The Awards of Excellence gala is one of the WJA’s most important events. Now held every year at the Piers in Manhattan prior to the JA New York fine jewelry show in July, the awards honor excellence in the field of fine jewelry and has become one of the industry’s most well-attended events. Accompanying the awards each year is a silent auction, which benefits the WJA’s scholarship programs.
Awards are given each year in seven categories: design, sales, retail, manufacturer/dealer/supplier, marketing, editorial/reporting/publishing and special services.
Most years, the WJA also presents the Hall of Fame Award for Lifetime Achievement, which recognizes an individual who has had a significant impact on the jewelry world. In 1996 and 1998, two men were honored: Ben Kaiser and Ralph Destino. The award, now called the Ben Kaiser Award, is presented to men for their commitment to helping promote women in the industry.
Here, a list of the WJA Hall of Fame Award Winners:
2002 Harriet Schreiner, Sterling Jewelers
2001 Joan Parker, Diamond Information Center
2000 Beryl Raff, Zale Corp.
1998 Laurie Hudson, Platinum Guild International
1995 Kathryn Kimmel, Gemological Institute of America
1994 Nancy Brewer, Nancy B.
1993 Babette Goodman Cohen, Jane Goodman Baum, I.B. Goodman Mfg. Co.
1990 June A. Herman, Jabel Inc.
1989 Helene Fortunoff, Fortunoff Fine Jewelry
1988 Gerry Gewirtz, Gerry Gewirtz Report
1987 Eunice Robinson Miles, Gemological Institute of America
1986 Sallie Morton, American Gem Society
1985 Peg Kirby, Finlay Fine Jewelry