Open to all independent or company-employed designers, the Professional Design Excellence Category celebrates work that exemplifies the best of contemporary jewelry design. The winners show a thorough grounding in the tradition of fine design, along with an eagerness for experimentation and innovation. By meeting the highest standards of craftsmanship and creativity, these designs truly deserve their award-winning status.
Leon Mege, Leon Mege Inc., New York City
Moonstone Ring. Custom made right hand ring, featuring magnificent blue moonstone set in an elaborate micro pave mounting. Three rows of rounded micro pave halo and three rows of pave on the shank. The stone is cradled in platinum and rose gold patterned cup encrusted with custom cut sapphire cabochons.
Robin Waynee, Ryan Roberts Ltd., Santa Fe, New Mexico
Reversible Pendant. This is a reversible .950 Palladium Pendant. At its center is a 12.1mm Tahitian Pearl. On side A there are Pave & flush set diamonds, and Pink Sapphires. On side B there are Flush set Diamonds and Pink Sapphires. The upper and lower sections are hinged behind the diamonds and sapphires at the edges of the center piece. The center piece was created in CAD, while the upper and lower sections, as well as the hinge sections, were hand forged and fabricated. It is both soldered and laser welded. It is both high polished and brush finished.
3Design CAD software was used to create the main centerpiece. The main technical challenge solved by using CAD was the ability to precisely create the pearl surround for the rolling pearl. Because of the fact that the pearl spins freely within the surround, clearance is critical. Also the hole for the axle location was perfectly centered, eliminating the possibility of the pearl rubbing.
The desire to create a reversible piece presented another technical challenge that was easily solved through CAD. Robin was able to duplicate the main body of the centerpiece, and then alter each side to be distinct. Also creating locator tabs so that lining everything up precisely during assembly was possible.
And of course, doing precision stone layout for pave and flush setting was critical as well.
Evan deJonghe, Evan Maxwell Design, Saratoga Springs, NY
"Flowing Colors" Pendant.
This pendant features a 17.35ct Boulder Opal set in 18k yellow gold. It is accented by 6 flush set Paraiba Tourmalines (0.16ct twt) and a 3mm round bezel set Paraiba Tourmaline (0.17ct). A “hidden” fancy yellow diamond also accents the pendant. One of the most interesting features to this design is the illusion of the stone “floating” between two pieces of 18k yellow gold.
Although a one-of-a-kind piece, this pendant explores the possibilities for future projects resulting from the techniques utilized. The use of setting bars on the backside of the piece creates a very unique look that would never have been accomplished without the use of the laser. This stone setting technique will be used by Evan on large, organic shaped gems allowing for a distinctive design.
Nghi Nguyen, NGHI Design, Brooklyn, New York
The vision began of a bejeweled pet spider, with it’s long legs grabbing and holding on to a finger, the challenge was to capture its delicate yet strong form and enhances its beauty by encrusting it with a mix of earthy tones diamonds.
The ring was designed in 6 parts, with the body being hollow, it was then printed using 3DM machine, and casted in 18k white gold for its strength and color. Each part of the spider was then re-sculpted by hand to mimic the natural shape and delicate form, and more than 300 stones intensively set using 5 different shades of colored diamonds to create a natural camouflage pattern.
Ryan Roberts, Ryan Roberts Ltd, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Garnet Ring. This is an 18k ring featuring a 3.46ct Spessartite Garnet cut by Stephen Avery. The center stone is set with modified prongs that incorporate into the curve and flow of the ring design. It was designed with CAD. It is laser welded and soldered. It has a brush finish, with high polish around the stones. It also features Pink Sapphires and VS1 Diamonds that are pave set, tube set and channel set.
The laser welder was used in the entire assembly of this piece. Initially it was used to tack the two main layers that make up the main band in the correct locations. After soldering them together, the solder seam was covered by laser welding identical 18K material over the solder joint.
