National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

WJA announces 2014 Hall of Fame honorees

June 16, 2014

WJA will honor Ruth Batson, left, with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and David Bonaparte, right, with the Ben Kaiser Lifetime Achievement Award.

New York--The Women’s Jewelry Association will honor the American Gem Society’s Ruth Batson, David Bonaparte of Jewelers of America and the Richline Group at its 2014 Awards for Excellence gala. 

Ruth Batson, executive director and CEO of the AGS and AGS Laboratories, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been with the organization since 1993 and played a large part in the design and construction of the Robert M. Shipley AGS complex in Las Vegas as well as the development of the AGS Laboratories.

Batson also currently serves as the chair of board for Jewelers for Children and is on the boards of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, WJA, and the JCK show advisory board. She also is a member of the executive committee for the Responsible Jewellery Council.

“The leadership of women in the jewelry industry is of tremendous importance,” Batson said. “I am happy to accept this award as a symbol of our achievements.”

David Bonaparte, president and CEO of JA, will receive the Ben Kaiser Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring an industry male who has demonstrated a deep commitment to the advancement of women in the industry.

He has dedicated himself to the association’s mission of improving consumer confidence in jewelry purchases and helping members maintain high social, environmental and ethical practices, WJA said.

He also currently serves on the boards of the RJC, Jewelers’ Security Alliance, and JFC.

Bonaparte previously served as senior vice president for the JCK portfolio of products at the JCK Shows and was the global leader for the jewelry portfolio at Reed Exhibitions.

“It has been my distinct honor to work collaboratively with so many women executives at Jewelers of America and JCK, and I continue to be committed to the careers of women in our industry,” Bonaparte said. “As such, I am honored to accept this award.”

Lastly, Richline Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will receive the Corporate Award. The company provides financial, operational, and marketing support to each of its four independent strategic business units--LeachGarner, Richline Brands, Rio Grande, and Inverness—and strictly adheres to responsible sourcing, oversight, and compliance, WJA said.

“WJA congratulates these three deserving recipients,” said President Andrea Hansen. “We are poised at a moment of transition for our industry, and our three honorees work daily to meet the challenges of understanding new consumer habits and adapting their practices to thrive in the 21st century. Their commitment to women’s roles in these tasks has been extremely important to the advancement of women’s careers in the jewelry industry.”

The Awards for Excellence gala will take Monday, July 28, at Chelsea Piers in New York City, the evening following the second day of the JA New York Summer show

At the event, WJA also will present Awards for Excellence in retail, design, manufacturing/supplier, sales, marketing and communications, editorial/reporting/publishing, and special services. Nominees for these categories will be announced shortly.

Information on tickets or sponsorships for the event can be found here.