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WJA Foundation Announces $30,000 in Grant Awards; Grantees Include Retailer And Veteran March 02, 2022 (0 comments)


New York, NY—The Women's Jewelry Association Foundation (WJAF) awards grants each year to support professional women in the jewelry and watch industry through business development and education. WJA Foundation awarded $30,000 to grant recipients across its Carelle Grant, Jewelers Mutual Veteran Grant, and Member Grants in 2021. Here are the winners:

Dawn Grady (image), WJA Carelle Grant Winner. WJAF has awarded the 2021 Carelle/WJA Member Grant in memory of Brooke Tivol McGrath to Dawn Grady, designer, retail jeweler, and owner of Junebug Jewelry Designs in Cincinnati, OH.

The Carelle Grant was established 10 years ago in honor of Brooke Tivol McGrath, an innovative leader in the jewelry industry and the driving force behind the successful launch of the Carelle brand, who understood the value of belonging to WJA. In celebration of the grant’s 10-year anniversary, Carelle has generously increased the 2021 grant to $7,500 and shifted its focus to reflect the legacy left by McGrath by supporting an established jewelry professional (in business for at least five years) in innovating their business through technological advancements, including investments in e-commerce, digital education and machinery.

Grady is a mostly self-taught designer who fell in love with creating mixed-metal jewelry using both ancient and modern metalsmithing techniques. After absorbing countless books and YouTube tutorials, she took classes with master metalsmiths to hone her skills. It’s been just over ten years since she designed her first necklace and earring set.

Today, Grady works primarily with copper, Argentium silver and semi-precious gemstones to deliver a signature look that embodies both strength and femininity. She loves to contrast the metals against one another to give her pieces depth and interest. There’s a story behind every Junebug piece, every piece Dawn creates makes a statement and is a work of wearable art made for women who were born to stand out. Visit or stopping by her brick-and-mortar store in Cincinnati, OH.

Rikiesha Metzger - WJA Veteran’s Grant Winner. WJAF has also awarded Rikiesha Metzger, owner of Rikiesha's Adornments, the 2021 Veteran’s Grant. This grant was created in partnership with Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group to be awarded to a deserving U.S. military veteran. This $5,000 grant is intended to be used towards professional development within the jewelry and watch industry. 

Currently, Metzger is a Ph.D. student at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. She received her M.A. in Community Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2009, a B.A. from Morgan State University (Fine Arts, 2007) and a B.S. from NC Agricultural and Technical State University (Electronics Technology, 2003). Metzger is a veteran who has traveled extensively, first as a military child, and more recently as an artist interested in experiencing and collaborating with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. She is a multifaceted community artist, student, teacher, and sculptor–of which includes jewelry making. 

Out of all the materials she works with, wire is her favorite. Metzger began making jewelry while pursuing her master’s degree and now has been making jewelry close to 15 years. Her jewelry pieces include earrings as well as small figurines she calls Little Inspirations of Hope. Metzger’s artistic background makes it possible for her to experiment with different techniques in her jewelry-making process, helping to bring a different perspective to how she defines jewelry-making. 

Visit to learn more.

WJA Member Grant Winners. WJA members have an annual opportunity to apply for a Member Grant. Funds for Member Grants are provided by the national organization and WJA chapters around the United States. Additionally, a portion of proceeds from the WJA’s Conversations on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion series funded six additional WJA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Member Grants specifically designated for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and/or People of Color) and/or LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, +) applicants. Here are the 2021 grant winners by WJA chapter:

*Indicates recipient of WJA DEI Member Grant. To learn more or make a donation, click here

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