2022 Responsible Business Education Grant Winners (SPONSORED BY Platinum Guild USA)
Encompassing both style and brains, Elyssa Jenkins holds many titles. She is the Vice President and Co-Founder of Black in Jewelry Coalition —the first non-profit international membership organization for the advancement of Black professionals in the gem, jewelry, and watch industry. Elyssa also serves as Chapter Liaison for the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) National Diversity Committee and the President for the WJA NY Metro chapter. And if that isn’t enough, her day job includes serving as the Director of Membership and Digital Content at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee. A long-time New York resident, Elyssa first established herself in the fashion industry, working and attending over 10+ seasons of New York Fashion Week as Head Editor for a prominent hair and beauty magazine. Elyssa is passionate about creating a more inclusive environment for all and uplifting aspiring entrepreneurs by providing resources and connections.Elyssa holds a Masters’s degree in Biomedical Science from Rutgers Graduate School, a Bachelors’s degree in Biology, and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish from the University of New Mexico.
French New Yorker Delphine Leymarie designs and crafts her luxe and modern eponymous fine jewelry line in NYC. Drawing inspiration from the blissful beaches of her childhood in the South of France and the invigorating energy of the modern urban architecture surrounding her for the last 2 decades, she creates jewels that are timelessly romantic, organically geometric, and playfully convertible. Delphine’s collection is centered around the many uses of her Boheme Clickers, her versatile modular charm holders that can be used in many combinations, making her jewels as unique as the wearer. She favors empowering and protective symbols paired with carefully and responsibly selected gems to create uplifting & colorful jewelry. She dreams up her pieces as powerful talismans and modern heirlooms to be cherished for generations. Delphine uses recycled fine metals whenever possible, primarily 18k gold, working to source her gems responsibly and satisfy a craving for a kind of luxury that is respectful of the magnificent resources of our planet. She believes that mindful luxury is possible and aims to create sparkly sculptures that can adorn your body and help elevate your soul. An avid and classically trained dancer, she also has a natural affinity with numbers that first led her to Business School. She originally moved to NYC to pursue an MBA in Corporate finance, a field where she had a successful career for more than a decade. In search of a new creative outlet, she fell in love with jewelry making after taking classes at the 92nd street Y in Manhattan. She first trained in metalsmithing, enameling, and chain making, but really found her medium once she started learning wax carving, as it better suited her love of volumes and sculptural shapes. She has not stopped hand-sculpting jewelry since, and happily left behind the drab world of corporate finance for the sparkly one of jewelry when she started her fine jewelry line in the summer of 2011. To celebrate over a decade of Delphine Leymarie Fine Jewelry, a Fairmined gold capsule collection is in the works to mark the milestone and reaffirm Delphine’s commitment to responsible jewelry crafting.
2021 CARELLE GRANT WINNER
Dawn L. Grady
Junebug Jewelry clients remind me of the women who raised me. They’re all bold, beautiful, independent queens who decorate the world with regal and warrior vibes.
I like to celebrate them with empowering and intricate jewelry designs created in my small-batch home studio in Cincinnati, Ohio. Each timeless piece has meaning to help immortalize the moments when they feel their strongest, most accomplished, and best selves.
There’s a story behind every Junebug piece, and I like to think that it calls out to the woman who was meant to wear it. I enjoy creating one-of-a-kind and limited-edition designs to complement the uniqueness of those who’ve come to love my jewelry.
I am a mostly self-taught designer who fell in love with creating mixed-metal jewelry using both ancient and modern metalsmithing techniques. After absorbing countless books and YouTube tutorials, I took classes with master metalsmiths to hone my skills. It’s been just over ten years since I designed my first necklace and earring set.
Today, I work primarily with Copper, Argentium Silver and semi-precious gemstones to deliver a signature look that embodies both strength and femininity. I love to contrast the metals against one another to give my pieces depth and interest.
A wise person once said that wearing jewelry is how you express the woman you are without ever saying a word. Every piece I create makes a statement and is a work of wearable art made for women who were born to stand out.
You can find my work at Junebug Jewelry Designs, my jewelry boutique. Visit Junebug online at https://junebugjewelrydesigns.com
or stop by the brick-and-mortar store in the heart of Over-the-Rhine at 1327 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Hours of operation are Thursday through Saturday from noon to 6pm.
2022 VETERAN GRANT WINNER (SPONSORED BY JEWELERS MUTUAL)
Currently, Rikiesha Metzger is a Ph.D. student at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. She received Sylvia Grandstaff is a US Army combat veteran, helicopter and fixed-wing aviator, competitive sailplane pilot, motorcyclist, and lover of wilderness. Her work is inspired by WWII sweetheart jewelry and trench art, her Slavic Polish heritage, the beauty of the natural world, and the machines that carry us through it.
Grant quote: I am deeply grateful for the generosity of this grant and the energy others put forth to make it happen. The grant will allow me to purchase pneumatic engraving equipment and attend two courses at the GRS Training Center to continue to develop my jewelry and bright-cut engraving skills.
2021 MEMBER GRANT RECIPIENTS
The Women's Jewelry Association (WJA) announced that it has awarded approximately $20,000 in member grants to women around the country. Member Grants are awarded to professional-level, WJA members in good standing, in increments of $500 to be used toward professional growth.
Funds for WJA Member Grants are raised by the national organization, as well as by WJA chapters around the country. All applications are reviewed by the WJA Member Grant Committee, chaired by Lauren Johansen, Directory of Membership Strategy and Experience at the American Gem Society. All qualified applicants are entered into random drawing to determine the winners.
