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Chicago

The WJA Chicago Chapter focuses on helping members advance and develop careers in the jewelry and watch industry. Throughout the year, we host educational and social events with opportunities to network and to learn more about various facets of the industry.

Our members come from both city and suburbs. They include a mix of those involved in retail and wholesale businesses, design, marketing, sales, support services, and other aspects of the industry. To facilitate professional growth of members, the chapter supports and promotes grants and scholarships, offers opportunities for mentoring, and participates in national and chapter recognition programs.
 

UPCOMING eVENTS


Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art

Sunday, February 23, 2020
Please join us to explore the exhibits at Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art and enjoy lunch together afterwards. 
The Lizzadro Museum displays gemstone treasures, antiques to modern, with a blending of earth science exhibits. It has an extraordinary collection of gems, hardstone carvings, rocks and minerals from around the world. The museum, established in 1962, moved last November to its new location in Oak Brook. 

After visiting the museum, we will get together for lunch at Mon Ami Gabi restaurant in nearby Oak Brook shopping mall. 


Schedule
11 am 
If you want to catch a ride together, meet at Harold Washington Library downtown by the entrance on S. Plymouth Court.
If you want to drive yourself, there is free parking in the lot outside of the museum.

12 pm 
Visit Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art 
1220 Kensington Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
https://lizzadromuseum.org/

1:30 pm 
Lunch at Mon Ami Gabi at Oakbrook Center shopping mall. 
260 Oakbrook Center
Oak Brook, IL 60523
The restaurant is a short drive from the museum.
https://www.monamigabi.com/oak-brook/

3 pm 
Head back into the city, with drop-off at Harold Washington Library around 3:45 pm.
Cost
$10 for Lizzadro ticket (Purchase your own ticket at the museum.)
$20-30 estimated (You pay for your own lunch, so the amount depends on what you order.)
Cost to catch a ride to the museum: free!
Questions about the event?
Contact Olivia Zale (orzale@gmail.com, 561-706-0885)

 

rECENT Events

Mix & Mingle


On January 29, 2020, we gathered at the Queen Mary Tavern in Chicago for a casual get together to chat jewelry, network, and meet new friends!


Presentation with Brian Cook:

Paraiba Tourmaline 
and Bahia Rutilated Quartz

On Monday, October 28, 2019, we gathered to learn about the history and current sourcing of Brazilian Paraiba Tourmaline and Bahia Rutilated Quartz from expert Brian Cook. Brian Cook has been involved in “Paraiba” tourmaline mines from 1988 to present. In 1989, he established Nature’s Geometry Inc. with his wife Kendra, as a jewelry design, manufacture and lapidary arts business. In 2016, he was an AGTA Spectrum Winner for the Fashion Forward category. An early advocate of responsible sourcing, Brian has orchestrated an initiative for an artisanal small-scale mining community in Brazil and is involved in scoping studies to verify and audit stone sourcing in the Amazon basin.



 

Mix & Mingle

On October 10, 2019, we gathered at the Waydown Bar on the rooftop of the Ace Hotel to meet new acquaintances, catch up with friends, and enjoy an evening with network peers. 


Jewelry Night Out

On Thursday, September 12, 2019, WJA members and prospective members gathered to celebrate Jewelry Night Out, the WJA annual membership drive. We gathered at Gallery 2052 for the celebration. In addition to enjoying networking, wine, hors d’oeuvres, and live music, we had the opportunity to have a complimentary headshots (valued at $125) taken by Kato Photography.



Lyric Opera House Private Tour
 ... followed by networking

On August 6, 2019, WJA members and friends enjoyed the tour of the Chicago Lyric Opera House. A Lyric docent gave us behind-the-scenes insights into the vibrant world of grand opera. We saw the inside of the Art Deco Ardis Krainik Theatre, enjoyed an up-close-and-personal view of the orchestra pit where the acclaimed Lyric Orchestra plays, and toured the backstage area where we will learned about the vast array of skilled professionals who bring operatic stagecraft to life. 



