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Rio Grande Announces Winners of 2019 Saul Bell Design Award Competition

Finalists were selected from hundreds of entries submitted by designers from around the world.




(PRESS RELEASE) At a celebration dinner held on May 19 in Albuquerque, NM, Rio Grande announced the winners of the 19th annual Saul Bell Design Award competition. In this international competition, finalists were selected from hundreds of entries submitted by designers from around the world. The pieces epitomize the very best of the jewelry industry in creativity, design and fabrication. Through two rounds of rigorous judging, experts drawn from across the jewelry industry chose first- and second-place winners, as well as a single best-of-show recipient, from designs submitted in nine competitive categories. Prizes, awards and congratulations were presented to each winning designer at the gala dinner and celebration event, which coincided with the Santa Fe Symposium jewelry technology conference.

The winning designs, as well as all finalist pieces, are featured online at with high-resolution photos of each entry.

Since launching in 2001, the Saul Bell Design Award has become one of the most sought-after prizes for jewelers and metalsmiths worldwide. For information about the 2020 Saul Bell Design Award competition, designers are invited to visit, email or call 800.952.6222.

Rio Grande thanks all of the artists who submitted their work, as well as the judges who carefully evaluated their submissions. And we congratulate each of the winners and finalists, whose work rose to a level of craftsmanship and creativity that, as always, is breathtaking.

2019 Saul Bell Design Award Competition Winners

Best of Show
“Lineal Alchemy” by Debbie Sheezel (Melbourne, Australia)


First Place: “Spirit & Flame” by Sandra McEwen (Raleigh, NC)
Second Place: “The Endless Love” by Garen Garibian (Los Angeles, CA)

First Place: “Moebius No.1” by Pierre-Yves Paquette (Saint-Jerome, QC, Canada)
Second Place: “Star Hen Galaxy Pendant” by Adam Neeley (Laguna Beach, CA)

Silver/Argentium Silver
First Place: “Prospect Palace” by Mehrnoosh Ganji (Melbourne, Australia)
Second Place: “Suftal Fidda” by Maja Houtman (Utrecht, Netherlands)

Alternative Metals/Materials
First Place: “Eclipsim” by Kirk Lang (Seattle, WA)
Second Place: “Torus Bracelet for an Astronaut” by Ezra Satok-Wolman (Caledon, ON, Canada)

Hollowware/Art Objects
First Place: “Luminous Relic #1628” by David Huang (Sand Lake, MI)
Second Place: “The Echinacea Teapot” by Valerie Jo Coulson (Pequea, PA)

Jewelry Collection Fashion/Bridge
First Place: “Kirigami Pearl Collection” by Karin Jacobson (Minneapolis, MN)
Second Place: “Jupiter” by Liz Sabol (Pittsburgh, PA)


Jewelry Collection Couture/Fine
First Place: “HELICES” by Sophia Hu (Las Vegas, NV)
Second Place: “Sunshine and Shadow” by Valerie Jo Coulson (Pequea, PA)

Emerging Jewelry Artist 18 Years of Age and Younger
First Place: “Midnight” by Christopher Liu (Allen, TX)
Second Place: “Mokume Chainmail Choker” by Ethan Hansen (Salida, CO)

Emerging Jewelry Artist 22 Years of Age and Younger
First Place: “Open Spiculum Cuff with Black Diamond” by Timo Krapf (Pittsford, NY)
Second Place: “Flower of Life Amulet” by Tristan Dunn (Asheville, NC)

2019 Finalists

“Collection of Thirteen Eyes” by Lillian Jones (Raleigh, NC)
“Releasing Butterflies” by Sydney Scherr (Santa Fe, NM)

“The Mystic Fountain” by Garen Garibian (Los Angeles, CA)
“Jellyfish Earrings” by Pavit Gujral (Chandigarh, India)
“Queen Bee” by Llyn Strong (Greenville, SC)


Silver/Argentium Silver
“Flowering” by Christine De Vogel (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
“Counterpoint” by Han-Yin Hsu (Tacoma, WA)
“An Elegant Disintegration” by Andi Terry (Liberty Hill, TX)
Alternative Metals/Materials
“Bear Bones” by Heidi Kummli (Nederland, CO)
“The Dweller of Unal” by Judicael Vales (Nevada City, CA)
“Light Two” by Ashley Warsaw-Fiorvanti (Hilton Head Island, SC)

Hollowware/Art Objects
“Cherry Blossom in Winter Snow” by Marilyn Bailey (Hendersonville, NC)
“Well of Life” by Janet Huddie (Crownsville, MD)
“Agave Pitcher” by Preston Jones (New York, NY)

Jewelry Collection Fashion/Bridge
“Migration of Butterflies” by Wiwat Kamolpornwijit (Alexandria, VA)
“A Thousand Masks” by Zejia Lin; Dongguan GAFA Culture & Creativity Institute (Guangdong, China)
“Fusing and Freezing” by Mingshuai Sun; Dongguan GAFA Culture & Creativity Institute (Guangdong, China)

Jewelry Collection Couture/Fine
“Christmas Tree Worm Collection” by Pavit Gujral (Chandigarh, India)
“Pablo Neruda Collection” by Eva Martin (Queensland, Australia)
“Illusion Collection” by Farzaneh Nozari (Savannah, GA)

Emerging Jewelry Artist 18 Years of Age or Younger
“Heirloom” by Jade Adelman (Haverford, PA)
“Howling Wolf” by Alexandra Ortiz (Fort Worth, TX)
“Seraphina” by Abby Schwab (Fort Atkinson, WI)

Emerging Jewelry Artist 22 Years of Age or Younger
“That Which Could Not Be Done” by James Betts (Christiana, PA)
“Dinner Ring” by Nicholas Hesson (Holland, PA)
“Splash” by Dillon McNamara (Longmont, CO)

2019 Saul Bell Design Award Competition Judges

Describing the Saul Bell Award judges, jeweler Sophia Hu (2017 Finalist, 2018 Best of Show, 2019 First Place in Jewelry Collection Couture/Fine) says, “I really appreciated the two rounds of judges in the competition. They have the eyes and taste to see deeper, to identify and appreciate all the design efforts I put into each design in this collection.” Judge bios and photos are available at

Final Round
Victoria Adams—award-winning jeweler and designer
Jason Marchiafava—master jeweler, engraver, educator/mentor at New Approach School for Jewelers
Claudio Pino—lapidary artist, jeweler, designer and Metal Arts Guild of Canada Master of all Metal
Emily Benoist Ruffin—2002 Saul Bell Design Award-winning jeweler and designer
Marc Williams—goldsmith, production and custom jeweler and designer

First Round
Munya Avigail-Upin—jeweler, educator and co-owner of ALCHEMY 9.2.5. fine jewelry gallery
Ann Cahoon—jeweler, educator, writer and 2010 Saul Bell Design Award finalist
Jim Dailing—educator, metalsmith and custom bridal jeweler
Shane Hendren—award-winning jeweler, designer and Rio Grande Jewelry Tech Team member
Gloria Stewart—custom jeweler and designer



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