And the (Spectrum) Academy Award Goes to…

EditorsAug 08, 2016

And the (Spectrum) Academy Award Goes to…

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator gives her own set of awards to pieces from the AGTA’s annual Spectrum design and lapidary competition.

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator gives some of her own awards to the 2016 AGTA Spectrum summer submissions, including this spinel ring from Omi Prive.

Going to see the AGTA Spectrum Award winners and submissions in New York is one of my favorite activities of the year.

All those amazing gems, the beautiful loft space in the West Village with a view of the river and downtown, and this year even included the opportunity to pick out some gem-colored flowers from the team behind New York’s Uprooted flower truck.

But when it comes to seeing which pieces won and what didn’t make it to the final table, I, like every editor that goes in there, generally have some different opinions. I like to note the differences between what the judges selected and what I would’ve chosen as winners, and to make my own discoveries on the tables.

I wanted to recognize some of these pieces, but in a way that was a little different this year. So without further ado, here’s my list of winners, done Academy Awards-style.

The award for The Fashion-Forward Piece We’d All Actually Wear goes to…

Wendy Brandes’ double-finger ring featuring a 1.55-carat grossular garnet, a 1.27-carat pink Mahenge spinel and a 5.50-carat spessartite garnet, accented with diamonds and set in in 18-karat gold.

In my opinion, this should have been a winner in Spectrum, so I wanted to give it some love here. The candy colors of the stones mixed with a stunning trendy-yet-wearable design, as well as a good cause behind it (the stones are from Anza Gems, directly benefiting East African mining communities), makes for one winning piece.

The award for Most “Interesting” Carvings goes to…

(Photo credit goes to our Associate Editor Ashley Davis)
“The Black Cats of Riga, Latvia” bracelet in 18-karat yellow gold with carved cats made of onyx, obsidian, mahogany and jasper with pink sapphire, citrine and diamonds from Diane Griswold Johnston of The Lapis Tree.

I think “interesting” is a good word for this piece, right? It’s a little bizarre but definitely unique. There’s also a lot of detail in there.

The award for The Best Little Critter goes to…

Mark Loren’s titanium-anodized earrings featuring mammoth ivory carved into the shape of a seahorse and accented with pink and blue-green tourmalines.

I don’t know why I’m so attached to these earrings, but I love these little guys and the way they’re just sitting there, swinging the day away. Also the colored metal is very on-trend.

The award for Best Color Combination goes to…

Bella Campbell

of Campbellian Collection’s 18-karat gold earrings with mint garnets, blue zircon and diamond accents.

Bella knows how to pick gems, and I always love the ways she plays with color and mixes and matches various shades. The blue-green combination of such richly saturated gems makes me happy.

The award for Most Innovative Design goes to…

(Photo credit: @ricardobastajewelry)
This ring from Ricardo Basta is so interesting; it’s actually two separate pieces. On the inside is the “Royal Blue” ring featuring a 12-carat blue sapphire accented with diamonds and on the outside (pictured at right) is a detachable 18-karat yellow gold “Quilt” jacket with turquoise accented with diamonds and tsavorite garnets, creating a ring within a ring.

The award for The Best Use of Movement goes to…

Lord Jewelry’s 18-karat yellow gold and platinum “Ballerina” ring featuring a 65-carat specialty-cut lemon citrine accented with diamonds and enamel.

I wish I could’ve found a way to embed the video I took of this piece, but as you can see a little from this picture, when you turn the piece on top, the dancer in the middle spins around along with the swans. I think everyone had a child-like fascination with this one.

The award for Best Updated Halo goes to…

Herner & Dunn’s 18-karat yellow gold ring featuring a 5.71-carat mint tourmaline accented with tsavorites and diamonds.

The stunning green stone at the center is what brought me to this piece, and the halo around it is what kept me there. I love the way it gives it a slightly floral look while still letting the tourmaline in the middle speak for itself.

The award for Best Use of August’s New Birthstone goes to…

Omi Gems’ 18-karat rose gold ring featuring a 4.01-carat cushion-cut pink spinel accented with spinel and diamond melee and a 0.01-carat alexandrite, which is on the inside of the shank and can’t be seen here.

I’ve got this little (OK, big) obsession with spinel lately. It’s not like I didn’t appreciate it before, but ever since the announcement that it’s been added as an August birthstone, I’ve done more and more stories on the stone and become more infatuated. Over these last few months I’ve really been drawn to spinels whenever I see them. This ring was such a fine example of the stone and the setting was the cherry on top of it all.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

Supplier BulletinJun 24, 2022
AGTA GemFair™ Denver is the Place to Be in September!

Sponsored by AGTA

Recorded WebinarsJun 24, 2022
Vegas Jewelry Recap: The Editors Weigh In

Watch the webinar in which National Jeweler’s editors talk about jewelry market week trends and their predictions for the rest of 2022.

