Jewelers of America Announces 2015 GEM Awards Winners

Larry Pelzel Receives Lifetime Achievement and Claudia Mata, Shinola, Stephen Webster Win

New York, NY – Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, held their 13th annual GEM Awards on Friday, January 9, 2015, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. The winners in the categories of Design, Marketing & Communications and Media Excellence were revealed live to an audience of more than 520 of the jewelry industry’s elite. Larry Pelzel, of Neiman Marcus, received the 2015 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement. Norman Miller, GEM Awards Chair, served as the Host.

For the first time in GEM Awards history, the entire evening – including red carpet coverage and the awards program – broadcast live to viewers on

The GEM Award for Media Excellence was given to Claudia Mata, accessories and jewelry director of W, who is responsible for spearheading all jewelry editorial and whose love of jewelry is displayed in her quarterly article in W entitled, “Claudia’s Jewelry Box.” Stellene Volandes, executive style director for Town & Country and a past GEM Award winner, presented the award. The other Media Excellence nominees were Maria Doulton, of The Jewellery Editor, and Jack Forster, of Revolution Magazine USA.

Shinola, the Detroit-based watch and leather goods brand, received the GEM Award for Marketing & Communications after a remarkable year marked with vivid ad campaigns, vast editorial coverage, a comprehensive brand launch, and multi-pronged communication campaigns. The other nominees for Marketing & Communications were Forevermark and TUDOR. The award was presented by Candace Krause, owner of Krause Advertising.

Stephen Webster received the GEM Award for Design for his historic year of jewelry design that has excited press, retailers and consumers while shaping the future of jewelry design. Webster’s designs are celebrated for their bold combination of innovative design, uncompromising attention to detail and the finest materials. The other nominees in the Design category were Alexis Bittar and Todd Reed. The award was presented by jewelry and style expert Michael O’Connor.

The evening concluded with a touching introduction by Neiman Marcus’s Karen Katz of her colleague and friend Larry Pelzel as he received the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement. Larry Pelzel, Neiman Marcus vice president and divisional merchandise manager, precious jewels, began his celebrated career more than 34 years ago. Clearly loved by the jewelry industry, he is known for his happy-go-lucky disposition and remarkable eye for quality jewelry. Pelzel was gracious when accepting his award stating: “Selling jewelry allows me the opportunity to have fun and make people smile . . . I love my job and I love this jewelry business.” He added, “While this is the Lifetime Achievement Award . . . I really don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.”

Sponsors of GEM Awards included: Premier Sponsor – Sterling Jewelers; Patron Sponsors – CHANEL, David Yurman, Neiman Marcus, and Synchrony Financial; Benefactor Sponsors – Alexis Bittar, Chopard, Forevermark, Georg Jensen, Hearts on Fire, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, Movado Group, Shinola/Detroit, Tiffany & Co, Todd Reed, and TUDOR Watch U.S.A. The red carpet was sponsored by Couture, the Cocktail Hour was sponsored by Gemfields and the Livestream was sponsored by Synchrony Financial.

About GEM Awards
Jewelers of America’s GEM Awards is the fine jewelry industry’s premier accolade gala, which recognizes the achievements of individuals and companies whose work raises the visibility and status of fine jewelry and watches. To learn more about GEM Awards, please visit