By Brecken Branstrator
Jyothi Forman of Georgies Fine Jewellery traveled from Australia to take part in Stuller’s Battle of the Benches over the weekend, taking home two medals from the challenges as well as the overall winner title.
Lafayette, Louisiana--She traveled all the way from Australia to be a part of Stuller’s Battle of the Benches competition and, luckily for her, it was more than worth the trip.

On Sunday, Jyothi Forman of New South Wales, Australia-based Georgies Fine Jewellery was crowned the overall winner of jewelry design contest.

“I actually cannot believe it,” she said. “What an honor. The competition was a lot of fun, and I had a really good time here and that’s what I really wanted, so this is just a bonus.”

Forman went up against 2016 defending champion David Adamson of David Adamson Designer Jewelry, Meghan Proctor of Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry and Jonathan Smiddy of Robson’s Diamond Jewelers.

The first day of the battle featured the “CAD and Render” challenge where competitors had to design, model and render their pieces in a CAD program.

The inspiration behind their designs came from a fictional client Stuller gave them: Crystal Pearl, a Hollywood actress who needed jewelry for the red carpet to go with her simple black dress. She drew her style inspiration from Audrey Hepburn, with a little bit of Lady Gaga edge, as well as from the energy of her home city, New York.
20170329 Smiddy renderingJonathan Smiddy of Robson’s Diamond Jewelers won the CAD and Render challenge with this pendant design.

Smiddy won the first day’s competition. He designed a necklace inspired by the architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge and that featured a Paraiba tourmaline drop to reflect the water surrounding the iconic structure.

The challenge on day two was “Parts and Pieces,” where contestants had to fabricate a custom piece on the spot from an assortment of components, metals and gemstones.

Forman won this challenge, as well as the third challenge, Polishing and Finishing, during which the contestants had to prepare, polish, assemble and set their original CAD entry after Stuller cast it. This gave her a total of three medals over the weekend.

The second annual Battle of the Benches took place during Stuller’s annual Bench Jeweler Workshop, held at the company’s Lafayette, Louisiana headquarters from Friday to Sunday.

Stuller said that more than 30 jewelers applied to take part in the competition and more than 200 jewelers attended the workshop. The workshop included education sessions on topics such as stone grading and identification, improving profit margin with repairs and visual merchandising.

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