By Michelle Graff
Prescott, Ariz.--Artist Samantha Skelton has been named the winner of the 10th annual Halstead Grant, which recognizes jewelry design excellence and business strategy acumen with cash and jewelry supply awards. 

Skelton said as a sculptor, she would make smaller, sculptural jewelry as a sketch for larger pieces.

Skelton, of Samantha Skelton Jewelry Designs based in Fairview, Pa., creates delicate, sculptural jewelry that has a modern and urban aesthetic. Her business includes custom jewelry and wholesale and gallery consignment, and her pieces also can be found at art fairs and online.

Skelton, who has a master of fine arts degree with a focus on metalsmithing from Miami University, also is a trained metal sculpture artist, which she said influences her designs. 

“Samantha has a rare blend of cohesive, original jewelry work and knockout business smarts,” said Hilary Halstead Scott, president of jewelry supply distributor Halstead Inc. and founder of the Halstead Grant. “The craftsmanship in her pieces and the strategic touches throughout her small business plan show impressive attention to detail. This young woman is going places.”

Skelton received $5,000 in cash, $1,000 in jewelry supplies and promotion on as her winning package. 

“Prior to the application process, I had been working toward small goals, but being able to see a big picture has really helped me take the next steps forward,” Skelton said. 

The Halstead Grant competition began in 2006 to inspire the pursuit of excellence in design and business practices in the jewelry arts community. Last year’s winner was Erica Bello of Rochester, N.Y.

“The health of the jewelry industry depends on the continuous flow of new talent and design creativity. The grant has helped talented jewelry artists gain a foothold in this challenging field,” Halstead said.

The top five finalists in this year’s Halstead Grant competition were Bonde, Enji Jewelry Studio, Letters to Sarah Metalsmithing, Seth Papac and Tenzabelle. 

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