WJA Diva Design Winners Announced

The 2005 Women’s Jewelry Association DIVA Design Award Winners were announced in ceremonies June 3 at the V Bar in Las Vegas, during The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas.

The annual WJA DIVA Competition is a rendering-only competition created to promote and encourage jewelry design by women. Open to all women, regardless of experience, formal training, or background in jewelry or jewelry design, the competition is judged by a panel of industry experts who evaluate designs based on their originality, creativity, wearability, and interpretation of an annual theme.

The 2005 DIVA competition theme was Black & White. Winning renderings ranged from pearls nestled in rubber to a unisex suite of black diamonds and pearls to a necklace recalling a dancer’s movement in the spotlight.

Aleta Keeling of Carlsbad, Calif., winner of the $2,500 first-place prize, submitted Peeping Pearls, a design for a 40-inch-long rope of white Tahitian pearls and rubber in a pea pod–inspired configuration. She also won an honorable-mention certificate for a second design, a brooch called Moonlight and Caviar.

Second place and a $1,000 prize went to Julia Behrends, a Boston designer, for Black Tie White Shirt Optional, a suite fashioned in 18k gold, black diamonds, and white South Sea pearls. The suite is designed for either a male or female wearer, transforming from a choker with pendant and earring jackets into a bow tie, tuxedo buttons, cufflinks, and a tie tack.

The $250 third-place winner, Soroo Park of San Francisco, inspired by the shape of a dancer poised in midstep, submitted Shall We Dance, a design for a necklace fashioned in 18k gold and white and black diamonds.

Six additional designers were awarded honorable-mention certificates for their renderings: Sharon Liao of Corona, N.Y., for her Diamond and Onyx mask; Suzanne Weiner of West Palm Beach, Fla., for a deco-inspired Black & White watch; Jill Zvaigne of Newport, Ky., for Not Everything Is Black & White cuff bangle bracelet; Yoko Murakami of Astoria, N.Y., for her Wing pendant; Regan Richardson, Berkeley, Calif., for her Cascading South Sea Pearl cuff bracelet; and Younji Lee of Fairfax, Va., for The Beauty of Nature brooch.

“We’re indebted to the generosity of our sponsors who make this competition and award ceremony possible every year,” said Susan Elliott, co-chair of the DIVA event. This year’s event was sponsored by Graff Jewelers; L.I.D. Ltd.; and Rosy Blue Fine Inc., at a “diamond” level of sponsorship. Additional sponsorship was provided by OroArezzo International Jewelry Exhibition; Toscana Promozione; Jewelers Mutual Insurance; Gemological Institute of America; JCK Events; and Displays & More. For more information about the WJA and the DIVA Design Competition and to view images of the winning designs, visit www.womensjewelry.org.