Jewelry designer Emma Hoekstra, founder of Emma Elizabeth Jewelry, is the 2019 winner of the annual Halstead Grant for new jewelry businesses.
Contest host Halstead Bead, a family-owned jewelry supplier, introduced the annual competition in 2006 to emphasize the importance of a strong business plan for young jewelry design companies.
The grant’s application process itself guides entrants through the elements of creating a complete strategy for entrepreneurship, and encourages them establish clear goals and measurable steps toward self-sufficiency.
The 2019 judging committee included Halstead president Hilary Halstead Scott, cofounder Suzie Halstead, Halstead’s marketing project manager Kelli Vanyek Greene, and guest judge Liz Kantner, a digital marketing consultant and co-owner of Stay Gold jewelry store in Asheville, N.C.
Hoekstra graduated with a BFA from Grand Valley State University in 2017, and is currently based in Grand Rapids, Mich. According to a release, she began in jewelry after the tragic loss of her boyfriend. “Metalsmithing classes allowed Emma to channel her grief into creating her art,” it reads.
As Kantner said in the same statement, “Emma’s work combines [wearability] and edginess in a flawless way. Her attention to detail and use of beautiful stones makes her collection something I’ve been coveting since exploring her work during the judging process. Not only is the design and craftsmanship beautiful, but her plan was thoughtful, realistic and showed growth from her previous application.”
Hoekstra harnesses simple geometric shapes and artfully utilized negative space in her collection, core pieces from which range from $25 to $600. She also creates commissioned bespoke jewelry for clients.
The designer won a $7,500 cash grant, $1,000 in jewelry supplies, a trip to Prescott, Ariz., and a cover spot (and feature spread) in a special grant publication called Reveal. She will also receive a detailed feedback report from the judging committee and a trophy.
Halstead president Hilary Halstead Scott said in a statement, “We’re thrilled to present this award to such a deserving emerging artist. Emma applied to the grant three years in a row and we have seen her business develop by leaps and bounds each year.”
The Halstead Grant competition also recognized four other finalists in the top five: S. Howell Studios, Lot 28, Yote Jewelry, and Samantha Slater Studio; and in its top 10 finalists: Gillian Trask Design, Cassondra Justine, Leo Handcrafted Goods, Colleen Elizabeth Designs, and Christine Bates Jewelry. Top five finalists receive $500 and top 10 finalists receive $250.
Top photo: Emma Elizabeth Jewelry moss agate Visionary necklace, $1,590 (all photos courtesy of Emma Elizabeth Jewelry)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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