Jewelers of America, the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewellery marketplace, recently presented the 2017 GEM Awards for Lifetime Achievement to Jim Rosenheim, chairman of an iconic Washington, DC institution and internationally renowned jewellery store, at a gala dinner held in New York.
Grace Fuller, Kay Jewelers, Lucia Silvestri for BVLGARI and Patek Philippe also won top accolades at the annual event. The GEM Awards gala honours the outstanding achievements of individuals or companies whose work raises the visibility and status of fine jewellery and watches.
Rosenheim, who helped his family grow Tiny Jewel Box, a three-generation jewellery business, into a successful operation, began his career at the company at the age of 12, working by his parents’ side. He was a lapidary and bench jeweller by the time he turned 18. Today, he leads the store as its chairman. Rosenheim’s vision was to transition Tiny Jewel Box from a resource of primarily antique jewellery to a fashion-forward store with the best jewellery at a wide range of price points. He was one of the first jewellers to bring bold, Italian jewellery to the forefront in the US, and is credited with discovering designers from David Yurman to Alex Sepkus.
“Jim Rosenheim is one of the most respected individuals in the jewellery industry. He is passionate, kind and a dear friend to many. The success of Tiny Jewel Box is only one aspect of his achievements,” said Norman Miller, chair of GEM Awards.
Rosenheim has spent his lifetime nurturing talent and giving back to the jewellery industry, which was a large part of why the GEM Committee honoured him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, Miller continued.
In his acceptance speech, Rosenheim stated how his family business was founded on the simple motto: “If it’s not special, it’s not here.” Jeff Feero, owner of Alex Sepkus, presented him with his award after a touching tribute ending with: “There are few other people in the world like Jim . . . Jim shines – his integrity, generosity, and penchant for treating artists and vendors like a loving family. I am proud to be part of his family.”
The winners in the categories of Jewelry Design, Marketing & Communications, Media Excellence and Watch Excellence were also revealed live to an audience of 500 of the watch and jewellery industry’s elite, celebrities and press. Jewellery designer Stephen Webster hosted the star-studded gala, which included celebrity guests Cuba Gooding Jr, models Kim Alexis and Jess Hart, Desi Lydic of the Daily Show, former Bachelor contestant Olivia Caridi, and Bon Jovi’s David Bryan. Silvestri, BVLGARI’s jewellery creative director, won the award for Jewellery Design. The other nominees in this category were Suzanne Kalan of Suzanne Kalan and Arun Bohra of Arunashi. The award was presented by 2016 GEM Award Winner, Temple St. Clair.
Kay Jewelers took home the award for Marketing & Communications. The award was accepted by George Murray, chief merchandising and marketing officer. The other nominees were Hearts On Fire and Monica Rich Kosann. The award was presented by Danny Seo of Naturally Danny on NBC.
The GEM Award for Media Excellence was given to Fuller, jewellery editor of W magazine. Rob Bates, news director of JCK and the 2016 GEM Award for Media Excellence winner, presented the accolade. The other Media Excellence nominees were Amanda Alagem and Stephen Watson.
Patek Philippe received the GEM Award for Watch Excellence, which was presented by GEM Award winner Roberta Naas, founder of atimelyperspective.com. The other nominees for Watch Design were A. Lange & Söhne and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The sponsors of the GEM Awards included Synchrony Financial (Cornerstone Sponsor); COUTURE (Red Carpet Sponsor); D.B.S. Diamonds and Rio Diamond (Cocktail Hour Reception Sponsors); Signet Jewelers and Atelier Swarovski (Premier Sponsors); CHANEL, Citizen and David Yurman (Patron Sponsors); Hearts On Fire, Mikimoto, Movado Group Inc and Tiffany & Co (Benefactor Sponsors); and AT&T (Wi-Fi Sponsor).
D.B.S. Diamonds and Rio Diamond, two of the gala event’s sponsors, are among the major natural fancy colour diamond manufacturers and wholesalers in the industry.
Based in Los Angeles, New York, Israel and Hong Kong, D.B.S. Diamonds is a family-owned diamond manufacturer and wholesaler. It was founded over 15 years ago by Shay Belhassen, who specialises in cutting and polishing the rarest diamonds from the rough and maximising each diamond’s colour and quality.
Rio Diamond, with its roots and expertise of nearly 50 years in cutting and polishing rough diamonds, has built a global sales and marketing network specialising in natural fancy colour diamond, with an effective blend of people, purpose and product. Headquartered in New York and Hong Kong, this close-knit family business is led by Jose O. Batista and his eldest and youngest sons, Jose Jr and JD.
“We would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all the winners, as well as the nominees for their incredible accomplishments in 2016. We’re very excited to see what amazing new innovations and/or designs they will have for 2017. We’re looking forward to next year’s GEM Awards; it’s sure to be an outstanding venue,” Rio Diamond and D.B.S. Diamonds said.
At the gala dinner, the two companies presented a 400-carat-plus rough diamond from their new mining venture, and an inventory of exceptional stones including a rare 3-carat fancy vivid orange from DBS and a 3-carat blue from Rio.