Women’s Jewelry Association Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Ruby Gala

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Aerial Duo by Astarte Creative, which will execute astatine nan WJA Ruby Gala

Women's Jewelry Association

It each started pinch an invitation successful 1982. “Women of nan jewelry industry,” it read. “You are cordially invited to a Get Acquainted Cocktail Party,” and provided nan reside of 1 woman’s home. This networking arena was nan opening of nan Women’s Jewelry Association, which celebrates its 40-year day successful 2023.

The relation hosts their Ruby Gala connected November 2 astatine nan Pool Room successful New York City. For nan anniversary, guests are encouraged to deterioration red, and will characteristic performances from aerialists, municipality hit musicians and a harpist. “We’re celebrating 4 decades dedicated to empowering women successful nan jewelry and watch industry,” said Susan Chandler, nan WJA president and main merchandising serviceman for Citizen Watch America.

WJA Board Photo 2023

women's jewelry association

When nan WJA was first founded, jobs successful nan jewelry manufacture were predominantly held by men. “The WJA founders had knowledgeable various forms of favoritism and sought retired mentorship to level nan playing section of their antheral counterparts,” said Chandler.

By 1983, 47 women formed to create nan WJA. “A fewer bold women sewage together and said, let’s shape this organization, there’s much powerfulness successful numbers,” said WJA Board Member and Gala Chair Monica Elias, who is nan CEO and Executive Producer of Elias World Media. “The much of us, nan much we tin break through.”

Many women helped powerfulness nan WJA, for illustration trailblazing jewelry entrepreneur Helene Fortunoff, who recruited different high-profile women into nan WJA, and “played a pivotal domiciled successful elevating our organization’s prominence,” said Chandler, “given her ownership of nan renowned unit organization, Fortunoff.”

Another cardinal jewelry business owner, Phyllis Bergman, CEO of Mercury Ring, was instrumental successful bringing cardinal retailers to nan WJA. “She extended invitations to section presidents to subordinate our nationalist board, she besides played a cardinal domiciled successful establishing nan WJA Diva Design Awards,” said Chandler.

NEW YORK - JULY 27: David Yurman and Diane Von Furstenberg be nan 26th Annual Women's Jewelry ... [+] Association Awards For Excellence Gala astatine Pier Sixty astatine Chelsea Piers connected July 27, 2009 successful New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)


Bergman besides became nan first female president of nan 24 Karat Club, shattering nan solid ceiling. “Today, pinch nan thief of our mentorship, programming, scholarships and grants, we springiness women nan devices and resources they request to create professionally and go successful,” said Elias. “WJA has been instrumental complete nan years pinch helping women emergence and advancing successful their careers.”

Today, nan WJA has complete 2,000 members and 20 chapters crossed nan country. They conscionable opened a section successful Mexico and will soon beryllium opening 1 successful Toronto. “Our 40th day is simply a very typical and elevated event,” said Chandler.

“We’ve seen women, complete nan past number of years, execute overmuch higher levels of their career, positions typically held by men successful nan jewelry industry, thing we person ne'er seen before.”

Nadja Swarovski & Iris Apfel astatine a WJA arena successful 2018.


WJA members get mentored successful a 12-week play by executives connected really to measurement up their game. “We person fixed retired complete $1 cardinal successful scholarships and grants complete nan past 40 years, it’s important to connection networking and mentoring successful nan manufacture for women,” said Elias. “We are honoring women who person contributed to nan industry.”

Among their programs, nan WJA has launched nan Jewelry Loupe project, which offers business-level mentorship to caller women-led jewelry business applicants. “In 2023, this inaugural supported 13 individuals, enabling them to showcase their brands and activity astatine nan JCK Show, nan largest jewelry waste and acquisition show, which takes spot successful Las Vegas,” said Chandler.

Matt Runci, Helene Fortunoff, Diane Warga Arias, Varda Shine, Anna Martin, Kendra Bridelle and Beryl ... [+] Raff

women's jewelry association

“We besides created nan Women’s Executive Leadership Forum to foster networking opportunities for female executives, which provides discussions connected nan industry’s astir pressing challenges and opportunities,” she said.

The WJA besides has section activity training, divers programming that includes financial investing, quality resources, and impermanent speakers, alongside an yearly Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Breakfast series.

The upcoming Ruby Gala will characteristic an auction led by gemologist and jewelry master Caroline Ervin, pinch a batch provided by Inspirato For Good, and Balmain, allowing guests to lend to nan WJA foundation’s danasiwa program. It will besides characteristic performances from Elan Artists, including harpist Lexie Lowell, municipality hit musicians Drumadics, duo aerialists from Astarte Creative, and a capacity from virtuoso Lorenzo Laroc.

Pictured near to correct astatine nan Women's Jewelry Association's 25th Anniversary Celebration; Ann ... [+] Arnold, Gerry Gewirtz, Linda Goldstein, Tina Segal, Phyllis Bergman, Rachel Rosin, Helene Fortunoff, Yancy Weinrich, Anna Martin.


Next up, nan WJA will attraction connected enhancing their national-level programming and events, their WELF, acquisition and mentorship programs successful 2024, and beyond.

“Educational scholarships and grants are a immense privilege for us, and we will attraction connected providing further backing for this,” said Chandler. “We will thief build connected our activity and create a bigger effect arsenic we spell along. The jewelry manufacture has historically been family-oriented, we’re looking to bring caller younger designers and jewelry entrepreneurs into our programs.”

“There are a batch of jobs successful our industry, and we want to bring successful younger and caller perspectives,” she adds.

Buy tickets to nan WJA’s Ruby Gala here.

Helene Fortunoff pinch Lauren Bacall and Liz Smith during Fortunoff 25th Anniversary Event astatine 681 ... [+] Fifth Ave successful New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Randy Brooke/WireImage)


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