MJSA. Professional excellence in jewelry making and design.

MJSA Honors Vision Award Winners

MJSA recently announced the nine winners of the association’s 2011 Vision Awards competition, which recognizes excellence in jewelry design and technical skill. The winners were presented with their awards at a ceremony during MJSA Expo New York at the Hilton New York on March 14, and the winning entries were on display for thousands of buyers and exhibitors during the show.

Gregoré Morin of Gregoré Joailliers, Santa Barbara, California, and Julie Buckareff of JJ Buckar, Toronto, Ontario, took honors in the Professional Design Excellence category-Morin for an objet d’art depiciting Hiruko, one of the seven lucky gods of Japan, and Buckar for "Bird’s Nest," a locket broach made of 18k rose gold wire and 19k white gold leaves. Both entries also received honors in the Laser Distinction category, sponsored by LaserStar Technologies Corp.

The competition also recognized entries in four additional categories: Visionary Technical Solution, for designs that overcame technical challenges or explored the use of new materials; Gold Distinction, sponsored by Hoover & Strong; Custom Design Distinction, sponsored by Gemvision; and the Future of the Industry awards for students, sponsored by the MJSA Education Foundation. Rio Grande was the general sponsor of this year’s competition, and Instore and Metalsmith magazines were the media sponsors.

The winners of the 2011 MJSA Vision Awards are:

First Place, Design Excellence, and First Place, Laser Distinction:

Hiruko-Gregoré MorinGregoré Morin of Gregoré Joailliers, Santa Barbara, California, for "Hiruko." an 18k white and yellow gold objet d’art measuring 43 mm tall and 62 mm wide. The diminutive sculpture of Hiruko, one of the seven lucky gods of Japan, features a Mexican fire opal body and a round white gold head that are joined by hidden magnets. The figure’s yellow gold traditional hat is topped by a Paraiba tourmaline and accented with diamonds along the rim and the bolo tie.

Second Place, Design Excellence; Second Place, Laser Distinction; and Second Place, Gold Distinction:

Bird’s Nest - Julie BuckareffJulie Buckareff of JJ Buckar, Toronto, Ontario, for "Bird’s Nest," an 18K rose gold and 19K white gold locket brooch featuring a Torré del Greco Italian hand-carved cameo shell. The leaves are set with 830 diamonds totaling 5.10 carats. The underside reveals two double-sided picture frames accented with pink and blue sapphires.

First Place Visionary Technical Solution:

Captive - Adam NeeleyAdam Neeley of Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry Inc., Laguna Beach, California, for "Captivate," a pin/pendant hand-fabricated in "Iris Gold." Featuring a seamless gradient created by fusion, the gold gradually transitions in color from 24k yellow gold through seven colors of gold to 9k white gold. The pin is accented with an 11.1 mm Tahitian peacock pearl.

Second Place, Visionary Technical Solution:

Wave Ring - Edward MirellEdward Rosenberg and Mirella Connor of Edward Mirell, Deerfield Beach, Florida, for "Wave," a women’ black titanium s signet ring featuring an insert of sterling silver set with diamonds. Modeled in Matrix software, this ring was milled in wax, finessed, and cast in black titanium (Black Ti). The resulting ring was polished in some areas and sandblasted in others to accentuate the delicate wave pattern. Last, the insert was cold-connected after polishing and the setting of the diamonds.

First Place, Gold Distinction:

Barbara Heinrich of Barbara Heinrich Studio, Pittsford, New York, for "Blossom," an 18kt yellow gold brooch. The piece features 14 diamonds totaling 0.21ct.

First Place, Custom Design Distinction:

Torres del Paine - Cynthia ZavaCynthia Zava of Cynthia Renée Inc., Carrboro, North Carolina, for "Torres del Paine," a ring featuring a 5.69 carat ice-blue tourmaline from Afghanistan. Zava made the ring for a client who, with her family, had visited Torres del Paine National Park at the mountainous southern tip of Patagonia in Chile. The stone mirrors the color of Mary’s daughter’s eyes, as well as the glacial lakes of Patagonia. Zava hand-carved the rose gold portions of the ring to echo the mountains of Torres del Paine, and used the horns of the ridges as prongs. She placed white gold "glaciers" between the ring’s peaks. The glaciers’ roughened surfaces were formed in wax from the combined fingerprints of each family member on the trip.

Second Place, Custom Design Distinction:

Art Nouveau Necklace-Doreen SanbornDoreen K. Sanborn, DKS Designs Inc., Fairfax, Virginia, for "Art Deco/Art Nouveau," a 14k gold necklace featuring a 38.60 carat aquamarine carved by Michael Dyber and a 13 mm Eyris blue abalone pearl from New Zealand. The gem is carved on one side in an Art Deco style, and the other side in an Art Nouveau style. Sanborn’s client had several specific requirements: she wanted to be able to wear either side of the gem as the front, to accompany the gem with an accent gemstone that could be added or removed, and to have the changes easy to make, yet the mechanics nearly invisible when the necklace was worn. Sanborn designed a removable and movable bar stockade setting for the pearl, and a stirrup attachment for the chain to attach to and detach from the aquamarine.

First Place, Future of the Industry Award for Students:

Ring - Young-eun HanYoung-eun Han, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, for "Industrial Ring," a layered ring. The inner layer is a band of stainless steel, The outside layer was made by carving the shape out of wax, making a silicone mold of the model, and then casting it with a mixture of cement and resin. The result is a piece that combines industrial materials yet is still light and comforting to the hand.

Second Place, Future of the Industry Award for Students:

Brooklyn Ring - Natalia DavidichNatalia Davidich, Kharkiv State Academy of Design & Arts, Ukraine, for "Brooklyn," a yellow gold ring with a white insertion in the center. Gold filaments are passed through special rounded loops to imitate the cables of a bridge. The reflection from the inside of the ring creates a unique visual effect. The edges of the ring are decorated in diamonds.

MJSA recognizes Vision Award winners through both publicity and advertising in industry publications, which in 2011 will include full-page ads in Instore, Metalsmith, and the association’s own MJSA Journal. Prizes included gift certificates of up to $500 (courtesy of Rio Grande), cash awards, book libraries, and, for student winners, scholarships of up to $1,000.

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