MJSA, the U.S. trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, recently honored 12 outstanding jewelry designs in its 2020 MJSA Vision Awards competition. Now in its 29th year, the annual competition recognizes achievement by both professionals and students in creating designs that meld originality, craftsmanship, and functionality.
In addition to the Professional Excellence and Student categories, this year’s competition also featured Distinction categories honoring prowess in four specific areas: Laser Distinction (sponsored by LaserStar Technologies Inc.), Custom Design Distinction (sponsored by Century Casting Co. Inc.), Colored Stone Distinction (sponsored by Stuller Inc.), and Responsible Practices Distinction (sponsored by Richline Group).
The 2020 winners are:
“Blooming Cage” by Sophia Hu of 6SHADOWS in Las Vegas. Hu created this piece by interweaving thin (24-26 gauge) 18k and Argentium wires, deftly using a laser to weld them together and achieve a sophisticated “blooming” pattern. She added diamonds and rubies for accent and depth. This piece won First Place in the Professional Excellence, 4+ Years in Business and the Laser Distinction categories.
“Chrysanthemum Fold” by Karin Jacobson of Karin Jacobson Jewelry Design in Minneapolis. Featuring the designer’s signature “origami” style of folded metalwork, these earrings feature recycled metals (gold and oxidized sterling), Harmony recycled diamonds (0.10 ctw), and 9 mm Tahitian black pearl drops. It won Second Place in the Professional Excellence, 4+ Years in Business category.
“Van Gogh’s Gladioli Necklace” by Larissa Moraes, a studio artist in Brasilia, Brazil. Inspired by the Dutch artist’s “Vase with Gladioli and Chinese Asters,” this necklace uses light citrine, ruby, and morganite gems to mimic the flowers in the painting. Moraes chose an articulated collar to aid in movement and fit. The necklace won First Place in the Professional Excellence, 1-3 Years in Business category.
“Van Gogh’s Sunflower Earrings” by Larissa Moraes. Another Van Gogh homage, this time featuring citrines (in various shades) and yellow diamonds to represent the sunflowers. These earrings earned Second Place in the Professional Excellence, 1-3 Years in Business category as well as an Honorable Mention for Colored Stone Distinction.
51 ct. “Floating” Ametrine Solitaire Ring by Frieder Lauer, who owns a jewelry design atelier in Houston. This custom piece features a massive ametrine, to which renowned carver John Dyer applied his trademarked “Starbrite” cut. Lauer’s client instructed that the “stone . . . really needs to just float.” Through a combination of CAD/CAM, laser work, and ingenuity (the setting capitalizes on a unique pattern of grooves in the ametrine’s pavilion), the designer achieved that effect. This ring won First Place in both the Custom Design Distinction and the Colored Stone Distinction categories.
Rough Montana Sapphire and Diamond Dangle Earrings by Karin Jacobson of Karin Jacobson Jewelry Design in Minneapolis. These earrings were made entirely of responsibly sourced materials: recycled 18k gold, 22k gold, and oxidized sterling; recycled diamonds (0.15 ctw); and rough Montana-sourced sapphires (10.09 ctw) that haven’t been cut. Jacobson’s responsible practices extend throughout her operation: She uses food-grade citric acid for pickle, recycles packaging for both jewelry boxes and shipping containers, and ensures her caster uses recycled casting shot. Her efforts won First Place for Responsible Practices Distinction.
“Befitting” Ring by Kyra Martin, a graduating student at George Brown College in Toronto. Martin designed this ring as part of her thesis collection, the pieces in which aim to accentuate the natural lines and curves of the body – in this case, those of the hand and fingers. Made of 18k gold wire, it features a red zircon and a padparadscha sapphire as accents. The ring won First Place in the Future of the Industry category for student work.
“Reverie” Bracelet by Ashley Pollack, who is studying at both SUNY New Paltz and the Gemological Institute of America. Pollack cut each link of this hinged bracelet from a sheet of sterling, then added decoration through keum-boo, the ancient Korean technique that fuses 24k foil to another surface (usually silver). After scoring, bending, and soldering the links, she attached them with Argentium posts. This flexible bracelet won Second Place in the Future of the Industry category.
The Honorable Mention winners include:
Sophia Hu for “Wreath,” a brooch/pendant with interwoven 18k and Argentium wires (Honorable Mention for Laser Distinction).
Adam Neeley of Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry, Laguna Beach, California, for “Moon Glow,” a cuff featuring a 29.5 ctw suite of rainbow moonstones (Honorable Mention for Laser Distinction).
David Dorian of Dorian Jewelers, Watertown, Massachusetts, for a repurposed 14k Art Deco ring featuring a 2 ct. radiant-cut diamond center stone and two pear-shaped sapphires (Honorable Mention for Custom Design Distinction).
Brenda Smith of Brenda Smith Jewelry in Woodstock, Georgia, for “Ode to Notre Dame,” an 18k green gold necklace featuring a 41.28 ct. apatite center stone accented by green tsavorites (1.66 ctw) and natural diamonds (1.14 ctw) (Honorable Mention for Custom Design Distinction).
Profiles of all the first-place winners will appear in the September 2020 issue of the association’s monthly magazine, MJSA Journal.
The 2020 Vision Award judges were Michael Coan, assistant professor of jewelry design and former department chair at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City; Nanz Aalund, a designer and author who is now certificate programs coordinator at the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network on Bainbridge Island, Washington; Andrea Hill, principal of the Hill Management Group, managing director of the Legor Group, and MJSA’s designer advocate; Michael David Sturlin, a jewelry artist, educator and industry consultant with a studio in Scottsdale, Arizona; and Susan Crow, principal of East Fourth Street in New York City, a past Vision Award winner who specializes in crafting responsible jewelry (and is licensed by the Alliance for Responsible Mining).
The 2020 Vision Award sponsors are Rio Grande (general sponsor), LaserStar Technologies (Laser Distinction), Century Casting Co. Inc. (Custom Design Distinction), Richline Group (Responsible Practices Distinction), the MJSA Education Foundation (Future of the Industry), and INSTORE, The Retail Jeweler, and Metalsmith magazines (media sponsors).