In a few short weeks, the winners of the 2012 Saul Bell Design Award Competition will be announced at a gala dinner during JCK in Las Vegas. We’re excited to celebrate all the talented winners of the competition, and to set the stage for the big event, we’d like to share a little history of the Saul Bell Design Award with you.

Last year, we kicked off the 2011 award by remembering and celebrating my grandfather, Saul Bell, who lived to be 96 years old and came to work at Rio Grande every day until two weeks before he died. A few years after his passing, a group of associates at Rio Grande presented my family with a video documenting memories of Saul. The video featured stories – many of which we had never heard before – that revealed my grandfather’s sincere interest in the artistic and technical challenges faced by the jewelers he met and showed how he encouraged their potential with generosity, warmth, and humor.

The competition was conceived as a celebration of Saul Bell’s well-lived life and as a way to nurture and elevate daring jewelry design. To learn more about the history of the Saul Bell Design Award Competition, take a look at this video about Saul’s life and work.

And now, as we gear up for this year’s celebration, let’s take a moment to meet the winners of last year’s Saul Bell Design Award Competition:

Each week until the big Saul Bell Design Award gala event, The Studio will feature interview footage of a few of the winners you just met in the video above –so stay tuned!

To learn more about the competition and see winning designs of the past eleven years, you can visit the Saul Bell Design Award Competition webpage. Also be sure to read past spotlights on The Studio about SBDA winners Eva MartinSessin Durgham and emerging artist winner Haley Holeman.