 

WJA Mix & Mingle

On July 25, 2019, we gathered at the All Together in Chicago for an evening of networking. 


WJA Chicago — In The Know Conference 
Gems & Jewelry Over the Years
Glimpses into Our Industry’s Heritage

On June 27, 2019, WJA Chicago hosted an In The Know Conference. which is part of the WJA Regional Conference Series. The evening began with a fun time of networking and refreshments, followed by presentations from our guest speakers: Rachel Derry (Gem Legacy), Maarten de Witte (Master Diamond Cutter), and Maria Hrycelak (co-president of Kalo Foundation of Park Ridge). Each speaker described how the history behind their respective trades (mining, diamond cutting, and jewelry art craft) has impacted our modern day jewelry industry.




 

SNAG Gallery Crawl
with WJA Chicago and Ethical Metalsmiths

On May 23, 2019, WJA Chicago and Ethical Metalsmiths hosted a whirlwind evening visiting selected galleries during the SNAG Conference Gallery Crawl. This exploration of the world of art jewelry started at Adorned Spaces at the SNAG Conference in the Palmer House and continued by car to two more galleries, the Vale Craft Gallery and the Japanese Consulate. The evening ended at the Lillstreet Open House.



 

WJA Chicago Mix & Mingle
Meetup at One of a Kind Show Chicago

On April 26, 2019, WJA Chicago hosted a meetup at the One of a Kind Show staged at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. We gathered at the on-site Patio Cafe for a time of networking.
Participants saw the show before or after our meetup. 


Colored Stone Market Report and Tucson Recap
with Laurie Watt

On March 20, 2019, WJA Chicago hosted a fun evening with Laurie Watt of Mayer & Watt. In her presentation, Laurie spoke about the colored stone market and did a recap of the Tucson AGTA GemFair. She also showed a variety of gemstones available for purchase from Mayer & Watt. 



 

Wax Carving Workshop 
Create a Band Ring Out of Hard Wax

On February 28, 2019, those fortunate enough to attend the sold-out event joined WJA Chicago for a fun evening of learning how to create a band ring out of hard wax. Participants learned simple techniques such as carving, building up wax and removing wax. Thanks to Lillstreet Art Center which provided the studio space and supplied the basic tools. Thanks as well to WJA members Pam Robinson and Ann vander Muelen who provided instruction and support to learners during the event. Participants walked away from this workshop with a wax band that can be taken to a casting company to create in metal.



 

Mix & Mingle

In January 2019, we gathered at the 404 Wine Bar Co. in Chicago for an evening of networking. 



 

Mix & Mingle

In November 2018, we gathered at the Queen Mary Tavern in Chicago for an evening of networking. 


Pearl Update with Renée Newman
New Types, Fakes, Treatments and Jewelry Styles

On October 22, 2018, WJA Chicago gathered to learn from Renée Newman about what's new related to cultured freshwater pearls, including new types, fakes, treatments, and jewelry styles.


2018 in the Know Conference & Jewelry Night Out
Both events were on September 13, 2018.
in the Know Conference

The in the Know (ITK) Chicago Conference featured a full day dedicated to educational advancement and communal collaboration between peers, speakers, and friends alike. Events included presentations and panel discussions about current topics and trends pertaining to diamonds, colored gemstones, and issues impacting the jewelry industry at large. Esteemed speakers included:

  • Hannah Becker (Creative Director & CEO, Diamondoodles)

  • Brandee Dallow (Fine Girl Luxury Brand)

  • Peggy Jo Donahue, conference moderator (Writer ― Content Creation & Social Networking: Editing, Blogging, Website Writing)

  • Beth Gerstein (Brilliant Earth)

  • Sarah Gorvitz (Diamond Producers Association)

  • Billie Hughes (Lotus Gem•ology)

  • Eryn Patton (Wendy Brandes Jewelry)

  • Louis Price (M. Geller)

  • Shelly Sergent (Somewhere in the Rainbow)

  • Goeffrey Watt (Mayer & Watt)

  • Susan Wheeler (Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference)

  • Sara Yood (Jewelers Vigilance Committee)


 
Jewelry Night Out
In the evening, WJA Chicago celebrated the annual membership event. We brought together members and others in the jewelry industry to share in their passion for the work they do all year long. Some of the most recent AGTA Spectrum Awards™ winning pieces were on display. We viewed a glass-blowing demonstration by staff of Ignite (the venue for both events).