A portion of the proceeds from WJA's Conversations in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion series helped to fund six additional WJA member grants this year to specifically support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and/or People of Color) and LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, +) applicants.
Grant Winners are listed by the WJA Chapter that submitted their names:
*Indicates recipient of WJA DEI Member Grant
- Austin: Cara Shackelford, Jennie Bennett
- Boston: Lori Magno, Andrea Price
- Dallas: Cassidy Swanson
- DMV: Cindy Liebel*
- Las Vegas: Linda Jochimsen
- Los Angeles: Kailin He, Radhika Gandhi*, Soonjin Kim*
- Louisiana: Shelby Brignac
- Miami: Trisha Bruno
- New Mexico: Kimberly Thompson
- Northern California: Kathy DeWeese, Jennifer Hanox, Lindsay Knox*
- NY Metro:Olivia Rosenberger, Alanna Campbell, Barbara Novak, Joanne Simmons, Nancy Ross, Jenith Gomez, Christina Malle
- Ohio/Kentucky: Christina Brandewie, Meghan Carroll, Laurie Watt
- Philadelphia: Kathryn Kelly
- Providence: Kristen Romans
- San Diego: Aurora Mazzei, Kathryn Timmerman-Susak, Judy Colbert, Ashley McGinty*
- Seattle: Morgaine Faye
- Twin Cities: Kelly Williams, Laurie Kottke (Janel Russell Grant)
- No Chapter Nearby: Sabrina Lin, Michaela Farkasovska, Patricia Carruth*, Kouali Ando-N'Guessan*
2022 RADIANT MINDS SCHOLORSHIP
Brittany Ylanan, a California native raised in Norfolk, Virginia, is currently an IT professional for Hearts on Fire on their Innovation and Design Team. Her love for technology started at an early age of tinkering with gadgets and always keeping her finger on the pulse of the latest tech. After making the professional leap from Retail to IT 6 years ago, she hopes to combine her technological and people skills to help others enjoy the benefits of technology in the Jewelry field. She is currently in school for programming and web applications. She hopes to go on to work as a software developer. In her spare time, she enjoys doing photography and digital art.
I am so honored to be awarded this amazing scholarship. For me this is a life changing opportunity to not only grow professionally but personally, and I am truly grateful.
2022 Cindy Edelstein Jewelry design scholarship
There was never a time where jewelry was not a part of Gabrielle's life. As soon as she was able to walk, she could always be found going through her mother’s jewelry box, piling on the clunky bangles to her tiny elbows and stacking the bauble necklaces to her chin. Her preschool teacher would greet her in the mornings asking about each piece, and just like that, the way she adorned herself became the favorite part of her day.
After working for many influential jewelry houses from Alexis Bittar to Harry Winston, and almost a decade in the jewelry industry, Gabrielle Nicole set out on her own to create Ruveil - adorning and empowering women with unexpected and personal designs.
Gemstone healing properties and the power of adornment inform Gabrielle’s imaginative designs, as she draws inspiration from how jewelry should make the wearer feel – empowered, confident, and fearless.
Gabrielle enjoys the exploration of alternative materials, as well as combining unexpected and unique design elements to bring her visions to life. Through her travels around the globe, she is continually inspired by bright colors, textiles, and modern architecture.
Gabrielle Nicole earned her BFA in Jewelry Design from Pratt Institute, and participated in Fashion Institute of Technology's Creative Business Ownership program. She earned her Graduate Diamonds, Colored Stones, and AJP diplomas from GIA, is a certified Cultured Pearl Specialist (CPAA) and is currently a Graduate Gemologist candidate. She's an active member of The Women's Jewelry Association and an Assistant at Gem X, a private social club for jewelry enthusiasts. She lives in New York City with her husband David, and their Alaskan Klee Kai, Meiko.
2022 Gabriel love foundation scholarship
The oldest of four siblings, I was born in Kiev to a Ukrainian-Russian mother and a Peruvian father. Growing up my family changed countries and continents 3 times. We finally settled in Canada (Montreal) and that is another country I get to call home. I was formally educated in four different languages. As a true Citizen of the world, I have turned my skills, knowledge of languages and cultures into a beautiful profession. I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Human Relations (Applied Human Sciences) from Concordia University (Montreal) and have worked extensively as an independent published writer/journalist covering a variety of fashion weeks, film and music festivals, cultural and art events as well as literary events and book reviews. I also worked in Finances, banking and in the past 10 years I worked as a multilingual certified and licensed translator and interpreter. I’ve inherited my maternal grandmother’s passion for gems and jewelry. At age 8, I received a gold ring with an amethyst. That gift changed my life. I knew I will eventually somehow end up in the dazzling gems industry. Back in 2001, without any prior or professional knowledge, I landed my first job at a high-end jewelry store, La Maison Birks (known also as Canada’s Tiffany). I recall ending my sales pitch with “the diamonds are GIA certified”. Fast-forward a couple of decades and I am currently enrolled in the Graduate Gemology program at GIA. Dreams do come true! I want to put all my acquired interpersonal skills, language and cultural knowledge as well as my passion to the service of the industry. After obtaining my Gemologist degree I want to establish a digital presence with content that educates, entertains and demystifies the jewelry industry. I plan on educating youths from underserved communities about the lasting value of gems.
WJA DEI Scholarships for GIA Education
- Cloyette Harris
- Koolebogile Veronicah Mosweu
- Grace Omwanza
- Christina Soto
- Ashley Tien
- Rebecca Wagner
2022 STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
- Kindred Lubeck - GIA
- Emma McSalis - Maine College of Art and Design