Prix Golay Highlights Versatile Designs, Interesting Materials

One of the most anticipated jewelry design awards of the year, the Prix Golay, reveals designers who have an eye for contemporary design in clean silhouettes and who embrace the industry’s newfound love of nontraditional materials and versatility.

The theme for this year’s Prix Golay, which is sponsored each year by pearl giant Golay, was “Pearls for the Twentieth!” The objective for designers was to create, using two baroque South Sea pearls, a gift for a 20th birthday (2004 being the 20th anniversary of the Prix Golay competition). The contest’s theme was perfectly suited to design student entrants, who are in their early 20s themselves. The result was a bevy of youthful and fresh designs. Nearly all the winners had one element in common: versatile designs that can be worn several different ways or serve several purposes.

The grand-prize winner was Milena Ruegg, who designed a reversible bracelet in black and white. The Conceptual Prize went to Karen Perret for a ring that comes with a set of interchangeable colored shanks. The Technical Prize was awarded to Julia Pfisterer for a piece that is both a desktop calendar and a chunky bangle bracelet. Finally, the Special Prizes of the Jury went to Allan Dovat, who installed fiber-optic conductors into the pearls on a necklace, allowing them to blink with various colors; and Claudia Sturzenegger, who created a square pendant on a long silk ribbon that can be worn in many different ways.