Events & Awards

Susan Jacques Wins 2023 Shipley Award

Events & AwardsMay 04, 2023

Susan Jacques Wins 2023 Shipley Award

Plus, AGS has announced the location for Conclave 2024.

2023 Shipley Award winner Susan Jacques
GIA CEO Susan Jacques was presented with the 2023 Robert M. Shipley Award during the American Gem Society’s Conclave event in Louisville, Kentucky, on Tuesday afternoon.
Louisville, Ky.—Gemological Institute of America President and CEO Susan Jacques is the winner of this year’s Robert M. Shipley Award.

Jacques was given the honor Tuesday afternoon at the American Gem Society’s Conclave, held this week in Louisville, Kentucky.

Prior to the award announcement, Jacques was on stage discussing challenges and opportunities within the industry, and appeared surprised to be called back to the podium.

Ruth Batson-McCluer, chair of the Robert M. Shipley Award Committee, past AGS CEO and the 2016 recipient of the award, presented the honor to Jacques.

“[Jacques] is recognized throughout the global gem and jewelry industry for her unwavering integrity, inspiring leadership, and steadfast commitment,” said Batson-McCluer.

Upon accepting the award, Jacques said, “I am immensely grateful and truly honored by this extraordinary recognition and award.”

“I’m speechless, truly. I never expected this, but I cannot tell you how much joy this industry has brought to me. I’ve been blessed with more than 40 years of friendships and just passion for what we do for a living. We help people celebrate the most extraordinary milestones in their lives and they do it with the treasures of Mother Nature. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

“Many of you have heard me say over the years that we’re in the happiest industry I know of, and there are challenges, no question, but there are opportunities and optimism. Keep the hope.”

Jacques has been president and CEO of GIA since 2014.

Prior to that, she was the president and CEO of Borsheims in Omaha, Nebraska, as of 1994, reporting directly to Warren Buffett. (His company, Berkshire Hathaway, bought a majority stake in the retailer in 1986.)

She joined Borsheims in 1982 as an appraiser and sales associate, just two years after earning her Graduate Gemologist diploma from GIA.

Jacques is also a fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain.

She has received several awards throughout her career, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's Jewelry Association in 2010 and the Stanley Schechter Award from the Jewelers Vigilance Committee in 2020.

“Susan is a tireless advocate for the industry,” said Katherine Bodoh, the current CEO of AGS. 

“She dedicates her personal and professional time, expertise, and energy to highlighting the importance of the gem and jewelry trade to communities and countries throughout the world. She understands and appreciates the deep connection and trust retailers share with their customers and the special moments that jewelry represents. I am continually inspired by Susan’s steadfast commitment to the mission of consumer protection shared by AGS and GIA.”

Jacques is the sixth recipient from GIA to receive the award since it was first presented in 1968.

 Related stories will be right here … 
AGS presents the Robert M. Shipley Award, its highest honor, at a luncheon held annually at Conclave. 

Shipley, alongside his wife Beatrice, founded both AGS and GIA in the 1930s. The pair cashed in their savings to establish the organization, with the goals of educating jewelers, professionalizing the industry, and creating a jewelers guild.

The award presented in Robert’s honor goes to an AGS member for outstanding service, significant contributions to gemology, and living out the ideals of AGS in their community. 

At Conclave, AGS also announced plans for Conclave 2024; it will be held in Austin, Texas, from April 15-17.

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