As a touching end to the 2019 International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, Judith Bridges was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the esteemed organization. A longtime member of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and co-founder of Bridges Tsavorite, Mrs. Bridges is the first woman to receive this honor. She joins previous honorees Richard T. Liddicoat, Prof. Dr. Edward J. Gubelin and Roland Naftule, among others, as well as her late husband, Campbell Bridges. Mr. and Mrs. Bridges are also the first married couple to both receive this award. The ICA Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to: “members that during their lifetime have made outstanding contributions to the ICA and the gemstone industry at large.”
Mrs. Bridges received her bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Wisconsin and was in the process of earning her master’s degree in geology from UCLA, when she was granted a leave of absence to receive course credit working in Johannesburg, South Africa for DeBeers. There, she met her future-husband, Campbell Bridges, and over the next 40 years, they built their company, and family together. In 1967, the Bridges introduced Tanzanite to the United States and as a result became consultants for Tiffany & Co. on the gem. That same year, they discovered a new green grossular garnet that eventually became known as Tsavorite and introduced the vibrant gemstone to the world. Mrs. Bridges was active in all aspects of the business, from mining, cutting and selling, to marketing and promotions. She was instrumental in helping turn Tsavorite into one of the most sought-after gemstones in the industry.