MJSA. Professional excellence in jewelry making and design.

Adam Neeley, Rouge Moderne Earrings

2017 Vision Award Winners

Below are the winners in all categories of the 2017 competition. The August issue of MJSA Journal will profile all of the first-place honorees.

Click here to read the complete article on all the winners from the August 2017 issue of MJSA Journal.


Professional Design Excellence

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.

1st Place Winner (4 or more Years in Business)

Orsolya Ráski Nagy and Daniel Nagy, Splendor-Jewellery, Budakeszi, Hungary

Splendor Jewellery-Garden Ring

The Garden Ring. This 18k cocktail ring, inspired by the designers’ delight in nature, contrasts untamed strength with tender beauty. The green prasiolite center stone represents a large garden. The smaller, brilliant-cut diamonds and green-toned tsavorites and peridots symbolize fruit and dewdrops; they surround the center stone to create a tangled, jungle-like effect. The ring was developed through hand sketching, 2-D vector drawing, 3-D shape design. Multiple wax models were printed as the designers sought to achieve maximum balance and harmony. Splendorjewel.com.

2nd Place Winner (4 or more Years in Business)

Patrick Nelson and Mary Kay Mohs, Patrick Mohs Jewelry, Wayzata, Minnesota

Patrick Mohs Jewelry-Night Sky Necklace

Night Sky Necklace. The idea for this necklace was born on a family visit to the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. During the day, Patrick and Mary Kay found joy in collecting stones along the shore and skipping them across the water. In the evening, the bright stars reflecting on the lake drew their eyes to the constellations. Both experiences were linked in this reversible necklace: The 18k yellow "skipping stones" are set with blue fluorescent diamonds to represent stars. All of the zodiac constellations are included, along with some of the designers’ personal favorites: the Big Dipper, Hercules, Orion, Cassiopeia, Cygnus, and the Little Dipper. The North Star, Polaris, is set with the brightest fluorescent diamond in the necklace. This diamond also has the rare property of being phosphorescent, as it will continue to glow even after the ultraviolet light is turned off. Patrickmohs.com


1st Place Winner (1-3 Years in Business)

Zoe Zong, ZoeZong LLC, McKinney, Texas

Zoe Zong, Supernova Earrings

Supernova Earring Set. Symbolizing rebirth, the design is inspired by a supernova explosion, which causes the appearance of a temporary new star. The platinum-plated silver earrings feature two contrasting sections: one electroplated black with inlaid blue zircon, the other electroplated white with inlaid colorless zircon. The star-shaped ear studs, which are inlaid with white zircon, can be worn alone or with the eardrops. ZoeZong.com.


2nd Place Winner (1-3 Years in Business)

Zoe Zong, ZoeZong LLC, McKinney, Texas

Zoe Zong, Contrast Brooch

"Contrast" Broach. Inspired by a lifelong love of science fiction, Zoe wanted this broach to have a futuristic feel but still be accessible and appealing to modern sensibilities. The rays represent skyscrapers; multiple spires of varying lengths burst from the topaz, which represents a person’s soul keeping order within the city’s frenetic pace. Some rays have been sandblasted and polished, while other rays have inlaid gems to provide unique contrasts. ZoeZong.com.


CAD/CAM Distinction Winner

Ricardo Basta, Bat Ring

Ricardo Basta, Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry, Los Angeles, California

Bat Ring. The 18k "Bat Ring’" features gray 18k palladium bats, diamond appliques, and a pink tourmaline center stone. All pieces were designed in CAD, cast, cleaned, and pre-polished; the appliques and bats were then welded on and the stones were set before a final polish and the addition of black rhodium on the beveled edge of the frame. "The spruing technique is important in this piece," Ricardo says, "as the edges of the setting for the long emerald-cut tourmaline need to be straight and equal in width and thickness, as the eye would see the defective lines [if they weren’t] parallel with the stone." To make the fine lines pop, a light high-polish was applied to the raised details. RicardoBasta.com.

