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Jewelers of America Announces 2018 GEM Awards Nominees




Winners will be announced Jan. 19.

(Press Release) NEW YORK – Jewelers of America, national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, has announced the GEM Award nominees in the categories of Jewelry Design, Media Excellence and – new for 2018 – Retail Innovation.

The winners in these categories will be announced live during the 16th Annual GEM Awards on Friday, Jan. 19, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York.

The GEM Awards honors individuals and brands whose work raises the visibility and status of fine jewelry and watches. Each nominee has achieved excellence in their field and awards category. They are:

GEM Award for Jewelry Design Nominees

Coomi Bhasin, Coomi

Coomi Bhasin launched her namesake label in 2002. Her COOMI47AG silver collection debuted in 2012. Coomi has built a signature style that combines a modern and ancient aura. Her pieces are hand-finished and hand-set, giving them a one-of- a-kind appeal. Rose cut diamonds are the mainstay of her collection with Coomi overseeing all the cutting with an engineer’s precision for detail and artisan’s eye for beauty and rarity in design.

Irene Neuwirth, Irene Neuwirth Jewelry


Irene Neuwirth Jewelry is a leading, independent jewelry brand, recognized by its uniquely modern and sophisticated designs. Irene’s one-of- a-kind pieces are highly anticipated by a fashion-forward and discriminating clientele, who have come to expect a line that delivers a precise balance between timeless, collectable jewelry and the ultimate statement in modern luxury. The jewelry has generated tremendous editorial attention and is worn by numerous celebrities.

Nikos Koulis, Nikos Koulis Jewels

Nikos Koulis comes from an established family business in jewelry. In 2006, he created his own brand, Nikos Koulis Jewels. His collections showcase his artistic spirit and intricate craftsmanship derived from the Greek goldsmithing tradition. From his boutiques in Athens and Mykonos, he creates unique pieces for an international clientele who collects jewelry for its distinct aesthetic and quality.

GEM Award for Media Excellence Nominees

Benjamin Clymer, HODINKEE

Benjamin Clymer is the Founder and CEO of HODINKEE, a robust online magazine featuring in-depth reviews, critiques and reports on watches of a particularly high quality. Dubbed “The High Priest of Horology,” Ben is widely considered to be a leading voice in the wristwatch industry and is regularly quoted in major publications including The New York Times, Reuters, Forbes, Departures, GQ and The Financial Times. 

Marion Fasel,


Marion Fasel is founder and editorial director of The online magazine is a reflection of her work over the last 20 years as a jewelry editor, author and expert. Marion has written eight books on the history of twentieth century jewelry including the Bejeweled: Great Designers; Hollywood Jewels: Movies, Jewelry, Stars; and Bulgari Serpenti Collection. She is sought after as a consultant, curator and contributor to numerous exhibitions.

Michelle Graff, National Jeweler

Michelle Graff has been editor-in-chief of National Jeweler, the must-read news source for jewelry professionals, since 2013. In 2007, she joined the publication as senior editor covering diamonds.

She leads the editorial direction of and its popular daily newsletter. In the past two years, she has revived two of National Jeweler’s most popular annual print editions, The State of the Majors and the Retailer Hall of Fame.

GEM Award for Retail Innovation


In 2011, Tao Group opened Beauty & Essex, a restaurant and lounge in New York City, with a pawn shop retail experience at its entrance curated by Lauren Kaminsky Goldman of ByGoldGirl. In collaborating with the group, Lauren Kaminsky Goldman became curating partner, she decks out cases with jewelry and curiosities to astound guests before they discover the glamorous restaurant hidden behind the pawn shop’s back door. Beauty & Essex’s successful formula has led to the opening of locations in Las Vegas and Hollywood.


Govberg Jewelers

Founded in Philadelphia in 1916, Govberg Jewelers is one of the nation’s most specialized purveyors of luxury timepieces. Under the leadership of Danny Govberg, the company underwent a tremendous transformation over the past 30 years. Danny’s insatiable passion for watches and technology inspired the evolution of Govberg’s service offerings across many platforms, merging the traditional charm of brick-and- mortar retail and the interests of the tech-savvy luxury consumer in an intriguing fashion.

Moda Operandi

Moda Operandi has established a retail renaissance where the time-honored institution of luxury meets an innovative point of view on fashion. Moda Operandi is the only place to preorder looks straight from the unedited runway collections of the world’s top designers – months before they are available anywhere else. The Moda Operandi Boutique offers a highly curated selection of in-season items, ready to ship now while the Moda Operandi’s private showrooms offer a bespoke shopping experience.

The 2018 GEM Awards will also honor Sally Morrison with the prestigious GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement and Debra Messing with the GEM Award for Jewelry Style. To support the honorees, find tickets, sponsorship and advertising opportunities, visit



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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