Rio Grande has issued the call for entries for the 2016 Saul Bell Design Award competition. Now in its 16th year, the international competition encourages designers to push the limits of their skills and imaginations as they create original jewelry art.
“These are people who care deeply and passionately about our craft; most of them have dedicated a lifetime to honing their skills,” says Alan Bell, President of Rio Grande, which hosts the annual competition. “Everyone in the industry benefits from their design leadership and the excitement they bring to the jewelry and metal arts – the new directions and possibilities that emanate from them, and spread to the wider jewelry world.”
There are seven categories in the 2016 competition: Gold/Platinum, Silver/Argentium® Silver, Metal Clay, Enamel, Hollowware/Art Objects, Alternative Metals/Materials and Emerging Jewelry Artist. The Emerging Jewelry Artist category is open to designers who are 21 years of age and younger as of Oct. 23, 2015.
One of the jewelry industry’s foremost design events, this competition is judged by jewelers and industry leaders who are masters of their craft. They look for originality of design, successful incorporation of materials, wearability (except in the Hollowware category) and quality of workmanship as they examine each finalist piece both by hand and on model.
“Knowing the caliber of work that is submitted to the competition, it was an honor to have my design selected as a finalist,” says Sandy Mikel, who took second place in 2015 for Alternative Metals/Materials. “It was a judgment of the quality of my workmanship as well. It means I have no excuse for not meeting the same standard on any work I do, and raises the bar for what I do in the future.”
Susan Blennerhassett took home second place in the 2015 Gold/Platinum category for a pair of diamond-crusted “red carpet” earrings. “These earrings are being appreciated at an international level, instead of just in Australia where I’ve done awards before,” she says, “and that gives me confidence to continue going in the direction I’ve been going.”
Winning the award helps propel jewelers to new heights in their careers and to global levels of recognition and acclaim within the industry. The winning pieces will be promoted throughout the industry and displayed in the Plumb Club during the 2016 JCK Las Vegas show.
“I have been fortunate enough to win many of the jewelry industry’s top design awards, and I can say that the Saul Bell Award is the most important to me,” says Ryan Roberts, multi-year prizewinner. “No other competition covers so many aspects of what it takes to make a great piece of jewelry. Winning a Saul Bell truly means that you’ve had your work scrutinized by the industry’s top designers, jewelers, and jewelry media professionals. I feel it is the most important design competition in the business.”
Entries are being accepted August 5–October 23, 2015. All finalist pieces will be due by January 30, 2016. The entry form and detailed information about the competition, including submission guidelines and information about each of the categories, are available at saulbellaward.com.