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Japanese brand Kataoka won the Best in Diamonds Above $20,000 category with this ring at the 2019 Couture Design Awards.
Las Vegas—The annual Couture Design Awards are known for motivating designers to produce some of the jewelry trade show’s most spectacular pieces, and also for delivering a few surprises.

This year’s edition of the awards, held Saturday at the Encore Ballroom, was no exception.

The biggest surprise of the evening came at the very end—the awarding of the Cindy Edelstein Award to veteran industry publicist Michelle Orman, president of Last Word Communication, which handles public relations for the Couture and JA New York shows, and myriad other jewelry projects.

A beloved friend to brands, retailers and editors, Orman is known for going above and beyond to guide and support industry players, as individuals like Buddha Mama’s Nancy and Dakota Badia and Leyla Torre; designer Victor Velyan; The EAB Project’s Elizabeth Anne Bonanno; and Couture Show Director Gannon Brousseau explained in a video tribute.

Brousseau also noted that the most difficult part of deciding to award Orman the honor was to keep it a secret from the heavily involved, and all-knowing, publicist. (In the months leading up to the show, she had been told—as was the audience for the greater part of the evening—that Couture would not be giving out the Cindy Edelstein Award this year.)

The 2019 edition of the awards also ushered in the inaugural “WTF Award?!,” given to the biggest jewelry design fail, as submitted by the designers themselves.

Commemorated with a special medallion in which each winner’s name will be engraved, the first honor went to Stephen Webster for this necklace.

Winners for design successes included Jade Trau, Kataoka and Adam Foster Jewelry. See the full roster of winners and their work below.


Best in Debuting at Couture: Ara Vartanian

20190603 Ara



Best in Bridal: Jade Trau

20190603 jadetrau



Best in Haute Couture: Mike Joseph

20190603 Mike Joseph



Best in Innovative: Silvia Furmanovich
20190603 Silvia

 

Best in Men’s: Jan Leslie

20190603 Jan Leslie


Best in Colored Gemstones Above $20,000: Adam Foster Jewelry

20190603 AdamFoster


Best in Diamonds Above $20,000: Kataoka

20190603 kataoka



Best in Pearls: Karen Suen

20190603 Karen Suen



Best in Platinum: Jorg Heinz

20190603 Jorg Heinz


Best in Silver: Syna

20190603 Syna



Best in Colored Gemstones Below $20,000: Noor Fares
20190603 noorfares



Best in Diamonds Below $20,000: Baentelli

20190603 Baentelli



Best in Gold: Nikos Koulis

20190603 Nikos Koulis


Editor’s Choice: Vendorafa (voted on by editors at Couture, originally entered in the Best in Diamonds Below $20,000 category)

20190603 Lombardi


People’s Choice: Gismondi 1754 (voted on by the audience via text at the awards, originally entered in Haute Couture category)

20190603 Gismondi

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