1ST PLACE: THESIS GEMS & JEWELRY
Wave collection ring featuring Sea of Cortez “U” grade mabe pearl with 2mm tsavorites and Canadian diamonds (VS-F/G) in hammered 18K recycled gold
“Imagine the feeling of meditating across a body of water, toes digging into the sand.
I want the wearer of this piece to sense something tangible and abstract at the same moment.” So says Cate Claus, designer for Thesis Gems & Jewelry. A practicing pediatrician, Claus founded Thesis out of a love for jewelry as an intersection of art, nature and history, and out of a personal mandate to provide ethically-mined, environmentally sustainable jewelry.
When creating this particular ring, Claus strove for balance, texture and color — and according to our judges, succeeded. “I wanted to showcase the enigmatic Sea of Cortez pearl, the vivid Bridges tsavorites, the gorgeous Hoover and Strong recycled gold and Canadian diamond melee. Most notably, I am so proud and impressed with my goldsmiths and gem-setter in how they were able to capture and contrast a quality that is both refined and rustic, almost ancient.”
Claus’s jewelry is connected to nature through design, but also through a philosophy. “Every gem and pearl featured in my work is scrupulously sourced with acute attention to fair trade practices and environmental resilience,” she says. “Aesthetically, I am particularly inspired by the science and magic of phenomenal gemstones: iridescence, adularescence, opalescence, and color shifts. The pieces are finely made to honor the materials, and are crafted with substantial gold as they are intentionally designed to wear as much as possible and every day.”
WHAT THE JUDGES SAY
JJ: The juxtaposition of materials and textures make this ring a winner. The hand-hammered shank against the smooth mabe pearl, the tsavorite versus diamond halo. I truly love the bold choice of the tsavorite versus the sparkle of the white diamond to harness the colors of the pearl.
EH: This is a totally mesmerizing ring. It would be hard to focus on what someone is saying who is wearing this ring, as I think I would be seriously distracted by it! The pearl alone is fabulous, but the tsavorites around the bezel really make it spectacular.
RS: This mabe pearl ring is so magnificent in its color and luster. The tsavorites and gold setting are wonderful. A true statement ring.
2ND PLACE: LITTLE H
14K yellow gold matte finished bale holding a carved Tahitian drop pearl with reclaimed emeralds (2.00 TCW) set in the carved area
WHAT THE JUDGES SAY
LU: Pearls are rooted in my DNA. #JewelleryFace — where my face was adorned with pearls — is one of my favorite and most famous looks to date. I am always on the lookout for that special pearl piece. Little H pushes the boundaries of what we expect from pearl jewelry; her pieces are unique but still very wearable. Hisano Shepherd uses reclaimed stones from vintage jewelry in her creations and combines pearls with gemstones and crafts them into unusual shapes and designs.
JJ: This piece is fit for the reigning mermaid queen. The tendril of gold is like sunlight plunging through the depths of a pearl and emerald sea. Little H’s use of light and dark, shimmer and sparkle in this piece truly makes it one of my favorites. Well done, Little H.
RS: Little H delivers another giant wowzer. Love the color of this Tahitian pearl, and the reclaimed emeralds are so jaggedly fabulous.
3RD PLACE and RETAILER'S CHOICE: LITTLE H
Ruby earrings in 14K yellow gold from the Spiral collection with reclaimed rubies set in radially carved freshwater nucleated pearls and carved freshwater soufflé pearls set with reclaimed amethysts
WHAT THE JUDGES SAY
JJ: This is some incredible use of color and texture in a pearl competition. The halo of ruby surrounding the top pearls holds the light nicely across the surface. While the central element sparkles, the bottom element captures the glow.
RS: Little H pearly drop earrings. LOVE!
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