A Design Rainbow

Mixed metals and colorful gem combinations marked many of the winners in the 1996 AGTA Spectrum Award Competition

The annual Spectrum Award Competition, sponsored by the American Gem Trade Association, is the only contest in the U.S. to recognize excellence in the creative use of natural colored gemstones in jewelry design. This year, it drew 408 entries. Some trends:

  • Pieces used various combinations of yellow, white, rose and green gold. Nearly 16% of the designs featured platinum, qualifying for Platinum Guild International USA’s Platinum Honors portion of the competition.

  • Gemstone mixes produced multi-colored rainbows, with combinations of blues and greens or pinks and greens dominating. Another trend involved transparent gemstones with cultured pearls.

  • Tourmalines were the most popular primary stone, appearing in some 13% of entries. Tanzanite was second, used in 9% of entries. Other favorites in descending order were sapphire (with more fancy-color and color-change sapphires in evidence), opal and amethyst.

  • Many necklaces, pendants and rings incorporated Art Nouveau, Byzantine, Asian and other exotic influences.

  • Rings were the biggest category, accounting for a third of the entries and two-thirds of the winners.

Designs were judged on technical and promotional criteria. The former included overall beauty and wearability, innovative design, effective use of materials, quality of gemstones and quality of workmanship. The latter included high potential to generate positive colored gemstone publicity and broad-based consumer appeal. The judges were John Bromstad, publisher of JQ Magazine; Fanfan Li of Bulgari; and Roger Rock, vice president of Tiffany & Co., Troy, Mich.

This year’s winners:

Division I (over $10,000 retail value). First, Dave Trout, Coffin & Trout, Mesa, Ariz. Second, Bill Cronin, Bill Cronin Goldsmith, Boulder, Colo. Third, Stephen Webster, Silverhorn, Santa Barbara, Cal.

Division II ($5,001-$10,000 retail value). First, John Langenfeld, Plumb Gold Ltd., Racine, Wisc. Second, Mark Loren, Mark Loren Designs, Ft. Meyers, Fla. Third, Gloria Stewart, Gloria Fine Jewelry, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Division III ($2,501-$5,000 retail value). First, Glen Engelbrecht, G.J. Designs Inc., Sarasota, Fla. Second, Michael J. Boillot, Michael’s Creative Jewelry, Phoenix, Ariz. Third, James Gannaway, Gannaway Bros., Warrenton, Ore.

Division IV ($1,001-$2,500 retail value). First, Akiko Wakabayashi, Nancy B. & Co., Culver City, Cal. Second, Cornelis Hollander, Cornelis Hollander Designs Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz. Third, Travis Kukovich, Jewelsmith Inc., Durham, N.C.

Division V (up to $1,000 retail value). First, Scott Hodson, Hodson’s Jewelers, Scottsdale, Ariz. Second, Glen Engelbrecht. Third, Chad Elliott, Chad Elliott Studio Inc., South Beach Miami, Fla.

Platinum winners: Sixty five pieces were eligible for the Platinum Honors; in these, at least 75% of the metal was either 90% or 95% platinum. Judges were Lisa Labrado, marketing coordinator of Platinum Guild International USA; Lorraine De Pasque, jewelry director of Modern Jeweler; and Jerry Goldwyn, president of Richard D. Eiseman Jewelers. The winners:

Division I: Llyn Strelau, Jewels by Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Link Wachler, David Wachler & Sons, Birmingham, Mich.

Division II: Mark Loren, John Langenfeld and Eric James Walls, Walls Designs Inc., Boulder, Colo.

Division III: Brian Sholdt, B.

Sholdt Designs, Seattle, Wash., and Karen Yeager, Karel Designs, New York, N.Y.

Division IV: Robert Hallet, Robert Hallet Goldsmiths, Oakmont, Pa.

Division V: Michael Angelo Pilla, Michael Angelo Designs, St. Paul Minn.

Spectrum Award and Platinum Honors winners were to be honored at a special Awards Gala at the Tucson Convention Center on Jan. 31.