Best in Show 2008

BEST IMPROVEMENT ON A TAPERED SHANK

Kury Mfg.‘s scooped back makes even a 16.5 mm wide ring comfortable for all-day wear and easy to size. The ring is available in 14k yellow, white, or rose gold and with heart, oval, round, or combinations of cutout designs. Kury Mfg., San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 

BEST ALTERNATIVE TO KEEPING A PET TIGER

Bapalal Keshavlal‘s 18k yellow and white gold and diamond cutout bangle bracelet evokes visions of one of India’s best-loved native animals. It’s a great talisman for cat lovers—and it doesn’t eat or need a litter box. Bapalal Keshavlal, Mumbai, India.

BEST NEW DIAMONDS FOR MEN

Black rubber bracelet with 18k white gold and two 0.34 ct. Royal Asscher diamonds (suggested retail, $5,000) proves that men can wear diamonds without looking like Liberace. Royal Asscher of America, New York.

BEST WAY TO GET MEN INTO NEW TRENDS

Stainless-steel Matrix bracelet with brown PVD coating, from the Triton collection by Frederick Goldman, expresses the current trend for chocolate-color jewelry in a masculine way. Meanwhile, the firm’s collection of reversible dog tag pendants brings the concept of convertible jewelry—long a female favorite—to men’s pieces. Frederick Goldman, New York.

BEST GOLDEN BODY ARMOR AT A FASHION SHOW

Jewel Fashion 2008, organized by the support of Turk Craft (Turkish Association of Jewellers) at the Istanbul Jewelry Show, was held March 26–30 in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkish jewelry brands such as Akgün, Altinbas, Aris, Assos, Atasay, Baki, Baymonte, Cetas, Glitz, Güner, Hemera, Innova, Istor, Jival, Marco Giovanni, Midas, Pera, Roberto Bravo, and Zen Diamond showed collections designed specially for that night and worn by top Turkish models. Guests were entertained by Shaman Dance Theatre and Turkish pop/Latin music group Ayhan Sicimoglu. Rotaforte, Istanbul, Turkey.

BEST CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN

At the Le Vian Red Carpet Revue, of course! The famed molten centerpiece, celebrating the company’s successful chocolate diamond collections, has become a JCK Show institution, as has Le Vian’s Sunday afternoon fashion show. Visitors cluster around the fountain armed with skewers of fruit and candy, before perusing the nearby showcases full of equally delicious diamond and gemstone baubles. Le Vian, New York.

BEST AFFORDABLE SOUTH SEAS PEARLS

The new Sea Sprite collection from Stuller combines baroque South Seas pearls with colored gemstones and 14k gold, in a variety of casual, modern, and accessibly priced pieces. Stuller, Lafayette, La.

MOST INSPIRATIONAL KEYNOTE

Russell Simmons‘s straight-talking (and sometimes street-talking) passion for the Diamond Empowerment Fund moved a room. The serious/humorous debate between rapper and Rap (aka Martin Rapaport) underscored the importance of the jewelry industry giving back to a continent that has provided its livelihood for more than a century.

BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY

Jewelers for Children celebrated its 10th anniversary at its annual Facets of Hope dinner. To date, the charity has raised $30,535,000 for sick and disadvantaged children, and it’s highly rated by charity auditors for keeping its administrative costs very low.

BEST BIRD/BUG COLLABORATION

Tweety Fine Jewelry by D’Annunzio donated a one-of-a-kind Volkswagen Bug to Jewelers for Children for its grand raffle prize at the annual Facets of Hope dinner. The custom-built vehicle is, appropriately, Tweety yellow, with blue and white leather interior and sparkling exterior details. The raffle raised $60,000 for JFC.

BEST PEARL NECKLACES

Two strands of raspberry-color Chinese freshwater pearls garnered lots of attention at the Mastoloni Pearls booth. The pearls range from 10 mm to 14 mm, and it took the company nearly four years to acquire enough to make the strands. Each necklace retails for $25,000. Mastoloni Pearls, New York.

MOST INSPIRATIONAL AWARDS CEREMONY

The Saul Bell Design Award competition, sponsored by Rio Grande, is a celebration of jewelry design and a tribute to Rio Grande founder Saul Bell, who passed away in 1996. Festivities for the eighth annual event took place at a gourmet dinner and gala at Postrio, in the Venetian, where competitors were honored and prizes and awards worth more than $30,000 were presented. This year, Rio Grande added the Emerging Artist competition, open to students and jewelry designers 18 years of age or younger, which produced six finalists—all high school students—and three winners. Rio Grande, Albuquerque, N.M.

MOST BANG-FOR-YOUR-BUCK IN DIAMOND FASHION JEWELRY

Majestic Jewelry‘s invisibly set round diamonds offer the appearance of much larger pieces. Managing director Roni Stschik says the look is due in part to computer software, technology borrowed from the optical industry, and microscopes that permit settings to within 1/100 mm. Majestic Jewelry Ltd., Ramat Gan, Israel.

BEST DIGITAL WATCH

The Prismatic Timepiece Collection from Christian Tse ($7,900–$19,000) makes it worth resurrecting the ’70s. The case and face of each watch is encrusted with diamonds, tsavorites, amethysts, sapphires, and other gems, but push the crown and the time—very retro digital in red LED numerals—glows through. Eighteen months of research and development resulted in a patented LED movement specially devised to be bright enough to shine through the gems, which traditional LEDs aren’t. Next, says Tse, consumers will be able to design and customize their own Prismatic timepieces online at www.christiantse.com. Christian Tse, Pasadena, Calif.

COOLEST TECH PRODUCT

Solidscape‘s 3-D model maker uses printing technology to “grow” 3-D jewelry models from CAD programs. The company’s newest line, the T76 3-D wax printer ($45,650), is a leaner, meaner version of the original product, with new interfaces and tools that make it easier to use. Improvements include a 17-inch touch-screen interface; automated calibrating; online video tutorials; and two building materials, each with a separate melting point. And what was once a big machine can now fit on a desk. Solidscape, Merrimack, N.H.

BEST ECO-CONSCIOUS FASHION

Designer Tracy Matthews exhibited a collection that uses what she calls “renewed gold.” The jewelry, light on metals and heavy on semiprecious stones, is primed to appeal to fashion-conscious female consumers who want environmentally responsible products. Tracy Matthews, New York.

BEST MONEY-BACK DIAMOND GUARANTEE

Eighternity Diamond, a division of K.R. Gems & Diamonds Int’l., is the only diamond company offering an insurance-backed, money-back guarantee on its 81-facet modified-round, brilliant-cut EighternityDiamonds, from 0.50 cts. to 2.99 cts. The three-year guarantee is for retailers and consumers. Returns made within the first 90 days are treated like any return, but, from 91 days to three years from date of purchase, the retailer will not only give a complete refund to a client but also keep half the profit that he should have made on that sale. K.R. Gems & Diamonds Int’l., Los Angeles.

BEST EXAMPLE OF A LAB THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX

World Gemological Institute, the lab run by the Israeli DiamondInstitute, enlisted MVI Marketing‘s Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council to test consumer attitudes on grading reports and announced the findings ata press conference. Among the nuggets: Many consumers want to be presented with diamond grading reports once they’ve narrowed down their choices, rather than at the end of the transaction. Barak Green, WGI’s vice president of U.S. strategy and business development, said this runs counter to usual practice.