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Opinion

10 of My Favorite Jewels from the AGTA Spectrum Awards

Earrings in 14k yellow and white gold with polyhedral agate druzy slices, green tourmalines, pink topaz, amethyst, and diamonds by Mark Loren Designs; 239-482-4664; marklorensan@gmail.com

NEW YORK. Every year, there’s a prestigious jewelry competition that many aspire to win. The contest is organized by the American Gem Trade Association, a group of like-minded and credible U.S.-based gemstone and pearl dealers, to promote the beauty of colored stones. The contest is called the AGTA Spectrum and Cutting Edge Awards, with the former division casting a spotlight on innovative uses of colored stones in finished jewelry and the latter celebrating expertly cut loose gems. Entries to both categories in the longstanding contest—it’s been happening for 33 years—end up in stores nationwide for sale to the public.

Doug Hucker, AGTA chief executive officer, told me at an editor’s preview day this week that entries numbered about 480 pieces. Among the trends: less Ethiopian opal and more black opal from Australia in Spectrum entries. “We had a lot of nice sapphires in all colors, spinel is still seeing a lot of play, and we still saw some big morganite,” Hucker explained. A surprise in Cutting Edge: no loose rubies. Still, overall entries and the level of talent evident make judging tough.

The judging process is rigorous (I know because I served as a judge several years ago) and is carried out by jewelry store owners, notable stone cutters, and designers. It takes place over an entire weekend because there are hundreds of entries. Opinions about the winning pieces are as abundant as the styles submitted, and everyone who sees the entries walks away with personal favorites, myself included. I saw the pieces up close and snapped photos of my favorites before they return to their makers. (To see a complete list of winners and honorable mentions, check out the AGTA website.) Enjoy!

 

Earrings in 14k yellow and white gold with polyhedral agate druzy slices, green tourmalines, pink topaz, amethyst, and diamonds by Mark Loren Designs; 239-482-4664; marklorensan@gmail.com

Earrings in 14k yellow and white gold with polyhedral agate druzy slices, green tourmalines, pink topaz, amethyst, and diamonds by Mark Loren Designs; 239-482-4664; marklorensan@gmail.com

 

Earrings in 14k yellow gold with titanium vapor-coated agate druzy spheres by Mark Loren Designs; 239-482-4664; marklorensan@gmail.com

Earrings in 14k yellow gold with titanium vapor-coated agate druzy spheres by Mark Loren Designs; 239-482-4664; marklorensan@gmail.com

 

Kunming Remains with Me earrings in 18k yellow gold with carved labradorite, green pearls, and blue zircon by Heath London Jewelry; 805-698-0100; heathlondon@gmail.com

Kunming Remains with Me earrings in 18k yellow gold with carved labradorite, green pearls, and blue zircon by Heath London Jewelry; 805-698-0100; heathlondon@gmail.com

 

Goddess brooch in 18k yellow gold with a specialty-cut ametrine, blue-green sapphires, purple sapphires, and diamonds by Pheap Lorn-Canossi of Phenomenal Jewels; 626-731-3533; pheap@phenomenaljewels.com

Goddess brooch in 18k yellow gold with a specialty-cut ametrine, blue-green sapphires, purple sapphires, and diamonds by Pheap Lorn-Canossi of Phenomenal Jewels; 626-731-3533; pheap@phenomenaljewels.com

 

Open ring in 14k white gold with aquamarine, seed pearls (set inside the shank and atop), and diamonds by Christine Lloyd of Stuller; 337-262-7786; nichole_guillory@stuller.com

Open ring in 14k white gold with aquamarine, seed pearls (set inside the shank and atop the ring), and diamonds by Christine Lloyd of Stuller; 337-262-7786; nichole_guillory@stuller.com

 

Ring in platinum and 18k yellow gold with a golden South Sea pearl and diamonds by Judy Evans for Oliver & Espig Gallery of Fine Arts; 805-962-8111; gallery@oliverandespig.com [This ring took a third-place prize in the Bridal Wear category of the Spectrum Awards.]

Ring in platinum and 18k yellow gold with a golden South Sea pearl and diamonds by Judy Evans for Oliver & Espig Gallery of Fine Arts; 805-962-8111; gallery@oliverandespig.com
[This ring took a third-place prize in the Bridal Wear category of the Spectrum Awards.]

 

Suite of blue-green Sugarloaf-cut tourmaline by Mikola Kukharuk of Nomad’s; 212-221-1207; tracy@gemsbynomad.com

Suite of blue-green Sugarloaf-cut tourmaline by Mikola Kukharuk of Nomad’s Co.; 212-221-1207; tracy@gemsbynomad.com

 

Ring in platinum and 14k rose gold with a blush-colored South Sea pearl and diamonds by Evan de Jonghe of de Jonghe Original Jewelry; 518-587-6422; evan@djoriginals.com

Ring in platinum and 14k rose gold with a blush-colored South Sea pearl and diamonds by Evan de Jonghe of de Jonghe Original Jewelry; 518-587-6422; evan@djoriginals.com

 

Wonder Woman bracelet in sterling silver and 22k gold with a Boulder opal and diamonds by Michael Endlich of Pave Fine Jewelry; 510-547-7000; Michael@pavefinejewelry.com

Wonder Woman bracelet in sterling silver and 22k gold with a boulder opal and diamonds by Michael Endlich of Pavé Fine Jewelry; 510-547-7000; Michael@pavefinejewelry.com

 

 

Solar Flare backdrop necklace in 18k white and yellow gold with citrine, aquamarine, yellow beryl, and diamonds by Ardeshir Dabestani for Asha Gallery; 480-577-2742; ardeshirasha@yahoo.com [This piece took the Fashion Forward award in the Spectrum division.]

Solar Flare backdrop necklace in 18k white and yellow gold with citrine, aquamarine, yellow beryl, and diamonds by Ardeshir Dabestani for Asha Gallery; 480-577-2742; ardeshirasha@yahoo.com [This piece took the Fashion Forward award in the Spectrum division.]

Solar Flare backdrop necklace in 18k white and yellow gold with citrine, aquamarine, yellow beryl, and diamonds by Ardeshir Dabestani for Asha Gallery; 480-577-2742; ardeshirasha@yahoo.com
[This piece took the Fashion Forward award in the Spectrum division. The smiling model? Hannah Becker of Diamondoodles.]

Jennifer Heebner LLC

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  1. […] Heebner Connecting Jewelers and Collectors featured one of Stuller’s competition pieces in its “10 of My Favorite Jewels from the AGTA Spectrum Awards,” […]

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Wednesday, July 18 from 1 pm to 5 pm is the @wjanewyorkmetro In The Know event called The Evolution of Jewelry in the Digital Space.
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