JA New York is the traditional forum for design competitions such as JA’s annual New Designer of the Year Award, the JA Jewel Award and the American Jewelry Design Council’s new designer prize of a free booth in the New Designer Gallery. All three were announced at a champagne reception dubbed “Designer Sunday” by the show in the Designer Gallery.
Diana Heimann of New York City was named JA New Designer of the Year. The American Jewelry Design Council award was presented to Gloria Stewart of Gloria Fine Jewelry, Scottsdale, Ariz. AJDC also announced that this award has been renamed the Mort Abelson Award. Abelson was the originator of the Designer Gallery concept and is credited by many with introducing the contemporary designer jewelry movement to mainstream U.S. jewelers.
In the Jewel Award competition, Rudolf Shtainhorn of Rudolf Jhanna Design Studio and Doris Panos of Doris Panos were first-place winners out of more than 60 entries. Shtainhorn won in the women’s jewelry category for a platinum engagement ring set with diamonds (photo 1). Panos won the men’s jewelry category for an 18k matte green gold and 18k white gold link bracelet (photo 2).
In the women’s jewelry category, Glen J. Engelbrecht of G.J. Designs, Sarasota, Fla., was named first runner-up for a handcarved cameo brooch set in 18k yellow gold with garnets and diamonds (photo 3). Robert Wander of Winc Creations, Honolulu, Hawaii, was named second runner-up for a platinum, diamond and black Tahitian pearl ring set with 112 diamonds weighing 2.43 carats (photo 4).
In the men’s jewelry category, Annette Grossman of A.G. Grossman Inc., New York City, was named first runner-up for sterling cuff links with iolite baguettes (photo 5). Karen Yeager of Karel Designs in New York City was named second runner-up for an 18k ring carved with moons, stars and planets (photo 6).
The Diamond Dealers Club of New York opened a new trading floor – temporarily – at the show. DDC Vice President Zvi Farber, whose company was one of 10 participating in the show bourse, says the effort was “reasonably successful” because it gave the club and its members exposure to new potential customers.
“People came into the club area throughout the show. Most were new buyers,” he says. “Some were actually buying, others were making contacts with new diamond sources.”
Dealers say buyers generally looked for cheaper goods and worried about high prices because they face price-conscious consumers at home. They reported many buyers compared prices and supplier terms because they wanted to buy later in the season.