By Brecken Branstrator
This “Infinite Diamond Engagement Ring” from Mary Lynn Podiluk was named a finalist in the Niche Awards Wedding category. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Jan. 17 in Washington, D.C.
Baltimore--Niche magazine has named the finalists for its 2015 awards for excellence in fine craft, which includes various categories for jewelry design.

Judging is based on three main criteria: technical excellence in both surface design and form, market viability, and a distinct quality of unique, original and creative thought.

The professional division for jewelry covered eight categories: Alternative Materials, Fashion, Fine, Gold, Gold with Stones, Silver, Silver with Stones, and Wedding.

Following are the finalists that have been named in each category and the pieces they created. To view images of their pieces visit; the eight categories for jewelry designers are listed on the right-hand side under “Jewelry.”

Alternative Materials
--Yuka Okane Inoue of Lake Forest, Ill.; “I See the Wind”
--Molly Aleza Vogel of Ithaca, N.Y.; “Nocte Drops”
--Jungwha Kim of Los Alamitos, Calif.; “Refurbished #2”
--Jera Lodge of Cochranton, Pa; “Glamour Deluxe: Rust & Pearl”
--Nancy Slagle of Lubbock, Texas; “Purselane”

--Alice Scott of Asheville, N.C.; “Sacred Constellation Pendant”
--Valerie Heck of Broadview Heights, Ohio; “Nova Earrings”
--Rocky Hedstrom of Crestone, Colo.; “Dandelion Seed Earrings”
--Laurie Leonard of Jeannette, Pa.; “Tree and Robin Necklace”
--Greg Geyer of Santa Barbara, Calif.; “Floral Study #5”

--Lori Gottlieb of Owings Mills, Md.; “Desert Rose Hinged Bracelet”
--Rosario Garcia of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; “Bracelete”
--Rona Fisher of Philadelphia; “Wild River Cuff”
--Jacob Albee of Burlington, Vt.; “Diamond Yin Yang Bracelet”
--Rocky Hedstrom; “Heron Ring”

--Baiyang Qiu of Milpitas, Calif.; “Round Necklace”
--Emanuela Duca of New York; “Roccia Cuff”
--Rona Fisher; “Open Pond, Half Full”
--Baxter Moerman of San Luis Obispo, Calif.; “Engraved Burl Earrings”
--Claudio Pino of Montreal; “Mystical Flowering”

Gold with Stones
--Patricia Madeja of West Islip, N.Y.; “Geometric Geode Neckpiece”
--Emily Gill of Toronto; “Quartz Bomb Ring”
--Baiyang Qiu; “Water Drop Earrings”
--Lee Marraccini of Charlottesville, Va.; “Chrysoprase Earrings”
--Robin Waynee of Santa Fe, N.M.; “Lens Ring”

--Gina Pankowski of Seattle; “Streamline Bracelet”
--Sonia Bandulet of LaSalle, Quebec; “Alien”
--Lori Gottlieb; “Wave Necklace with Diamonds”
--Lisa Hawthorne of Coquille, Ore.; “Meteor Bracelet”
--Alison Antelman of Berkeley, Calif.; “Hanging Garden”

Silver with Stones

--Robin Waynee; “Umbra Bracelet”
--Sadie Wang of Baxter, Tenn.; “FL Rectangle Wave Brooch”
--Patricia Madeja; “New Rolling Bubble Bracelet”
--Peter Tonjes of Cambridge, N.Y.; “Island Bracelet”
--Lynn Harrisberger of Virginia Beach, Va.; “Higher Ground”

--Mary Lynn Podiluk of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; “Infinite Diamond Engagement Ring”
--Pamela Froman of Los Angeles; “Harlequin Sparkle Bridal Suite”
--Martha Sullivan of South Portland, Maine; “Pile of Rings”
--Sonia Bandulet; “You Complete Me”
--Wendy Thurlow of Bradenton, Fla.; “Moss Band”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Jan. 17 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., held in conjunction with the American Made Show.

The Niche Awards, which are now in their 26th year, were started to recognize the outstanding creative achievements of American craft artists who produce work for craft galleries and retail stores.

In addition to jewelry, other categories in the Niche Awards include fashion accessories, furniture, home furnishings, wood, metal and recycled materials.

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