A lot has happened in the past 115 years and we want to share some of Jewelers of America's history, trivia, jeweler benefits and more to honor where we started and the journey we have traveled together. Check this page weekly for the list of facts about JA or follow us on Instagram @jewelersofamericamembers to count off 115 facts over the next 115 days and get a glimpse of some visuals from the past. 

  1. The organization that is now known as Jewelers of America was formed in 1906 as the American National Retail Jewelers Association.
  2. A national association of jewelers was first proposed in 1889 by Arthur S. Goodman of Philadelphia.
  3. The National Retail Jewelers Association was formed in 1893. NRJA is one of the organizations that would eventually become what is now Jewelers of America.
  4. The American Retail Jewelers Association was formed in 1903. The ANRJA was the second organization that would eventually become Jewelers of America.
  5. "Organize! Organize!" 75 state delegates gathered in Rochester, NY at Haines Hall on August 3, 1906. “Organize! Organize!” cried American Retail Jewelers Association president Max Jennings. “When 20,000 retail jewelers are united in one grand association, we will not be compelled to beg for the consideration that is our just due.”
  6. NRJA and ARJA merged to form the American National Retail Jewelers Association in 1906.
  7. Max Jennings, a jeweler from Michigan, was the first President of the ANRJA.
  8. Also in 1906...the U.S. government enacted the Gold and Silver Stamping Act of 1906. Also known as the Jewelers’ Liability Act, it required the fineness of karat gold and sterling silver jewelry (and related items) be stamped, branded, engraved or printed on packaging. In 1961, the Act was amended to also require the manufacturer’s trademark.
  9. Also in 1906...Montblanc, American Greetings and New Balance were also founded in 1906 and share this 115th anniversary with JA!
  10. Also in 1906...gold was $18.09 an ounce, and the Dow closed above 100 for the first time in January 12.
  11. Also in 1906, National Jeweler, now published by Jewelers of America, was founded.
  12. In the year 1906: Eggs cost 14 cents per dozen.
  13. In the year 1906: The maximum speed limit in most U.S. cities was 10mph.
  14. In the year 1906: Average life expectancy was 48 years.
  15. In the year 1906: The average wage was 22 cents per hour.
  16. In the year 1906: Sugar cost 4 cents per pound.
  17. ANRJA (now JA) and AGTA formally adapted the official Birthstone List on August 8, 1913.
  18. A Code of Ethics was adopted by ANRJA Members on August 27, 1922.
  19. Diamond Council of America (DCA), now an education affiliate of Jewelers of America was founded in 1944.
  20. The Jewelry Industry Council (JIC) was formed in 1946 to promote jewelry after WWII. The name was later changed to Jewelry Information Center and eventually merged with Jewelers of America.
  21. ANRJA holds its 45th Annual Convention & Trade Show at the Waldorf-Astoria August 14-17, 1950.
  22. JA's birthstone list is updated in 1952 to add alexandrite (June), citrine (November), tourmaline (October) and zircon (December) as birthstones.
  23. In 1957 ANRJA merges with National Credit Jewelers Association to form Retailer Jewelers of America (RJA)
  24. Mike Roman begins his tenure as Executive Director of RJA in 1976
  25. Beth Moskowitz is awarded the first "New Designer of the Year Award" at the 1977 RJA Trade Fair. Moskowitz would go on to be one of the founding members of the Women's Jewelry Association (WJA).
  26. Former First Lady, Betty Ford, is a guest at the 1978 RJA Fall International Jewelry Trade Fair.
  27. In February 1979, Dan Rather is a guest at the RJA Trade Show for a screening of two CBS 60 Minutes segments about Diamonds and Diamond Investments.
  28. In 1979, RJA computerized its membership records and assigns member IDs to every member.
  29. In late 1979, the "J" graphic still used in JA's logo was introduced. It was designed to mimic facets in a cut stone.
  30. In 1980, RJA installed a toll-free number for members to call our offices - it's the same number we still have today: 800-223-0673.
  31. Effective August 1, 1980, Retail Jewelers of America (RJA) "drops the R" and changes the name to Jewelers of America (JA).
  32. In March 1981, JA launches its first consumer campaign that includes a "J" decal for members to display in store windows.
  33. Beginning in 1984, JA participates in TV Game Shows by awarding gift certificates to member stores.
  34. On April 30, 1985 JA holds its first jewelry fashion show for national fashion editors in New York City.
  35. Jewelers of America launched its popular tiara program in 1986. It still remains a member favorite perk today!
  36. In 1986, Dr. Joyce Brothers gives the keynote presentation, “The Psychology of Discounting”, at JA’s July Convention.
  37. In 1987, the July JA New York Show moves to the Javits Center.
  38. JA launches an Affiliate Design Competition in 1990.
  39. Jewelers of America joined with others in fighting a federal luxury tax that hit the jewelry and boating industries in 1990. The effort led to the repeal of the tax in 2003.
