honor their committee to the trade and celebrate their years of service.

Newton, the third-generation owner and president of Newton’s Jewelers in Fort Smith, Arkansas, was visibly shocked upon hearing his name called by former Bill Farmer, a former Shipley award recipient.

“I can’t thank you enough, and I’m thrilled beyond words that my family is here,” Newton said.

An AGS member for more than 25 years, Newton has served on the board of directors since 2010 and has been chair of the Membership Committee since 2014.

He has chaired the AGS Grievance and Review Committee for the past seven years, which Farmer quipped was worthy of an award in and of itself.

“Kelly sets the standard for what an AGS jeweler should be and what the Shipley Award stands for,” said Doug Parker, a past president of the AGS Board of Directors and current chair of the Robert M. Shipley Nominating Committee.

When Newton isn’t at his store, one might find him singing in the church choir as he has done for more than 40 years, out on a fishing boat, volunteering in the community or spending time with his grandchildren.

GIA CEO Susan Jacques was unable to attend the Shipley Luncheon due to a prior obligation in Africa but made an appearance via a pre-recorded video to start the event and introduce the Beatrice Shipley scholarship, which will cover the full cost of a graduate gemologist diploma from GIA and a certified gemologist diploma from AGS.

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