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


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