WJA Announces 2013 Awards For Excellence Honorees and Nominees

At the annual Women’s Jewelry Association Awards for Excellence gala on Monday, July 29, at Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers in New York City, three honorees and nine others will be recognized for their service and dedication to the jewelry industry.

Candy Udell, president of London Jewelers, will receive the Hall of Fame Award; Darwin Copeman, president and CEO of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., will be honored with the Ben Kaiser Award; and Standard Chartered Bank, a London-based multinational banking and financial services company, will receive the Corporate Award.

Udell began her career at the Long Island–based jewelry chain in 1973, the same year she married Mark Udell, son of Fran and Mayer Udell and grandson of store founder, Charles London. Previously, she has received WJA’s Award for Excellence in the Retail category, was Jeweler of the Year by the New York State Jewelers Association, and earned the AGS Triple Zero Award.

Copeman, meanwhile, joined the Neenah, Wis.–based Jewelers Mutual in May 2009, bringing more than 30 years of insurance experience to the company. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, and earned accreditation as a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter.

Standard Chartered is listed on the London Stock Exchange, has secondary listings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India, and derives 90 percent of its profits from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

“WJA is honored to have the opportunity to recognize three deserving recipients,” Tryna Kochanek, president of the Women’s Jewelry Association, told the press. “These individuals and organizations have made substantial contributions to the jewelry industry, and they also embody WJA’s mission as an organization to empower women to reach their greatest potential.”

Additionally, nine others will also receive recognition for excellence in in retail, design, manufacturing/supplier, sales, marketing and communications, editorial/reporting/publishing, and special services. Those nominees include:


Design, Fine Jewelry & Watches

Coomi Bhasin, Coomi

Pamela Froman, Pamela Froman Fine Jewelry

Irene Neuwirth, Irene Neuwirth Inc.

Alex Woo, Alex Woo


Manufacturer/Dealer/Supplier for Fine Jewelry/Gemstones/Metals/Watches

Lita Asscher, Royal Asscher

Danielle Ingwer Cohen, Leo Ingwer Inc.

Laurie Watt, Mayer & Watt


Retail, 15 Doors or More

Linda Bridgewater, Fred Meyer

Vida Farwana, Saks Fifth Avenue

Patricia Watkins, Western Stone/Shane


Retail, Fewer than 15 Doors

Shannon Daly, Robbins Bros.

Cynthia Gould, Gould’s Diamonds and Jewelry

Ellen Lacy, Lacy’s

Joanne Teichman, Ylang23


Retail, Nontraditional

Jessica Herrin, Stella & Dot

Angelina Chen, Circa

Amy Jain & Daniella Yacobovsky, Bauble Bar

Aslaug Magnusdottir, Moda Operandi


Sales and Merchandising

Candace Edelman, Alex Sepkus, Inc.

Andrea Galella, Hermès of Paris

Amy Jackson, Fragments

Jennifer O. Calleri, MJ Christensen


Marketing and Communications

Caryl Capeci, Hearts On Fire

Amanda Gizzi, Jewelers of America

Rebecca Moskal, Communique



Melissa Colgan, Martha Stewart Weddings

Michelle Graff, National Jeweler

Claudia Mata, W magazine

Monica Stephenson, idazzle


Special Services

Brenda Gamba, Jewelers Board of Trade

Debbie Hiss, Training Consultant

Kristie Nicolosi, The Kingswood Co.