Singing the blues isn’t so bad—if you’re a jewelry designer with a penchant for color, that is! More than 90 entries in the 2002 American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Awards competition—showcasing the country’s best-designed colored gemstone jewelry—featured blue as their primary gemstone color. Green was the second favorite choice for primary stones, with more than 50 of the competition’s 498 entries emphasizing green gems.
Fifty pieces featured pink stones as the primary focus, while the rest of the entries emphasized either orange stones, multicolored stones, purple, white, yellow, red, gray, or other stones. The four most popular stones used in this year’s entries were (in descending order) tourmaline, sapphire, pearl, and garnet. Rings accounted for 46% of the entries, 22% were pendants, and 12% were necklaces. Brooches and earrings accounted for 6% each, while 5% of the entries were bracelets, and 3% were other pieces.
The AGTA Spectrum Awards has grown from its inception in 1984 to become one of the nation’s most important jewelry design competitions. Honoring both the creative use of natural colored gemstones and the lapidary arts, competition entries employ a wide variety of colored gemstones and jewelry metals.
The competition is judged in five fashion usage categories: evening, business/day, casual, bridal, and men’s. In addition, there are three competition subdivisions within the main competition. The Cutting Edge division honors non-jewelry items and is judged in six lapidary arts categories: classic gemstone, faceting, carving, combination of techniques, pairs and suites, and objets d’art.
The Manufacturing Honors division prize is awarded to a design that demonstrates both outstanding use of natural colored gemstones as well as construction that would be attractive to mainstream production manufacturers. The Platinum Honors division, sponsored by the Platinum Guild International, honors colored gemstone jewelry in which the setting is at least 75% platinum. This year, one-fourth of the entries incorporated the use of platinum in the setting.
Entries are judged anonymously by a panel of experienced industry professionals over a period of two to three days. This year’s judging panel included Alan Revere of the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco; retailer Jeff Johnson of the Johnson Family Diamond Cellar in Columbus, Ohio; gem designer Michael Dyber of Rumney, N.H.; and Bob Ahrens, design instructor at the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, Calif. Judges for the Platinum Honors division included photographer Erica Van Pelt of Los Angeles; Randi Molofsky, fashion editor for National Jeweler magazine; and Jerry Forrest of The Jewelry Forrest, in Dallas.