Vegas by Design: The Design Center’s Designer Retailer Awards and the Editor’s Choice Award

Gallery of Jewels’ Bill Hoover (c.) and Dona Taylor with JCK’s Lars Parker-Myers

On Friday night, designers and retailers gathered at the JCK’s new Wine(d) Down space at Mandalay Bay to sip champagne, nibble on chocolate-covered strawberries, and most important, celebrate design and the retailers who promote it. Lars Parker-Myers, manager of strategic accounts for JCK, and Andrew Chipman, head of the jewelers block division for event sponsor Berkley Asset Protection, honored 50 jewelry retailers for their commitment to design. 

The Design Center’s Designer Retailer Awards were created to acknowledge retail stores that promote design through consumer education, creative merchandising, and fair business practices.

Gallery of Jewels, the San Francisco retailer with three stores in the city, took the title of Best Designer Retailer. Bill Hoover, who owns the store with his wife, Dona Taylor, accepted the award, inviting several of his employees on stage. “We have been working at this for 25 years,” he said. “All of us are passionate about supporting the artist community, and we are honored to accept this award.” The store features 140 independent designers, its mission being to “build a strong artistic community, support those artists to the fullest, and bring quality jewelry to our clientele.”

Rounding out the top 10 designer retailers: ZFolio Gallery of Monterey, Calif. (last year’s winner); the Clay Pot of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Cursive of Brooklyn; Aaron Faber Gallery of New York City; Charde Jewelers of Houston; I. Gorman Jewelers of Washington, D.C.; Jewels That Dance of Asheville, N.C.; Greenwich Jewelers of New York City; and G. Thrapp of Indianapolis.

The 50 designer retailers, numbers 50 to 11: Christensen Heller Gallery of Oakland, Calif.; Addessi Jewelers of Ridgefield, Conn.; Lux Bond & Green of West Hartford, Conn.; R. Grey Gallery of Boise, Idaho; Anatra Jewel of Nashville, Tenn.; Hummingbird Jewelers of Rhinebeck, N.Y.; Broken English of Santa Monica, Calif.; Aspen Jewel Box of Aspen, Colo.; B. Anthony & Co. Jewelers of San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Zaltas Gallery of Fine Jewelry of Mamaroneck, N.Y.; Ylang 23 of Dallas; Native Jackson Hole of Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Zimmer Brothers of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; the Gem Collection of Tallahassee, Fla.; Terra Firma Gallery of Sonoma, Calif.; Studio Jewelers of Lakeland, Fla.; Sorrel Sky Gallery of Durango, Colo.; Shannon Green Collection of Naples, Fla.; Manika Jewelry of San Francisco; Lily Co. Jewelry Gallery of Sanibel, Fla.; Jewelry Design Center of Spokane, Wash.; La Galleria of Truckee, Calif.; Stanley Korshak of Dallas; Von Bargen’s Jewelry of Burlington, Vt.; Quadrum of Chestnut Hill, Mass.; Twist of Portland, Ore.; Reinhold Jewelers of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Szor Collections of Dallas; Mann’s Jewelers of Rochester, N.Y.; Worthmore Jewelers of Atlanta; Blue Ruby Jewellery of Vancouver, B.C.; EAT Gallery of Maysville Ky.; Don Muller Gallery of Northampton, Mass.; 3rd Ward Jewelry of Milwaukee; Higashi Pearls & Fine Jewelry of Lemoyne, Pa.; Spectrum Art & Fine Jewelry of Wilmington, N.C.; Hamilton Hill Jewelry of Durham, N.C.; Day’s Jewelers of Waterville, Maine; Broadmoor Jewelry Co. of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Taboo Studio of San Diego. 

For the first time, the show also honored a designer with the Design Center Editor’s Choice Award. Six jewelry editors, including JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky, narrowed down 50 applicants from the Design Center to a final three: Anita Sondore, Marcia Budet, and Arya Esha. A broader editorial audience voted on their favorite, and Claudia Mata, the accessories and jewelry director at W magazine, presented the award to Marcia Budet on Friday night. “This is my first time in Vegas and my first time at this show,” said Budet. “Thank you so much to everyone at JCK. I appreciate the opportunities that you give to new designers. And congratulations to Arya, who I haven’t yet met but feel like I know, and Anita, who I have been friends with for a year. It is an honor to be featured alongside you.” Budet’s winning designs, and those of her peers, can be viewed at their booths in the Design Center.

Earrings in 18k yellow gold with 1.28 cts. t.w. diamonds and 30.5 cts. t.w. green quartz and blue topaz; $7,125; Marcia Budet (S11105)