The Incredible Winners of Rio Grande’s 2017 Saul Bell Design Awards

Rio Grande crowned the winners of its 17th annual Saul Bell Design Award competition May 21 at a gala dinner during the Santa Fe Symposium in Albuquerque, N.M.

Two panels of design experts chose first- and second-place winners in each of eight competitive categories, in addition to an overall Best of Show winner.

The competition lures heavy-hitting design talent, as evidenced by the extraordinary work of this year’s winners and runners-up.

A complete list of the winning designs, as well as all finalist pieces, are featured online at

Here’s who took home top honors:

Best of Show: Firenze bracelet by Valerie Jo Coulson (Above)

Gold/Platinum Category Winners:
First Place: Sarah Williamson for Unfurl Rebel Jewel (Above and at top)
Second Place: 
Henry Spencer for Sinuous Line


Silver/Argentium Silver Category Winners:
First Place: Arturo Sanfelix Garcia for Passarola (Above)
Second Place: Matthieu Cheminee for Stampclastic

Metal Clay Category Winners:
First Place: Cindy Miller for Cultivated Woodland (Above)
Second Place: Liz Sabol for Cheshire Cat

Enamel Category Winners:
First Place: Sandra McEwen for Fool’s Errand (Above)
Second Place: Nicolette Absil for Dried Flower Series: Chrysanthemum

Hollowware/Art Objects Category Winners:
First Place: Aleksandr Maryaskin for Discovery of Eggcellence (Above)
Second Place: Henry Spencer for Nuthatch Box


Alternative Metals/Materials Category Winners:
First Place: Andy Cooperman for Poison Ring No. 2 (Above)
Second Place: Sophia Hu for Turning  

Emerging Jewelry Artist 22 Years of Age and Younger Category Winners:
First Place: Jason Baide for Flexibility (Above)
Second Place: Yeonjung Hong for Embrace

Emerging Jewelry Artist 18 Years of Age and Younger Category Winners:
First Place: Autumn Lee for Rocket Askew (Above)
Second Place: Jordan Harrison for Locked In

(Images courtesy of Rio Grande)

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JCK Magazine Editor