Dream Suite Wins AGTA “Best in Show”

Presenting the winners of the annual AGTA Spectrum Awards for colored gemstone jewelry.

“Best in show” usually conjures up images of perfectly fluffed and blow-dried pooches prancing around a judging ring, but for designer and private jewler Samuel Getz of Coral Gables, Fla., there are no sweeter words.

No dogs here—Getz’s necklace and earring suite (shown on page 94) was chosen as the Best in Show winner in the 2006 American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Awards competition. His entry, Caribbean Dream Suite, was a platinum necklace-and-earring suite featuring aquamarine, tsavorite garnet, chrysoberyl (22.74 cts. t.w.), and diamonds (8.41 cts. t.w.). One of 344 entries, his also placed first in the competition’s Evening category.

Judging was held Oct. 3–5, 2005, at the Gemological Institute of America campus in Carlsbad, Calif. Judges for the 2006 competition included Robert Ackermann, a Swiss-born jewelry designer who now is a resident design instructor in jewelry manufacturing arts at GIA; designer and retailer Ricardo Basta, of E. Eichberg Jewelers, Beverly Hills, Calif.; gem cutter Larry McCoy of Prescott, Ariz.; Jack Seibert of Jack Seibert Goldsmith & Jeweler, Columbus, Ohio; and Tom Stacy, editor of Soap Opera Digest, Los Angeles.

Entries were judged on the basis of overall beauty and wearability, innovative design, effective use of materials, quality of gemstones, quality of workmanship, broad-based consumer appeal, and their potential to generate positive publicity for natural colored gemstones. Competition categories included Bridal, Business/Day, Casual, Evening, and Men’s Wear.

Yellow gold was the primary metal in 137 entries (39 percent), followed by white gold, used in 117 entries (34 percent). Fifty-three entries (15 percent) featured platinum as the primary metal, 11 featured sterling silver, 10 used rose gold, nine were bicolor white and yellow gold, seven used green gold, and two used other metals and means of setting stones.

Rings, which numbered 118, were the most popular type of piece entered, followed by pendants (67), necklaces (57), earrings (38 pairs), brooches (25), and bracelets (14). The remainder of entries covered such diverse creations as cufflinks, lockets, formal sets, pin/pendant combinations. There were also a pocket square, a belt buckle, and a tiara.

As in previous years, blue was the most popular color, with 81 pieces featuring blue gemstones as their primary design element. Sixty-three pieces were green, 56 were pink, 49 were yellow, 45 were multicolored, 44 were white, 31 were black, 29 were purple, 27 were red, 26 were orange, and five were brown.

Evening wear, accounting for 141 of the 344 entries, was the most popular category. Business/day wear was next, with 77 entries, followed by 45 entries in bridal wear, 43 in casual wear, and 38 in men’s wear.

All designs that qualified for the Spectrum Awards competition were also considered for Manufacturing Honors, a special award that celebrates outstanding use of colored gemstones and cultured pearls in jewelry that’s appropriate to be manufactured in production quantities. Another special award, Fashion Forward Honors, recognizes the outstanding use of colored gemstone and/or cultured pearl beads in artful, trend-setting jewelry. All necklaces, earrings, bracelets, or other jewelry that qualified for judging in the AGTA Spectrum Awards competition automatically qualified for Fashion Forward Honors judging as well.