Palladium Alliance International announced the winners of its first-ever annual palladium jewelry design contest, which garnered more than 300 entries and helps explain why organizers dubbed it the Biggest Design Contest Ever. The goal was to find rising designer and retailer talents located within the United States and the District of Columbia to submit detailed drawings, CAD renderings, or photos of proposed designs made in a 95 percent palladium alloy—the only precious metal used. Then, a panel of industry experts scored entries based on how well each design highlighted the key attributes of palladium, including its natural whiteness, durability, and light weight, along with the overall creativity and marketability of the piece.
The organizers named top winners, and 88 finalists. Dawn Muscio of D. Muscio Fine Jewelry Studio in Atlanta took first place, Alishan Halebian of Alishan Jewelry in Irvine, Calif., took second place, and Mackenzie Sala of Providence, R.I., took third place. Winners will be featured in national and trade PAI print ads, while Muscio’s grand prize win earned the artist the right to create a PAI-funded line of palladium jewelry.
Finalists, meanwhile, will take part in a Hollywood-bound specialty jewelry collection that will go on display during awards season, with some also taking part in a national marketing campaign for palladium. All winners and finalists will receive a professional photo of their design, inclusion in a design look book, and exposure in the showroom of a notable fashion stylist. Both winners and finalists were reimbursed for up to 5 oz. of 950 palladium to craft their jewels.
The contest launched in May 2012, and as the October deadline drew nearer, PAI commissioned certain designers to create their pieces. PAI estimates that the value of the contest is about $1 million in combined product, promotional, and marketing consideration.
“We are delighted with the number of participants,” Frank McAllister, PAI chairman, said in a statement. “The number of designers working with palladium and consumers requesting palladium is growing in leaps and bounds.”
First place winner: Bowtie neckpiece features bead-set colorless and black diamonds on a sandblasted, dimpled bow with a contrasting high-polish edge in the dimples, by Dawn Muscio of D. Muscio Fine Jewelry Studio in Atlanta.
Second place winner: Ring in palladium with white and black diamonds and a Tahitian pearl, by Alishan Halebian of Alishan Jewelry in Irvine, Calif.
Third place winner: The Ten Story flexible necklace is hand-woven from 100 feet of palladium wire and features a fabricated clasp with two rare earth magnets, by Mackenzie Sala of Providence, R.I.