2013 WJA Awards of Excellence and Hall of Fame Winners Announced

The Women’s Jewelry Association celebrated the 30th annual WJA Awards for Excellence on July 29 at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

More than 700 guests packed Pier 60 for the annual celebration that has become a must-attend affair during New York’s midsummer market week.

Candy Udell, president of London Jewelers, received the Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award; Standard Chartered Bank received the Corporate Hall of Fame Award; and Darwin Copeman, CEO of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., was honored with the Ben Kaiser Award, which is bestowed on industry men who show extraordinary support of women in the business.  

London Jewelers’ Candy Udell (photos courtesy of WJA)

While accepting her trophy, beloved retailer Udell told the room that when she first went into the jewelry business, women struggled “to have a place” at the proverbial table. Since then, the climate has changed. “Now we want the whole table,” she deadpanned, garnering laughs and applause.

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co.’s Darwin Copeman

The evening also featured the debut of a charity auction through CharityBuzz.com. All proceeds will 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. (Items on the website will be available until Aug. 9.)

As usual, the cocktail hour didn’t provide enough time for longtime industry friends to catch up. Fortunately, this year WJA initiated an after-dinner affair—complete with dancing and a decadent dessert spread—to provide more networking time.

The complete list of 2013 Awards for Excellence nominees and winners (winner in bold):           

Category I: Design—Fine Jewelry and 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—15 Doors or Fewer                      

  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—Nontraditional

  1. Jessica Herrin, Stella & Dot
  2. Angelina Chen, Circa
  3. Amy Jain & Daniella Yacobovsky, BaubleBar
  4. Lauren Santo Domingo, Moda Operandi

Category VI: Sales and Manufacturing

  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 and Communications

  1. Caryl Capeci, Hearts On Fire
  2. Amanda Gizzi, Jewelers of America
  3. Rebecca Moskal, Communiqué                 

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