ICA announces winners of third International Poster Competition

The International Colored Gemstone Association has awarded first prize in its third annual International Poster Competition to Faizah Bhatti, director of the graphics department at the Gemological Institute of America. The ICA awarded the prize during its biennial congress in Bangkok in February.

The winning design depicts an ocean and sky at sunset, highlighted with colorful gemstones and bearing the slogan, “Color is the Passion of Life.” In accepting the award, Bhatti made acknowledged the support of her manager Duncan Pay, GIA’s director of course development; Alice Keller, editor-in-chief of GIA’s publication Gems & Gemology; and GIA President Bill Boyajian. She also gave credit to the GIA graphic arts team that worked with her, especially Peter Johnston, GIA’s senior illustrator, who Bhatti said had guided her through the years. “Winning didn’t matter to me. As a designer, I love working with nature, beauty and colors,” she said.

Second prize went to Robert Weldon, gemstone editor of Professional Jeweler magazine and international gemstone photographer. Weldon designed his poster together with his wife Orasa. “It really was a family project. The hands shown in the poster are of our daughter Nathalie and the poster’s concept and design are very much Orasa’s work. I was behind camera. So we’re all happy that our joint work gained such recognition,” Weldon said.

Third prize went to Rashmi Agrawal of India. Agrawal is a Jaipur-based jewelry designer in her mid twenties. She first heard about the competition during a lecture given in Jaipur by Yehuda Kassif, the contest’s founder and chief coordinator in October 2004.

“Agrawal is a member of a new generation of jewelry designers,” Kassif said. She is a graduate of Jaipur’s school of Jewelry and Design. However, contrary to most students, she has no family ties to the gem or jewelry trade and therefore can define her own path and set her own pace. That is not an easy task and I am therefore delighted that she was awarded third price.”

As has become the tradition at ICA congresses, the winners of the competition were announced at the Gala Dinner, which was held this time in the ballrooms of Bangkok’s Shangri-La Hotel. A total of 63 entries were accepted from countries all over the world.

About a third of the entries accepted came from Portugal. “Our ICA Ambassador to Portugal, Rui Galopim de Carvalho, has done a tremendous job in promoting the competition in his country. His work exemplifies what can be achieved with personal efforts like his. He did a great job,” said ICA President Joseph Menzie.

All the entries were put on display at the entrance to the main assembly room for the four days of the congress. On the final day, delegates and attendees were asked to vote for three posters.

The concept of an international poster competition dedicated solely to colored gemstones was the brainchild of Kassif, who is the managing director of the Israel Precious Stones and Diamonds Exchange in Israel. This competition was held for the first time at the ICA Congress in Sydney, Australia in 2001, and for the second time in 2003 in Jaipur, India.

All posters entered in the contest will be displayed on the ICA Web site, www.ica.org.

“I wanted people from different countries and cultures to express their ideas and views about colored gemstones,” Kassif said. “Obviously, the love for colored gemstone crosses borders and cultural boundaries. The love for color in jewelry is really catching on, as we can see in almost every consumer magazine and newspaper,” he said.