The 5th Annual Cultured Pearl Association of America’s Tahitian Pearl Trophy Ceremony Showcased the Winning Designs at NYC’s Rockefeller Center Hotel Club Quarters

On Monday, March 10th, the Cultured Pearl Association of America held its 5th Annual Tahitian Pearl Trophy Ceremony at The Terrace Club / Rockefeller Center Hotel Club Quarters.

Check out a video of the ceremony below, along with pictures of the winning pieces.

Which would you wear? Join the conversation and let us know in the comment box!


First place Bracelet: Evelyn Huang, Evelyn H. Jewelry Inc.

Evelyn K. Huang, of evelynH Jewelry Inc., is a native of Temple City, CA and was exposed to the world of gems and diamonds in her father’s fine jewelry business in L.A. After receiving a degree in economics from the University of California and working for a few years in Asia, she returned to her father’s business. She received her G.G. from GIA, and later worked for a high-profile jeweler on Rodeo Drive.

In 2006 she opened her own firm. “The inspiration for my jewelry flows from the many facets and experiences of life, from the past towards the future, a place where the East meets the West,” said Huang, who incorporated an infinity symbol at the base of her classic Platinum designs, representing love without end, said Huang. (Source)


Male Jewelry: First place: Larry C. Y. Ho, Maemura Designs.


Special: First place: Larry C. Y. Ho, Maemura Designs.


Brooch: First place: Nina Basharova, Albert Asher Pearls.

Born in the Russian Federation and raised in the Ukraine, Nina Basharova’s artistic journey began while being exposed to her parent’s community of actors, writers and painters. She was inspired by that creative environment and merged her love for culture with an affinity for jewellery steeped in history.
She began her studies with Fine Arts while living in the Ukraine and went onto get a degree in Jewellery Design at the Art College in Haifa. There she was twice honored with the prestigious Sharett Scholarship of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and had her work displayed in the Museum of Art in Ramat Gan.

She arrived in New York in 2002 throughout this time she has been diligently creating her own collection, focusing on carving out her own original identity of hand finished pieces that blend together an artisan’s eye for craft and detail with a truly modern sensibility. Each one of her collections has been recognized by press and various jewellery competitions for an individual piece of work.

A piece from her first collection “Milky Way” was included in the book “500 Bracelets” (Larks Books, 2005) and then again in the follow up book, “500 Earrings.” In 2006, the collection was chosen by World Gold Council and panel of jewellery trade experts for promotion.

She has received many international and illustrious awards, including: Geometrichemozioni 2006 by ‘Trissinooro Consortium, Trissino, Italy Electornos2006 by ‘Amberif’ in Gdansk, Poland.

In 2006 she received prizes in 6 competitions such as Second Place in American Vision Awards by MJSA, First Place in Diva Awards by The Women’s jewellery Association, and overall winner in The Jewelry Arts Awards by Lapidary Journal. In addition her work has recently been featured in numerous consumer magazines like Cosmopolitan, Modern Bride, The Knot as well as upscale jewellery trade periodicals: Vioro(Italy), Lustre, Modern Jeweler and JCK Magazine. (Source)


Reena Ahluwalia’s ‘Ethereal Rhapsody,’ comprises 45 lustrous multi-coloured Tahitian pearls (12.0-8.5mm), 9.24 Cts. of pavé set black diamonds, 3.70 Cts. of prong set white diamonds set in 886.50 grams of 18 K white gold.


Click image to enlarge.

Reena Ahluwalia is a Toronto-based Canadian jewellery designer. She began her career immersed in traditional Indian jewellery. Jewellery being an intrinsic part of everyday life in Indian culture, she was able to focus on the importance of jewellery’s many functions – symbolic, physical and conceptual.

Over her fourteen-year period as a jewellery designer Reena continues to work on design projects in Asia, Europe and North America. Her work can also be found in private collections across Asia and Europe. She has won numerous National and International awards, including the coveted De Beers Diamonds International Award. Her award winning piece was featured by Alexander McQueen in his Spring/Summer 2000 collection in New York. Her spectacular design for HRD Awards 2007 was the grand finale at the glittering award ceremony in Antwerp. Reena contributes to campaigns for De Beers, Platinum Guild International (PGI) and the World Gold Council (WGC). She also invests her time teaching part-time at the George Brown College in Toronto.

Reena’s work has often been described as flamboyant, harmonizing precision and geometry with fluidity and movement. She has been successful in exploring different extremes in form, effortlessly moving from extravagant and exaggerated to small and understated. She strongly believes that design cannot express ideas that last in time unless sustained by analysis and deep understanding of elements – both material and conceptual. This, along with her bold investigative style has enabled her to create pieces that reflect contemporary flare while amplifying the timeless beauty of the human body. (Source)


Pendant: First place: Erica Courtney Inc.

Erica Courtney’s passion for creating one-of-a kind jewelry has established her as one of today’s most successful high-end jewelry designers. Signature Erica Courtney jewelry encompasses countless paved diamonds, eye-catching vintage colored stones, rare Tahitian pearls, and long, flowing beaded layering necklaces, all in 18k gold and platinum custom settings with exceptional attention to detail. Every single gem and pearl is handpicked by Erica herself. By working only with pieces she loves, pieces that attract and inspire her, Erica’s intense love affair with jewelry is embodied in each and every dazzling piece in her collection.

Fueled by her innate entrepreneurial spirit and extraordinary artistic talent, Erica Courtney has built one of the most recognized and successful fine jewelry brands in the industry. Although she has always felt a natural attraction to beauty and luxury, Erica never quite envisioned herself as a designer until suddenly the stars aligned. She began designing in 1984 on a whim in Dallas, by embellishing sunglasses and watches with Swarovski crystals and creating casual costume jewelry. In 1989 Erica moved to Los Angeles, where her inspiration changed and her collection focused on delicate sterling silver jewelry with engraved love notes. Over time, the Erica Courtney collection evolved into fine jewelry, inspired by the undeniable glitz and glamour of Hollywood. A constant throughout her style evolution, Erica designs from her heart and sticks to her vision for designing timeless jewelry and strives to “create jewelry that is treasured and remembered.” (Source)


Ring: First place: Avi Raz, A & Z Pearls.


Parure (set of three): First place: Lisa Krikawa, Krikawa Designs Inc.

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Lisa moved to the United States in 1976, and has since lived in southern California and in Arizona. In 1997 she graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with emphasis in jewelry and metalsmithing. Her jewelry is inspired by historic and futuristic forms, influences that stem from Lisa’s studies in traditional and contemporary styles of jewelry and metalsmithing, as well as her studies in art history. (Source)


Earrings: First place: Celine Boure, Kokass.


Contest judge, Jean-Francois Bibet of Van Cleef & Arpels, and Amanda Gizzi, of the JIC, model two of the winning designs.


Marveling over Avi Raz’s winning ring.


Basharova models Huang’s winning bracelet.


Jewelry designer Nina Basharova and judge Jean-Francois Bibet model two of the winning designs.


Jean-Francois Bibet, Larry Ho, and Amanda Gizzi pose for a photo op. Gizzi and Bibet are wearing Ho’s winning designs.


Trophy winners Larry Ho, Reena Ahluwalia, and Nina Basharova share a laugh post awards ceremony.


Exiting the ceremony into NYC’s Rockefeller Center.