By Michelle Graff
Jeweler Marie-Helene Morrow gives her acceptance speech at Cipriani 42nd Street on Friday night. (Photo credit: David X Prutting/
New York--She’s spent three decades in the industry and is known for helping to discover and nuture some of the biggest names in jewelry today, including David Yurman.

So it was fitting on Friday night that it was Yurman who welcomed Puerto Rico retailer Marie-Helene Morrow to the stage to present her with the Jewelry Information Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual for a career’s worth of contributions to the industry and for inspiring their colleagues.

After weaving her way to the stage amid a standing crowd, however, it was Morrow who said she was the one who was inspired, by the talented individuals she’s come into contact with during her decades in the jewelry industry.

"I don't know what to say. I am so overwhelmed by tonight," an emotional Morrow said on stage against a backdrop of work by Puerto Rican-born artist Sofia Maldonado, whose murals decorate Reinhold Jewelers stores.

Morrow is the owner of Reinhold Jewelers in Puerto Rico, which operates a total of 12 locations on the island, a mix of Reinhold Jewelers stores plus Tous and David Yurman boutiques.

In addition to Morrow, the Gem Awards, which are the equivalent of the Oscars for the jewelry industry, recognized excellence in the Communications, Design and Media Excellence categories on Friday night.

For the first time in the ceremony’s history, the winners were kept under wraps until the event.  

The first award of the evening was for Media Excellence and it went to JCK Editor-in-Chief Victoria Gomelsky. The former editor of Couture International Jeweler and a former senior editor at National Jeweler, Gomelsky beat author Beth Bernstein and Benjamin Clymer, founder of watch website Hodinkee, to nab the award.

In Communications, Tiffany & Co. topped the World Gold Council’s LoveGold campaign and Tacori to take home the Gem Award while the award for Design went to Kara Ross, who recognized the work of fellow nominees Monica Rich Kosann and Irene Neuwirth in her acceptance speech.

As is tradition, Friday night’s Gem Awards led into Saturday’s 24 Karat Club of New York City banquet, held at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

Singer Michael Bolton was the main entertainment for the evening, singing hits including How Am I Supposed to Live Without You--a song he wrote that was made famous by the late Laura Branigan in the 1980s--When a Man Loves a Woman and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough in a duet with The Voice alumna and New York City native Amanda Brown.

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.