Designers / Industry

WJA Foundation Announces Scholarship Winners


The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) Foundation has announced the recipients of its scholarship funds for the 2021–2022 year.

A total of $35,000 in funds will be granted to these students, who are all in accredited programs focused on jewelry-making and jewelry design.

The Cindy Edelstein Scholarship was awarded to Beth Zwiacher, a student at GIA. A native of North Carolina, Zwiacher did stints at Harry Winston, Stone and Strand, and Digby & Iona before deciding to embark on her GIA graduate gemologist studies this year.

The award was created to honor the memory and legacy of longtime WJA board member Cindy Edelstein, who was an advocate for young jewelry designers. The scholarship is in the amount of $5,000.

The Gabriel Love Foundation Scholarship, also in the amount of $5,000, was awarded to Joanna Parrish, an Alaska native who is currently a jewelry-making and -repair student at Boston’s North Bennet Street School. A future 2022 graduate, Parrish hopes to go on to work as a bench jeweler.

That scholarship is funded by the Gabriel Love Foundation of Gabriel & Co., and is dedicated to students who plan to use their jewelry careers to improve communities and participate in charitable efforts.

Other WJA scholarship winners include: Christiane Gozashti, GIA; Xinchen Li, UW Wisconsin; Barbara Salinas, FIT; Jennifer Foote, Academy of Art Institute; Allison Ice, University of Kansas; Sky Gilbert, Winthrop University; Naomi Chicoine, San Diego State; Amber Kimlick, University of North Carolina; Spriha Baid, GIA; and Sarah Fam, GIA.

Funds for WJA scholarships are raised through the annual Awards for Excellence Gala. This year’s event, which is scheduled for Oct. 20, at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City, will be themed Building Resilience for Responsible Business and will raise funds for WJA Foundation’s newest Responsible Sourcing & Sustainability Education Fund, which supports the development of responsible business leaders in the industry.

Future WJA membership grant opportunities will open on Sept. 1 and close Oct. 31.

Donations to the WJA Foundation can be made here.

Top: Cindy Edelstein, a beloved WJA Foundation board member for whom one of the scholarships is named (photo courtesy of WJA Foundation)

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Kristin Young

By: Kristin Young

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