(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK – Jewelers of America, the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, held the 17th annual GEM Awards on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. Stewart Wicht received the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement and Tiffany & Co. received the GEM Award for Marketing & Communications. The winners in the categories of Jewelry Design, Media Excellence and Retail Excellence were revealed live to an audience of nearly 600 press and jewelry industry elite.
Fernando Jorge won the GEM Award for Jewelry Design. The other nominees in the Jewelry Design category were Valérie Messika and Silvia Furmanovich. The award was presented by 2018 GEM Award for Jewelry Design winner Irene Neuwirth.
The GEM Award for Media Excellence was given to Will Kahn of Town & Country. 2018 GEM Award winner Marion Fasel of The Aventurine, presented the award. The other Media Excellence nominees were Brecken Branstrator of National Jeweler and Michael Thompson of International Watch.
Threads took home the award for GEM Award for Retail Excellence. The other nominees for Retail Innovation were Broken English and Cellini. The award was presented 2017 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement winner Jim Rosenheim of Tiny Jewel Box.
Rapper A$AP Ferg presented the GEM Award for Marketing & Communications, saying, “Holly Golightly and this boy from Harlem have more in common than you might think. When I was growing up, I’d sometimes walk past Tiffany on my way to Art and Design High School on Second Avenue. I’d stand at the Tiffany window and say to myself, Someday.” Andrea Davey accepted the award for Tiffany & Co., saying in part, “Tiffany’s story is more than 180 years old but forever young. It is exquisite beauty in everyday luxury. It is witty, natural, effortless elegance. It is New York and all her youthful energy. In 2018, we loved finding new ways—and new voices—for telling that story while staying true to the company’s heritage. We are delighted that, with this prestigious award, you seem to have loved it too.”
Wicht was honored with the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement for his efforts to enhance the jewelry and watch industry’s image and set a standard of excellence that inspired industry colleagues throughout the course of his career. His career at Rolex spanned more than four decades. In 2011 he was appointed president and CEO of Rolex Watch U.S.A. Inc. Wicht retired in December 2018 but remains on the board of directors of Rolex Watch U.S.A. After receiving a standing ovation from the crowd, he thanked his Rolex team and explained his philosophy on work by saying, “I always say, ‘You can go faster alone but you can go further together.’”
GEM Awards Chair Olivier Stip of Chanel was the host of the evening. Sponsors of GEM Awards included: Cornerstone Sponsors – Chanel and Synchrony Financial; Premier Sponsors – Rolex and Signet Jewelers; Patron Sponsors – David Yurman, DeBeers Group, Hearts On Fire, Tourneau and Wempe; Benefactor Sponsors – Cellini Jewelers, COUTURE, JCK Events, Luxury Jewelers Resource Group, Movado Group, Inc., Tiffany & Co., Timeless Distributions and Unique Settings New York.
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