It’s 88 degrees with 95 percent humidity as I write, but there’s already a (psychological, if not meteorological) hint of autumn in the air. By the time you read this, fall will be well underway.
The summer went quickly, but there were some great highlights. Jewelry week in July, centered on the JA New York show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, was punctuated, as usual, by two terrific industry events: the Women’s Jewelry Association Awards for Excellence gala and the American Gem Society’s Circle of Distinction dinner.
The 2018 WJA event underwent a complete rethink. Rather than honor multiple women (and the occasional man) across categories, the organization replaced the lineup with the inaugural Visionary Awards, described by WJA board president Jenny Luker as four awards that 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.”
This year’s recipients were 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 award was given jointly to De Beers Group and U.N. Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. Additionally, the GIA’s much-beloved Bev Hori was awarded the Cindy Edelstein Mentorship Award.
Needless to say, it was inspirational to see this many powerful, impactful female jewelry industry execs! Congrats to Jenny and the rest of the WJA team.
The AGS awards took place the following night at the Plaza. The annual dinner continues to be a wonderful old-school, black-tie event in a super-elegant setting. In a world of “new, new, new,” it’s refreshing to enjoy a traditional evening.
As always, the Circle of Distinction Awards honored amazing people in our biz. Stephen Lussier, CEO of Forevermark, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, while David A. Bouffard, vice president of corporate affairs at Signet, and Terry Chandler, president and CEO of the Diamond Council of America, each received the distinctive AGS Triple Zero Award.
It is a delight to sit and listen to industry lions relive the highlights of their careers. So often, their success comes down to the people in this business. I always leave feeling lucky to be in such a supportive industry, filled with amazing talent and terrific friends.
As this issue goes to the printer, I’ll be on a family vacation in Mount Desert Island, Maine. Once we’re back, I look forward to hitting the ground running. See you around!
Top: We didn’t spot Eloise, but we had a smashing time at the Plaza nonetheless.
(Smelzer photograph by Nicholas A. Prakas; grooming: Claudia Andreatta/Halley Resources; Plaza: Littleny/istock/Getty)