By Ashley Davis
Debbie Sheezel of Melbourne, Australia’s “Lineal Alchemy” necklace earned best-of-show honors in this year’s Saul Bell Design Award Competition.
Albuquerque, N.M.—Jewelry supply company Rio Grande has crowned the winners of its 19th annual Saul Bell Design Award Competition.

Named for company founder Saul Bell, the awards recognize up-and-coming jewelry design talent, lending them a platform to display their work and monetary prizes to assist in establishing their brands.

This year, two separate panels of judges made up of various jewelers and designers judged entries in two rounds, selecting first and second place winners across nine categories, plus a best-of-show winner.

Awards and prizes were presented at a special gala concurrent with the Santa Fe Symposium, which took place May 19 to 22.

Debbie Sheezel of Melbourne, Australia, earned best-of-show honors for her “Lineal Alchemy” necklace, pictured at the top of the article.

The winners in the nine categories were as follows.

First Place: “Spirit & Flame" by Sandra McEwen (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Second Place: “The Endless Love” by Garen Garibian (Los Angeles)

First Place: “Moebius No.1” by Pierre-Yves Paquette (Saint-Jerome, Quebec, Canada)
Second Place: “Star Hen Galaxy Pendant” by Adam Neeley (Laguna Beach, California)

20190523 SaulBell 2“Moebius No.1” by Pierre-Yves Paquette
Silver/Argentium Silver
First Place: “Prospect Palace” by Mehrnoosh Ganji (Melbourne, Australia)
Second Place: “Suftal Fidda” by Maja Houtman (Utrecht, Netherlands)

Alternative Metals/Materials
First Place: “Eclipsim” by Kirk Lang (Seattle)
Second Place: “Torus Bracelet for an Astronaut” by Ezra Satok-Wolman (Caledon, Ontario, Canada)

Hollowware/Art Objects
First Place: “Luminous Relic #1628” by David Huang (Sand Lake, Michigan)
Second Place: “The Echinacea Teapot” by Valerie Jo Coulson (Pequea, Pennsylvania)

Jewelry Collection Fashion/Bridge
First Place: “Kirigami Pearl Collection” by Karin Jacobson (Minneapolis)
Second Place: “Jupiter” by Liz Sabol (Pittsburgh)

Jewelry Collection Couture/Fine
First Place: “HELICES” by Sophia Hu (Las Vegas)
Second Place: “Sunshine and Shadow” by Valerie Jo Coulson (Pequea, Pennsylvania)

Emerging Jewelry Artist 18 Years of Age and Younger
First Place: “Midnight” by Christopher Liu (Allen, Texas)
Second Place: “Mokume Chainmail Choker” by Ethan Hansen (Salida, Colorado)

Emerging Jewelry Artist 22 Years of Age and Younger
First Place: “Open Spiculum Cuff with Black Diamond” by Timo Krapf (Pittsford, New York)
Second Place: “Flower of Life Amulet” by Tristan Dunn (Asheville, North Carolina)

“I really appreciated the two rounds of judges in the competition,” Winner Sophia Hu said in a press release. “They have the eyes and taste to see deeper, to identify and appreciate all the design efforts I put into each design in this collection.”

For information about the 2020 competition, including requirements for applying, visit or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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