The Saul Bell Design Award competition honors the spirit of Saul Bell, the beloved founder of Rio Grande, and his life’s work of promoting excellence in the jewelry industry. Last Saturday night, amid the glitz and glam of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Rio Grande proudly revealed the recipients of the 2013 Saul Bell Design Awards.
Here is the first taste of the breathtaking pieces that stole the hearts of the judges. Please note that this post highlights the Grand Prize winner and First Place winners in each category. A future post will be devoted to the Second Place winners and Finalists, whose work was also outstanding.
Congratulations to each of this year’s Saul Bell Design Award winners! You can see all of them on the Saul Bell Design Award website.
Ryan Roberts of Chimayo, New Mexico, captured the Grand Prize for his First Place winner in the Gold/Platinum category. Featuring black Tahitian pearls with diamonds and tsavorite garnets flush-set in palladium, these earrings swing on a hinge as they are worn. Imagine how these swaying earrings catch the light! Ryan’s mesmerizing metal forming and careful placement of patterns are sure signs of a master designer and craftsman. Congratulations, Ryan!
Megan Clark’s “Stingray Feather Necklace” earned her First Place in the Silver/Argentium® category. From Raleigh, North Carolina, Megan inlaid 24 sterling silver and 18K gold “feathers” with stingray leather and punctuated them with yellow sapphires. What a great mix of materials and shapes to give nature’s patterns the most elegant of presentations.
Winning First Place in the Enamel category, Inja Kim from Seoul, South Korea, created “Summer Dream,” a fantastic bouquet of enameled flowers that are “binyeo,” or traditional Korean hair pins. Each is 22K gold and sterling silver, and each has a stately presence, being over a foot long. They are inspired by a fairy tale about a woodcutter and tell the story as a group. We were honored that Inja Kim and her family travelled from Seoul to Las Vegas to accept her award!
John Lunn of Newport, New Hampshire, won First Place in the Hollowware category with “The Dryad’s Kiss.” From Newport, New Hampshire, John created a professional-quality concert flute from silver wire, tubing, and flat stock. It is inspired by the story of The Dryad’s Kiss, a contemporary fantasy novel by Scott VanKirk. When his award was presented, I overheard a comment in the crowd, “If my high school flute had looked like that, I never would have sold it.” What an original concept and gorgeous piece.
Guliaza Reed from Japan won First Place in the Beads category with her extraordinary necklace “Vintage Touch.” She combined Swarovski crystals, turquoise cabochons, seed beads, metal beads, and a porcelain cameo cabochon in a piece that simply leaves one speechless. This seems fit for a Renaissance queen!
Metal Clay Category
Wanaree Tanner of Quincy, Illinois, won First Place in the Metal Clay category with her bracelet “Gate at the Garden of the Gods.” Named for the entryway to a garden in Thailand that Wanaree visited, this bracelet is based on motifs from the gate, rendered in BRONZclay and COPPRclay. It has a great sense of place and beauty.
Emerging Artist Category
First Place in the Emerging Artist category went to Jose Lins of Renton, Washington, for his gorgeous necklace “The Soraya.” Only 19 years old, Jose crafted each bead out of 18 gauge sterling silver wire. He also crafted the clasp to blend in with his design, and he set a blue chalcedony cabochoninto into a pendant designed with a similar pattern of sterling silver swirls.
Congratulations to these and all 2013 Saul Bell Design Award winners! We would love to hear from you about your favorites, your design aspirations, and whether you have ever considered entering. Or, let us know, do these inspire you to expand your own designs, materials, or techniques? We’d love to hear from you!