MajorsJun 24, 2022
Banter by Piercing Pagoda Celebrates Pride with ‘SayGay’ Necklace

All proceeds up to $25,000 will benefit the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ+ youth.

Brought to you by
Discover The Extraordinary Italian Jewelry In Las Vegas!

Experience all the Italian Jewelry market has to offer in Las Vegas.

CollectionsJun 24, 2022
Piece of the Week: Marie Lichtenberg’s Hidden Message Locket

It’s a reminder that life is best lived with discretion.

Weekly QuizJun 23, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
TechnologyJun 24, 2022
Cloud-Based POS Software Jewel360 Launches for Jewelry Retailers

The end-to-end software allows for real-time control over all sales, inventory, repairs, customer communications, and marketing.

GradingJun 23, 2022
AIGS Launches Grading Report for ‘Santa Maria’ Aquamarine

The Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences aims to set a color standard for the trade name.

Brought to you by
3 Reasons to Offer Estate Buying at Your Store

Provide your customers with a seamless selling solution by partnering with Windsor Jewelers, Inc.

SourcingJun 23, 2022
Rough Diamond Sales Rise Again for De Beers

Sales were up 36 percent year-over-year in June and are pacing 24 percent ahead of last year at this point.

AuctionsJun 23, 2022
Auction House Freeman’s Appoints First Rep in Florida

Kate Della Monica, a senior specialist in the Jewelry and Watches department, will relocate to the Sunshine State.

Lab-GrownJun 22, 2022
LVMH Luxury Ventures Sinks Money Into Lab-Grown Diamond Start-Up

LVMH’s investment arm has taken a stake in Lusix, a lab-grown diamond company based in Israel.

AuctionsJun 22, 2022
Here’s How Two 100-Plus-Carat Diamonds Did at Auction

Sotheby’s New York put a colorless diamond and a fancy deep orange-brown diamond up for sale last week, with mixed results.

CrimeJun 22, 2022
Leviev Diamonds Launches Bracelet to Help ‘Tinder Swindler’ Victims

Profits will help them recoup financial losses.

MajorsJun 22, 2022
Swarovski Names First Non-Family CEO

Retail veteran Alexis Nasard will step in as CEO on July 4.

SourcingJun 22, 2022
Edward Asscher to Remain WDC President for Another Year

The organization also extended the terms of Vice President Feriel Zerouki and Treasurer Ronnie VanderLinden.

ColumnistsJun 21, 2022
State of the Majors 2022: Reflections on Resilience

After suffering a professional setback, columnist Peter Smith reflects on our ability to bounce back even when the hits keep on coming.

IndependentsJun 21, 2022
Jeweler Tommy Glatz, Known for Being Creative and Kind, Dies at 68

Glatz owned and operated Glatz Jewelers in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania for more than 40 years.

Events & AwardsJun 21, 2022
24 Karat Club of Southern California Will Honor These Industry Leaders

The organization will present three awards at its annual dinner, dance, and gala in October.

MajorsJun 21, 2022
David Yurman Hires Chief of People, Strategy

Former McKinsey partner Emily Yueh marks new president Evan Yurman’s first hire.

TrendsJun 17, 2022
Britney Spears Wore Over $500K of Stephanie Gottlieb Diamonds at Her Wedding

The New York jeweler also made the pop star’s wedding bands.

AuctionsJun 17, 2022
5-Carat Paraiba Tourmaline Ring to Hit the Auction Block

It’s predicted to sell for up to $484,000 during the Bonhams Hong Kong Jewels and Jadeite auction on June 22.

Events & AwardsJun 17, 2022
WJA Foundation to Offer Tech Scholarships for Women of Color

The recipient will receive up to $17,500 toward a tech-focused certification or program of their choice.

CollectionsJun 17, 2022
Piece of the Week: Gemella’s ‘Stella’ Necklace

It’s as versatile as it is glamorous.

Supplier BulletinJun 16, 2022
HiBid Is A Jewelry Lover’s Best Friend

Sponsored by HiBid

TechnologyJun 16, 2022
Cartier, Amazon Suing ‘Influencer,’ Sellers Over Counterfeit ‘Love’ Jewelry

The alleged scheme involving fake “Love” bracelets, necklaces and rings was designed to circumvent Amazon’s counterfeit detection tools.

MajorsJun 16, 2022
Helzberg CEO Beryl Raff to Retire

Chief Financial Officer Brad Hampton will take over as the retailer’s new CEO.

CollectionsJun 16, 2022
Kirk Kara Unveils ‘Rayana’ Collection, New Bridal Styles at Luxury Show

Its new collection with subtle swirl designs draws inspiration from the family’s Armenian roots.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy