(DALLAS) – The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) is excited to announce the judges for the 2021 AGTA Spectrum Awards™. This year, the judges are:
Judy Evans – Judy Evans Design Studio
Amber Gustafson – Amber’s Designs Fine Jewelry
Tony Logan – Jay Dean Winchester
Kelly Mitchell – Kelly Mitchell Fine Jewelry
Matthew Trent – Matthew Trent
“This group of judges is very interesting, because their areas of expertise are extensive, and cross-over quite a bit. You have high-end jewelers with experience in retail, manufacturing, design, bench and lapidary work,” said Douglas K. Hucker, AGTA CEO, “I know the dynamics of this group will be very special.”
Judy Evans, Judy Evans Design Studio
Judy Evans is a nationally and internationally recognized fine jewelry designer with over 20 awards to her credit. Most recently, she won the ‘Best Use of Pearls’ AGTA Spectrum Award™ for a platinum, diamond and golden South Sea pearl pendant. The pavé setting employs a beautiful ombré effect using yellow and white diamonds that accent the pearl beautifully. She has been working the high-end segment of fine jewelry for over 40 years and is known for many design innovations that have been imitated by many.
Her style is recognizable, but not predictable. Judy is as comfortable designing in a classic style as well as highly contemporary. Not satisfied to rely on already successful motifs, she is constantly pushing herself to try new approaches to design solutions.
As beautiful as Judy’s designs are, her hand-painted renderings are considered universally among the best in the industry.
These works of art are prized as much as the jewels. It could be said that she prefers to do things with the artisan’s touch. Since her designs are realized in pencil and paint, they have a vitality that cannot be replicated in CAD renderings, which are commonly used today. These renderings are not just pretty pictures; they are drawn in actual scale to perfection so as to be production ready.
Judy is currently working as a free-lance designer for several fine jewelry manufacturers. She is enjoying a diversity of challenges from bridal to colored gems to fashion. All these different assignments work to keep her creativity operating at a peak. Unlike less experienced designers, Judy is comfortable acting as liaison with model-makers and production departments to realize aesthetic and well-priced lines of jewelry for her esteemed clientele.
Amber Gustafson, Amber’s Designs Fine Jewelry
Amber Gustafson’s artistic nature began shortly after birth and was demonstrated when she first was able to hold a crayon. At the young age of 14, Amber was offered the opportunity to study at Detroit’s prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art and an artistic start including private oil painting lessons from age 14 to 17. This formal training transformed into her discovery and love for jewelry design. She began developing her jewelry career and perfected her craft as a bench jeweler through a series of opportunities with well-known American jewelers, such as Doug Meadows and Peter Rowe.
In 2001, Amber embarked on the establishment of her own retail fine jewelry business in the western Houston suburb of Katy, Texas, known to this day as Amber’s Designs Fine Jewelry. As a full service, in-house design, manufacturer, repair shop, and complete retail jewelry storefront on the first floor of an office building, Amber’s Designs has bucked the trends and continuously grown. She started with a staff of one and the staff at Amber’s Designs Fine Jewelry currently stands at 16, with 5 bench artisans.
On a typical day in her store, Amber will see 4 – 5 design appointments, working directly with design customers. “I look at what a client has, what they desire, and then interpret a design that fits exactly what they have communicated to me,” says Amber, “and of course, with a flair of ‘Amber’ included. This creates that truly one-of-a-kind personalized jewelry.” She is the jeweler to several well-known music and film industry celebrities who appreciate her discretion and confidentiality.
Amber is the Vice President of the Texas Jewelers Association, former Chairperson for the Texas Retailers Association, and an officer of GIA Alumni Association, Houston. Her firm is a member of the American Gem Society, and she is the vice president of the Houston Chapter AGS Guild.
Amber, herself, is a jewelry design competition award winner. “I understand the time, toil, thought, hard work, and dedication a bench jeweler/jewelry designer will put into a competition piece,” said Amber. “I consider being a judge for the prestigious, internationally-recognized AGTA Spectrum Awards™ Competition an honor and a privilege that I take very seriously.”