Our thanks to the CAD/CAM Distinction 2017 sponsor:




Laser Distinction Winner

Adam Neeley, Rouge Moderne Earrings

Adam Neeley, Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry, Laguna Beach, California

"Rouge Moderne" Earrings. These earrings showcase red zircons set in rose, white, and yellow gold accented with kite-shaped diamonds. The intricate design was created using CAD and grown in 54 separate parts, and almost all of the assembly was done using laser welding. This technology allowed Adam to connect the prefinished parts without disturbing the satin finish, and to precisely fit together the many small pieces. AdamNeeley.com.

Our thanks to the Laser Distinction 2017 sponsor:




Custom Design Distinction Winner

Brenda Smith In the Garden

Brenda Smith, Brenda Smith Jewelry LLC, Woodstock, Georgia

"In the Garden" Pearl Necklace. Brenda was commissioned to create an 18 inch necklace from 27 pearls ranging in size from 18 to 21.5 mm; at the time, they were the largest round, cultured freshwater pearls in the world. The biggest challenge proved to be keeping the necklace to only 18 inches: When strung together, the 27 pearls stretched to about 23 inches. The designer did many sketches, refining each one, and then crafted a prototype from copper and polymer clay beads. When presented with a color renderings, the client remained open-mouthed for a few moments as she examined the drawings, then promptly said, “Make it.” Handfabricated from 18k gold wire, the necklace features 20 leaves (each a miniature sculpture), 20 flower buds carved to fit multicolored sapphires of different depths and widths, and 51 diamonds clustered in groups of threes, fives, and sevens. Ten pearls have a one-point diamond set into them to simulate dewdrops and add interest. The client, Somewhere in the Rainbow (a not for profit collection, used for the education of the highest standards of mining, cutting, designing and crafting), was extremely happy with the finished piece and has since commissioned another. BrendaSmithJewelry.com.

Our thanks to the Custom Design Distinction 2017 sponsor:

Century Casting Logo


Responsible Practices Distinction Winner

Leo Fried, Responsible Practices

Leo Fried and Nanz Aalund, Blue Heron Jewelry Co., Poulbo, Washington

Tanzanite and Diamond White Gold Ring. This 14k white gold ring features a 3.47 carat, oval-cut tanzanite and diamond accents. Leo Fried, the owner of Blue Heron Jewelers, purchased the tanzanite from stone dealer and African safari guide Godwin Selembo; it was sourced from a co-op of Masi Miners, and a portion of the sale price goes back into the co-op, where it will help to fund teacher’s salaries, housing, clean water wells, schools, and other needs as determined by the village. The white gold is sourced from Hoover & Strong’s Harmony metals, which are certified by SCS Global Services. The accent diamonds were either recycled from customer’s own goods or purchased from dealers who adhere to the Kimberly Process. The Blue Heron Jewelry Company also employs casting and manufacturing processes that adhere to or excel advisory guidelines established by the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) of the State of California. . BlueHeronJewelry.com.

Our thanks to the Responsible Practices 2017 sponsor:

Richline Responsible



Future of the Industry Winners

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.


First Place Winner

Kwan Cheuk Ying, Hong Kong Design Institute, Hong Kong, China

Aimee Kwan, Sun and Moon Earrings

"Sun and Moon" Earrings. The inspiration comes from two Chinese characters: "日" represents the sun and “月” represents the moon. The earrings are made of 14k yellow gold, orange moonstone (the sun), and blue moonstone (the moon). The sun and moon are significant in Chinese philosophy, as it was believed that events in the sky directly reflect events on earth in ancient China.


Second Place Winner 

Maneli Sarmadi, Savannah College of Art & Design, Savannah, Georgia

Maneli Sarmadi, 2nd Place Student

"Sweet Spell" Necklace. Maneli created a statement necklace in sterling silver, rubies, and a Tahitian pearl that is inspired by nature. The flower, designed in Rhino and Matrix, was printed in wax in separate pieces. After casting, each piece was soldered together, and the little ruby beads were arranged from dark to light and set using a laser welder to create little balls on the back of the piece.

Our thanks to the Future of the Industry sponsor:

MJSA Education Foundation

Click here to view the 2016 Vision Award Winners.


MJSA Advantage

MJSA members receive exclusive informational and marketing benefits, from free promotional placements to information research services.