WJA Honors Eight at 20th Annual Gala

The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) marked the 20th anniversary of its Awards for Excellence at the group’s annual awards dinner. Held at Chelsea Piers during the JA New York 2003 Summer Show, the gala recognized the accomplishments of outstanding women in the fine jewelry and watch industry. Among the award recipients was Juell Kadet, jewelry designer and owner of Rogers & Hollands Jewelers of Matteson, Ill., one of the largest chains of family-owned jewelry stores in the United States. Kadet was inducted into the WJA Hall of Fame.

Also during the evening, WJA conducted a silent auction of jewelry, watches, and other desirable items and services to raise money for its scholarship program, which supports talented jewelry students.

Awards for Excellence were given in seven categories:

Design– Erica Courtney, president of Erica Courtney Inc. of Los Angeles. Courtney has been designing jewelry since 1985 and is known for her visionary designs and prolific collections of pearls and gemstones. Her jewelry is worn by many celebrities and was featured in the movie Erin Brockovich.

Manufacturer/Dealer/Jewelry/Gems/Metals– Norma Haas, co-owner of ENH International Inc. of New York. Haas has devoted nearly 30 years to her diamond jewelry career, working in Antwerp, Tel Aviv, and New York City. She has been in the forefront of the diamond industry, creating and selling jewelry designs for many high-end retailers, and serves on the WJA national board.

Manufacturer/Dealer/Watches– Linda Malias Passaro, senior vice president, wholesale division, Montblanc, Chatham, N.J. Passaro began her career on the De Beers marketing team at N.W. Ayer and has provided outstanding executive leadership to a variety of leading jewelry and watch organizations. She was the first woman president at Hamilton, part of the Swatch Group. At Montblanc, she refined the company’s jewelry distribution, and watch sales have doubled under her leadership. Passaro also sits on the WJA national board.

Retail – Marie Helene Morrow, president, Reinhold Jewelers, San Juan, Puerto Rico. For more than 20 years, Morrow has been a trailblazer in the promotion of fine-jewelry designers in her store. Devoted to community work and helping charities that are selected by her customers, Morrow has received many local awards, including Outstanding Woman of the Year, and was a founding member of the AIDS Foundation in Puerto Rico.

Sales & Marketing Diane Mattioli, luxury products director, VogueMagazine, New York City. Mattioli is a 17-year veteran of advertising sales and publishing with leading trade and consumer magazines in the jewelry and fashion industry and serves on the WJA national board.

Editorial/Reporting/Publishing Heather Bracher Severs, director, Jewelry & Accessories, Town & Country Magazine, New York City. Bracher Severs began her career in the luxury fashion and jewelry market working at Chanel, was accessories editor of Elle magazine, and since 1999 has headed the jewelry and accessories department at Town & Country.

Special Services & Education: Bev Hori, director of education, Ben Bridge Jewelers, Seattle, Wash. Hori has shared her passion for professionalism in the jewelry industry for more than 30 years in education, retail, and manufacturing. She has worked at GIA and JA and serves on the AGS Education Committee and the Retail Skills Center board.

WJA Awards Dinner sponsors include:

Platinum Level – ABN-AMRO Bank, EGL USA, L.I.D. Ltd., Platinum Guild International, Rosy Blue Fine Inc., and Tiffany & Company.

Gold Level – M. Fabrikant & Sons.

Silver Level – Cartier; Johnson Matthew N.Y.

Bronze Level – Amikam/Paras, Graff Jewelers, Impex/Jewlex, JCK magazine, Kerwin Communications, Kwiat, Leo Schachter: The World’s Diamondaires, Prestige Jewelry International, VNU Expositions, and the Vicenza Trade Fair.

For more information, visit www.womensjewelry.org or call (973) 575-7190.