|Best of Show: 'Tropical Storm' Ring by James Currens of J.W. Currens. Platinum ring is centered with a 22.10-carat emerald surrounded by swirling patterns of diamonds (11.47 ctw.). This piece also took first place in the Classical category.|
Colored gemstone jewelry took center stage Monday as the American Gem Trade Association announced the winners of its annual Spectrum Awards competition and allowed the press to view nearly all of the entries at an undisclosed location in New York.
|Best Use of Color: Erica Courtney's 18k yellow gold earrings feature boulder opals (22.84 ctw.) and fire opals (2.62 ctw.) accented with orange sapphires (1.75 ctw.) and Paraiba tourmalines (.70 ctw.).|
Lined up on tabletops in an unadorned room was a variety of pieces representing the wealth of diversity and creativity of the worldwide jewelry industry. The competition and showcase, in its 30th year, is organized by the American Gem Trade Association, a North American trade organization representing the colored gem and cultured pearl industries. This competition is by far the largest and most prestigious for those who create with natural colored gemstones and cultured pearls.
The AGTA Spectrum Awards serves as the closest thing in the jewelry industry to gauge fashion trends. Unlike the other industries, the production cycle involving jewelry is much slower. Gather the materials, building the pieces and distributing them takes time. Plus, fine jewelry of the quality on display at the Spectrum Awards is designed to be a long-term purchase—even an investment. Finally, these pieces are largely created by individuals and small firms. They are more inclined to reflect a personal style rather than international fashion trends. These pieces, particularly the winners, will help set the standard for the coming year.
As far as trends do go there were a few. The mixing of colors seemed more dramatic this year. The best example of this is Erica Courtney’s 18k yellow gold earrings (second picture) with its mix of boulder opals, fire opals, orange sapphires and Paraiba tourmalines.
|Best Use of Pearls: 18K white gold drop earrings by Anil Maloo, Baggins, Inc., that feature 32 Japanese Akoya cultured pearls accented with round brilliant Diamonds (4.43 ctw.). It was also the winner of the Bridal Wear category.|
Pearl jewelry showed more variety. There were necklaces made with carved pearls and multicolored pearls. For bridal, white is still the way to go but Anil Maloo, who took first place in the “Bridal Wear” category, managed to mix shades with drop earrings in a cage design using white gold and white diamonds with white Japanese Akoya cultured pearls peeking out through the openings of the cage (pictured above).
|Business/Day Wear - 1st Place: 22K and 18K yellow gold "Blue Waters" necklace with opal doublets and diamonds (1.86 ctw.) by Jonathan Lee Rutledge of Jonathan Lee Rutledge, Inc.|
The one trend that involves color has been going on for so long now that it’s difficult to still describe it as a trend. Obviously color was always part of the mix in jewelry. However, during the global recession, jewelry designers and manufacturers were looking for ways to create less expensive jewelry with high design. One way was to creatively add color through a mix of less expensive gemstones to offset the spike in gold prices and more expensive diamonds.
|Evening Wear - 1st Place: Platinum and white gold "Blue Fin" ring by Leon Mege of Leon Mege, Inc. This ring features a 12.75 ct. Paraiba Tourmaline cabochon accented with diamonds.|
This has created an explosion of creativity in all price points that continues today and now serves as a dominate part of fine jewelry design.