Contact: Jacques Voorhees +1 (970) 393-2994
Julianne Paulsen +1 (218) 929-2100


(Dillon, Colorado — March 21, 2011) — "Jewelers For Japan," a fundraising organization set up to help the victims of last month's combined earthquake and tsunami in Japan, has been launched by a group of individuals and organizations in the jewelry industry.

Unlike most fundraising groups, Jewelers for Japan is asking jewelers and consumers around the country to donate scrap gold and silver jewelry, in lieu of cash. Through an agreement with refiner Rio Grande, of Albuquerque, NM, Jewelers of Japan has arranged for donated scrap gold and silver to be refined and converted to cash without a refining fee. All proceeds are sent by Rio Grande directly to the American Red Cross, to help in its Japan relief effort.

The effort is co-chaired by Julianne Paulsen CEO of Viaggio Bracelet and retail store "Rocks the Jewelers," Virginia, MN; and online jewelry-industry pioneer Jacques Voorhees, of VeriChannel, LLC in Colorado. Actress Mariel Hemingway along with partner Bobby Williams, have joined the effort as ambassadors. Kevin DeSoto, a social media expert, and Andrew Max Link, an Internet technical specialist, are contributing their services as well.

In addition to seeking donations from jewelers alone, the organization's website also provides step-by-step advice on how jewelers can arrange donations from their local community, via an outreach program that invites consumers to donate unwanted gold and silver jewelry, via local stores.

"It's heartbreaking for all of us to watch those images of people suffering, coming across the TV every night," said Ms. Paulsen. "This is something our industry can do that will make a difference. We all have scrap gold and silver. Rather than just send it in for a check, let's send it in for the benefit of those in Japan who have lost everything, including their loved ones. Personally, I can't think of anything better we could do with our scrap gold and silver."

"We're hoping the campaign goes viral," said Voorhees. "To make it happen, we'll be harnessing online social media with Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In campaigns to spread the word. We hope to reach 80% of retail jewelry stores in the U.S. within two weeks."

"We're very happy to be part of such a worthwhile effort," said Alan Bell, owner of Rio Grande. "Whatever we can raise through the Jewelers for Japan effort, we know it will be well-received." The group's tagline reads: "Mother nature is powerful. But so are we."

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