New York City. Aug. 26, 2019. While pearls weren’t the only gem present in jewels at this year’s American Gem Trade Association’s (AGTA) Spectrum & Cutting Edge Awards, which took place Aug. 6, they were (naturally) among my favorites! Some pearls took home awards while others simply won my heart, but all were worthy of admiration. The following are 11 pearl jewels from the Media Day that I found memorable. Awards, if any, are noted where applicable. Enjoy.
Long earrings in 14k yellow gold with 45 cts. t.w. Laguna agate, 6.33 cts. t.w. green tourmaline, akoya cultured pearls, and 0.22 ct. t.w. diamonds by Mark Loren, entered into Evening Wear
Clearly I have a thing for Mark Loren designs. Usually I’m smitten with his druzy pieces, but now it’s his pearl numbers. These are so fantastic with the length of the agate paired with akoyas—such a traditional gem that’s displayed in a modern way here. I love the juxtaposition of the two.
Necklace in 14k yellow gold with 6–13 mm cultured Tahitian pearls with 9 cts. t.w. of black diamonds set into the pearls as geodes by Hisano Shepherd of little h., entered into Business/Day Wear
Earrings in 14k yellow gold with 6–11 mm Tahitian cultured pearls with 14 cts. t.w. black diamonds, by Hisano Shepherd of little h., entered into Business/Day Wear, and took a Gem Diva award in this category
This necklace is incredible! It was hard for me to capture on an iPhone, but maker Hisano Shepherd’s professional shot does a fine job. The matching pair of earrings are fab, too, and took a Gem Diva award in this category. I’m particularly fond of this necklace for the look and the time it took to create. I can’t imagine how many hours it took to assemble.
Condor necklace in sterling silver and 14k yellow gold with a 37.52 ct. black onyx, a white South Sea pearl, 17.01 cts. t.w. black onyx beads, white freshwater pearls, and 1.10 cts. t.w. diamonds by Brenda Smith Jewelry, entered into Business/Day Wear
This necklace is a party! It’s graphic and has a lot going on. I like the fun way the pearls are used with beads. It’s a statement maker for sure. Bonus: Brenda is a CPAA member. Way to go, Brenda!!
Necklace in platinum with 51.75 cts. t.w. black opals, cultured freshwater pearls, 4.12 cts. t.w. diamonds, 0.43 ct. t.w. tsavorite garnet, and 0.42 ct. t.w. sapphires by John Ford of Lightning Ridge Collection by John Ford, entered into Evening Wear
You don’t often see pearls and opals, so I find this necklace unusual. Plus, the opals are phenomenal in quality, and the baroque pearls mimic their silhouette, making the entire piece whimsical and unexpected. I’m also a huge fan of gems set into pearls!
Serenity ring in 18k white gold with a 17.4 mm white South Sea pearl with 9.1 cts. t.w. multicolored sapphires and 0.91 ct. t.w. diamonds by Gina Ferranti of Gigi Ferranti, entered into Evening Wear
Such a fun ring!! It’s bright and cheery and a fabulous use of a fine-quality pearl. Pearls are so often thought of as stodgy, so I’m always thrilled to see them displayed in lighthearted but still serious jewelry looks like this. Well done, Gina!
Ring in 14k yellow gold with three 9 mm cultured Tahitian pearls by Matt Harris Designs, entered into Classical
You can’t beat a linear look for modern flair. That’s what this ring is giving me in a big way: contemporary vibes with a traditional gem. Love it!
Not Pearls But Made by CPAA Members!
While CPAA members are big-time pearl lovers, they also work with other gems. Below are two creations from CPAA members that nabbed well-deserved accolades. It’s not hard to see why.
Aria earrings in purple titanium, 14k white and green VeraGold with 41.45 cts. t.w. indicolite tourmalines, 3.34 cts. t.w. tsavorite garnets, and 2.42 cts. t.w. diamonds by Adam Neeley, entered into Evening Wear and took the Fashion Forward award
Adam Neeley doesn’t need to enter more than one piece in any awards competition because each piece he enters is a winner. He is virtually guaranteed to win any contest he enters. Why? He’s just that good. Adam doesn’t mess around. I bet even his earliest jewelry efforts are award-winning in some capacity. When given the opportunity to try on this pair, I went for it.
Earrings in 18k and 18.5k yellow gold with 12.5 grams of coral and 7.8 grams of turquoise by Sean Gilson, entered into Business/Day Wear and took the Editor’s Choice award
Can you say G-R-A-P-H-I-C? These killer fun earrings from the pearl and coral house are beyond covetable! I could see a wide range of generations wanting to own these, all with the commonality of superb taste.
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