By Michelle Graff
Couture honored Cindy Edelstein at its annual design awards Saturday night with her husband Frank Stankus, daughter Remy Sasha Stankus and brother Philip Edelstein (not pictured) in attendance. (Photo credit: Sandro Art + Photography)
Las Vegas--It was an evening that started and ended with remembrances of Cindy Edelstein, with one of the great loves of her life celebrated in between--outstanding jewelry.

The Couture Design Awards, held Saturday evening in Las Vegas, featured a touching video tribute to the late consultant and designer advocate, who died unexpectedly earlier this year at the age of 51.

Among the jewelry designers featured in the video, there wound a common thread: They wouldn’t be where they were today without Cindy encouraging them while, at the same time, telling them what they needed to hear.

Designer Coomi Bhasin of Coomi remembered one meeting they had very early on in her career in which Edelstein spoke bluntly about her jewelry. “I met her … in New York City and we had lunch and she says, ‘Oh my God, the designs are beautiful but the quality’s the worst,” Bhasin said.

The designers also spoke about the fearlessness Edelstein brought to the industry and sought to transfer to others.

Pamela Froman shared this text message she received from Edelstein shortly before her death in January: “Let’s make a pact that 2016 is all about our greatness and not about all these other things that exist just to bolster our fears. We are too comfortable in our fears and doubts, and they exist just to keep us from reaching our greatness.”

“And I loved that,” Froman said.

Couture has renamed its Human Spirt Award, which is given annually to a member of the jewelry industry known for their generosity, the Cindy Edelstein Award. And the first Cindy Edelstein Award was presented in her honor two people very dear to her--her husband, Frank Stankus, and daughter, Remy Sasha Stankus.

Prior to the tribute, design awards were presented in a total of 14 categories.

The evening’s list of winners constituted a modern-day British Invasion, with Polly Wales, Stephen Webster, Tomasz Donocik and Imogen Belfield all taking home a Couture Design Award. Belfield exhibits in the Rock Vault, a collection of designers from across the pond curated by Webster; Donocik, who has taken home multiple Couture Design Awards over the last couple years, got his start there as well.

The evening also included Couture’s first People’s Choice Award, where the audience texted their votes live during the show. Anita Ko received the most votes, beating out Jorg Heinz and Schaffrath.

To see the complete list of winners alongside their pieces, click through the slideshow below.

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