These Pearl Jewels Won the 2022 CPAA Design Competition
The Cultured Pearl Association of America held its 13th annual International Pearl Design Competition this fall.
The competition has three divisions: U.S. entries, international entries, and student entries.
The final judging for all three divisions was held in-person on Nov. 1 in New York City.
This year’s judges were: Jean Francois Bibet, workshop and production director at Cartier; Patricia Faber, co-owner of Aaron Faber Gallery; Lenore Fedow, associate editor at National Jeweler; Maria Tsangaropoulos, supervisor of instruction at GIA’s New York City campus; Michael Coan, assistant professor in the jewelry design department at the Fashion Institute of Technology; and Kathy Zaltas, owner of Zaltas Gallery.
Peggy Grosz, senior vice president at Assael, helped to judge part one of the entries but was not present for live judging.
Here are this year’s winners.
The President’s Trophy is the top prize of the contest, awarded to the piece that was considered to be the most beautiful. It has to have an original design concept, be well-made, celebrate pearls, and “leave a lasting impression of pearls as must-have gems.”
This year’s U.S. winner was the “Oceana” pearl earrings by Tariq Riaz LLC. The earrings, seen in the main image, are 18-karat white, rose, and yellow gold with 4.5mm to 6.6 mm Akoya pearls, 21 x 15 mm South Sea pearls, and 10 x 7 mm freshwater pearls, as well as 7.40 carats of diamonds, 1.28 carats of pink sapphires, and 1.25 carats of tsavorites.
The international winner was the “Kentsugi” bracelet by Shikha Pathak for C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers of India.
Made in 18-karat yellow gold, the bracelet features 8 mm to 20mm white, pinkish-, and champagne-colored South Sea cultured pearls, mother-of-pearl with gold inlay, and round and baguette-cut diamonds.
The Luster Award is given to the piece that displays “covetable and marketable concepts” with wide appeal for the marketplace. A new requirement for this year’s contest is the piece must retail for $3,000 or less.
The U.S. winner was the Tahitian Pearl Drawstring earrings by Chaulri. Set in 18-karat white gold, the earrings feature Tahitian black pearls, diamonds, and removable neon pink drawstring bows. The pair retails for $1,720.
The international winner is the “Venus” ring set by Neu & Tim of Japan.
The rings are made in 10-karat pink and yellow gold with a 7.5 mm to 8 mm Akoya pearl center and 3 mm to 5 mm Akoya pearls on companion bands. The set retails for $2,910.
The Visionary Award goes to the piece with a design concept that combats challenges the idea that pearls are dated. The piece must also be attractive, creative, and salable.
The U.S. winner is the “Nautilus” earrings by Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry Inc.
The earrings feature proprietary gradient “SpectraGold” with an ombré suite of 36 pearls ranging from 10.6 mm golden South Sea pearls graduating down to 2.5 mm white Akoya pearls with 0.48 total carats of pavé-set diamonds.
In the international division, there was a two-way tie.
The first winner was the “Bubble” ring by Melanie Georgacopoulos of Melanie Georgacopoulos of the U.K. The ring is made of 18-karat rose gold and set with a 13 mm Tahitian pearl.
The second winner is the “Overtone” earrings by Alexia Gryllaki of Alexia Gryllaki of Greece.
The 18-karat yellow gold earrings feature Tahitian pearls, 2.63 total carats pear-shape garnets, 1.1 total carats tapered baguette-cut diamonds, and 0.44 total carats emeralds.
Wedding Day Pearls
The Wedding Day Pearls award goes to the piece a contemporary bride or groom would wear on their wedding day.
This year’s U.S. winner is the “Sunrise Revisited, Tribute to Monet” pin/pendant by S. D. Cusson LLC.
The piece is comprised of three flexible sections of 18-karat white and yellow gold with one 13.12 mm South Sea golden pearl, 1.70 total carats round yellow and green tourmaline, 1.19 total carats round mandarin garnets, 0.65 total carats round blue sapphires, 0.35 total carats round yellow sapphires, and 0.25 total carats round diamonds.
In the international division, the “Kentsugi” bracelet mentioned previously also won this category.
The Fashion Award goes to the piece that displays a “youthful, high-fashion, and original pearl jewelry design.”
This year’s U.S. winner was the “Treasure of the Sea” bracelet by Crevoshay, the New Mexico-based company headed by designer Paula Crevoshay.
Set in 18-karat yellow gold, the bracelet features 11 mm white South Sea pearls, 9.88 total carats sapphires, 8.62 total carats moonstones, 8.07 total carats tsavorite garnets, and 6.09 total carats diamonds.
The international winner was the “Knotty Pearls” body accessory by Shakshi Poddar for C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers of India.
The convertible body chain necklace features 18-karat yellow gold with 2 mm to 12 mm Tahitian and South Sea pearls and round brilliant-cut diamonds.
The Spotlight Award honors a different pearl variety each year. This year the pearl of choice was baroque-shaped pearls of all varieties, saltwater and freshwater.
The category highlighted designs where 75 percent of the piece featured a baroque-shaped pearl. The winner had to showcase the pearl in a clever way and create a design that would entice a person who was not a fan of pearls to start collecting.
The U.S. winner was the detachable South Sea baroque pearl, natural Namibian chalcedony, and diamond earrings by Ashleigh Branstetter of Ashleigh Branstetter.
The earrings are set in 18-karat white gold with rhodium with baroque 18.19 x 15.75 mm and 18.24 x 15.83 mm white South Sea cultured pearls, 25.09 total carats Namibian chalcedony, and 1.58 total carats diamonds.
The international winner was the “Pan’s Tree” brooch by YiJ Jewelry of China.
The brooch is made in 18-karat gold and black gold with freshwater keshi pearls, yellow and brown diamonds, and rubies.
Retailer’s Choice Award
To bestow the Retailer’s Choice Award, the CPAA asked 4,000 jewelers to choose their favorite piece from the U.S. finalists.
The winner was the “Thermal Blue Byzance” earrings by Katerina Wheeler of Katerina Evanthia.
The earrings are set in 14-karat rose gold with natural-color blue Akoya pearls and 6.48 total carats of princess-cut blue topaz.
The Student Award goes to a piece of jewelry, either sketched or presented in a CAD rendering, created by a student with a design that is “fresh, modern, wearable, and defies outdated thoughts about wearing pearls.”
It was a tie this year between two students from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
One winner was the “Voguedelier” earrings by Victor Rouesné, which were inspired by the Art Deco movement and Vogue magazine covers from the mid-1920s.
The design is meant to be crafted in 18-karat yellow gold with white freshwater pearls ranging in size from 3 mm to 7.5 mm.
The second winner was the Ribbon statement necklace by Luna Gwak. The necklace would be made in 18-karat rose gold with Akoya pearls, white diamonds, pink morganite, and light green beryl.
Several pieces from the U.S. division will go on display and sale at the Aaron Faber Gallery in New York City.
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