Spectrum Awards

The winning designs in this year’s contest show skillful combinations of colors and metals The 1997 Spectrum Awards serve up a palette of vibrant colored gemstones in spectacular designer jewelry. If the results of the American Gem Trade Association’s annual competition is a harbinger of things to come, you can expect this year to be robust for saturated, vibrant colored gems. The winning designs show an exciting use of gems and gem combinations, as well as an innovative and skilled use of precious metals.

The “Best of Show” award-winner – a ring by Brian Sholdt of B.

Sholdt, Seattle, Wash. – is a good example. Sholdt combined aquamarine, Paraíba tourmaline, platinum and 18k yellow gold with “precise craftsmanship [that] enhanced the exceptional stone combination,” says judge Mark Loren, a designer and retailer in Fort Myers, Fla., and former Spectrum Award recipient.

The competition, which recognizes excellence in North American jewelry designs that use natural colored gems in a creative manner, attracted 250 entries. Sixteen winners and four honorable mentions made the grade. AGTA took the opportunity to observe trends in the jewelry received for the competition. Among them:

  • Tourmaline was the most used gemstone this year, found in 32% of the entries. Sapphire was second (21%) and tanzanite was third (17%). Pearls, amethysts and opals followed the top three gemstones.

  • Rings were the most popular item entered (38% of entries and nine of the 15 divisional winners); pendants were second.

  • Division III ($2,500 to $5,000 suggested retail) was the most frequently entered category.

Judges, in addition to Loren, were Susan Sadler of Tulsa, Okla., a designer and former Spectrum Award recipient, and Elana Verbin, editor in chief of Colored Stone magazine, based in Devon, Pa.

Division winners

Division I (over $10,000 retail)

1st place: “Southern Hemisphere,” amethyst, citrine and ametrine neckpiece by Anthony James Vela of A. James LTD, Glendora, Cal.

2nd place: tanzanite ring by Richard Kimball of Richard H. Kimball Designs Inc., Denver, Colo.

3rd place: tourmaline, aquamarine and tsavorite garnet cuff links, by Jane Silver of Jane Silver, Fine Jewelry & Design, New York, N.Y.

Division II ($5,001 to $10,000 retail)

1st place: aquamarine and Paraíba tourmaline ring by Brian Sholdt of B. Sholdt Designs, Seattle, Wash. (Also Best of Show winner.)

2nd place: green and pink tourmaline brooch by William Richey of William Richey Designs, Camden, Maine.

3rd place: spessartine mandarin garnet ring by Phil Delano of Cabochon Gems and Designs, Milwaukee, Wis.

Division III ($2,501 to $5,000 retail)

1st place: Chrome tourmaline ring by David Liska of David W. Liska Co., Milwaukee, Wis.

2nd place: rose quartz and sapphire brooch by Christoph Krahenmann, Summerland, Cal.

3rd place: South sea pearl ring by Dave Trout of Coffin & Trout, Mesa, Ariz.

Division IV ($1,001 to $2,500 retail)

1st place: amethyst, chrome tourmaline and pink tourmaline ring by Gloria Stewart of Gloria Fine Jewelry, Phoenix, Ariz.

2nd place: chrysoprase and bustamite brooch by Joachim Ziegler of Silverhorn, Santa Barbara, Cal.

3rd place: Mozambique garnet earrings by Juha Koskela of Juha Koskela Design, Camden, Maine.

Division V (up to $1,000 retail)

1st place: rhodolite garnet ring by Nancy Zausmer of Nancy Zausmer Designs, West Bloomfield, Mich.

2nd place: chalcedony ring by Jennifer Rabe of Silverhorn, Santa Barbara, Cal.

3rd place: citrine enhancer pendant by Lisa Barends of Jack Seibert Jewelers, Columbus, Ohio.