MJSA. Professional excellence in jewelry making and design.


Mystery Box Challenge 2017

Four weeks four designers one box of mystery materials = endless possibilities

By Shawna Kulpa

Slow and steady has been said to win the race, but there are times when speed matters. Just ask designers Aleksandra Vali, Brenda Smith, Jo Haemer, and Tim Green. When they agreed to participate in the annual MJSA Journal Mystery Box Challenge, they knew that they would have to create a piece of jewelry in just four weeks’ time. While that might not sound overly daunting, the designers also didn’t know what materials they would have to use to create their piece. It wasn’t until they agreed to participate that they received their boxes and discovered the following materials:

•          One 4-inch x 4-inch sterling silver sheet from David H. Fell & Co. (dhfco.com)

•          One 8-inch 22-gauge 14k yellow gold wire from Stuller Inc. (stuller.com)

•          One square peridot, one rectangular cushion citrine, and one pear-shape iolite
from Gemorex International Inc. (gemorex.com)

•          One 4-inch x 4-inch x 2-inch cocobolo wood block from Bell Forest Products Inc. (bellforestproducts.com)

On the following pages, you’ll discover how the designers worked these random elements into thoughtful pieces of jewelry—and met the deadline. If you’d like to see the pieces in person, they’ll be on display at MJSA Expo New York (March 12-14 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center), where they will be raffled off. All proceeds from the raffle will benefit the MJSA Education Foundation, which provides scholarships to U.S. students enrolled in jewelry-design and jewelry-making programs at colleges, universities, and technical schools. (Unable to attend Expo? Raffle tickets can also be purchased by calling 1-800-444-6572.)

Visit each of the artist’s challenge results directly:

Aleksandra Vali

Brenda Smith

Jo Haemer and Tim Green


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