Tourmalines Take Top Prize at 2017 AGTA Spectrum Awards

A set of cool blue stones won top honors at this year’s AGTA Spectrum Awards. Totaling 53.56 cts., the tourmalines (pictured), by Mikola Kukharuk of Nomad’s, were named Best of Show by a panel of designers and retailers on Aug. 5 and Aug. 6. (In 2016, a trio of carved Paraiba won Best of Show honors, and in summer 2016 a suite of round brilliant Russian demantoid garnets took the prize.)

This year’s judges for the annual colored gemstone competition—which comprises finished jewelry and cut/carved gems—were Arun Bohra of Arunashi, Cathy Calhoun of Calhoun Jewelers, Sherris Cottier Shank of Gemscapes, Alishan Halebian of Alishan, and Holly Wesche of Wesche Jewelers.

The list of best-of and first-place winners appears below. Click here for a complete list of honorees, including second- and third-place finishers and honorable mentions—plus winners of the Platinum Honors awards (sponsored by Platinum Guild International), WJA Gem DIVA Awards (in the Bridal Wear, Evening Wear, Classical, and Business/Day Wear categories), and more.

The 2017 AGTA Spectrum winners will be displayed at the 2018 AGTA GemFair Tucson (Jan. 30–Feb. 4, 2018) at the Tucson Convention Center. Recipients will be honored at the Spectrum Awards gala on Feb. 3. For more information on tickets, see


Best of…

Best of Show

Mikola Kukharuk, Nomad’s: 53.56 cts. t.w. pair of neon blue tourmalines


Best Use of Color

Naomi Sarna, Naomi Sarna Designs: 18k and 24k yellow and 18k white gold maple leaf earrings featuring multicolored diamonds, sapphires, and garnets


Best Use of Pearls

Naomi Sarna, Naomi Sarna Designs: freshwater cultured pearls strung with sunstone beads with an 18k yellow gold and black rhodium clasp set with white, pink, and green diamonds


Best Use of Platinum and Color

Eddie Sakamoto, Somewhere in the Rainbow: platinum Dancing Waves neck collar with 57 ct. aquamarine and 8 cts. t.w. diamonds


Fashion Forward

Ardeshir Dabestani, Asha Gallery: 18k white and yellow gold Solar Flare back-drop necklace with 436 ct. citrine, 44.5 cts. t.w. aquamarines, 87.3 cts. t.w. yellow beryls, and 23.54 cts. t.w. diamonds


AGTA Spectrum Awards

Bridal Wear—1st Place

Ricardo Basta, E. Eichberg Inc.: 18k white gold and rhodium Double the Love ring with 12.62 ct. heart-shape blue zircon, 0.75 ct. heart-shape diamond, and 1.53 cts. t.w. diamond pavé


Business/Day Wear—1st Place

Adam Neeley, Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry: 18k rose and 14k rose and white gold Cosmos pendant with 24.06 ct. specialty-cut morganite and 3.14 cts. t.w. diamonds


Classical—1st Place

Allen Kleiman, A. Kleiman & Co.: platinum and 18k pink gold earrings with 36.65 cts. t.w. unheated oval pink sapphires and 5.09 cts. t.w. diamonds


Evening Wear—1st Place

Eddie Sakamoto, Somewhere in the Rainbow: platinum Dancing Waves neck collar with 57 ct. aquamarine and 8 cts. t.w. diamonds


Men’s Wear—1st Place

Ricardo Basta, E. Eichberg Inc.: 18k yellow gold with black rhodium Estrella ring with 7.5 ct. starburst trapiche sapphire, 0.64 ct. t.w. black diamonds, and 0.52 ct. t.w. yellow sapphire melee


AGTA Cutting Edge Awards

All Other Faceted—1st Place

Brett Kosnar, Beija Flor Wholesale: 24.26 ct. round Portuguese-cut rhodochrosite


Carving—1st Place

Meg Berry, Pala International: 625 ct. chyrsocolla with druzy quartz carving, titled “Metamorphosis”


Classic Gemstone—1st Place

David Nassi, 100% Natural Ltd.: 15.3 ct. unheated Ceylon pink sapphire


Innovative Faceting—1st Place

Christopher Wolfsberg, Chris Wolfsberg: 32.75 ct. specialty-cut quartz with chrysoprase and opal


Objects of Art—1st Place

Derek Katzenbach, Katzenbach Designs: Colors of Maine kaleidoscope with 71.74 cts. t.w. multicolored Maine tourmalines and 24.92 cts. t.w. Maine quartz lenses in 18k yellow and white gold


Pairs & Suites—1st Place

Mikola Kukharuk, Nomad’s: 53.56 cts. t.w. pair of neon blue tourmalines


Phenomenal—1st Place

Joel Price, Joel Price: 100.66 ct. harlequin pattern black opal


12 responses to “Tourmalines Take Top Prize at 2017 AGTA Spectrum Awards”

    • I agree it looks a lot like that Bob, but if you look closely there are very slight differences in facet reflections so either they were different gems or the same gem shot two times. I am sure there are actually two gems though! 😉

      • John I want it to be two stones, but it would be the most precision faceting I have ever seen in diamonds or colored stones.

        • It is Nomads~Known for the finest precision cutting. They couldn’t win “pairs and suites” award if it’s only one stone…

          • Yes, I don’t think Bob is implying that there is only one gem in real life, but sometimes in photography shortcuts are taken and taking two photos of the same gem and then putting both the shots of the single gem into one image to represent the pair instead of trying to get the pair of gems to look good (and be at EXACTLY the same angle) at the same time would be a pretty acceptable photographic “trick” as long as it properly represents the appearance of both gems as I am sure it does. Whatever the case it is a lovely pair and a great photo.

          • Yes, no doubt the pair of beautiful paraiba tourmalines won. I want to hold both in my hands to make sure. It is a great photo, as are the other beautiful stones and pieces shown.

          • I didn’t not know that they’re Paraiba or even Cooper bearing…the description is blue tourmaline…if they’re Mozambique copper beating or Paraiba, that’ll make them even more crazy special!!!

  1. We are very excited to read the announcement that ISG graduate: Ardeshir Dabestani, RGA, has won the coveted AGTA Spectrum Awards: Fashion Forward. We extend our heartiest congratulations to Ardeshir and all of the folks at Asha Gallery, Ltd. from everyone at the International School of Gemology.

  2. The two neon tourmalines are absolutely stunning, and knowing Nomads, we may never know for sure the locality. The Colorado Rhodochrosite is not too shabby either.

  3. Again a nice article e regarding gemstone These gemstones are really looking attractive .Throughout the history, natural faced gemstones have been valued by all. After 20 years in the gem field, “Crescent Gems” is one of the best well established manufacturing company with satisfied customers from all over the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *