WJA Honors Nine

The 19th Annual Women’s Jewelry Association’s Awards of Excellence recently recognized nine women in the fine-jewelry and watch industry for their accomplishments and milestones. The gala event was held at Pier Sixty on Chelsea Piers during the JA summer show.

Awards were given in seven categories to the following:

Design: Barbara Berk, owner of Barbara Berk Designs, Foster City, Calif. Berk founded her design firm in 1992 and has received design awards from the World Gold Council, the American Jewelry Design Council, and the 2002 Saul Bell Design Award.

Manufacturer/Dealer/Jewelry/Gems/Metals: Ann Schonwetter Arnold and Isabella Schonwetter Fiske, vice presidents of Lieberfarb Inc., a manufacturer of fine jewelry located in Orange, N.J. The two sisters, who grew up in a family jewelry business, have brought Lieberfarb to the forefront of the bridal industry.

Manufacturer/Dealer/Watches: Stacie Orloff, president of Corum USA, Irvine, Calif., is a 30-year industry veteran who began her jewelry career in her family’s store at age 6. Orloff has worked at Gucci and Montblanc and sits on the boards of the American Watch Association and the Jewelry Information Center.

Retail: Mary Todd McGinnis, vice president, Ben Bridge Jeweler, Seattle. A consummate sales executive and trainer, McGinnis is involved in numerous industry organizations and community activities and is a popular speaker at industry events. She is an AGS Certified Gemologist Appraiser and Graduate Gemologist.

Sales and Marketing: Elizabeth Florence, executive director, Jewelry Information Center, New York City, generates excitement for fine jewelry and watches through a comprehensive public relations campaign that she oversees on behalf of the industry. Formerly with the World Gold Council, she is often seen on television and quoted in newspapers across the country.

Editorial/Reporting/Publishing: Jill Newman, a New York-based journalist and contributing editor to the Robb Report and Basel Magazine, is a fine-jewelry and luxury markets specialist. She began covering jewelry and accessories at Women’s Wear Daily and W and recently co-authored (with Antoinette Matlins) Jewelry & Gems at Auction: The Definitive Guide to Buying and Selling at the Auction House and Internet Auction Sites.

Special Services and Education: Gillian Schultz, vice president, Metronet Safe & Sound, Chicago, in partnership with her husband has built a 20-year-old company with a reputation for providing high-level integrated jewelry security. Schultz is a past president of the WJA Midwest Chapter and current WJA National Scholarship chair. She has received numerous awards, including from the National Association of Women Business Owners, of which she is past president.

The final award of the evening—the WJA Hall of Fame Award for Lifetime Achievement—was given to Harriet Schreiner, who recently retired from her position as executive vice president and merchandise manager of Sterling Jewelers. Schreiner, who has spent almost 40 years in the jewelry industry, joined Sterling in May 1996. She is an active supporter of many nonprofit organizations, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Morris Animal Foundation, and Futures for Children.

Sponsors for the Awards of Excellence included: Platinum Level—Tiffany & Company and IGI; Gold Level—ABN Amro Bank, Kwiat, M. Fabrikant & Sons, and the Vicenza Trade Fair Board; Silver Level—Andin International, Blue Star Jewelry Mfg. Inc., Bill Communications, Designworks Jewelry Group Ltd., Graff Jewelers, House Beautiful, JCK magazine, Johnson-Matthey NY, L.I.D. Ltd., Leo Schachter—The World Diamondaires, Platinum Guild International USA, Ron Saltiel Productions, Rosy Blue Inc., Samuel Aaron International, Star Diamond Group Inc., and Vishinda/Gemglow.

For more information, visit the WJA Web site at www.womensjewelry.org or call (973) 575-7190.