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Tucson dinner - Spectrum tips

For those of you who were not at the Tucson dinner, I want to recap
part of my presentation. This year I was one of four judges for the
AGTA Spectrum and Cutting Edge awards. The Spectrum competition is
one of the premier opportunities for contemporary jewelry designers
who use colored gems in their designs. The winners receive a
beautiful glass sculpture/award and loads of free press. With fewer
competitions for jewelry these days, than there were a few years
ago, the Spectrum Awards have become one of the most important in
the world of jewelry.

At the dinner, I showed slides of the award winning designs with
some commentary and observations. Based on my experience, here are a
few concrete suggestions for anyone thinking of entering the
competition next year.

  1. Some of the categories, Evening Wear in particular, usually
    elicit a greater number of entries and consequently the chances of
    winning in that category are lower. The categories with fewer
    entries this year were Men’s Jewelry and Bridal Jewelry. Obviously,
    if your entry is one of 50 you stand a better chance than if it is
    one of 200 entries in a category.

  2. While exotic gems are eye catching, the importance of the big
    three: rubies, sapphires and emeralds, should not be underestimated.

  3. Read the application instructions very carefully, as they change
    from year to year. I believe that this year was the first that the
    organizers permitted an unlimited number of entries from any one

  4. One of the criteria for judging is how well the work will
    photograph. Since AGTA is promoting gems, this makes sense, and you
    should take this into consideration when creating your design.

  5. After the AGTA judges finish, a panel from the Platinum Guild
    International reviews all entries in which 75% or more of the metal
    is platinum and awards its own set of winners. This is separate
    opportunity for designers to win a prize.

  6. And whatever you do, be original, and don’t hold back. The judges
    are generally looking for splashy jewelry, jewelry that takes a risk
    because it is very bold or exotic or flamboyant. For instance, one
    of the winning entries this year, created by Bradley Webber of
    Pebble Beach, CA, was a striking ring created from an actual carved
    conch shell, in which he combined gold, diamonds and pearls.

I hope that these personal impressions are helpful for you. They are
only my own observations and are not backed by a guarantee. Good

Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts
760 Market Street - Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94102
tel: 415-391-4179 fax: 415-391-7570