Tucson, Ariz., April 20, 2018. For the 10th consecutive year, the annual Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA) Pearl Soiree took place at the Cushing Street Bar and Grille during the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) GemFair Tucson show. The fair took place Jan. 30–Feb. 4, while the CPAA party occurred on Jan. 31 after show hours, per the longstanding tradition of holding it on the Wednesday night of AGTA.
Guests started lining up early for the private party, which takes over the entire indoor and outdoor spaces of the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Tucson, located across from the Tucson Convention Center, where AGTA GemFair takes place.
The CPAA Pearl Soiree has become the most anticipated after-show-hours event held during the fair, where CPAA members and guests munch on mini burgers and gelato while sipping Prosecco. The party’s popularity is due in part to the annual winners of the International Pearl Design Contest, who are celebrated there, as well as robust CPAA member camaraderie and networking. Also responsible for the party’s success? Generous sponsors like Jewelers Mutual, JCK Events, and AGTA, whose funding makes the event a reality. The Cushing Street team also offers a unique, intimate venue with fabulous hospitality.
Perhaps the most significant reason for the party’s accolades, however, is because everyone who attends brings the best of themselves—their energy and their excitement to see old friends and the anticipation of meeting new ones. CPAA creates a warm and familiar setting—akin to going home for Thanksgiving—for those who make a difference in our industry lives. The annual party is an opportunity to thank these individuals, and the CPAA is eternally grateful for all of them.
Thank you to our party sponsors!
Party People at the Soiree
From left: Jeremy Shepherd, CPAA treasurer and CEO of PearlParadise.com; Blaire Beavers, pearl expert; and Jennifer Heebner, CPAA executive director
Rebecca Shukan (left), director of the Jewelry Career Readiness Initiative of the Diamond Council of America (part of Jewelers of America), and Terry Chandler, president of the Diamond Council of America
He’s with the band—seriously, the saxophonist is jamming with the band CPAA hired for the 2018 annual Pearl Soiree.
Center left to right: Jewelry designer Clare Ullman and the DCA’s Rebecca Shukan chat with friends.
“Now, for my first card trick …” A magician entertains the crowd!
Fran Squared: Fran Mastoloni (left), Foreign Relations chairman and past president of CPAA and president of Mastoloni Pearls, with Fran Pennella, founder of Benali Consulting
#GemBesties: Patricia Flynn Syvrud (left), Minerals & Society program manager at the University of Delaware, with pal Christine Webb, consultant to the Smithsonian Institution's National Gem Collection
The CPAA’s Jennifer Heebner reads the names of winners of the most recent International Pearl Design Contest (IPDC). In the background are Anil Maloo (left), CPAA vice president and CEO of Baggins Pearls, and Aziz Basalely, CPAA president and CEO of Eliko Pearls.
From left: CPAA’s Jennifer Heebner; Joshua Israileff, CPAA member and vice president of operations at ASBA Pearls; Kathy Grenier, CPAA marketing director; and Nicolai Israileff, CPAA member and account executive at ASBA Pearls
Jeremy Shepherd accepting an IPDC award on behalf of his wife, Hisano Shepherd, of little h.
From left: Anil Maloo and Aziz Basalely with Elizabeth Dilly Kirby, CPAA member and owner of Elizabeth Blair Fine Pearls, who is receiving an IPDC award
Aziz Basalely with Sonny Sethi, CPAA fundraising chairman, past president, and owner of Tara Pearls
Anil Maloo and Aziz Basalely with IPDC winner Phillip Dismuke of Jewelsmith
Terry Chandler with Dave Bonaparte, president and CEO of Jewelers of America
Allison Hoffman (left) and Linda Quinn, both of Linda Quinn Designs
From left: Steph Farber of Leroy Jewelers, Tacoma, Wash.; Betty Sue King, CPAA Foundation member and owner of King’s Ransom Pearls; Linda Voyles of King’s Ransom Pearls; Suzanne B; Phyllis Harrison of Leroy Jewelers; and Rachel Haag of King’s Ransom Pearls