The industry’s most influential contemporary designers are showcasing their latest jewelry designs.
My 7 Picks from the AGTA Spectrum Awards
Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator blogs on the pieces she loved and why.
Being a part of the AGTA Spectrum competition is the stuff of which a gem hound’s dreams are made.
This year, my participation started with having the privilege of judging, along with four other amazing women, the entries for WJA’s Gem Diva awards. We had to narrow down the 150-plus entries to four winners.
After judging on Sunday, I was itching to spend more time with all the entries and to take pictures. Luckily, just two days later, I returned to the beautiful, sunlit loft space in New York where AGTA holds the Editors’ Event every year to spend hours playing with the hundreds of pieces that were submitted.
The quality of the entries seemed better than ever, and there were a few things, stone-wise, that stood out to me: I was so happy to see a few trapiche sapphires in the competition this year, as well as some jade and a stronger showing from spinel.
While it’s always hard to narrow it down to a few favorites, I wanted to go beyond the winners list a little to show you some of my selects from the day.
(It goes without saying: this is a non-exhaustive list. I probably could’ve written about four times as many entries but wanted to spare you all a long blog. Check out our Instagram, though, as we’ll continue to post more favorites there.)
The summer jewel.
Bella Campbell of Campbellian Collection knows how to pick gems, how to pair them and how to set them. I love the vibrancy of the orange in the spessartite garnets in these earrings and the cabochon spinel in the center. The black rhodium over 18-karat gold gives them a little edge to create a pair of earrings I think anyone would be happy to wear in the warm days of summer.
The fashion-forward piece.
Look, I’m not going to lie. The thing that first had me speed-walking to this piece was the cluster of spinels. But there was so much more to it, as I found out as soon as I put it on. This two-finger “Pink Peony” 14-karat white gold ring by Dallas Prince Designs was comfortable--I could easily move my hand around--and well made. I fell for it hard and fast, and was ready to push for this ring to be a winner during the Gem Diva judging. Happily, I didn’t need to because
The creative use of a crystal.
Readers, meet “Frankenstein.” I grabbed this piece, which is 14-karat white gold with rhodium and black rhodium plating, off the table to take a look at the green chrome tourmaline crystal and then saw the wiring in the back. Confused, I looked down at the label, saw that it was titled “Frankenstein,” turned the piece around to take a look, and then cackled once I took it all in. I love the creativity behind this piece and its sense of humor. Thanks for that treat, Jennifer Kellogg. I’m a fan.
The everyday piece.
These earrings from Mark Loren ended up winning the Editors’ Choice Award once the Spectrum press day had wrapped, and it’s not hard to see why--the contrast of the agate druzy slices with the faceted green tourmalines, pink topaz, amethyst and diamonds is perfect. I would wear these time and time again, both dressed up and dressed down.
The hidden accent.
Everyone loves the romanticism of a hidden feature on a piece of jewelry, something that no one but the wearer, and a few others, know is there. This platinum ring from Omi Prive is perfect from start to the finish of a secret gem: a vibrant black opal on top, accented with paraiba tourmalines, blue sapphires and diamonds. Then flip it upside down and you’ve got a sweet tsavorite garnet acting as the cherry on top (or, rather, on bottom) of one gorgeous sundae.
The innovative pearl.
A lot of companies and designers are trying to do new things with pearls to make them relevant to today’s consumers, but I think little h is one of the designers doing it best. Her innovative way of slicing open pearls and embedding them with gemstones has such an edgy, updated look, and I think the design of these earrings, with Tahitian cultured pearls, emeralds, keshi pearls and baroque pearls, offers an intriguing look but in a way that’s subtle enough and delicate enough they could easily be worn by many and on a regular basis.
The gem in my future collection.
That title may be hyperbole, but I’m going to be optimistic and pretend like it’s not. It’s amazing how stones can elicit such strong reactions from people, and this 12.56-carat unheated Ceylon padparadscha sapphire--honorable mention winner in the Classic Gemstone Cutting Edge category--swept me off my feet. The color and saturation were out of this world and kept drawing me back, like a moth to a flame. After I got to hold it, I looped back around to the display case a few more times just to see it again.
Created by Maitri Lab-Grown Diamonds and graded by IGI, it’s slightly bigger than the record-setting lab-grown diamond GIA just examined.
The marketing agency has integrated its first C-suite.
The most trusted diamond report, available in print or the GIA App.
The jewelry trade show also will debut educational content centered around social media.
Luxury kicks off today, with the full show in swing on Friday.
One of the three new collections was inspired by the legend of a woman who traded her mansion to Cartier for two strands of natural pearls.
Navigate origin determination with Continuing Education seminars offered by the GIA Alumni Collective™.
Rob Ballew will be tasked with communicating the jewelry giant’s plans and financial performance to investors.
With the app, customers receive a 15-day insurance offer on new purchases while their coverage needs are being evaluated.
It is in House of Showfields, a bazaar-style retail space in the borough’s Williamsburg neighborhood.
From consumer trends to retail technology, these are the JCK Talks sessions that should be on attendees’ radar.
Signature pieces from Cartier and David Webb will appear in the June jewelry auction.
They will be celebrated at the annual dinner dance and gala in the fall.
Gemologists have long used machines in diamond grading but technology has made it possible for them to “learn” how to do it on their own.
Supplier Spotlight Sponsored by IGI
Watch retailers Jeffery Bolling and Bobby Bengivengo discuss employee training, customer education and the sticky subject of future value.
The company has plans to revamp the Movado brand and offer less expensive watches this year.
Set with a 118-carat unheated Sri Lankan sapphire, it just sold for $3.4 million at Phillips jewelry auction in Hong Kong.
Sponsored by Noam Carver
As cybercrime incidents threaten the industry, jewelers need to know what they’re up against and the best ways to protect their businesses.
The Pittsburgh jeweler is redoing the lighting and showcases, and adding a full hospitality bar as well as new shop-in-shops.
The Yurman Family Crystalline Pass is inside the museum’s brand-new Richard Gilder Center.
Zale has more than 40 years’ experience in the diamond industry, including 17 years as Stuller’s VP of diamonds and gemstones procurement.
The Strip is full of new restaurant and entertainment offerings.
National Jeweler’s senior editor covering fashion, trends, and design highlights the latest looks in the market.
The D-color, internally flawless, Type IIa stone will be offered without reserve.