Events & Awards

Two Entries Named ‘Best Of Show’ in 2023 AGTA Spectrum Awards

Events & AwardsNov 02, 2023

Two Entries Named ‘Best Of Show’ in 2023 AGTA Spectrum Awards

AGTA CEO John Ford said it was one of the design competition’s best years ever.

Omi Privé black opal platinum ring and a suite of four oval Paraíba-type tourmalines
A platinum ring from Niveet Nagpal at Omi Privé featuring a 15.22-carat black opal won AGTA Spectrum Awards’ Best of Show honor in the Spectrum division. This suite of four oval Paraíba-type tourmalines (31.01 total carats) from Joseph Ambalu of Amba Gem Corp took home Best of Show honors in the Cutting Edge division.
Dallas—The American Gem Trade Association has announced the winners of the 2023 AGTA Spectrum & Cutting Edge Awards.

The competition again took place in Dallas on Oct. 24-25 at the Omni Frisco Hotel, which was a sponsor for the event along with Platinum Guild International, and the Women’s Jewelry Association.

“This year’s awards are one of our best ever,” said AGTA CEO John W. Ford Sr. 

“We had an additional 100 entries this year over last, and many of them had stunning green and blue-green gems. The Omni hotels are the new home of the awards for the next few years, and we hope to take the competition national, to other Omni venues.”

The judges this year were: Allan Koo, A. Koo & Co.; Brent Malgarin, Elegant Gems Ltd.; Christina Gandia Gambale, Greenwich St. Jewelers; Lika Behar, Lika Behar Jewelry; and Clayton Bromberg, Underwood’s Jewelers in Jacksonville, Florida.

“The 2023 AGTA Spectrum & Cutting Edge Awards have a new home and a new vibe,” said Kimberly Collins, owner of Kimberly Collins Colored Gems and president of the AGTA board of directors. 

“Our judges were amazing and worked so well together. They seemed to be extremely on the same page with the selections they made. As always, the integrity of the judging competition is of the upmost importance. I felt the winners had a classic, timeless aesthetic this year. I’m so proud to be part of a judging competition that holds itself to the most stringent standards.”

Spectrum award entries are judged on overall beauty and wearability, innovative design, effective use of materials, quality of gemstones, quality of workmanship, broad‐based consumer appeal and potential to generate positive publicity for natural colored gemstones.

Cutting Edge awards honor excellence and creativity in lapidary arts, including natural colored gemstones and cultured pearls, carvings, and other gem materials.

Many of the winning pieces will be on display at the 2024 AGTA GemFair Tucson, slated for Jan. 30–Feb. 4 in Tucson, Arizona. 

Winners will be recognized at the organization’s Spectrum gala on Feb. 3, 2024 in the newly built addition to the Tucson Convention Center. 

Here they are.

“Best of” Awards
Best of Show – Spectrum: Niveet Nagpal, Omi Privé
Best of Show – Cutting Edge (and Best of Single Entries – Cutting Edge): Joseph Ambalu, Amba Gem Corp.
Best of Single Entries – Spectrum: Joseph Campanelli, Campanelli & Pear
Best Use of Color: Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore LLC 
Best Use of Pearl: Fannie Thomas, Fannie Thomas Jewelry
Fashion Forward: Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore LLC
Best Use of Platinum and Color: Mary van der Aa, Mary van der Aa Fine Jewels, in collaboration with Tucson Todd’s Gems (gem cutter and supplier)
Best Use of Platinum Crown: Adam Neeley, Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry Inc.

See: The Competition’s “Best Of” Winners 

 

Bridal Wear
First Place (and Best Use of Platinum Crown): Adam Neeley, Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry Inc.
Second Place: Niveet Nagpal, Omi Privé
Third Place: Benjamin Javaheri, Uneek Jewelry
Honorable Mention: Gabriel Angulo, Pompos Jewelry Corporation
Manufacturing Honors: Bella Campbell, BHI/Campbellian Collection
Platinum Honors: Dallas Prince, Dallas Prince Designs
Gem DIVA Award: Erica Courtney, Erica Courtney LLC

Business/Day Wear
First Place: Gabriel Angulo, Pompos Jewelry Corp.
Second Place: Wolfgang Vaatz, Earth Terra Erde Inc.
Third Place: Gabriel Angulo, Pompos Jewelry Corp.
Honorable Mention: Randy Coffin, Coffin & Trout Fine Jewelers
Platinum Honors: Raja Mehta, AG Gems
Gem DIVA Award: Svetlana Kayton, Svetlana Lazar, in collaboration with Paul Dragone

Classical
First Place: Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore LLC
Second Place: Gabriel Angulo, Pompos Jewelry Corp.
Third Place (and Best Use of Pearls, and Gem DIVA Award): Fannie Thomas, Fannie Thomas Jewelry
Platinum Innovation (and Best Use of Color): Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore LLC
Honorable Mention: Kim Nel, Alpha Inc. /DBA Brian Gavin Diamonds, in collaboration with Brian Gavin as an adviser/mentor
Manufacturing Honors: Jenn Breznen, Mined + Found
Platinum Honors: Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore LLC 

