My 5 Favorite Pieces From the AGTA Spectrum Awards

Of all the entries, here are my five favorites and how I think they should have placed

The results are in for one of the most hotly contested design competitions of the year, and as usual, opinions—in addition to beautiful quality colored stones—were abundant. In fact, I think one of the most fun aspects of the American Gem Trade Association’s annual Spectrum and Cutting Edge Awards are the opinions that surface in industry about who won and who should have won. Below are my five favorite pieces and how I think they should have placed.

A two-finger ring with a trio of candy-colored gemstones from Wendy Brandes served as a sharp departure from her usual tongue-in-cheek adaptations of powerful characters like man-eaters. While I heard some say the color combination was an acquired taste, I found that trinity of cool tropical-color cuts—two were diamond shapes—to be positively fabulous! In fact, I would have made this Most Fashion Forward.


Two-finger ring in 18k yellow gold with a 5.5 ct. spessartite garnet, 1.55 ct. grossular garnet, 1.27 ct. Mahenge spinel, and 0.47 ct. t.w. diamonds by Wendy Brandes

This necklace was insanely beautiful!!! Plus, it converts to earrings and a different sort of necklace (I think—I saw Deirdre Featherstone, the designer, last night at the WJA Awards for Excellence and I believe this is what she told me about the piece). The piece is shown on my pal, Amanda Gizzi of JA, who looks radiant in it! I think this stunner featuring sapphires, tanzanite, and spinels should have easily taken Best Use of Color or even Best of Show because it’s all platinum and the quality of the stones is extraordinary.


Cascade necklace in platinum with 135.99 cts. t.w. multicolored sapphires, 12.28 cts. t.w. tanzanite, 4.02 cts. t.w. lavender spinels, 9.98 cts. t.w. diamonds, and cultured pearls by Deirdre Featherstone

These cute little earrings offer a chic composition of ruby cuts in a beautiful color of red. I’m particular about my rubies, and this raspberry shade is hard to resist, especially in pear shape because it drives home the juicy, berry-like message. These could have been a fine honorable mention in the Best Use of Color or Fashion Forward categories.


Phoenix earrings in 18k white gold with 8.19 cts. t.w. pear-shape rubies and 2.1 cts. t.w. diamonds by Heena Chheda Shah of Real Gems Inc.

This bold ring offers a memorable fashion look that’s attainable because of common materials—silver with just a dusting of 22k gold and a massive chrysoprase. I would have liked to see this recognized in some way in the Fashion Forward category, even as an honorable mention.


Ring in silver with 22k gold with a 44.1 ct. cabochon-cut green chrysoprase and 0.91 ct. t.w. diamonds by Michael Endlich of Pavé? Fine Jewelry

What a masterpiece! This necklace is so beautifully made with the incredible engraving, and the powder-blue finish is lovely. This is another phenomenal use of platinum and a common but pretty moonstone. I was happy to see this recognized this in the platinum category with an Honors distinction.


Necklace in platinum and blue patina bronze with a 35.63 ct. marquise-shape moonstone, 18.2 cts. t.w. cabochon-cut moonstones, and 1.2 cts. t.w. diamonds by Zoltan David 

The Style 360 blog is your editorial source for the newest jewelry, trends, market analysis, trade show insights, designer profiles, and more.

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