Awards for Excellence 2017

Each summer, the Women's Jewelry Association celebrates "Hall of Fame" honorees and other female jewelry industry leaders at its annual Awards for Excellence. The gala event is WJA’s primary channel to raise funds for its scholarships and grants. The 2017 gala raised nearly $30,000 for the WJA Foundation's 2018 scholarship and grant program. 

2017 Awards for Excellence

JULY 24, 2017 | Pier 60, New York



Cecilia Gardner - Lifetime Achievement Award
Cecilia Gardner has served the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) for nearly two decades. Her leadership of the not-for-profit trade association helped put JVC at the forefront of some of the most complex issues related to compliance and ethics in the jewelry industry. Gardner served as general counsel to the World Diamond Council from 2000-2015, an industry group that worked with governments and non-governmental organizations to craft the Kimberley Process and System of Warranties. She also became general counsel for the United States Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA), to implement the provisions of the Kimberley Process. During her tenure, Gardner also led the JVC in efforts concerning the underkarating of precious metals, the disclosure of diamond and gemstone treatments, the standards used by appraisers, the enactment of anti-money laundering programs; and a comprehensive review of the FTC Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries. She also served on many industry boards. 


Michael Pollak - The Ben Kaiser Award
With over 40 years in retail management, developing seven luxury jewelry and watch stores, Ben Kaiser Award recipient Michael Pollak has focused most of his resources on a combination of business strategy and vision, philanthropy, and the omni-channel future of a disrupted retail marketplace. Pollak also founded Diamonds in the Rough, raising nearly $2.5 million to support the efforts of youth-based non-profits and local charities. He was named a National Jeweler Retailer Hall of Fame award winner in 2008, and an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999. He has served on the boards of Diamond Empowerment Fund, Jewelers of America, Natural Color Diamond Association, and is a former president of Luxury Jewelers Resource Group.


Day's Jewelers -Corporate Award
Corporate Award honoree Day's Jewelers is a family-owned jewelry chain with seven jewelry stores throughout Maine and New Hampshire. The company has been in business for over 100 years, and since 1988, has been owned by Jim, Kathy and Jeff Corey, with David Harris serving as president. Known for its core set of values, Day's Jewelers is a standout in the jewelry industry for its integrity, transparency, and responsible business practices and is a certified member of Responsible Jewellery Council. The company has received several honors including: the 2016 "Retailer of the Year" by the Retail Association of Maine, America's Best Jewelers recognition by National Jeweler, and the 2009 WJA Awards for Excellence Retailer of the Year.


2017 Photos