The lasers most important role with this piece was in laser welding the two sections that contain the Pave set pink Sapphires. Because of the fact that the stone path passes underneath another section, the majority of stone setting had to be done prior to assembly. Using the welder was the only safe way to assemble after the stones were set.
Chelsea Knights, Mark Schneider Design, Long Beach, California
Siamese Cat Pendant.
This Siamese cat pendant was hand-carved and created using a lost-wax casting process. Materials include 21.4 pennyweights of 14 karat white gold, a 24.76 carat Munsteiner cut marquis shape smokey quartz, 60 pave set 1.0 millimeter round brilliant cut diamonds H in color SI2 in clarity weighing 0.60 carat total weight, two 1.5 millimeter round blue sapphires, and a 7 by 5 millimeter pear cut blue sapphire.
Chelsea Knight describes the story behind the pendant: The client requested a jewelry piece that would both express her adoration for her pet Siamese cat and her taste for high jewelry.
The first challenge of this commission was that it should not just be a cat in general, but rather the client’s cat in particular. I needed to design a form that would convey her Siamese cat’s regal air, grace, symmetry, and elegance. I had the advantage of having complete familiarity with the Siamese cat breed because my childhood pet had been a beautiful Siamese named Pywacket. I was able to apply my understanding of the breed’s poise and personality to my design process. I used Art Deco styling to accentuate the cat’s most notable characteristics by carving in wax an extreme body shape, lean and angular with a fine wedge-shaped face atop a slim elongated neck. I used black rhodium to create the mysterious Siamese mask and dipped paws and tail. The Siamese breed always has deep blue eyes, so flush set sapphires were perfect to emulate their playful sparkle. Lastly, the Siamese cat communicates very clearly by the twitching of its tail, so I created a thin, fine-boned tail curved to cup a pear cut blue sapphire. The second challenge was that the design needed to be a sophisticated fine jewelry statement piece, atypical of the pet jewelry genre. I accomplished this by selecting an artfully cut smokey quartz gemstone to highlight as the focal point of the pendant, complemented by a diamond pave bail with contemporary lines.
Danielle Ginsburg, Mark Schneider Design, Long Beach, California
Read more about the Digital Marketing winner here.
Open to any student enrolled in an art, design, or jewelry-related program at a college, university, or a proprietary technical school, the Future of the Industry Awards celebrate the talent that will lead the jewelry industry into the future. Showing both promise and passion, these designs mark the emergence of a new generation that continues the industry’s commitment to craftsmanship.
Jinbee Park, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City
Jinbee Park, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City
"Cacophony of Harmony" Neckpiece. This piece is a composition of balance among contrasting elements, with echoes of its ecological inspirations. Saturated, deep green hues mingle with pastels, displaying a few of nature’s familiar green tones. Encased, triangular sectors with sharp, inscribed lines hint at the varied, hard composition of solid earth. Soft, curved segments gently flow inward, reminiscent of nature’s calm winds. White and black segments meld to emulate the striking contrast of waxing moons, while others are studded with star-like cubic zirconia. Despite the cacophony-like juxtaposition of many contrasting elements, there is a single point of impact directed by color and shape. Each segment retains its own voice without sacrificing balance, to merge into a single harmonious work. Materials: Resin, Rubber, Sterling Silver, CZ.
Dora Kovacs, Studio Jewelers, New York City
"Primavera" Dissymmetrical Ring.
Primavera in Italian means spring. While designing the ring, Dora focused on the essence of spring and the rebirth of the sleeping nature after the long winter rest. Blossoming of a Tulip and the brightly rising Sun are the 2 icons that appear in one ring, giving it a dissymmetrical twist. She kept her focus on the comfort of the ring, so that the owner would appreciate wearing it while appreciating its sculptural design. The ring is made of sterling silver and a ’floating’ yellow gold ball setting that was subsequently placed and soldered into the shank holds a Fire Opal gemstone. It has handmade finishing, the lines follows the shape emphasizing its curves.