See: The Spectrum First Place Winners 


Evening Wear
First Place (and Best of Show): Niveet Nagpal, Omi Privé
Second Place: Beatrix Laura Jessner, B & W Jewels
Third Place: Adam Neeley, Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry Inc. in collaboration with gem cutter Stephen Avery
Platinum Innovation: Shawndria Aghjayan, Harout R LLC, in collaboration with gemstone setter Wilson Amores 
Platinum Innovation: Shawndria Aghjayan, Harout R LLC
Honorable Mention: Nikki Swift, Nicole Mera
Manufacturing Honors: Marcia Budet, Marcia Budet
Platinum Honors: Helen Kim Currens, J.W. Currens Inc.
Best Use of Platinum and Color: Mary van der Aa, Mary van der Aa Fine Jewels
Gem Diva Award: Anita Agrawal, Jewels 4 Ever/Vartanian Jewellers, in collaboration with designer Anita Agrawal and Kevork Vartanian (CAD)
 
Men’s Wear
First Place: Niveet Nagpal, Omi Privé
Second Place: Carl Larson, AntiHero
Third Place: Marc Hollmuller, Somewhere In The Rainbow
Platinum Innovation: Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore LLC
Honorable Mention (and Manufacturing Honors): Michael Endlich, Pave Fine Jewelry
Platinum Honors: Inken Krause, Enhoerning Jewelry
Gem DIVA Award: Robin Callahan, Robin Callahan Designs LLC

Editors’ Choice Awards (photos not available as of press time) 
Spectrum: Ai Van Pham, Gem & Gold Creations 
Cutting Edge: Bryan Lichtenstein, 3090 Gems, LLC 

 Related stories will be right here … 


Here are the winners of the 2023 Cutting Edge Awards.

Classic Gemstones
First Place: Ron Rahmanan, Sara Gem
Second Place: Intercolor USA
Third Place: Ron Rahmanan, Sara Gem 
Honorable Mention: Ron Rahmanan, Sara Gem

All Other Cut Gemstones
First Place: Desmond Chan, Gem Arts International, in collaboration with gem cutter Joyce Wang and Scott Laborie (gem diagram designer) 
Second Place: David Nassi, 100% Natural Ltd. 
Third Place: David Nassi, 100% Natural Ltd.
Honorable Mention: Bryan Lichtenstein, 3090 Gems LLC
Honorable Mention: Jaimeen Shah, Prima Gems USA

Carving
First Place: Patrick Dreher, Dreher Carvings LLC
Second Place: Meg Berry, Milstead Gems LLC 
Third Place: Brandon Messing, BM Gems
Honorable Mention: Meg Berry, Megagem 

See: The Cutting Edge First Place Winners 

 
Innovative Faceting
First Place: Bryan D. Drummond, Drummond Gems & Jewelry
Second Place: Lee Haynes, LWH Gems   
Third Place: Christopher Wolfsberg, Fossilium/Roy Leggitt
Honorable Mention: Larry Woods, Gem Arts International
 
North American Mined Gemstones
First Place: Ben Kho, Kho International 
Second Place: Dalan Hargrave, Somewhere In The Rainbow
Third Place: Derek Katzenbach, Katzenbach Designs Inc.
Honorable Mention: Derek Katzenbach, Katzenbach Designs Inc.

Objects of Art
First Place: Patrick Dreher, Dreher Carvings LLC
Second Place: Desmond Chan, Gem Arts International, in collaboration with gem carver Yan Ge 
Third Place: Kent Raible, Raible Studios LLC
Honorable Mention: Ziad H. Noshie, Almaza Jewelers
 
Pairs and Suites
First Place (and Best of Single Entries Cutting Edge, and Best of Show): Joseph Ambalu, Amba Gem Corp.   
Second Place: Justin Zaroovabeli, The Rare Gem LLC
Third Place: Ron Rahmanan, Sara Gem
Honorable Mention: Stephen M. Avery, Stephen M. Avery

Phenomenal
First Place: David Nassi, 100% Natural, Ltd.  
Second Place: Bryan Lichtenstein, 3090 Gems LLC  
Third Place: Bruce Furst, The Cutter’s Bench 
Honorable Mention: Neal Hurni, Lewis and Clark Sapphires LLC  

Sponsor Platinum Guild International (PGI) gives out the “Best Use of Platinum and Color” and “Best Use of Platinum Crown” awards.  

It also sponsors “Platinum Honors,” which recognizes outstanding use of platinum in colored gemstone and/or cultured pearl jewelry in 11 Spectrum Awards categories, and the “Platinum Innovation” awards in the Bridal Wear, Business/Day Wear, Evening Wear, Classical, and Men’s categories.  

WJA sponsors the WJA “Gem Diva” grants awards in the Bridal Wear, Evening Wear, Classical and Business/Day Wear categories. All women who enter the AGTA Spectrum Awards competition are eligible for this category. 

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