An Evening with Eve J. Alfillé at Her Gallery

WJA Chicago met with with Eve J. Alfillé in Evanston to tour her gallery, visit her studio, and learn more about pearls.



 

How to Bid and Win at Auction
hosted by Heritage Auctions Chicago 

WJA Chicago welcomed four new and renewing members during the networking session that started the evening. 

During the program Ruth Thuston, Director of Fine Jewelry, described the auction process, how to prepare for an auction, and tips about bidding. Roberta Kramer, Auctioneer and Managing Director, conducted a mock jewelry auction.







 
Recognition

Our 2019 Shining Star!
Susan Wheeler Geraghty 
 

      Thank you, Susan,
      for your extraordinary
      volunteer service
      to WJA Chicago!
 
 







 

Our 2018 Shining Star!

Olivia Zale 
 


      Thank you, Olivia,
      for your extraordinary
      volunteer service
      to WJA Chicago!

 
 







 

Thank You to Our Sponsors!
 
  • Anonymous
  • Diamond Producers Association (DPA)
  • Finest Casting Inc.
  • Gallery 2052
  • Gem 2000
  • Heritage Auctions
  • Jewelers Center at the Mallers Building
  • Jewelers Mutual
  • Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC)
  • Kato Photography
  • Lillstreet Art Center
  • ​Malca-Amit
  • Mid-States Recycling & Refining
  • N. Green & Sons
  • Platinum Alley
  • Professional Gem Sciences Laboratory (PGSL)

We are so grateful for our sponsors 
and could not operate without them! 
 
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please email us at chicagochapter@womensjewelryassociation.com.









 

2020 Events
At-A-Glance


January 29
Mix & Mingle

February 23
Lizzadro Museum
of Lapidary A
rt

March 19
Mix & Mingle

April 30
Art Clay Workshop

May 21
Art Institute

June 25
In the Know!

July 23
Mix & Mingle

August 18
Stone Cutting Demo

Mid September (Date to come)
Jewelry Night Out

October 14
(Event to be announced)

November 11
(Event to be announced)

Note: Event dates and details may be subject to change. As specifics become available for each event, they will be posted in the Upcoming Events section.

Join us!

Become a WJA member.

Membership in Women’s Jewelry Association offers
tools you can use to advance professionally.


Participate with our chapter.

Join us for the fun as we learn, connect, and grow professionally by participating in local educational and networking events. Venues include wonderful stores, galleries, studios, museums, and other industry-related companies throughout the Chicago area. We offer special member pricing for events. 

Attend one of our upcoming events and learn firsthand about the Chicago Chapter.
 

To learn about becoming
a WJA member and about the Chicago Chapter, contact Jeanette Park (our Membership Chair) at jeanette@parkfordjewelry.com.

 

Connect with us!

       

 

2020 Board

President 
Olivia Zale

President-Elect
Susan Wheeler


Past-President 
Susannne Siegel

Treasurer
Sue Rosengard

Secretary
Stephanie Wishnoff

VP Membership
Pam Robinson

VP Partnerships
Karla Lewis

Newsletter
Ann Flick

Members-At-Large
Nancy Hudson
Ann Flick
Dominique Larson
Jeanette Park
Jennifer Santi


Communications Committee
Nancy Hudson (website)
Jeanette Park (emails & event pages)
Jennifer Santi (social media)


Events Committee
Ann Flick
Dominique Larson