WJA Visionary Awards to Honor Abramo, Capeci, and Swarovski

The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) is streamlining its annual Awards for Excellence gala.

In the past, the event has handed out awards to industry leaders in more than a dozen categories. But this time out, only be four awards will be given—and all have been rebranded Visionary Awards.

WJA will present Visionary Awards to Mercedes Abramo, president and CEO of Cartier North America; Caryl Capeci, president of Hearts on Fire; and Nadja Swarovski, the first female member of the executive board of Swarovski.

The fourth Visionary Award will be given jointly to De Beers Group and U.N. Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. In 2017, De Beers Group announced a three-year partnership with U.N. Women to accelerate the advancement of women across its organization, in its diamond-producing countries, and in its marketing. Elizabeth Nyamayaro, head of U.N. Women’s “HeForShe” movement, will accept the award at the event, with David Prager, executive vice president of corporate affairs for De Beers Group.

The awards will be presented at the organization’s Awards for Excellence gala, which this year will be held July 16 at Pier 60 on the Chelsea Piers in New York City (the event will also mark WJA’s 35th anniversary in the jewelry industry).

“The WJA Board voted to introduce its Visionary Awards as a way to mark our anniversary and to recognize individuals and organizations making a difference in the cause of women’s equality,” says Jenny Luker, WJA’s newly elected board president, in a WJA statement. “Our four awards will go to women who are the first to hold their high positions of leadership in their companies, and to organizations that are providing support and mentorship to women.”


Mercedes Abramo Cartier
Mercedes Abramo, president and CEO of Cartier North America

Honoree Mercedes Abramo began her career at Cartier as director of the flagship Fifth Avenue mansion, after several years in luxury hospitality. She then served as assistant vice president of New York retail—overseeing all New York Cartier boutiques—and then as vice president of retail for all of North America. She was appointed president and CEO of Cartier North America in 2014 and serves on the board of directors of Jewelers of America and the advisory board of the Luxury Education Foundation.

Abramo’s a key advocate for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, an international business plan competition for women entrepreneurs created in 2006 “to identify, support, and encourage projects that solve contemporary global challenges,” according to the same statement.

Caryl Capeci Hearts on Fire
Hearts on Fire CEO Caryl Capeci

Hearts on Fire’s Caryl Capeci began her career at N.W. Ayer and J. Walter Thompson, where she worked to create demand for diamond jewelry in the U.S. for De Beers Group. After joining Hearts on Fire as vice president, marketing, and then chief marketing officer, she was named president of the company in 2015.

Capeci is responsible for all company operations around the world and oversees the integration of HOF into the 2,200-door retail network of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, which acquired Hearts on Fire in 2014. She serves on the boards of Jewelers for Children and the Diamond Empowerment Fund and is also a member of the 24 Karat Club of the City of New York.

Nadja Swarovski (pictured at top) is the great-great-granddaughter of Swarovski founder Daniel Swarovski and is the first female member of the executive board of Swarovski. She leads the company’s global branding and communications, oversees the company’s sustainability agenda, and chairs the Swarovski Foundation. The exec is also an ambassador for Women for Women International—and under her leadership, the brand has signed on for the U.N. Women’s Empowerment Principles and the U.N. Global Compact.

WJA’s Awards for Excellence has become a high-profile and much-anticipated event in the jewelry industry. Best of all—it raises money for scholarships and grants for exceptional women entering or working in the industry.

(Top image: Nadja Swarovski, first female member of the executive board of Swarovski; all photos courtesy of WJA)

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JCK Senior Editor

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