30th Annual WJA Awards of Excellence, Hall of Fame Winners Announced

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Candy Udell of London Jewelers, recipient of the Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award

Candy Udell of London Jewelers, recipient of the Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award

New York—Smiles, laughter and personalities sparkled even more than the jewelry at Chelsea Piers on Monday night when a record number of attendees celebrated the 30th Annual Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) Awards for Excellence.

The Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Candy Udell, president of London Jewelers.

“The honor for me is to stand among each of you tonight and call you my colleagues and friends,” Udell told the crowd of more than 700.  “London Jewelers still operates with that mom and pop mentality. We are more than just purveyors; we are purveyors of memories. I couldn’t be more thankful for that every day.”

Udell also offer up this bit of advice: “Jewelry is a woman’s best insurance policy; when the going gets tough, put on your jewels and smile.”

Other top awardees were Standard Chartered Bank which accepted the Corporate Hall of Fame Award, and Darwin Copeman of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company who was honored with The Ben Kaiser Award, an honor bestowed on industry men who show extraordinary support of women in the business.

As part of the 30th anniversary celebration, WJA held a “Chance Auction” and an opportunity to bid on items available through CharityBuzz.com, including an African Safari with a private diamond cutting facility tour, a one-of-a-kind experience (donated by Julius Klein Group).

Auction Proceeds Benefit Scholarship Fund

All proceeds from the auction benefit the WJA’s Scholarship Fund, which supports the educational and professional development of young talent at many levels of the industry. This year the WJA is awarding more than $30,000 in honor of the organization’s 30th anniversary.

Among the attendees were Varda Shine of De Beers, Helene Fortunoff, David and Sybil Yurman, Erica Courtney, Janet Goldman of Fragments, as well as principals and representatives of the world’s top luxury brands such as Barbara Cirkva, vice president of Chanel Fashion, Watches and Fine Jewelry Group.

WJA also presented Awards for Excellence in retail, design, manufacturing/ supplier, sales, marketing and communications, editorial/reporting/publishing, and special services.

“I have the luckiest job in the world,” summed up Irene Neuwirth, whose jewelry has been seen on A-list celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts and Charlize Theron and who accepted the Award for Excellence in Design. “I get to wake up and create something new every day. I am so grateful to do what I do and grateful to be recognized by the Women’s Jewelry Association.”

The Awards for Excellence Gala provides an opportunity for the jewelry industry’s veterans to mingle with the young stars of tomorrow,” said Tryna Kochanek, WJA president. “At this year’s gala, we congratulated the deserving individuals and organizations honored, and celebrated the rich history of WJA’s first 30 years by presenting special Swarovski-commissioned trophies to all our past and current presidents”

Cathy Tivol presenting the Carelle-WJA Member Grant in honor of her daughter, Brooke Tivol McGrath. Lisa Kim of WJA's Los Angeles chapter received this year's grant.

Cathy Tivol presenting the Carelle-WJA Member Grant in honor of her daughter, Brooke Tivol McGrath. Lisa Kim of WJA’s Los Angeles chapter received this year’s grant.

Nominees and winners of the 2013 Awards for Excellence are listed below. Category winners are noted are in bold.

Category1. Design– Fine Jewelry & Watches

1. Coomi –Coomi

2. Pamela Froman –Pamela Froman Fine Jewelry

3. Irene Neuwirth–Irene Neuwirth, Inc.

4. Alex Woo –Alex Woo

Category II. Manufacturer/Dealer/Supplier for Fine Jewelry/Gemstones/Metals/Watches

1. Lita Asscher –Royal Asscher

2. Danielle Ingwer Cohen–Leo Ingwer, Inc.

3. Laurie Watt–Mayer & Watt

Category III. Retail–15 Doors or More

1. Linda Bridgewater –Fred Meyer

2. Vida Farwana –Saks Fifth Avenue

3. Patricia Watkins—Western Stone/Shane

Category IV. Retail–Fewer than 15 Doors

1. Shannon Daly –Robbins Bros.

2. Cynthia Gould –Gould’s Diamonds and Jewelry

3. Ellen Lacy–Lacy’s

4. Joanne Teichman –Ylang23

Category V. Retail–Non-Traditional

1. Jessica Herrin –Stella & Dot

2. Angelina Chen–Circa

3. Amy Jain & Daniella Yacobovsky–Bauble Bar

4. Lauren Santo Domingo –Moda Operandi

Category VI.—Sales & Merchandising

1. Candace Edelman –Alex Sepkus, Inc.

2. Andrea Galella–Hermès of Paris

3. Amy Jackson –Fragments

4. Jennifer O. Calleri–MJ Christensen

5. Abigail Huhtanen–Bergdorf Goodman

Category VII. Marketing & Communications

1. Caryl Capeci –Hearts On Fire

2. Amanda Gizzi –Jewelers of America

3. Rebecca Moskal –Communique

Category VIII. Media

1. Melissa Colgan –Martha Stewart Weddings

2. Michelle Graff –National Jeweler

3. Claudia Mata –W Magazine

4. Monica Stephenson –idazzle

Category IX. Special Services

1. Brenda Gamba –Jewelers Board of Trade

2. Debbie Hiss –Training Consultant

3. Kristie Nicolosi –The Kingswood Company

Proceeds from the items featured CharityBuzz will benefit the WJA Scholarship Fund. They will be available online until August 9 through this link.