Artisan Awards Challenge Designers To Reimagine Famed Jewelry Collectors


There are people for whom jewelry is more than adornment—it is a statement that becomes a part of their identity. Three women in particular became jewelry icons and have inspired many with their collections: actor Elizabeth Taylor, Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson, and philanthropist Barbara Hutton.

This year, the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) decided to honor these three women under the theme of “The Collectors” for this year’s Artisan Awards. Every entry had to create a special jewelry piece imagining what these icons would wear today, adding both drama and glamour to the fifth annual event.

This year’s awards, the winners of which were announced April 14 at a Mumbai ceremony, included nine total awards with three in each category of Collector. In a year that focused on revival and resilience, the entries and winners proved that there are “exceptional” designers and manufacturers working in the jewelry industry today, said GJEPC chairman Colin Shah in a statement.

Artisan Awards
American philanthropist Barbara Hutton was one of the three inspirations for this year’s entries in the Artisan Awards, imagining how she might wear jewelry if she were collecting today.

“The Artisan Awards is one of the main initiatives to showcase India’s design prowess and position the country as one of the main design destinations for jewelry,” Shah said in a statement. “Through awards, the GJEPC has been encouraging designers to think fearlessly and shape the future of design with unbridled creativity. This year, too, we received an overwhelming response despite the tough theme of styling the three famous style icons of yesteryear whose jewelry collections were unparalleled.”

The awards were given out by Shah; David Bennett, Sotheby’s former worldwide chairman, international jewellery division; GJEPC vice chairman Vipul Shah; GJEPC promotions, marketing, and business development convener Milan Chokshi; and GIA India managing director Sriram Natarajan.

In 2014, GJEPC created the Artisan Awards to promote jewelry designers and artisans within India and develop a platform for them to showcase their creativity and design work. Since then, the awards have drawn entries worldwide, establishing the Artisan Awards as a leading show, organizers said in a statement.

This year, 570 entries from jewelers in India, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Turkey, and more entered the competition. Judges evaluated these entries on versatility, technicality, and the adaptability of the classic theme in modern terms, organizers said.

Category Elizabeth Taylor Divya Banjare Second runner up
Divya Banjare (far right) receives the second runner-up award in the Elizabeth Taylor category of the 2022 Artisan Awards.

Winners received cash prizes along with internships with top industry brands, organizers said. The winning pieces will also receive a showcase in an international trade show in the India Gallery, which the GJEPC organizes.

This year’s judges included: former journalist and columnist Gayatri Rangachari; bespoke jewelry consultant Arundhati De; VAK Jewels head/designer Vishal Kothari; and GIA India managing director Sriram Natarajan. The international jury members were award-winning jewelry designer and professor Reena Ahluwalia and David Bennett, formerly of Sotheby’s, who judged the pieces virtually. The technical jury for the awards consisted of Vikram Singh, creative head of Walking Tree, and Devinder Layal, jewelry artist and educator. Nisha Jhangiani was the curator and conceptualizer for this year’s Artisan Awards.

The 2022 winners are listed below.

Elizabeth Taylor
Winner: Pendant designed by Pratiksha Gandle; manufactured by Reliance Retail Ltd. (Reliance Jewels)
First runner-up: Brooch and pendant designed by Jayaprabu B; manufactured by Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers
Second runner-up: Pendant/bracelet designed by Divya Banjare; manufactured by Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers

Barbara Hutton
Winner: Choker designed by Shrutika Shinde; manufactured by Walking Tree Ventures
First runner-up: Ring designed by Pooja Mohnani; manufactured by International Institute of Gemology
Second runner-up: Brooch designed by Ruchira Singh; manufactured by Walking Tree India Pvt. Ltd.

Wallis Simpson
Winner: Brooch designed by Dip Sit; manufactured by KGK Creations India Pvt. Ltd. (shown at top)
First runner-up: Ring designed by Vishnupada Das; manufactured by Popley Eternal
Second runner-up: Earrings designed by Suryadeb Ghosh; manufactured by Gehna Jewellers Pvt. Ltd.

Top: Designer Dip Sit created an over-the-top brooch for Wallis Simpson, winning first place for the flamingo-inspired piece (photos courtesy of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council).

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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