Contests

MYSTERY CELEBRITY CONTEST BEGINS

The Diamond Information Center, the publicity arm of De Beers, will officially kick off its third annual Mystery Celebrity contest Sept. 14 on the television show “Entertainment Tonight.” The program will feature a segment showing the star wearing a diamond solitaire necklace; the public will be invited to guess who she is.

Print advertisements for the contest, showing a partial image of the celebrity and offering clues to her identity, will run in the Sept. 14 issue of People and in the October issues of InStyle and Redbook. Beginning in September, all print ads for the diamond solitaire necklace will use the image of the new mystery celebrity. Advertising and marketing support for the necklace will continue after the contest.

A program run by the Diamond Promotion Service in conjunction with Jewelers of America enables fine jewelry retailers to participate in the contest. JA is offering its member retailers counter cards and postcards featuring the mystery celebrity’s image as well as press kits to generate local coverage of the contest. Customers may use the postcards as entry forms. Nearly 5,000 JA members participated last year.

Contest participants must hand-write their guesses on 3 1/2×5-in. postcards and mail them by Oct. 31. Guesses will be entered into a pool; 10 correct entries will be drawn at random on Nov. 9, when “Entertainment Tonight” will reveal the mystery star’s identity. Each winner will receive a half-carat diamond solitaire necklace.

The Mystery Celebrity contest was launched in 1996, when more than 100,000 people guessed the identity of Vanessa Williams. Last year, 350,000 entrants tried to identify Fran Drescher.

AGTA HONORS TOP GEM CUTTERS

The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) has announced the winners of its 1998 “Cutting Edge” gem-cutting competition. AGTA created the competition to spur interest in the beauty of natural colored gems and to honor lapidary artists.

Up to 18 lapidaries are honored in various categories. Entries are judged for their innovative design in all but the classic-gemstone division, which is new this year. Gems in this category are cut in traditional shapes. Unlike the other five divisions, which are limited to North American lapidaries, this category is open to international entries.

This year’s contest winners are:

Classic Division. First place: Jefferson Kunisaki of Roncor Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif., for his 2.43-ct. oval cushion Yogo Montana sapphire. Second place: Meg Berry of Pala International, Fallbrook, Calif., for her 9.39-ct. spiral staircase African orange sapphire.

Faceting Division. First place: Arthur Lee Anderson of Arthur Lee Anderson Gem Arts, Carrboro, N.C., for his 17.70-ct. Brazilian webbed halo cut madeira citrine. Second and third place: Mark Gronlund of Enterprise, Fla., for his 22.53-ct. Brazilian “Gronlund cut” blue-green tourmaline (second place) and 45.05-ct. African “Gronlund cut” aquamarine (third place).

Carving Division. First place: Glenn Lehrer of Glenn Lehrer Designs, San Rafael, Calif., for his 4.02-ct. “Torus Ring” cut Montana golden-yellow sapphire, with black jade, an 82.14-ct. African blue chalcedony, and a 124-ct. stained black drusy agate carving. Second place: Dust Devil Mining Co. of Beaver, Ore., and cutter William Cox for a 27.83-ct. dichroic flame Oregon sunstone. Third place: Larry Woods of Larry & Stacia Woods Co., Blanco, Texas, for his 35.86-ct. art deco style Namibian blue chalcedony carving. Honorable mention: Bob Beaudry, Fire Agate International of Tucson, Ariz., and cutter Joe Intili for a 71.49-ct. Arizona fire agate carved in the form of a two-headed dragon.

Combination Division. First place: Larry Winn of AJS Enterprises Inc., Grand Junction, Colo., for his 48.07-ct. cushion triangle “solar flair” Brazilian citrine. Second place: Michael Dyber of Rumney, N.H., for his 137.60-ct. hand-faceted and -carved “cascade” Brazilian aquamarine. Third place: Mark Herschede of Turmali & Herschede Inc., Sanibel, Fla., and cutter Larry Winn for a 14.36-ct. Pakistan peridot in the shape of an isosceles triangle. Honorable mention: Richard Homer of Gems by Design Inc., Kent, Ohio, for his 28.93-ct. antique oval multi-focus “spinner” cut Madagascar rutilated quartz.

Pairs and Suites. First place: Phillip Youngman of Los Osos, Calif., for his 70.52-ct. t.w. graduated suite of round “rose brilliant” Tanzanian garnets. Second place: Richard Homer for his 62.32-ct. t.w. “Spring and Fall” suite of Brazilian citrines shaped like Canadian maple leaves. Third place: Mark Gronlund for his 51.46-ct. t.w. “Gronlund cut” Brazilian golden beryls.

Objects of Art. First place: R.A. Guyon of International Gem Mart, San Antonio, Texas, opal cutter Thomas Harth Ames, and bottle cutter Dalan Jay Hargrave for an 87-ct. t.w. Oregon opal and diamond stopper in a “Sierra black” rock, called “Opal Essence.” Second place: Slava Tulupov of New York for a 595-ct. t.w. smoky quartz shell, Mojave blue chalcedony snail with diamond eyes and rainbow obsidian base, called “The Balance.” Third place: Philip Louer, North American Gem Carvers, Riner, Va., and cutter Susan Allen, for a 1,400-ct. “Underwater Suite” in Brazilian smoky quartz. Honorable mentions: Gil Roberts of Floyd, Va., for his 2,205-ct. t.w. smoky quartz and mahogany obsidian “Bittern Bird,” and Michael Dyber for his 4,816-ct. hand-faceted and -carved African citrine sculpture, called “Inner Vision.”

PEARL DESIGNERS HONORED

Prize-winning entries in the American Pearl Co.’s fourth annual Vision Award pearl design competition were displayed at The JCK Show in Las Vegas in June. The Nashville, Tenn., company is renowned for its natural and cultured fresh-water pearls, grown in the United States.

Two categories of prizes were awarded. The Discovery division included jewelry priced at less than $1,000, while the Inspiration division included items priced at $1,000 or higher.

Each piece was judged for its ingenuity, workmanship, use of the pearl, and beauty/salability.

Taking home grand-prize honors in the Discovery division was Roger DeFouw’s “Metamorphosis,” a 14k brooch depicting a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Second place went to Stephen Ninich for his “Montée Du Soleil” (“Rising of the Sun”) 14k brooch with drusy agate chalcedony. Third place was a tie: Melissa Boston’s “Fallen Acorn” 14k brooch set with peridot and Glen Engelbrecht’s “Honkin’ Honk” 18k brooch fashioned in the form of a flying goose shared the honor. Honorable mention went to Marty Simone and Amy Veach.

Reptiles and insects climbed to the top of the Inspiration division, with the grand prize going to Link Wachler for his “Lunchtime” 18k ring. It depicts a snake eating a pearl for its noon meal. Ziad Noshie’s 18k-and-platinum praying mantis brooch, titled “The Rascal,” took second place. Third place was a tie between Alishan Halebian’s “Madame Butterfly,” a brooch featuring pierced gold work, rubies, and diamonds, and Marie Somos’s “Wishing Star” 18k brooch with carved-emerald accents. Daryl Alexander, Dalan Hargrave, and Jean Jung received honorable mentions. – Gary Roskin