FASHION FACET

KUDOS!

At this year’s Couture Collection and Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., Stefan Hafner for Bernard Grosz, New York, received the Couture Design Award for both diamond design and “Best of Show.” Award winners were selected by conference attendees and announced at a gala black-tie dinner sponsored by Town & Country and Harper’s Bazaar magazines. Designer Yuri Ichihashi of New York won the gold design award; Italian designer Picchiotti won the colored stone design award; Rudolf Erdel Platinum, New York, received the award for platinum design; Gumuchian Fils Ltd. of New York won for pearl design; and Kathrine Baumann, Beverly Hills, Calif., received the award for best specialty product.

Separately, Scott Curson of Brinsmaid’s in New Canaan, Conn., and Joy Kilner of the Vault Gallery in Santa Cruz, Calif., were presented with the Designer Jewelery Retailer of the Year award from the Contemporary Design Group (CDG). The group held its annual dinner and awards ceremony on June 5 in Las Vegas. Steven Kretchmer of Palenville, N.Y., was named CDG “MVP” (Most Valuable Player); Lorraine DePasque, editor of Lustre magazine, was named Designer Jewelry Advocate of the Year, and California designer Jay Lavin was inducted into the CDG’s Hall of Fame.

DIVAS OF DESIGN

The DIVA Awards for Jewelry Design – a national competition to encourage jewelry design by women – were announced at the annual WJA Bash during the JCK Las Vegas Show in June. Winners were selected from more than 100 entries and judged on the basis of originality, creativity, wearability, and their interpretation of this year’s theme, “The 21st-Century Woman.”

Entrants were required to submit finished renderings of jewelry designs that address the diverse lifestyles of today’s women – stay-home mothers, entrepreneurs working from home offices, or corporate executives.

The grand-prize winner was Alexandra Woo of New York, who received a cash award of $1,000. Her entry was an 18k yellow and white gold brooch with diamonds and a South Seas pearl.

“The basket of white and yellow gold represents the threads of life women in the 20th century have woven, juxtaposed with sleek rays of gold that represent the many paths and opportunities we women can now take,” she said.

Second-prize, and $500, went to Rene T. Paige of Miami, who submitted a “tag along” necklace with the XXI Roman numeral logo, representing two centuries, one woman. Third-prize ($250) went to Rika Jackson of Scotts Valley, Calif., whose bracelet design depicted an elderly woman passing along the wisdom of age to the next generation.

Three honorable-mention prizes of $100 were presented to Claudia Endler of Los Angeles, Jacqueline S. Kardush of Fresh Meadows, N.Y., and Sally Mitschke of Shawnee, Kan.

PARTY HOPPING

The jewelry industry social scene is once again as busy as many people remember it used to be. The party circuit at The JCK Show in Las Vegas included as many as four or five events scheduled every night. On the agenda were traditional charity benefits, such as the Plumb Club’s Party with a Purpose, as well as gala product launches, like the one Uno A Erre gave at Club Ra to present its Sensuality collection of couture jewelry.

The newly expanded Caesars Forum Mall was a hot spot to see and be seen. Designer David Yurman teamed up with Town & Country magazine to host a black-tie Silver Ice fantasy party for retailers, held at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, Chinois. A few doors away at The Palm, jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels invited selected retail guests to doff their ties and relax at a casual steak-and-fries dinner.

The social circuit wrapped up with the Designers’ Live Auction. The annual event drew a lively crowd of bidders for 60 lots of jewelry, paintings, sculpture, and lobster dinners, donated by various jewelry designers. Good-humored auctioneer Ursula Hermacinski of Christie’s in Los Angeles kept the crowd laughing as well as bidding. Proceeds from the evening will go to the Future of Design Foundation and the American Jewelry Design Council.

Nouveau 1910 of Barcelona, Spain, is committed to preserving not only the design sense but also the techniques used to create jewelry during the art nouveau era. The handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces are created by a team of three artists: enameler Maria del Pilar Cuende, jeweler Gaspar Marsa Sarrato, and setter Ernest Lerch.

The art nouveau era is generally defined as the period between 1880 and 1925, with design characterized by sensuous, curvilinear lines and feminine detailing. Ethereal women with flowing hair and delicate, winged creatures like butterflies and dragonflies were favorite motifs of the period.

Nouveau 1910 specializes in enameled jewelry in 18k gold, using original tools to obtain desired shapes and volume from the gold. Unlike many enamel artists who apply color over a background of gold or silver, the artists at Nouveau 1910 create translucent panes of color by hand, applying as many as 20 layers of enamel to achieve the desired thickness and hue. The resulting jewelry is like a miniature stained-glass window for the body, accented with gold, precious gemstones, and diamonds.

Nouveau 1910, Paris St. 49, 08029 Barcelona, Spain. Tel. (34 3) 439 20 31 or fax (34 3) 439 24 44. e-mail: nouveau1910@cambrabcn.es; 580 Fifth Ave., New York NY 10036; (212) 302-7200, fax (212) 840-7249.

Studio Karu is the result of the combined efforts of artists Teresa Corallo Katz and Barbara Rudolph. Katz, born in Sicily, moved to the United States at age 13. She was always entranced by color and form, and as she grew up, she gravitated toward fashion. For 16 years, she was responsible for the U.S. operations of two major Italian jewelry houses, Manfredi Jewels of Varese and La Nouvelle Bague of Florence.

Rudolph, born in Philadelphia, worked in the legal field before her love of creative expression and entrepreneurial nature stimulated her to create beaded jewelry and work in stained glass. Later, her interest in jewelry landed her a job at Christie’s auction house, where she was exposed to the jewels of the great master houses.

Katz was inspired by the idea of a personal crest, a particular jewel that becomes a woman’s signature piece and is adaptable to wear for almost all occasions. This led to the development of the focal point upon which the pair’s first collection is based: an interchangeable clasp.

The clasp is designed to be attached to strands of pearls or gemstone beads to create a necklace or bracelet, or it can be converted into a pin or transformed into a belt buckle. The clasp becomes a woman’s personal talisman and is designed so that she can gradually add on to her initial investment, selecting seasonal variations or options that range from casual to dressy.

The clasps are made from polished or brushed 18k gold, platinum, and bezel-set gems, and are offered with a wide range of complementary and interchangeable necklace and bracelet styles. Coordinating earrings and rings are also available. Studio Karu sets certain color combinations specifically to work with a current season’s fashions; for example, fall and holiday 1998 are represented with strands of cultured and fresh-water pearls in variegated tones of gray, pink, bronze, copper, and gold, plus tanzanite, emerald, and a wide spectrum of colored beads.

Studio Karu, 1065 Park Ave., 13A, New York, NY 10128; (212) 722-6890.

TREES OF GOLD

Cyma Watch Co. has entered the jewelry market with a new gold collection inspired by the majestic Sequoia tree. The design focuses on the circles of life seen in cross-sections of the tree’s trunk. The new collection includes 40 different styles, with or without diamonds. The collection is presented with distinctive wood-grain box packaging in the Sequoia tree theme.

Suggested retail prices for the collection range from $350 to $5,000, with the majority priced under $2,000 retail.

Contact Glenn Corp., Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Ave., Suite 1308, New York, NY 10118; (212) 695-4270.