Tony Logan, Jay Dean Winchester
Tony Logan has over 30 years of experience in the jewelry industry. He went from working for a large retail chain as a manager, to owning his own store, and then eventually moved to more of a behind-the-scenes role. With an extensive background in design, manufacturing, and CAD, he is the CAD Designer for Jay Dean Winchester (JDW) and handles 3D scanning and wax model printing for all custom work. Tony is a partner and working owner at JDW.
JDW is a full-service jewelry manufacturing and jeweler support company. The company supports all of a jewelers’ needs, ranging from simple repairs, hand engraving, laser engraving to CAD design and the highest quality manufacturing, all the way to website creation and product photography. JDW is a one-stop destination specializing in custom manufacturing.
For over 13 years, JDW has served the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex as well as clients from across the United States. They gained their reputation in custom jewelry creation with uncompromising quality and outstanding customer service. They control the entire process doing it all in house; CAD, manufacturing, stone setting, finish out, and final photography. This controls quality from start to finish of the final product. They also do a la carte services for the jewelers to complete the project themselves or take the one they started and complete it for them.
Tony can also be found restoring or playing one of many pinball machines that he purchases/trades/sells as a hobby. He also dabbles in classic cars and guitars.
Kelly Mitchell, Kelly Mitchell Fine Jewelry
Kelly Mitchell has been selling fine jewelry for more than 30 years. Her focus is diamond jewelry, colored stones, and luxury watches. She can create custom designs to match your imagination and expertly repair your most precious possessions.
Kelly is the gal who brought cool and fun to Dallas jewelry shopping. She is the owner and founder of Kelly Mitchell Fine Jewelry. She wanted her Highland Park store to be approachable, but radiate luxury. The result was a store that looks like a delicious treat. She was awarded an “America’s Coolest Store” award by lnStore Magazine in 2014 and named a “Dallas Power Player” in Modern Luxury magazine.
Over the last four years, the Dallas market has taken notice. Her clients love the club atmosphere and the highly personal experience. Sit down and stay awhile. Customers are invited to grab a flute of champagne, a glass of wine or a fine scotch while they shop. “The reason Cheers resonated so well is just that a bar brings people together and they connect,” Mitchell says. “Our bar is where every sale seems to close – and it usually leads to great conversations.” And her entire staff is fabulous!
A jewelry store? A bakery? A pub? A chocolate shop? No one does fine jewelry with this much fun.
Matthew Trent, Matthew Trent
Matthew has been making jewelry and perfecting his gift since he was 14 years old. Studying at the Gemological Institute of America, he earned his Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) Certification and learned all he could about gemstones, diamonds, and design before moving from Arizona to Texas to kick-start his career. In Dallas, he apprenticed under numerous fine jewelers before going out on his own.
He and his wife, Lori, opened their first store together on their first wedding anniversary in 1988. After moving around Dallas over the years, the Matthew Trent studio found its current home at The Plaza at Preston Center in 2010. Matthew has grown as an artist through the years and his collections are like a diary, pulling from travels, styles, and materials.
His creative work has earned him awards such as the 2020 AGTA Spectrum Editor’s Choice Award for his autumn tourmaline and pink sapphire ring.
When away from the bench, he loves to coach youth baseball, work in the garden, take care of his bees and spend time with family.
The AGTA Spectrum Awards™ is a premier colored gemstone and cultured pearl jewelry design competition with categories in Bridal Wear, Business Day Wear, Classical, Evening Wear, and Men’s Wear. The AGTA Spectrum Awards™ also features the Platinum Honors™ sponsored by Platinum Guild International and the WJA Gem DIVA™ Awards sponsored by the Womens Jewelry Association (WJA). The AGTA Cutting Edge Awards™ honors loose colored gemstones in everything from Classic Gemstones to one-of-a-kind Carvings, Pairs and Suites to Objects of Art, and the newest category, North American Mined Gemstones. The competition is open to U.S. and Canadian designers and cutters.
For more information visit https://agta.org/spectrum/