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Winners of International Pearl Design Contest Announced




(PRESS RELEASE) PROVIDENCE, RI — Aziz Basalely, president of the Cultured Pearl Association of America Inc., has announced the winners of the 2017-2018 International Design competition.INSTORE PearlWinner

“We are proud to report entries from 19 countries,” Basalely said. “Our global reach increases year after year resulting in increased exposure for pearls, this is our goal.”

President’s Trophy – The highest honor awarded to a design that unanimously captivated judges as the best of the best.


Daquan Wu of Shanghai, China

Bracelet made of 18kt white gold, a large Tahitian cultured pearl, Akoya cultured pearl and freshwater seed pearls. Many diamonds of various sizes.


Luster Award – Most marketable design for retail.


Sean Gilson of New York, Sponsored by Assael

Earrings made of 18kt white gold. South Sea cultured pearls and Akoya cultured pearls.

Designer’s Award – Design which takes pearls to the far corners of the imagination.

“Pearl Horizon”


Murugesh Manickam of Bangalore, India, Sponsored by C.   Krishniah Chetty & Sons Pvt. Ltd

Bracelet with Chocolate South Sea cultured pearls and diamonds crafted in 18kt rose gold. 7 Chocolate South Sea cultured pearls 11.70-8.80mm. 18 White South Sea cultured pearls 7.80-5.50mm. 140 round brilliant diamonds 2.10tcw.

Brilliance Award – Best illustration for spectrum of pearl colors.


Alexia Gryllaki of Athens, Greece

Earrings of 18kt white, black, yellow and rose gold.  Black Tahitian cultured pearls, Pink Freshwater cultured pearls and White Freshwater cultured pearls. Baguettes of black diamonds, pink sapphires, yellow sapphires and colorless diamonds.


Orient Award – Compelling design esthetic inspiring a new affinity for pearls.

“Meow Meo”

Wanguyue Xiao of Tokyo, Japan

Earrings of 18kt yellow  gold, two Akoya cultured pearls and one round diamond

The Visionary Award – Redefining the iconic pearl strand; shifting perception of cultured pearls for today’s buyer.

“Dragon Fly”

Ju-Hui Chang of Taipei, Taiwan

A necklace made of 18kt white gold; Akoya cultured pearls, white diamonds, pink Sapphires.

The Fashion Award – Modern design straight from the Paris runway.

“Wow!! It’s A Splash”

Shenbagaraman Pillai of Bangalore, India, Sponsored by C. Krishniah Chetty & Sons Pvt. Ltd

Earrings 9 grams of 18kt white gold, 2 13mm White South Sea cultured pearls and 14 pcs of pave diamonds.

Wedding Day Pearls – Brides and pearls are synonymous; create a fantasy wedding with pearls.


“Captivated Love”

Bimal Koley of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sponsored by 55 Fifty 7 Jewellery LLC

Bracelet of 18kt white gold; 4 9mm Golden Yellow South Sea cultured pearls. 10 white Freshwater cultured pearls 7.5-6.0mm and 2.5 cttw. of white diamonds.

“Morning Glory”  

Divyashree Mallandur Nagaraj of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sponsored by 55 Fifty 7 Jewellery LLC

Earrings of 18kt yellow and white gold; 2 White South Sea cultured pearls, 10 White Freshwater cultured 10-3mm and .95cts of diamonds.

Fantasy Award – Conceptual, aspirational design prohibitive to fabricate.


Zhang Ying of Serris, France

A ring of 18kt white gold, six Akoya cultured pearls, diamonds and sapphires.

Commendations were also given to entries which demonstrated high standards of achievement in accordance with the judging criteria.

  • Maneli Sarmadi, Savannah, GA
  • Elizabeth Kirby, Harbor Springs, MI
  • Phillip Dismuke, Durham, NC
  • Hisano Shepherd, Los Angeles, CA
  • Dan Telleen, Vail, CO

As the Award and Commendation winners complete their piece, they will be available for viewing on the association’s website:

The judging panel consisted of:

  • Jean Francois Bibet, Cartier, Workshop Director Production
  • Deirdre Featherstone, Featherstone Fine Jewelry
  • Jennifer Heebner,
  • Cheryl Kremkow, Director, Citrine Media
  • Severine Ferrari, Engagement 101
  • Brenda Smith, Brenda Smith Jewelry





This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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