First-round judging took place at Albuquerque’s historic Hotel Andaluz.

Shortly after the 2012 winners of the Saul Bell Design Award competition were announced at JCK in Las Vegas we kicked off the 2013 call-for-entries campaign. Renderings and photographs of entries across the award’s six categories (gold/platinum, silver/Argentium® Silver, hollowware, beads, metal clay, and enamel) began trickling in, and the mid-September deadline inspired a flurry of last-minute entries.

I was thrilled to be a fly on the wall as a panel of discerning and impressive first-round judges gathered at Albuquerque’s historic Hotel Andaluz last week and spent an entire day scrutinizing hundreds of entries, conferring with one another, and carefully considering the merits of each.

The judges spent the day thoughtfully examining renderings and photographs and deliberating about the entries.

This year’s illustrious judges were:

  • G.L. Miller, award-winning jewelry designer and owner of Studio GL
  • Gregg Burgard, member of Rio Grande’s Tech Support team and expert bench jeweler with particular expertise in wax carving, casting, and pate de verre
  • Paula Brenton, owner of Silver Owl, Inc, which specializes in repair and restoration of silver and gold jewelry and hollowware
  • Bill Pollack, jewelry designer and owner of Relios, which includes the line of jewelry designed by Carolyn Pollack, Bill’s wife and partner
  • Bernie Butterfield, master jeweler and owner of Butterfield Jewelers, a business that has been family-run since 1928

After careful deliberation, the judges whittled the entries down to only five finalists in each category, each of whom will be notified in early November and asked to present their completed pieces for final judging by mid-January.

But finalist decisions have not been made for all categories — if you’re an Emerging Jewelry Artist (age 18 and under), your deadline for entry is not until November 30! For details about the official Emerging Artist call-for entries, visit the Saul Bell Design Award website.

If you didn’t get a chance to enter the competition this year, you can always set your sights on the 2014 SBDA competition. The deadline for entries will be in September of next year, so watch The Studio or the Saul Bell Design Award website for updates!