The World Gold Council is sponsoring the first-ever global jewelry design competition. The “Gold Virtuosi” contest will honor up to 30 winners, to be selected in London next April.

Sketches must be submitted by Jan. 5 for preliminary judging in February. The 100 finalists will have until April 4 to submit finished pieces. Each piece must be in 18k or higher karatage gold, and no other metals may be used. Gems can be used only as accents; gold must predominate and be used to “dramatic effect.”

Winning pieces will receive their first public showing at the Vicenza Fair in Italy next June before going on a world tour. Winning designers will be flown to Vicenza for the awards ceremony, which will include a fashion show and gala dinner.

The contest is cosponsored by the Vicenza Fair and a mining company called AngloGold. For more information, contact WGC in New York at (212) 317-3880 or visit on the Internet.


The American Jewelry Design Council is sponsoring its ninth annual contest to select an outstanding new fine jewelry designer. The winner will receive a complimentary booth in the New Designer Gallery at the July JA New York show as well as the prestigious Mort Abelson Award.

The contest is open to all U.S. designer/manufacturers of fine jewelry who sell on a wholesale basis to retailers. A committee of AJDC members selects finalists and the winner. Among the factors considered are originality, craftsmanship, innovation, marketability, and cohesiveness of the collection.

The application deadline is Jan. 1. For information, contact Alan Revere, AJDC Talent Contest chairman, at 760 Market St., Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94102; (415) 391-4179, fax (415) 391-7570, e-mail:


The Arkansas Jewelers Association presented several awards at its annual convention in Hot Springs.

Fletcher and Sherry Smith, owners of Fletcher Smith’s Jewelers in Conway, were named Arkansas Jewelers of the Year. The award recognizes the Smiths’ leadership and integrity.

The association also named the winners of its CARAT (Creative Achievement Recognizing Arkansas Talent) Award competition for outstanding jewelry design. Joseph Bagyula of Cecil’s Fine Jewelry in Little Rock received the Convention’s Choice award for a 14k yellow and white gold pendant featuring drusy black onyx, an irradiated, colored pear-shaped diamond, 1 ct. t.w. round diamonds, an emerald, and a chrome diopside. The winner of the Convention’s Choice Award is decided by vote of the members attending the annual convention.

CARAT Awards were also given in three other categories, determined by independent judges. Category I (less than $1,000) was a tie; Patrick Bakker of Cecil’s Fine Jewelry and Jon Philippi of Sissy’s Log Cabin in Pine Bluff each received the honor. Bakker’s creation was a hand-forged sterling silver bracelet; Philippi’s was a 14k and 18k gold pendant with a 12-ct. amethyst and two cabochon-cut blue sapphires.

The winner in Category II ($1,000 to $3,000) was Olivia Sordo of Olivia Sordo Design Studio, Fayetteville, for a 14k pendant with a 5.21-ct. tanzanite and 1.76 cts. t.w. diamonds. The Category III (more than $3,000) winner was Kelly Newton of Newton’s Jewelers, Fort Smith, for an 18k gold pendant with a 9.32-ct. peridot, a 1-ct. canary diamond, and 2.75 cts. t.w. round and pear-shaped diamonds. The Category IV (platinum jewelry) award went to Randy Espinoza and Bill Jones of Sissy’s Log Cabin for a platinum pendant with a 25.26-ct. amethyst surrounded by 3.64 cts. t.w. diamonds.

Joseph Bagyula of Cecil’s Fine Jewelry in Little Rock received the Convention’s Choice Award from the Arkansas Jewelers Association for this pendant.