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Jewelers of America Announces the 2024 GEM Awards Nominees

GEM Award winners to be announced live on March 8, 2024.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, and the GEM Awards Committee have announced the 2024 GEM Award Nominees in the categories of Jewelry Design, Media Excellence and Retail Excellence. The winners in these three categories will be announced live during GEM Awards on Friday, March 8, 2024, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

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 respective field. The GEM Award nominees are:

Marla Aaron | Marie Lichtenberg | Jean Prounis

Marla Aaron | Marie Lichtenberg | Jean Prounis

GEM Award for Jewelry Design:
Marla Aaron
Marla Aaron takes a functional maximalism approach to fine jewelry. What began in 2012 with the iconic recasting of the carabiner Lock into precious metals quickly expanded into a universe of mechanism-inspired “hard-working” fine jewelry that is very fun to play with. Made by hand in small artisanal workshops in New York’s Diamond District, everything by Marla is more than the sum of its parts — rings creatively open and close, shapeshifting into necklaces, bracelets, and charms; earrings snap together and are infinitely buildable; diamonds are cut into cylindrical balls to roll around one’s finger inspired by the mechanism of ball bearings. “Jewelry’s only job is to bring joy to as many people as possible” are the words Marla lives by. The brand’s playfully personal point of view has carved a unique place in the jewelry world with devout collectors of all ages and identities.

Marie Lichtenberg
Marie Lichtenberg started her career as a fashion editor at the iconic French Elle magazine. Over 12 years, she meticulously crafted a formidable reputation and forged collaborations with numerous celebrated photographers. In February 2019, Marie made a pivotal decision to channel her creative energies into her very own jewelry line. Drawing inspiration from her upbringing alongside a mother with a penchant for collecting antique jewelry, she delved deep into her personal history. This profound exploration served as the wellspring for her modern heirloom creations, meticulously designed in Saint Germain des Près. Enriched with narratives from distant lands. The result is a collection of exquisite, meticulously crafted jewels imbued with a profound sense of love and heritage.

Jean Prounis
Jean Prounis founded her eponymous brand in 2017 to create thoughtful jewelry with reverence to history. Inspired by her Greek heritage and by the visual language of her great-grandparents’ New York nightclub, the Versailles, Prounis’ designs are an ode to origins. Jean reimagines ancient artifacts, like those she discovered in her bibliophile grandfather’s book collection, as objects that are elegant, wearable, and enduring. Each piece is handwrought in a signature recycled 22-karat gold and finished with sustainably and responsibly sourced gemstones, diamonds, pearls, and corals. Shaped alongside expert craftspeople in Manhattan’s Jewelry District, Prounis’ museum-quality modern heirlooms preserve the integrity of handmade jewelry in New York City. Formed with purpose, Prounis objects accumulate life’s knicks and imprints over the years, becoming part of the wearer’s own legacy.

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Milena Lazazzera | Tanya Dukes | Alexis Wolfe

Milena Lazazzera | Tanya Dukes | Alexis Wolfe

GEM Award for Media Excellence:
Milena Lazazzera Martins Alexandre
Milena Lazazzera Martins Alexandre is the Luxury Editor at British Vogue where she covers jewelry, watches and arts. For the past six years, Milena has worked as a freelance journalist for The New York Times, Financial Times, Vogue Business, Vanity Fair, and Tatler. Her work has consistently explored the intricate connections between jewelry, history, and the arts, while also delving into the ongoing transformations within the jewelry industry. As a jewelry historian, Milena frequently delivers lectures on the history of jewelry. Her prior senior roles within the LVMH and Richemont luxury groups provide her with a unique vantage point to conduct in-depth analyses of the shifts and developments within the luxury market.

Tanya Dukes
Tanya Dukes is a New York City-based writer and editor. She’s covered the jewelry and watch markets for nearly 20 years, beginning at Elite Traveler magazine, where she served as the publication’s first-ever Style Editor. Later she became Accessories Editor of Brides magazine and Senior Editor for jewelry industry magazines INDESIGN and INSTORE magazines.  Her freelance writing has appeared in titles including The International New York Times, Elle Decor, Robb Report and The Business of Fashion, and she is a Contributor to Watchionista. She has received the Women’s Jewelry Association Award for Excellence in Editorial and a Folio: Eddie Award for her jewelry journalism. 

Alexis Wolfe
Alexis Wolfe is currently Elle’s Fashion and Accessories Market Director, covering all of the luxury markets, however jewelry is her passion. Her career in media began over 25 years ago interning at magazines while attending The Fashion Institute of Technology. She has covered the jewelry market for different publications during her career and her love of jewelry continues to shine through in the features and articles at Elle. Alexis enjoys traveling and exploring the world with her two boys and husband and discovering local and vintage jewelry designers along the way.

GEM Award for Retail Excellence:

Ben Bridge Jeweler
For over a hundred and ten years, Ben Bridge Jeweler has had a singular mission: to be your Personal Jeweler and help you celebrate your special moments. With a commitment to quality jewelry, the highest values, and exceptional personal service. They care deeply about sustainability and protecting both the people and the environment in every stage of the supply chain. They strive to maintain the highest ethical and quality standards in the industry, including collaborating with respected partners and manufacturers that adhere to our stringent guidelines for quality control and responsible sourcing. Ben Bridge Jeweler proudly serves their customers as their personal jeweler for special moments and milestones in their many retail locations and at benbridge.com.  

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Irene Neuwirth
Irene Neuwirth is an independent, fine jewelry company based in Los Angeles. Founded in 2003 by designer Irene Neuwirth, the company has emerged as a leading jewelry brand, recognized by Irene’s whimsical yet ultra-fine design sensibility. The jewelry has generated tremendous editorial attention and is a red-carpet favorite. In 2014, Irene opened her flagship store on Melrose Place in West Hollywood. The jewel box space was designed by Pam Shamshiri and marked the first time Irene’s vision was realized in a full brand experience. In 2022, Irene opened a second flagship on Madison Ave, a fantastical ode to magical surrealism.

Ylang 23
A labor of love and a family business, Ylang 23 is owned and operated by founders Joanne and Charles Teichman and their daughter Alysa. The couple started their business in 1985 (born Ylang-Ylang) and transitioned to luxury in the late 90s. For almost 40 years, Ylang 23 (“ee-long”) has supported emerging designers and introduced its discerning clients to them through its store in Dallas and at ylang23.com. Ylang 23 has created a space for its clients to feel joyful through connection to designers and their jewelry. Central to that is the owners’ close personal relationship with the designers Ylang 23 represents. The company’s team and owners have always been active in the Dallas community, particularly with organizations that focus on women’s health, human rights, and food insecurity. 

The 2024 GEM Awards will also honor industry veteran Susan Jacques with the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement. Additional honorees will be announced soon. Proceeds from GEM Awards directly benefit valuable industry programs that enhance JA’s mission to improve consumer confidence in jewelry and watches. To support the honorees, purchase sponsorships and explore advertising opportunities, visit here.

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SPONSORED VIDEO

When the Kids Have Their Own Careers, Wilkerson Can Help You to Retire

Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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