  40. In 1991, JA reached an agreement with Blenheim for the JA New York Shows. Today, the show is run by Emerald and remains a leading destination for premier fine jewelry trade shows on the East Coast.
  41. In 1995, Michael Roman retires from Jewelers of America after serving 20 years as Executive Director.
  42. Matthew Runci is then hired as JA’s President & CEO.
  43. In September 1995, JA launches its first website for consumers, including jewelry information and Find A Jeweler directory. 
  44. JA teams up with the Pratt Institute to create a "first-of-its-kind" Bachelor's and Master's degree programs in Jewelry Business Studies and Jewelry Design. 
  45. In 1996, JA receives two Bronze Telly Awards for a JA 100 Club documentary and Jewelry Buyer's Guide infomercial.
  46. In 1997, Jewelers of America helped sponsor the renovation of the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. The hall houses the Hope Diamond, one of the most famous pieces of jewelry in the world, an extensive collection of jewelry, gems and minerals, and many interactive educational exhibits. As part of its support, Jewelers of America sponsored “Why Is a Ruby Red?” an educational video that runs on a continuous loop in the hall and explains how gemstones get their color.
  47. Jewelers of America Political Action Committee, JAPAC, was formed in 1998. It is the only PAC that supports the fine jewelry industry in Washington, D.C.
  48. Carolyn Pope of @crewsjewelry was elected the first female Board Chair in 2001.
  49. On September 11, 2001, Jewelers of America's office was located just outside of Grand Central Station. The team was arriving at the office when the planes struck the World Trade Center. The JA team safely evacuated the building following bomb threats to Grand Central. 
  50.  Tanzanite was officially added as a December birthstone in 2002! Who loves this birthstone option!?
  51. The inaugural GEM Awards were set to take place at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center, New York City on November 13, 2001. However, after the tragic events of September 11th, Jewelry Information Center postpones the inaugural GEM Awards gala and the inaugural event took place on January 10, 2003.
  52. On August 14, 2003, the Northeast Blackout crippled New York's transportation, leaving JA staff members to walk home across throughout the boroughs. “I was actually in the elevator when we lost power. A colleague pried the door open and we had to climb out and then proceed down the dark stairwells. During that time, stairwell safety lighting wasn't required by law. The rest of the JA team assisted in carrying a coworker who needed help getting down the 19 flights. I didn't make it back to Long Island. My coworker kindly let me crash at her place on Roosevelt Island." - Amanda Gizzi, Jewelers of America
  53. AGS honors Matthew A. Runci, president and CEO of Jewelers of America with the 2004 AGS Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual Circle of Distinction awards dinner on July 27, 2004.
  54. JA was a founding member of the @responsiblejewellery, which was formed in 2005.
  55. @katiecouric accepted the GEM Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism in 2006.
  56. Jewelers of America teamed up with @fedex in 2007 to deliver big savings to JA Member! This benefit remains a member favorite to this day!
  57. Jewelers of America and Jewelry Information Center (JIC) announce merger in August of 2009.
  58. Over the years Jewelers of America has pushed back against luxury taxes proposed on the state level. In 2009, JA’s efforts helped stop luxury taxes in New York and Illinois. JA also coordinated a “Stop Luxury Taxes Fund” to support grassroots opposition to the taxes. 
  59. Jewelers of America and Jewelers Mutual announce a strategic partnership to enhance the services each provides to the retail jewelry industry in 2009.
  60. JA's current Code of Professional Practices was adopted in 2009, they were written to be consistent with the principles of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), which JA co-founded in 2005.
  61. Madeleine Albright was honored with the GEM Award for Style in 2010.
  62. In 2010, Jewelers of America launched the online "Find a JA Supplier" Directory.
  63. Amanda Gizzi and Helena Krodel appeared on the @rachaelrayshow in February of 2010, educating viewers about jewelry and watches. 
  64. In 2010, the JA Affiliate Design Competition celebrates 20 years.
  65. In 2011, JA rebrands the Affiliate Design Competition to the CASE Awards.
  66. The Jewelers of America Political Action Committee hosted their first fly-in to Washington, DC on June 17, 2011.
  67. In 2011, @iamjhud presented the GEM Award for Jewelry Style to @neillane.
  68. JA produced the Fashion Show at AGS Conclave. JA went on to partner with AGS and produce a total of 6 fashion shows for Conclave.
  69. A first launched its popular consumer sweepstakes, Little Bit of Bling, back in 2012. Stay tuned — the sweepstakes will be back in a few short weeks! 
  70. Matt Runci retires after 17 years as JA’s President and CEO on December 31, 2012.
  71. JA moved into its current offices at 120 Broadway in NYC in 2012.
  72. Jewelers of America has actively opposed the Estate Tax, which has had a negative impact on many small family businesses. Over the years, the association pushed for a permanent repeal of the tax—or a permanent and fair solution. While it remains a concern, we saw victories in 2012, when Congress acted to keep the tax from reverting to a rate of 55% and exemption levels of $1 million for individuals and $2 million for couples. Instead, lawmakers settled on a 40% tax rate and exclusion amounts of $5 million for individuals and $10 million for couples. Tax reform passed in 2017 further increased the exclusion amounts to $11 million for individuals and $22 million for couples.
