Designers / Industry

Gem Awards Honor Industry and Spark Connection at Gala Event


The 21st annual Gem Awards honored the love, creativity, and hard work that the fine jewelry and watch industry puts in each day with a gala affair that honored excellence across multiple categories.

The Gem Awards took place March 17 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York, and the black-tie gala brought out industry leaders, jewelers from across the world, and business teams ready to celebrate a year in jewelry like no other.

Winners and honorees call the event a time to reflect on the highs and lows of 2022 while also connecting with one another in a substantive way.

“My favorite part of the night was connecting IRL with the many designers and executives I admire and call friends or have interviewed for stories. And seeing Greenwich St. Jewelers win their award! I am still soaking up the love and flying high from an incredible night,” says Amy Elliott, a JCK editor and Media Excellence honoree.

The awards and honors went to:

Gucci received the inaugural Gem Award for High Jewelry Excellence
Steven Kaiser, whose family accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award on his behalf
Hodinkee accepted the Gem Award for Watch Excellence
Anita Ko Jewelry accepted the Gem Award for Jewelry Design
• The Gem Award for Retail Excellence went to Greenwich St. Jewelers
Michelle Graff of National Jeweler received the Gem Award for Media Excellence

Anita Ko
Anita Ko received the Jewelry Design Award for her lifelong accomplishments as a jewelry designer for queens of all kinds from former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama to Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan (photo courtesy of Anita Ko).

Jennifer Gandia, co-owner of Greenwich St. Jewelers, says she and her sister, Christina Gandia Gambale, were “so happy and humbled by our win.” Over the weekend, she says, they polished all the fingerprints off their award and put it in the store for all to see.

“Although you know when you get nominated that you may win, the moment is still surreal! Getting up on that stage was a bit scary, but we really felt the love in the room,” Jennifer Gandia says. “We’re so grateful to the committee for seeing us and giving Greenwich St. Jewelers such an incredible honor. Our mother was with us and screamed so loudly when they announced our name!

“Although it’s in our name, we share the Gem Award with our entire team, designers, vendors—everyone that contributes to our success. We may be at the helm, but we do this work in community and are so grateful for our entire jewelry family,” Jennifer Gandia says. “We really couldn’t be more proud.”

Elliott agrees, noting that she was proud to see her work honored alongside winner Michelle Graff and honoree The Telegraph’s former Jewellery & Watches editor Sarah Royce-Greensill.

“I am just so honored to have my work recognized in this way, it means so much that anyone pays attention to what I write,” Elliott says. “Michelle Graff absolutely deserves her win, and I send her and her team my heartfelt congratulations.

“I’m still hoarse from Friday night—a testament to all the socializing and mingling I did! I felt completely like a princess with the beautiful turquoise jewels I borrowed from Deirdre Featherstone and had a great time documenting my glow up on Instagram. I am so lucky to have spent the evening with a seat at the JCK Events table thanks to Sarin Bachmann’s hospitality, and it was great to catch up with edit team colleagues Rob Bates and my date for the night, Melissa Bernardo.”

Attendees including Patricia Carruth, founder and lead designer at Your Personal Jeweler in Metro Detroit, say the awards were memorable and rewarding.

“The jewelry, the people—it truly was something you need to experience yourself to understand just how magical it was,” Carruth says. “Congratulations to Greenwich St. Jewelers and all of the other award winners! Everyone was so deserving.”

This was the first Gem Awards for Gina Feldman Love and her husband and Auvere cofounder, Steven Feldman.

“We had a blast! The event was packed to the gills. Everyone was wearing the most incredible jewelry. And the energy in the room was exuberant and lively,” Love says. “We stayed until the bitter end because we genuinely enjoyed the people.

“I think we have the Gem Awards to thank for some new friends! It was great to see some of my fellow designers [including Lorraine West and Lauren Godfrey] from the Sotheby’s Brilliant and Black show as well as the creators of the event, Melanie Grant—who I call the fairy godmother of jewelry designers—and Frank Everett of Sotheby’s,” Love says. “I am so glad that we attended the event. I felt really happy and proud to be a part of this magnificent and immensely creative industry.”

Top: Michelle Graff, Amy Elliott, and Sarah Royce-Greensill were the nominees for Media Excellence at the 21st annual Gem Awards in New York, which took place March 17 (photo courtesy of Amy Elliott; Madison McGaw/ 

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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