By Brecken Branstrator
Jewelers of America announced the recipient of the 2020 Gem Award for Lifetime Achievement: longtime retailer and Ben Bridge Jeweler Chairman Emeritus Ed Bridge.
New York—Jewelers of America has revealed the recipient of the next Gem Award for Lifetime Achievement—Ben Bridge Jeweler Chairman Emeritus Ed Bridge.

Held annually, the Gem Awards honor the outstanding achievements of individuals or companies whose work raises the visibility and status of fine jewelry and watches.

Past honorees of the Lifetime Achievement honor include, most recently, Rolex Watch U.S.A. President and CEO Stewart Wicht, as well as watch journalist Joe Thompson, retailer Jim Rosenheim and marketer Sally Morrison.

JA said Bridge is receiving the 2020 Gem Award for Lifetime Achievement for his dedication to Ben Bridge and the jewelry industry throughout the course of his career, setting a standard of excellence that has inspired his company and the industry.

“Ed has undoubtedly increased the professionalism for the jewelry industry,” JA President and CEO David J. Bonaparte said. “His commitment to his family business is unwavering and his leadership on the boards of so many jewelry industry associations has been immensely appreciated by all those who benefit from his contributions.

“It is a privilege to be able to present this Gem Award for Lifetime Achievement to everyone’s friend, Mr. Ed Bridge.”

Bridge is chairman emeritus of Ben Bridge Jeweler, a more-than-a-century-old family-managed retail jeweler founded in Seattle.

The company now has more than 90 stores throughout the western United States and Canada.

Bridge was the retailer’s president and co-CEO from 1990 to 2017 alongside cousin Jon Bridge (now retired), helping guide the company through its acquisition by Warren Buffet’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway.

He then served as chairman and CEO from 2018 until his retirement earlier this year.

The native Washingtonian has served on several industry boards, including Jewelers for Children, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and JA, where he served as board chair from 1999-2001 and helped the association advance responsible business practices related to the sourcing and sale of diamonds during its advocacy for the Clean Diamond Trade Act.

Bridge also has served on boards such as the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, Seattle Victims Fund and the University of Washington TYEE Board of Advisors.

National Jeweler inducted Bridge into its Retailer Hall of Fame in 2003, and the American Gem Society awarded him and his family with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

Bridge and his wife of 40 years, Pam, have two children—Marc Bridge and Lisa Bridge. Lisa took over the role of CEO of Ben Bridge earlier this year, after Ed stepped down at the end of January.

The 18th annual Gem Awards is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 10 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York.

For details, to purchase tickets or to show support for Ed Bridge through sponsorships and the Gem Awards Journal, visit

JA said it will announce the other nominees soon.

National Jeweler is a for-profit subsidiary of Jewelers of America, which purchased the publication in 2015. The two organizations act independently of each other.

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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.