Excellence In Pearl Design

Judges chose among pieces ranging from the fantastic to the fabulous to come up with 47 winners in the 23rd International Pearl Design Contest held in Tokyo this summer. The contest, sponsored by the Japan Pearl Promotion Society, attracted 730 entries from 19 countries. Six runner-up awards went to U.S. residents.

Entries in three categories &endash; freestyle design, thematic design (this year’s theme was aquatic animals) and paper renderings &endash; had to feature cultured or natural pearls as the central design element. They were judged on originality, innovative use of materials and design excellence.

Shizuko Hirobe of Japan won the Grand Prix for her “Message of Spring Breeze” brooch. Other winners:

· Freestyle category – Emiko Nishida of Japan placed first. Of the 18 runner-up awards, 14 went to Japanese, two to Germans and two to Americans (James Barker of Ancient Future Designs in Medanales, N.M., placed third and Jean M. Jung of Gold Dreams in San Anselmo, Cal., placed fourth.

· Specified Theme category– Akiko Yamaguchi of Japan was first. Of the seven runner-up award winners, three were from Japan and one each from Germany, South Korea, Tahiti and the U.S. (Peggy Croft and Stephen Mikaelian of Gregory Mikaelian & Sons Inc., Los Angeles, Cal., won a fourth prize).

· Rendering category – Eva Stjernswärd of Sweden placed first. Five of the runners-up were from Japan; three each from France, Germany and the U.S. (Armik Malekian of Armix, Glendale, Cal., won a second prize, Link Wachler of David Wachler & Sons Jewellers in Birmingham, Mich., a third prize, and Martin Gruber of Nova, Van Nuys, Cal., a fourth prize); and two each from Canada (Marion Cameron and Patricia Viel, both of Henry Birks & Sons, both won second prizes) and South Korea.

Judges also awarded 20 honorable mentions each in the freestyle and rendering categories and 10 in the thematic category.

The deadline for next year’s competition is March 10. Designers, manufacturers and students interested in obtaining entry forms should contact Stephanie Diaz at the Cultured Pearl Information Center at (212) 688-5580, fax (212) 688-5580.