Last updateTue, 06 Nov 2018 9pm

Rio Grande congratulates winners of the 9th Annual Saul Bell Design Award competition

At a gala celebration dinner held on May 30 during JCK Las Vegas, Rio Grande congratulated the Grand Prize winner and 12 category winners of the ninth annual Saul Bell Design Award competition. From hundreds of submissions, a panel of judges chose 30 finalists and, from these, 12 winners emerged. More than $30,000 in prizes and awards was presented at the Saul Bell Design Award presentation and gala. Winning pieces may be viewed online at www.saulbellaward.com.

Rio-Adams-AugustThe 2009 competition challenged jewelry designers to push the boundaries of creativity as they created original and innovative pieces in any of six categories. Each designer chose one category as the foundation of their piece and integrated additional stones or materials as they wished, provided that the predominant material remained at least 75% of the finished, original design.

Gold/Platinum: the predominant metal is gold or platinum group metals including palladium or a combination. May be case, fabricated, forged, assembled or created with any combination of techniques.

Silver/Argentium® Silver: the predominant metal is silver or Argentium® Silver or a combination of both. May be cast, fabricated, forged, assembled or created with any combination of techniques.

Metal Clay: the predominant material is either silver or gold Precious Metal Clay® (PMC), BRONZclayTM or COPPRclayTM. (image above: This "Hankies" necklace earned Kay Adams the top spot in the 2009 Saul Bell Design Award competition Metal Clay Category.)

Beads: the predominant elements are beads, pearls or other strung ornaments. Beads may be of any material.

Hollowware: the predominant metal is silver and/or gold; includes vessels that are spun, drawn, forged and/or raised. Decorative fabricated or cast components may be incorporated into the design.

Enamel: the predominant surface material must be enamel. Use glass-based enamels and fire on any type of metal.

2009 Gold/Platinum Category Winners:

The winner of the Enamel Category of the Saul Bell Design Awards competition was Falcher Fusager for this brooch.


Grand Prize winner in the Gold/Platinum Category, Geoffrey Giles, won a $10,000 Rio Grande gift certificate

Michele Mercaldo took first place in the Silver Category of the 9th Annual Saul Bell Design Award competition for this piece.

Davina Romansky was awarded first place in the Hollowware Category for this tea pot.

Jonathan Rutledge was named winner of the Beads Category for this "Lapis Necklace."

Grand Prize - $10,000 Rio Grande Gift Certificat
Geoffrey Giles of Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Description: "Fold Bracelet" - This technically challenging piece was entirely hand fabricated, with materials consisting of 18K yellow gold, 18K palladium white gold, and thirteen 0.33-ct. round diamonds. Sheet was formed over a mandrel and then the pieces were soldered together to form links. A jeweler's saw was used to cut a key in the yellow gold links to accept the white gold links and an internal groove was filed to allow for movement amongst them. The diamonds were flush set.

Second Place - $1000 Rio Grande Gift Certificate

Eva Martin of Sunshine Coast, Australia

2009 Silver Category Winners:
First Place - $2500 Rio Grande Gift Certificate
Michele Mercaldo of Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Description: "Serpentine Necklace"- Made of sterling silver, this necklace was cast and features a hand-constructed box clasp with 14K white gold tongue. The snake chain is oxidized and hand finished.

Second Place - $1000 Rio Grande Gift Certificate
Dukno Yoon of Seoul, Korea

2009 Hollowware Category Winners:
First Place - $2500 Rio Grande Gift Certificate
Davina Romansky of West Henrietta, New York, USA
Description: "Movement" - This tea pot design was inspired by the movement of flowing water. A clay model was created, dipping and waving the forms like the ripples of a stream. A sheet of fine silver was cut and wire was formed to fit the lip of the bowl, which was welded to ensure seamlessness. The spout was formed with a sheet of fine silver. An invisible bezel with a sheet of fine silver is also featured to connect the holder and handle. The handle was tapered from Pyrex glass and torched to form the waves; fabrication of the handle by Jonathan Chapman. Finally, it was sandblasted and received an application of light blue oil paint.

Second Place - $1000 Rio Grande Gift Certificate
Sumit Jain of Amritsar, Punjab, India

2009 Metal Clay (PMC®) Category Winners:
First Place - $2500 Rio Grande Gift Certificate
Kay Adams of St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Description: "Hankies" - This necklace was created with PMC® lump clay and sheets, black CZ beads, black silk cord, as well as sterling silver beads, end caps and curved tubes. Thirteen beads were formed with the PMC® , then one PMC+TM sheet was folded over each PMC3TM bead. Fired in a kiln at 1650° for two hours, the hankies were then lacquered to give a yellow, aged appearance.

Second Place - $1000 Rio Grande Gift Certificate
Gail Crosman Moore of Orange, Massachusetts, USA

2009 Beads Category Winners:
First Place - $2500 Rio Grande Gift Certificate
Jonathan Rutledge of Evanston, Illinois, USA
Description: "Lapis Necklace" - Made from 22K and 18K gold, 94 0.86-ct. diamonds, and lapis lazuli, this necklace was inspired by the artist's love for ancient jewelry and history. The major technique used for this piece was granulation, with thousands of small granules featured in the gold pattern. The piece was hand fabricated and alloyed.

Second Place - $1000 Rio Grande Gift Certificate
Mary V. Smith, St. Charles, Missouri, USA

2009 Enamel Category Winners:
First Place - $2500 Rio Grande Gift Certificate
Falcher Fusager of Fairfield, California, USA
Description: "Revelation 1" - This brooch was created using 24K and 18K gold with enameled, 0.35-ct. diamonds, demantoid garnets and 10 matched blue sapphires. The gold wire was milled tall and thin, then bent by hand into the design pattern. The gold bezels were carefully hand bent to fit each gemstone, then the 24K wires were fused onto a hand engraved fine silver sheet. The enamel layers were fired at 1400° and then cut on rotating sanding belts.

Second Place - $1000 Rio Grande Gift Certificate
Abby Goldblatt, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
Nick Grant Barnes, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
Description: "Abstractly Aligned" - This brooch has a copper base with silver foil, fine silver wires, and small glass beads. The enamel was stoned and given a matte surface. Keum-boo 24K gold foil, 18K gold and an oxidizing layer were used as a final surface treatment to visually frame the enamel.

The 2009 panel of judges included Debra Gavel, Eleanor McNish, Marc Gillihan, Fred Koch, Scott Patrick, Yvonne Padilla, Jeannine Daniels Bundy, Phil Poirier, Pat Pruitt, Amy Roper Lyons, and Sara Smith.

For information about the upcoming 2010 Saul Bell Design Award competition, designers are invited to call 800-396-9896 ext. 13265 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visit www.saulbellaward.com for general information about the Saul Bell Design Award.