  73. Dave Bonaparte starts as JA’s President & CEO on January 1, 2013.
  74. JA creates the Jewelry Job Board in 2013.
  75. In 2013, JA was featured on IMPACT with Martin Sheen that aired on national television.
  76. GEM Awards switched to a live reveal format in 2013. The new format announced the winners live during the ceremony for three of its GEM Awards categories: Communications, Design and Media Excellence.
  77. Dave Bonaparte received the Ben Kaiser Award from Women's Jewelry Association (WJA). 
  78. JA participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for ALS in 2014. 
  79. JA hosted its first Member Meetup, titled “Wear One”, at Clyde Fraisers in NYC in 2014.
  80. JA acquired National Jeweler in 2015!
  81. GEM Awards is officially hosted by Jewelers of America in 2015
  82. Also in 2015, JA launched its new website featuring a jewelry gallery, member profiles and more.
  83. Jewelers of America and AGTA added spinel as an August birthstone in 2016! Spinel joins peridot as another option for the August birthstone.
  84. In 2016, Jewelers of America teamed up with Glamour Magazine to showcase JA Member jewelry in a video titled “100 Years of Engagement” Rings!
  85. JA Members were featured at the Isabelle Armstrong New York Bridal Fashion Week show in 2016!
  86. JA hosted Wine, Whiskey and Washington in conjunction with our legislative advocacy efforts in 2016.
  87. In 2017, JA finalized its affiliation with DCA.
  88. Remember the #mannequinchallenge? In 2016, the JA and National Jeweler team had to hop on the trend!
  89. n 2017, Jewelers of America successfully worked with other leading retail organizations to stop a 20 percent Border Adjustment Tax from being included in the major tax reform that passed at the end of the year. The “BAT” would have imposed the tax on all imports, including jewelry.
  90. JA launched the Jewelers Relief Fund in 2017 to help jewelers in need, like those who were affected by natural disasters or acts of looting in 2020.
  91. In October 2017, Jewelers of America members were featured prominently in an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court, calling on the court to clear a path toward sales tax fairness.
  92. After more than 20 years of advocating for sales tax fairness on behalf of JA members and the industry, the Supreme Court’s June 2018 decision finally leveled the playing field for brick-and-mortar and online businesses when it comes to collecting sales tax.
  93. National Jeweler brought back the print edition of State of the Majors in 2017.
  94. Jewelers of America has fought multiple attempts by Congress to repeal LIFO, the last-in, first-out accounting method that is important to many businesses in the jewelry industry. This includes pushing lawmakers to keep a repeal out of 2017 tax reform.
  95. Terry Chandler of DCA was honored with the AGS Triple Zero Award in 2018.
  96. JA Member jewelry begins to be featured weekly on ABC's The Bachelorette in 2018 with Becca Kufrin's season. Check out more here.
  97. Debra Messing was honored with the GEM Award for Jewelry Style in 2018! Law Roach joined the ranks of those receiving the GEM Award for Jewelry Style at the 2021 GEM Awards.
  98. In 2019, JA was featured in a Jeopardy question.
  99. In 2019, JA launched a partnership with JewelersHealthCare.com.
  100. In the same year, JA also added Chosen Payments as a Benefit Partner.
  101. A hosted its inaugural National Convention in 2019 in New York City.
  102. A launched a consumer marketing campaign with social media influencers titled “Another Piece of your Story” in 2019.
  103. Dave Bonaparte was honored at the Jewelers for Children Facets of Hope event in 2019.
  104. JA launched the online certification program in sales and management in 2020.
  105. Get Diamonds was added as a new member benefit in 2020.
  106. JA acted quickly to respond to the effects on businesses during COVID-19 by initiating an intensive webinar series, moving the National Convention to a virtual platform, and more. Although our staff could not be together physically, we teamed up to be stronger together and help all of our JA Members.
  107. JA announces Bond Security as a new member benefit in 2020.
  108. In 2020, JA teamed up with the American Gem Society for the My Jewelry Wish List campaign to promote shopping for jewelry during the holidays!
  109. Did you know JA has a JA 100 Club? We honor JA members who have been in business for 100 years or more by inducting them into our JA 100 Club!
  110. Through its long history, JA’s Board of Directors keep it all in the family! There are multiple instances of multi-generational families serving on our board. 
  111. JA uncovered comments from our past Chairmen in the archives. 
  112. For the first time ever, GEM Awards went virtual in 2021 due to social distancing regulations. You can watch the virtual program here.
  113. Jewelers of America promotes its member through national Satellite Media Tours promoting gift ideas for every occasion.
  114. Our 16 Jewelers of America staff members have over 191 combined years of experience serving Jewelers of America and its members! 
  115. On July 19 and 20, 2021, JA hosted our third annual National Convention on a virtual platform. Learn more about our Convention here.
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