And the Winner Is…Platinum!

The Platinum Guild International announced the winners of its first Platinum Innovation Challenge in June at JCK Las Vegas, a contest that challenged the industry with crafting platinum designs that retail around the $2,500 mark. Affordable platinum? Yes, you heard right. The contest was PGI’s latest attempt to broaden access to platinum jewelry by promoting creative design in a new entry-level platinum category. Some 75 submissions came from more than 40 brands, and participants were evaluated across five categories—originality, creativity, quality, wearability, and innovation—within a specified price range. Each winner received a prize package—including signage, publicity, and photography—worth more than $20,000.

Men’s platinum band with black diamonds; $2,200; Benchmark, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; 205-345-0555;

Winners included Designs by Vatche’s Jennifer engagement semimount, retailing for under $2,500; True Knots’ 5?mm wedding band ($998) in the Wedding Bands Under $1,500 category; Benchmark’s 8.5?mm band with black diamonds ($2,200) in Color Under $2,500; and the Snowflake pendant with diamonds ($1,995) by Uneek Fine Jewelry Collections in Fashion Under $2,500.

But one award winner, Steven Kretchmer, took the Fashion Over $2,500 category a little too far “over”:  His bracelet was valued at $30,200.—Jennifer Heebner

RJC Broadens Its Horizons

RJC’s Michael Rae

The Responsible Jewellery Council, which certifies companies’ business practices, has expanded the scope of its system to include platinum group ­metals. “We have found that the mining standards for gold can also be applied to platinum,” says RJC CEO Michael Rae. “We don’t anticipate there is anything in the handling of extraction of platinum that will cause a major rewriting of the standards.” The decision was made at RJC’s annual general meeting in London on May 18. The group initially had a narrow focus on gold and diamonds, notes Rae, because they were “iconic” in the industry. Platinum group metals are the first materials the RJC has added, but pearls and colored stones could be next. Says Rae, “We expect those to be much more complicated.” —Rob Bates