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WJA Foundation Announces 2021 Scholarship Winners

A total of $35,000 in scholarship funds will be awarded.




(PRESS RELEASE) The Women’s Jewelry Association Foundation (WJAF) announces its scholarship recipients, all of whom are students in accredited programs focused on jewelry making and design, to receive a total of $35,000 in scholarship funds for the 2021-2022 program year.

There are a total of five scholarship categories in which our 2021 winners have been gifted ranging from $1,000- $5,000; The Cindy Edelstein Jewelry Design Scholarship, the Gabriel Love Foundation Scholarship, Designer Category (based on designs by the student, includes CAD and drawings), Designer/Creator Category (based on images of finished pieces that are designed and created by the student), and Non-Designer Category (essay-based for those studying to be a gemologist, appraiser, watch-maker, bench jeweler, or retailer).

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The Cindy Edelstein Scholarship, created to honor the legacy of long-time WJA Board member Cindy Edelstein, is awarded to Beth Zwiacher, a student at the Gemological Institute of America. This scholarship is given in memory of Cindy, who was the jewelry industry’s passionate advocate for jewelry designers entering the field. For that reason, the $5,000 scholarship is awarded to emerging fine jewelry designers or artisans and memorializes Edelstein’s tireless pursuit of educating, mentoring, and coaching these entrepreneurs. The recipient can pursue jewelry design, metalsmithing, or business courses, providing they are focused on improving their artistry and/or their designer jewelry business.

The Gabriel Love Foundation Scholarship has been awarded to Joanna Parrish, student at Bennet Street School. The $5,000 scholarship was established and funded by the Gabriel Love Foundation of Gabriel & Co., the New York‐based fine jewelry brand. It intends its WJA scholarship to provide funding for students who want to achieve professional growth within the jewelry industry, and seeks applicants who plan to use their careers in jewelry to improve communities and participate in charitable efforts.

The additional WJA scholarship winners of 2021 include:

  • Christiane Gozashti, Gemological Institute of America
  • Xinchen Li, UW Wisconsin
  • Barbara Salinas, FIT
  • Jennifer Foote, Academy of Art Institute
  • Allison Ice, University of Kansas
  • Sky Gilbert, Winthrop University
  • Naomi Chicoine, San Diego State
  • Amber Kimlick, University of North Carolina
  • Spriha Baid, Gemological Institute of America
  • Sarah Fam, Gemological Institute of America

Funds for WJA scholarships are raised through the association’s annual Awards for Excellence Gala in which a number of individual member and corporate donations are given to establish generous sponsorship funds. This year, Awards for Excellence will center around WJA’s 2021 organizational theme, Building Resilience for Responsible Business, with the goal of raising funds to continue its exceptional programming and charitable giving, including WJA’s diversity, equity and inclusion events, and WJA Foundation’s newest Responsible Sourcing & Sustainability Education Fund supporting the development of more responsible business leaders in our industry. The event will be held on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City. To learn more about this event, visit:


Future WJA membership grant opportunities open September 1st, 2021, and close October 31st, 2021.

Since its inception, the WJA Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, has awarded over $500,000 to provide education, business support, and mentorship to jewelry and watch professionals.

Donations to the WJA Foundation can be made here.



It’s Going to Set Us Up Very Nicely for Retirement

You’ve worked hard all your life. And if you’re like most jewelers contemplating retirement, you’re hoping that your going-out-of-business sale will add to your nest egg — with minimal complications. That’s exactly what Doug and Jacki Friedrich, fourth-generation owners of Friedrich Jewelers Inc., of Vernon, Conn., experienced when they selected Wilkerson to run their sale. “Jewelers who are contemplating a sale should go with Wilkerson because of their experience,” says Doug. And with financial goals “exceeding expectations,” the couple can now focus on enjoying the next chapter of their lives. “It’s going to set us up very nicely for retirement,” says Jacki. “The money’s coming in and we have no complaints. It’s been wonderful.”

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