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Here Are the Winners of the INDESIGN Awards (Colored Gemstone Jewelry Category)

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The INDESIGN Awards competition recognizes the most creative jewelry of the year — and now, it’s time to reveal the winners!

More than 150 entries were received in eight categories, each piece more stunning than the last. In order to determine the very best of the best, we recruited seven judges – four top retailers and three important industry influencers – to vote on their favorites in a “blind voting” process. We also opened voting to retailers, and nearly 3,000 votes were cast to decide the “Retailer’s Choice” winner in each category.

And like last year, we wanted to recognize an up-and-coming designer who most embodied the inventive spirit so long encouraged by our colleague Cindy Edelstein, who passed away in January 2016 but not before helping us build this design competition.

Each weekday through June 1 we’ll bring you the winners from a different category, along with judges’ comments. Today’s category: Colored Gemstone Jewelry.

Also be sure to check out our photo gallery showing all of the entries from each category. From never-before-seen material combinations to unusual shapes and arrangements to “just right” color mixes, you’ll see where design is headed and, ultimately, where your clients are headed as well.

 

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SEE THE WINNERS IN OTHER CATEGORIES HERE

 

 

1ST PLACE (Colored Gemstone Jewelry Category)

WENDY BRANDES

One-of-a-kind, two-finger ring in 18K yellow gold with 1.55-carat mint-green grossular garnet from Tanzania, 5.50-carat spessartite garnet from Tanzania, 1.27-carat Mahenge spinel from Tanzania and eight diamond baguettes (0.47 TCW)

Price on request

The simple, stunning beauty of this ring by Wendy Brandes may not immediately conjure visions of hardscrabble African mines, but that’s precisely the inspiration behind it. The ring was produced in collaboration with ANZA Gems, founded by jewelry blogger Monica Stephenson of iDazzle, who personally sources rough in Tanzania and Kenya then brings it back to the U.S. to be cut and integrated into designs. 10 percent of the profits from sales of the finished pieces go back to schools in Africa.

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“It’s a story about the ethical use of colored gems, and, to honor that, I wanted all the focus to be on the gems,” says Brandes. “The color of each individual gem in the ring is stunning, but when you put them together, the effect is electric.”

Brandes’ own line of jewelry is incredibly intricate, but for her ANZA collaborations, she chose to streamline her designs to allow the large gemstones to stand out. It’s an approach that’s paid off. Says Brandes: “Customers’ jaws literally drop when they see this ring in person. I’m not kidding!”

WHAT THE JUDGES SAY

“The unusual color combination, specialty cut stones and sculptural design knock this ring out of the park. Would love to see how it looks on!” – Tara Silberberg

“The design is modern and fashion-forward, allowing the gemstones to be the focus.” – Jenny Luker

“Nice combination of colors and shapes. The baguettes add a dressy note.” – Paul Schneider

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“Such unique stones in creative positions. This ring is extremely special.” – Nadine McCarthy Kahane

“The color combination of these ANZA gems is simply striking.  The design lets the gemstones shine and be the center of attention, and in this case, it’s a good thing!” – Danielle Miele

“I love how these stones appear to float between the wearer’s fingers. The bright and colorful stones are paired together in an almost unexpected way. The baguette diamonds are the perfect finishing touch.” – Amanda Gizzi

 
 
 

2ND PLACE
(Colored Gemstone Jewelry Category)

Margery Hirschey

22K gold earrings with emerald (14.75 TCW)

$15,400

WHAT THE JUDGES SAY

“I love everything about these earrings. I love the variation of stone shape, the asymmetrical design, the beauty of the emeralds and the movement the settings create.” – Amanda Gizzi

“Thoughtfully and beautifully constructed. These earrings are absolutely gorgeous!” – Tara Silberberg

“My kind of jewelry. Organic form with imperfect stones that move naturally.” – Paul Schneider

“These are amazing! I love the asymmetry and the overall lightness to the piece.” – Nadine McCarthy Kahane

“I’ve seen these in person and they’re pretty incredible!  I also like the fact that the gemstones are oriented differently.” – Danielle Miele

 
 
 

3RD PLACE
(Colored Gemstone Jewelry Category)

Martha Seely Design

Ceres Spiral earrings from the Inspiro collection featuring aquamarine “planets” surrounded with double rings of 14K yellow gold, each pavé set with 70 diamonds

$8,385

WHAT THE JUDGES SAY

“The rough appearance of the aquamarines are beautifully balanced by the fluidity of the yellow gold and diamond earrings.” – Amanda Gizzi

“Very cool, love detail of the organic pavé. Great combination of organic and stylized elements.” – Tara Silberberg

“They look like mobiles that sparkle. The uncut stones are a great juxtaposition.” – Paul Schneider

“Extremely graceful earrings. These would move beautifully as you walk!” – Nadine McCarthy Kahane

“Cool from every angle — love the length on these and the rough gem in the center. If it were faceted, it would totally have a different feel.” – Danielle Miele

 

RETAILER’S CHOICE
(Colored Gemstone Jewelry Category)

Uneek Jewelry

From the Royal Blue Collection featuring 6.12-carat emerald-cut natural sapphire center with trapezoid-cut diamond side stones (0.94 TCW) and pavé double shank (approx. 0.27 TCW)

$85,750

“This is what a jeweler dreams about! OMG, this is exquisite.” – Sheila Tompkins, Tompkins Jeweler, Ashland, VA

 

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