By Hannah Connorton
New York--Cartier, Temple St. Clair, Rob Bates and Joe Thompson all were recognized at Jewelers of America’s 14th annual Gem Awards Friday night, an event that is considered the jewelry industry equivalent of the Oscars.

Joe ThompsonJoe ThompsonThe winners in three of the award categories--Jewelry Design, Watch Design and Media Excellence--were kept under wraps until the event. Revealed before the event was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, given this year to Thompson, the editor-in-chief of WatchTime magazine.

An award-winning journalist with more than 40 years of experience, Thompson began his career in 1977 with Jewelers Circular-Keystone (now JCK), later taking a position with Modern Jeweler and becoming the founding editor of American Time magazine.

In 2000, Thompson joined consumer watch magazine WatchTime, and under his leadership the publication has developed a major global influence. In his acceptance speech, however, the longtime, well-known and well-respected scribe was humble.

“For journalists, the focus should be on the story, not the storyteller,” Thompson said. “That’s why headlines are big and bylines are small. And that’s the way it should be. So for JA to give me this recognition and this magical moment is an act so gracious, for which I am just so grateful.”

He also thanked Norma Buchanan, his partner and WatchTime executive editor. “We are a team for 29 years now … to Norma Buchanan, all I can say, is thank you darling, without you there’s no me. This is for you too. And so I, we, thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you.”

Temple St. Clair was the winner in the Jewelry Design category. Her eponymous brand, recognized for signature elements such as rock crystal amulets and triple granulation, was founded in Florence, Italy and became part of Barneys New York’s inaugural fine jewelry department in 1986. St. Clair won out over Istanbul-born designer Sevan Bicakci and Chopard co-President and Artistic Director Caroline Scheufele.

In the category of Watch Design the Gem Award went to Cartier, with Mercedes Abramo, president and CEO of Cartier North America, accepting the accolade. Cartier, founded in 1847, has grown to become known for its excellence and creativity in jewelry and watchmaking, producing objects designed to mark milestones and stand the test of time. Cartier was up against Piaget and Roger Dubuis.

JCK News Director Rob Bates won in the Media Excellence category, beating out fellow nominees Kyle Anderson of Marie Claire and freelance journalist Rachel Garrahan. Bates, who has won numerous awards in his more than 20 years of covering the diamond and jewelry industries, has been interviewed and quoted for his analysis by The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and on National Public Radio.

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