Last updateTue, 19 Mar 2019 7pm

Rio Grande announces winners of 2018 Saul Bell Design Award competition

At a celebration dinner held on May 20, during the Santa Fe Symposium® in Albuquerque, NM, Rio Grande announced the winners of the 18th annual Saul Bell Design Award competition. In this international competition, finalists were selected from hundreds of entries, submitted by designers from countries around the world.

The work in these pieces epitomizes the very best of the jewelry industry in creativity, design and fabrication. From this work, through two rounds of rigorous judging, experts drawn from across the jewelry industry chose a best-of-show and first- and second-place winners from designs submitted in nine competitive categories. Prizes, awards and congratulations were presented to each winning designer at a gala dinner and celebration event.

The winning designs, as well as all finalist pieces, are featured online at saulbellaward.com.

“In the 17 years I’ve been with Rio Grande, it’s been an honor to see so many talented designers rise to the challenge of creating awe-inspiring pieces and to hear their stories of creation,” said Rio Grande Creative Director Jamie Gros.

Since launching in 2001, the Saul Bell Design Award has become one of the most sought-after prizes for jewelers and metalsmiths worldwide. For information about the 2018 Saul Bell Design Award competition, designers are invited to visit saulbellaward.com, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 800-952-6222.

Rio Grande thanks the dedicated judges - and all the jewelry makers who put their designs in front of these industry experts to be seen, evaluated and recognized - and congratulates each of the winners and finalists, whose work rose to a level of creativity that, as always, is breathtaking.

The 2018 Saul Bell Design Award Competition Winners:


• Best of Show: Sophia Hu

 “Origami – Window with a View Collection”
Las Vegas, NV


• Gold/Platinum Category:

SBD Garibian

First Place - Garen Garibian

 “Mata Hari”
Los Angeles, CA

Second Place - Rosario Garcia

Fort Lauderdale, FL


• Silver/Argentium® Silver Category:

SBD Cheminee

First Place - Matthieu Cheminée

Montreal, QC, Canada

Second Place - Caroline Rivière

Longueuil, QC, Canada


• Enamel Category:

SBD Wong

First Place - Carina Wong

“Leaping Tree Frog”
Hong Kong

Second Place - Sinork Agdere

“The Dragonfly”
Los Angeles, CA


• Hollowware/Art Objects Category:

SBD Baide

First Place - Jason Baide

“Cheap Thrills”
Bozeman, MT

Second Place - Leonardo Maldonado

“Fantasy Coach”
Delray Beach, FL


• Alternative Metals/Materials Category:

SBD Schumacher

First Place - Gabri Schumacher

“Head in the Clouds”
Schoonhoven, The Netherlands

Second Place - E. Douglas Wunder

“Orchid Neckpiece”
Kutztown, PA


• Jewelry Collection - Couture/Fine Category:

SBD Vaatz

First Place - Wolfgang Vaatz

“Rocky Mountains Memories”
Rio Rico, AZ

Second Place - Zoltan David

Bee Cave, TX


• Jewelry Collection – Fashion/Bridge Category:

SBD Abeney

First Place - Kwabena Abeney

“The Wave Collection”
Burnaby, BC, Canada

Second Place - Liz Sabol

Pittsburgh, PA


• Emerging Jewelry Artist – 22 Years of Age and Younger Category:


First Place - Hoi Yi Lai

Toronto, ON, Canada

Second Place - Taron Rueger

Lake George, CO, USA


• Emerging Jewelry Artist – 18 Years of Age and Younger Category:

SBD Rogers

First Place - Peyton Rogers

Fort Worth, TX

Second Place - Caroline Senyszyn

“Fairy Necklace”
Fort Worth, TX


2018 Finalists

• Gold/Platinum
“Lotus in the Pond (Renaissance)” by Kajal Naina SherchanRai (Hong Kong)
“Meteor Engagement Ring Set” by Greg Neeley (Georgetown, TX)
“Irony” by Ruben Zhitnik (Mayfield Heights, OH)

• Silver/Argentium® Silver
“Venus of Willendorf” by Paul Bundarin (Jackson Heights, NY)
“Khephir” by Travis Martin (Milwaukie, OR)
“Worldview” by Allison Ice (Chesterfield, MO)

• Enamel
“North American Owls” by Jill Tower (Irvine, CA)
“The Wisteria Bower” by Kelly Morgen (San Rafael, CA)
“Testa” by Gill Cordiner (Perth, Western Australia, Australia)

• Hollowware/Art Objects
“A Little Nonsense” by Janet Huddie (Crownsville, MD)
“Fan Club” by Susan Coddon (Atlanta, GA)
“Soumbedioune” by Matthieu Cheminée (Montreal, QC, Canada)

• Alternative Metals/Materials
“Ipomoea” by Elysha Roberts (Vineyard Haven, MA)
“Green Dragon” by Ricardo Basta (Los Angeles, CA)
“Art D’Eco - Motif Pendant” by David Alvarado (Los Angeles, CA)

• Jewelry Collection Couture/Fine
“Art D’Eco (Decoratif d’ Ecologie) - Decorative Ecological Art” by David Alvarado (Los Angeles, CA)
“Precious Time” by Kate Hubley (Montreal, QC, Canada)
“The White Daisy Set” by Pavit Gujral (Chandigarh, India)

• Jewelry Collection Fashion/Bridge
“Vortex” by Leonid Krykhtin & Meng Zhang (London, UK)
“Lava Pearl Series” by Dawn Teasdale (Winnipeg, MB, Canada)

• Emerging Jewelry Artist – 22 Years of Age or Younger
“The Unseen Seen” by Cecilia Zhu (Providence, RI)
“We Must Carry the Weight” by Tyler Kane (Brooklyn, NY)
“Balance” by Cassidy Terry (New York, NY)

• Emerging Jewelry Artist – 18 Years of Age or Younger
“Discrete Extravagance” by Gregory Augustin (Beau Bassin, Plaine Wilhems, Mauritius)
“Think About It” by Rowan Zinn (Fort Worth, TX)
“Tangential Rings” by Emma Petrovich (Wellesley, MA)

The 2018 Saul Bell Design Award Competition Judges:

(Judge bios and photos are available at saulbellaward.com.)

About the Saul Bell Award judges, Rio Grande could not have said it better than Sophia Hu, 2018 Best of Show winner: “I really appreciated the two rounds of judges in the competition, since they have the eyes and taste to see deeper, to identify and appreciate all the design efforts I put into each design in this collection.”

Final Round

Jeanette Caines - goldsmith, educator and owner of Jewelry Arts Inc.
Paula Crevoshay - Saul Bell Design Award-winning designer and owner of Crevoshay
Jose Hess - master goldsmith, gemologist, designer and educator
Lee Krombholz - third-generation designer and owner of Krombholz Jewelers
Alan Revere - goldsmith and founder of Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts

First Round

Mark Guerin - jeweler and co-owner of Harris Jewelers & Gemologists
Elizabeth M. Kirk - jeweler and designer
Rémy Rotenier - designer and renowned jewelry illustrator
John Sartin - jeweler, designer and Rio Grande Jewelry Tech Team member
Robin Waynee - Saul Bell Design Award-winning jeweler and designer

Among the largest worldwide suppliers to the jewelry industry, Rio Grande was founded in 1944 by Saul Bell, a skilled bench jeweler, teacher and mentor who supported metalsmiths and jewelers throughout his life. Today, Rio Grande is a member of The Richline Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, and remains committed to supporting jewelers in every way possible.