Joanne Zabawa Retires From Borsheims

Longtime Borsheims’ ( employee Joanne Zabawa retired at the end of July after 38 years in the jewelry industry, leaving behind an incredible legacy of jewelry knowledge. For the bulk of her career in the industry and during most of her time at Borsheims, Zabawa served as a jewelry trainer, educating people on everything from the basics of jewelry and gems to the latest changes in technology that affect the jewelry industry.

An animal lover, Zabawa initially pictured herself in her first career as a veterinary assistant. But a quick holiday sales job at a jewelry store had her hooked on the industry. She earned her Graduate Gemology diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and then went to work as a teacher for the GIA. While traveling the world with the GIA, Zabawa studied with the Gemological Association of Great Britain and achieved its fellowship title, a Fellow of the Gemological Association (FGA). In 1989, Zabawa began her first tenure at Borsheims as a trainer and in 1998 became the shop manager. After a brief hiatus, Zabawa returned to Borsheims in 2007 as the jewelry trainer. Borsheims and its employees have benefitted from Zabawa’s vast knowledge and passion for the jewelry industry. She has trained everyone from new employees with zero experience in jewelry to long-tenured employees who have intricate knowledge of the industry.

Borsheims President & CEO Karen Goracke said Zabawa will be missed. “Joanne was truly one-of-a-kind – a vault of information about every aspect of gems, metals, and stones – and a real knack for teaching,” said Goracke. “We wish her a retirement full of trail rides with her horses and quiet nights on the front porch of her home.”

Borsheims Fine Jewelry and Gifts ( is one of the nation’s largest independent jewelry stores and a proud member of the Berkshire Hathaway family.