Doint It Yourself: JCK Honors Retailer-Designers

JCK’s third annual Retail Jewelry Design Contest drew a record 286 entries. The contest, launched in 1994, was created to encourage custom design work and recognize design talent in the retail sector of the jewelry industry.

To be eligible for competition, pieces must have been an original, complete creation made by a present or former employee of a retail jewelry store that derives at least 50% of its annual revenue from the sale of fine jewelry. Freelance designers and employees of department stores and other non-jewelry outlets were not eligible to enter; nor were pieces created with the use of existing mountings.

The competition was divided into three retail price categories: Under $2,000; $2,000-$5,000; and over $5,000. Pieces were judged on the basis of creativity, originality, wearability and saleability, with a winner and a runner-up named in each category. To prove that each entry was in fact a manufacturable item, JCK required entrants to submit photos, rather than renderings, of the actual piece.

The judging panel was made up of two designers, Stephen Burlingham of Princeton, N.J., and William Schraft of Millburn, N.J.; and two retailers, Beth Fluke, owner of Dandelion Inc., with five stores in the Philadelphia area; and Diane Moss, owner of Diane Moss Distinctive Jewels in Cherry Hill, N.J.

Considering the entries as a group, designers Schraft and Burlingham observed a real mix in quality. They noted some high-quality, innovative, standout design even among pieces that didn’t ultimately win. But they felt that a lot of the entries didn’t look particularly original ­ at least to a well-trained eye.

Winners will receive their awards at a special ceremony during the June 1996 JCK International Jewelry Show in Las Vegas. These were the winners:

Under $2,000 retail:

Winner: Marsha Donohue, Benchworks, Centerville, Ohio.

Pin/pendant of polished 14k yellow gold and sterling silver mixed with matte finished gold and silver, accentuated with .20-ct. bezel-set diamond.

Runner up: John Stroebel, TQ Diamonds, Madison, Wis.

18k yellow gold and platinum brooch with freeform Tahitian mabe pearl and .13-ct. pink sapphire.

$2,000-$5,000 retail:

Winner: Matthew Trent, Matthew Trent Inc., Dallas, Tex.

Hand made and hand assembled 18k yellow gold and platinum earrings.

Runner up, tie: Ann Marie Montecuollo, Ann Marie Fine Jewelry Salon, Santa Rosa, Cal.

Brooch with 4.61-ct. black agate drusy set in 18k gold with 2.21 cts. of pink graduated princess-cut sapphires and diamonds set on white gold strip.

John Wallace, Rox Designs, Chicago, Ill.

14k gold ring with 10.5mm black Tahitian pearl and .08-ct. diamond.

Over $5,000:

Winner: Frank Yanke, Yanke Designs, Franklin, Mich.

Platinum and 18k yellow gold women’s diamond ring with center round and six tapered baguettes set vertically.

Runner up: Christopher Michael Stephens, Cabochon Gems and Designs, Milwaukee, Wis.

Butterfly pin/pendant in platinum and 18k gold with fancy-cut benitoite, pear-shaped Paraíba tourmaline, Vietnamese ruby, and pink diamond, yellow diamond and Paraíba tourmaline mêlée.