By Shawna Kulpa
A Native American woman dedicated to bringing attention to the issues affecting indigenous people worldwide is at the center of this year’s MJSA Challenge: Responsibly Sourced Designs.
Every year we present nine designers with a fictional story and a selection of responsibly sourced gemstones, courtesy of the project’s sponsor, Columbia Gem House in Vancouver, Washington. From those elements, the designers agree to render a piece of jewelry. Every month from January through September, we feature the design of one of the participating designers. Then, in October, we open up voting to the industry through an online poll.
This year’s Challenge features a new twist. In addition to agreeing to render a piece of jewelry based on the story, the participating designers will also be receiving the supplies needed to bring their designs to life. Later this year, Columbia Gem House will auction off the finished pieces to raise money to help address the medical needs of the Navajo Nation, where this year’s gemstones were sourced.