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MJSA Announces Winners of the 2016 Vision Awards Design Competition





(Press Release)
MJSA, the U.S. trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, honored 10 designs in its 2016 MJSA Vision Awards competition. Celebrating creativity, craftsmanship and technological prowess, the awards recognized both professional and student achievements in seven categories, including the first Responsible Practices Distinction for combining stellar design with ethical sourcing and sustainable manufacturing.

The 2016 winners are:

First Place, Professional Excellence, 4+ Years in Business:
Klaus Kutter of A Jour Jewelry Inc. in Bristol, Rhode Island, for a 19k white gold and tourmaline ring. Using CAD/CAM and a laser, Kutter assembled the ring from 19 separate pieces to create a "floating" effect.

Second Place, Professional Excellence, 4+ Years in Business:
Ian Douglas of Inspired Jewellery in Wellington, New Zealand, for his "Legend of Maui" pendant. The pendant commemorates the Maori demigod who, according to folklore, raised a New Zealand island from the ocean’s depths.

First Place, Professional Excellence, 1-3 Years in Business:
Baiyang Qiu of BQ Jewelry in Milpitas, California, for her "Emerging" brooch. Hand fabricated from wire, it depicts the emergence of a butterfly from the chrysalis. This is the second year in a row that Qiu won first place in this category.


Second Place, Professional Excellence, 1-3 Years in Business:
Gina Ferranti of GiGi Ferranti Jewelry in Brooklyn, New York, for her "Shangri-La" ring, which features a 15.38 ct., asymmetrical peachy-pink morganite.

CAD/CAM Distinction:
Gregoré Morin of Gregoré Joailliers in Santa Barbara, California, for his "Pink Buddha" earrings. Using the 3D-Coat digital sculpting program, he was able to perfect a Buddha face and, through Matrix/Rhino and a Rhino-based CAM program called Madcam, transfer the Buddha’s eyes onto pink opal.

Laser Distinction:
Baiyang Qiu of BQ Jewelry in Milpitas, California, for a "Bubble" brooch/pendant. Inspired by a childhood memory of playing with bubbles, the intricate wire-mesh piece is made of 29 gauge platinum and contains more than 300 laser-welded joints.

Custom Design Distinction:
Cynthia Renée of Cynthia Renée Inc. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for a "Medallion" bracelet/pendant in which an assemblage of gemstones (centered by a rare 20.52 ct. yellow danburite) can be worn as a pendant or inserted into a Lucite bracelet.

Responsible Practices Distinction:
Sandy Leong of Sandy Leong Fine Jewelry in New York City for her Black Diamond Tennis Bracelet. The bracelet features 18k recycled yellow gold, 23.46 ctw of ethically sourced fancy diamonds, and a pavé trim of conflict-free white diamonds.

First Place, Future of the Industry Award (for students):
Seung Jeon Paik of Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah, Georgia, for "Union" and "The Wish," two pieces that adapt the traditional granulation technique to create the appearance of metal particles "floating." Paik also won first place this year in the Silver/Argentium Silver category of the Saul Bell Design Award competition.


Second Place, Future of the Industry Award:
Jizhi Li of Academy of Art University in San Francisco for a leg adornment that incorporates cloisonné enameling.

In addition to cash awards, gift certificates for tools and supplies, and (for the students) scholarship funds, the winners will be profiled in the August issue of MJSA Journal and promoted through ads in both Instore and Metalsmith (the competition’s media sponsors). All of the winning entries will be on display at the 2017 MJSA Expo at the Javits Center in New York City.

This year’s Vision Award judges were Michael Coan, Fashion Institute of Technology; Ann Cahoon, North Bennet Street School; Lisa Krikawa, Krikawa Jewelry Design; Adam Neeley, Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry; Trace Shelton, Indesign magazine; and Robin Waynee, Ryan Roberts Ltd.

The 2016 Vision Award sponsors were Century Casting (Custom Design Distinction), EnvisionTEC (CAD/CAM Distinction), LaserStar Technologies (Laser Distinction), Rio Grande (General Sponsor), Umicore Precious Metals (Responsible Practices Distinction), the MJSA Education Foundation (Future of the Industry Award), and Instore and Metalsmith magazines (Media Sponsors).

For more information and to view the winning pieces, go to




When the Kids Have Their Own Careers, Wilkerson Can Help You to Retire

Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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