The 2020 AGTA Spectrum Award judges are (from left to right): Michael Johnson, Monica Kitt, Clare Adams Kittle, Chris Pampillonia and Ray Zajicek.
Dallas—Even before the pandemic disrupted the 2020 calendar, the American Gem Trade Association decided to move this year’s Spectrum Awards from August to October to allow designers more time to submit pieces to the competition.

Moving the judging to Dallas, however? That’s all COVID-19.

According AGTA CEO Doug Hucker, it was easier to assemble this year’s cadre of judges in Dallas, rather than the usual New York City.

“Producing the competition in today’s environment has not been without challenges,” Hucker noted. “I am very proud of our team that has managed to make these adjustments and still ensure the significance and integrity of the event, and provide a safe environment to do so.”

This year’s judges are: Michael Johnson, G.G., C.M., Eiseman Jewels; Monica Kitt, The Arkenstone, Ltd.; Clare Adams Kittle of Clare Adams Kittle Company; Chris Pampillonia of Pampillonia Designs; and Ray Zajicek of Equatorian Imports.

Johnson is Eiseman Jewels’ director of the estate division. He’s a master jeweler, master stone setter and master hand engraver.

He also has worked with tax and estate attorneys as an expert and advisor when it comes to estate jewelry. Additionally, his work has extended to project management, product development, advertising, merchandising and inventory control.

Kitt holds degrees in business and Mandarin that she used toward a career path in imports, living in Shanghai.

She helped Dr. Rob Lavinsky of The Arkenstone build his business in China while also working on government-run gem and mineral events.

In 2013, she moved to Dallas, working with The Arkenstone full time. She works specifically in online sales, branding and planning trade shows.

Each year, Kitt directs the Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium, which combines an educational lecture series with social events and benefit auctions.

Kittle is a designer who works primarily in 22-karat yellow gold, as well as a marketer.

With a passion for gemstones, she has worked in marketing and advertising for fine jewelers and gemstone dealers.

Her clients include the AGTA, Oscar Heyman, Colormasters and Neiman Marcus. For the latter, she created their popular InCircle points and benefits program.

Pampillonia is a sixth-generation jeweler who has been making jewelry since he was 12.

His parents created Pampillonia Designs nearly 30 years ago in Richardson, Texas. The company manufactures and designs.

Today, the company boasts more than 50 employees, most who sit at the bench, manufacturing jewelry for some of the world’s largest luxury brands.

Lastly, Zajicek founded gemstone import company Equatorian Imports in 1968 while he was still in college.

He was a founding organizing member of AGTA in 1980 and instrumental in creating the first Spectrum Awards in 1983, according to the organization.

Zajicek was AGTA’s third president. During his tenure, the association brought the Tucson Gem Show in-house, producing and managing it, as it still does today.

He is the co-author of the Jewelers’ Information Manual, a widely-used reference tool which lists gemstones enhancements.

In 2015, he won the Leon Ritzler Honorary Member Award from AGTA. He’s also the winner of more than a dozen AGTA Spectrum and Cutting Edge Awards.

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