By Michelle Graff
Bello’s oxidized silver pieces are “industrial, bold and edgy,” Halstead said, and her unique metalsmithing work creates contrast with acute angles.
Prescott, Ariz.--Erica Bello is the winner of the ninth annual Halstead Grant, a competition for new silver jewelry artists that has afforded her $5,000 in cash and $1,000 in jewelry supplies.

Bello, from Rochester, N.Y., won the contest with a series of geometric silver pieces that feature an oxidized finish and three-dimensional dynamic. 

The designer has a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology and has worked as a bench jeweler while she strengthens her customer base for her own company, Erica Bello Jewelry. 

Her work is influenced by architecture and traditional jewelry archetypes, Halstead said. 

“I was extremely honored to be chosen as the 2014 Halstead Grant recipient,” Bello said. “Writing the grant allowed me to focus my ideas into a cohesive goal. It is an incredible opportunity to be able to put my ideas into motion; I cannot thank them enough.”

Bello is slated to exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s contemporary craft show in November, as well as at the American Craft Council’s Baltimore show in February.

Halstead, which provides wholesale jewelry-making supplies to designers, sponsors the Halstead Grant competition to recognize jewelry artists who excel in both design and business preparation in order to encourage professional practices in the jewelry arts community. 

Applicants of the grant are required to submit a portfolio and elements of a business plan including marketing, production capacity and financial planning information. 

This process guides candidates through several critical business issues, Halstead said, and analyzing those challenges helps new jewelers lay the groundwork to become successful, independent studio owners. 

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