New York, NY – Oct. 31, 2019. The Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA) has announced the U.S. winners of its 10th Annual International Pearl Design Competition (IPDC).
On Tuesday, Oct. 29, judges Jean Francois Bibet, workshop and production director at Cartier; Nancy Schuring, owner of Devon Fine Jewelry (whose store will show and offer for sale the winning entries and the finalists of Schuring’s choice); Michelle Graff, editor in chief of NationalJeweler.com; and Hector Hassey, jewelry designer of his own same-name firm, inspected 18 live U.S. division finalist pieces at a private location in the city. (There were 38 total U.S. submissions.) By the end of the day, eight winners had been chosen across seven categories for the U.S. Division, as well as one Popularity award winner, which emerged through a vote on the @pearlscpaa’s Instagram account.
Winners are as follows.
U.S. Division with Judging of Live Finalist Pieces
President’s Trophy. This top prize is given to the piece deemed the most beautiful and original design concept that is well made, celebrates pearls, and leaves a lasting impression of pearls as must-have gems.
Winner: Polka Dots cuff in water buffalo horn with 18k gold, bezel-set rubies in pink freshwater pearls, and diamonds by Alishan Halebian of Alishan.
Polka Dots cuff by Alishan Halebian of Alishan
Luster Award. This winning piece represents the evolution of a best-selling pearl jewelry design and bears a covetable and marketable concept with wide appeal for the marketplace.
Winner: Diana’s Love earrings in 14k gold and freshwater pearls by Alexis Mazza of LexiMazz Designs.
Diana's Love earrings by LexiMazz Designs
Orient Award. This winning piece appeals to an emerging pearl jewelry collector—someone who has never before thought of wearing pearls—through attractive design, innovative use of pearls, and an accessible price.
Winners: Tie! Black diamond and pearl earrings in 18k gold with cultured white South Sea pearls and black diamonds by Timo Krapf of TBK Jewelry and the Esther ring in sterling silver with a Biwa pearl by Polly Baumgartner of Modhemia.
Black diamond and pearl earrings in 18k gold with cultured white South Sea pearls and black diamonds by Timo Krapf of TBK Jewelry
Esther ring by Polly Baumgartner of Modhemia
Visionary Award for Classic Styles. This winning piece is attractive, creative, and salable, championing a fresh look for an iconic pearl style—strands, studs, bracelets, or a ring—to help change the dated perception of pearls in the market.
Winner: Chimera pendant necklace in 18k gold with freshwater pearls and diamonds by Brenda Smith of Brenda Smith Jewelry.
Chimera pendant necklace by Brenda Smith of Brenda Smith Jewelry
Wedding Day Pearls. This winning piece best captures what a contemporary bride might wear on her wedding day.
Winner: Convertible Glamorous Keshi Swing earrings in 18k gold with cultured white South Sea keshi pearls by Dilly Kirby of Elizabeth Blair Fine Pearls.
Convertible Glamorous Keshi Swing earrings by Dilly Kirby of
Elizabeth Blair Fine Pearls
Fashion Award. This winning piece features a creative compilation of materials fashioned into a youthful, high-fashion, and original pearl jewelry design that looks as if it came straight from a Paris runway.
Winner: Mandala ring in 18k gold with a cultured Tahitian pearl by Paul Klecka of Paul Klecka Inspired Design.
Mandala ring by Paul Klecka of Paul Klecka Inspired Design
Spotlight Award—Tahitian Pearls. This category focuses on designs where 75 percent of the piece features one type of pearl—the Tahitian pearl for this year. This winning piece should make viewers think about Tahitian pearls and all their colors, including natural-color baby gray, blue, green, pistachio, peacock, and silver, in a way that is fresh and modern, challenges the standard of designs that feature it, and entices a non-pearl-lover to start collecting.
Winner: Convertible Ocean Diva necklace in 18k gold with cultured Tahitian pearls, blue zircon, and labradorite by Jennifer Pusenkoff of Jen International.
Convertible Ocean Diva necklace by Jennifer Pusenkoff of Jen International
Additionally, a Popularity Award for U.S. participants was also given to Jennifer Pusenkoff of Jen International for her Convertible Ocean Diva necklace. This award choice was based on the number of image likes received on the @PearlsCPAA Instagram account. Pusenkoff’s piece received 763 likes during the voting, more than any of the other finalists.
Convertible Ocean Diva necklace by Jennifer Pusenkoff of Jen International also took the Popularity Award on Instagram
Honorable mentions for the U.S. Division include the other finalists:
Chrysanthemum Fold Black Pearl earrings by Karin Jacobson
Pearl Empress earrings by Deborah Meyers of Deborah Meyers Experience
Lydia Lighthouse Beacon ring by Lika Behar of Lika Behar Jewelry
Golden pearl strand with Wavy O interchangeable clasp by
Llyn Strong of Llyn Strong Jewelry
The Kiss of the Spider Woman necklace by Martina Buck of Haute Metal
Power of Pearl pendant by Kelly Charveaux of Scottsdale Bead Supply & Charveaux
South Sea Pearl Paisley ring by Assael
South Sea Pearl Fan earrings by Assael
Rockin' Love ring by Jennifer Pusenkoff of Jen International
Rockin' Dandy lapel pin by Jennifer Pusenkoff of Jen International
The goal of the IPDC is to create compelling new pearl jewelry designs worthy of recognition, media exposure, and now, financial rewards, hopefully through sales of some entries. The CPAA celebrates pearls of all varieties and encourages seasoned and award-winning artists and beginners alike to compete in the IPDC.
Those with residences inside the U.S. competed by submitting images of pieces first, followed by a second round of judging of live goods. International participants competed with renderings and sketches alone.
Winning pieces in the U.S. division now go on display and sale at Devon Fine Jewelry. Schuring took the following pieces back to her store: Diana’s Love earrings; Black Diamond and Pearl earrings; Esther ring; Chimera pendant necklace; Convertible Glamorous Keshi Swing earrings; Mandala ring; Chrysanthemum Fold Black Pearl earrings; Lydia Lighthouse Beacon ring; Golden pearl strand with Wavy O interchangeable clasp; Power of Pearl pendant; and the Rockin' Love ring. Schuring selected the pieces to feature in store based on her client audience and what she thought she could sell. All unsold items will be returned to their makers. An in-store event will take place after the holidays; CPAA will announce the date when it is available.
For more information about the CPAA, log onto www.cpaa.org.
CPAA is a nonprofit founded in 1957. The group comprises the finest manufacturers, wholesalers, dealers, and suppliers of cultured pearls in the United States, and its goals are to improve retail marketability of pearls and cultivate demand among consumers. Through promotion, education, public relations, and unwavering commitment to the category, CPAA aims to inspire an authentic passion for all cultured pearl varieties. For more information about becoming a certified pearl expert, please visit PearlsAsOne.org. To learn more about the Cultured Pearl Association of America, please visit CPAA.org.