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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

AGTA Spectrum Awards™ Recognized Jewelry Designer Brenda Smith For Her "Light My Fire" Object d'Art

Award Winning Jewelry Designer Brenda Smith
Recognized For Her "Light My Fire" Object d'Art
AGTA Spectrum Awards™ Announced July 25th

The American Gem Trade Association has announced the winners of the prestigious AGTA Spectrum Awards™. The competition was held in New York on July 23rd and 24th. Often referred to as the "Academy Awards of the Jewelry Industry", the AGTA awards are regarded as the world's preeminent colored gemstone and cultured pearl design competition.

As you can imagine Brenda was beside herself when she heard...she WON!
“I had put it out of my mind  since I hadn’t heard anything….assuming the winners had already been announced.  Then, I received the phone call from AGTA, you could’ve knocked me over with a feather.  I immediately called my husband who had flowers awaiting my return home. What an honor!”

AGTA Announced:
Objects of Art - Honorable Mention
Brenda Smith, Brenda Smith Jewelry - "Light My Fire" object of art - Opalized Wood (250 ctw.) with a hand-carved 75.0 ct. Sunstone flame, 40.0 ct. hand-carved Mexican fire Opal and Diamonds (.20 ctw.).


A true labor of love, "Light My Fire" was a step out of her comfort zone. With this piece you not only have a piece of custom designed jewelry but it becomes a miniature piece of sculpture when you aren't wearing it.

Imagined by Brenda who was inspired by a stunning piece of Sunstone rough.  Master Carver Darryl Alexander was commissioned to carve the Sunstone Flame and Mexican Fire Opal Embers.

"Light My Fire" is":

  • Hand fabricated sterling silver and gold matchsticks linked to make a chain
  • Flaming Oregon Sunstone encircled in sterling silver with a .20ct diamond at the bottom where it sits atop the base, igniting the flame.
  • When removed from the chain the flame connects to the base of opalized and petrified logs. "Hot Coals" carved from Mexican Fire Opal which is backed by a flickering LED light under the oxidized copper "firebox", creating a flickering flame effect.


From the carver, Darryl Alexander:
"AGTA spectrum award winner in the art object category by Brenda Smith.   I mined the piece of Sunstone myself from the Dust Devil Mine, (Plush, Oregon) the piece lights up to look like a flickering fire inside the gem."

The awards were chosen by a panel of prestigious judges: Gail Brett-Levine of National Association of Jewelry Appraisers; Diane Garmendia of 33 Jewels at El Paseo; Jay Mednikow of J.H. Mednikow & Co., Inc.; Victor Velyan of Victor-Christy Studios; and Lew Wackler of Lew Wackler Gem Co.

Highly unique, one-of-a-kind and custom jewelry in noble metals and gemstones by award-winning jewelry artist Brenda Smith.  A former creative director and design teacher, now designing and fabricating fine, custom jewelry. Brenda has been published in Jewelry Artist, UK's Gem and Jewellery, AGTA's Prism, Canada's Jewellery Business," teacher at William holland School of Lapidary Arts and the Georgia Goldsmith's Group. Multiple award winner of the prestigious International Pearl Design Competition by Cultured Pearl Association of America. She was commissioned to design pearl jewelry for their documentary film, "Circling the Pacific" by the Cultured Pearl Association of America. Her jewelry has been chosen by celebrity stylist, Michael O'Connor, to be worn in the Academy awards. But her greatest achievement may be the number of pieces in private and public collections around the world, including pieces in the Smithsonian Institution.



The American Gem Trade Association is a not‐for‐profit Association serving the natural colored gemstone and cultured pearl industry since 1981. The AGTA serves the industry as "The Authority in Color" and has its headquarter office in Dallas, Texas.
Website :


GIA Pilots Automated Melee Analysis Service for Round D-to-Z Diamond Melee

From a Press Release

One of the major hot button issues in the Industry has been the introduction of synthetic or "cultured" Diamonds.  Whether you are a small shop, a large chain or the independant jewelry designer - this topic matters.  It is going to take concentration and some organizational skills to keep synthetics (especially melee) separate on your work bench.....

GIA Pilots Melee Analysis Service for Diamonds
Automated analysis and color sorting for round D-to-Z melee

To address concerns in the gem and jewelry industry about the possibility of synthetic or treated diamonds being mixed into parcels of melee, GIA has developed a fully automated system to rapidly and accurately analyze and sort round D-to-Z melee-size diamonds.

The pilot for the GIA Melee Analysis Service launched last month at GIA’s New York laboratory.  Current clients wishing to participate in the pilot should contact their client service representative. The service will be offered at all GIA locations, with the roll out beginning in the third quarter of 2016.

“This system, which incorporates proven instrumentation, standards and processes used in GIA laboratories, will give the industry and consumers confidence in the characteristics, including color, of these most prevalent stones,” said Tom Moses, GIA’s executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer.

The GIA Melee Analysis Service will separate natural, untreated diamonds from simulants and potentially synthetic or treated diamonds, and sort the screened diamonds by color range. Clients can also specify a size range for their parcel. The system applies GIA’s decades of research into and examination of treated and synthetic diamonds, and will process about 1,800 stones per hour around the clock.

The system can accommodate stones from 1.1 to 3.8 mm in diameter (approximately 0.005 ct to about 0.20 ct.) The cost of the service ranges from eight to 30 cents (U.S.) per stone based on diameter, with a minimum of 500 pieces in each parcel. Once sorted, the melee will be sealed in secure packaging for shipment directly to a third party – upon request and when permissible – or back to the submitting client.

About GIAAn independent nonprofit organization, GIA (Gemological Institute of America), established in 1931, is recognized as the world’s foremost authority in gemology. GIA invented the famous 4Cs of Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight in the early 1950s and in 1953, created the International Diamond Grading System™ which, today, is recognized by virtually every professional jeweler in the world.

Through research, education, gemological laboratory services, and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism. Visit

Thursday, July 21, 2016

#MJSA Vision Awards - Announcing the 2016 Winners #AwardWinners

Vision Award Categories(For the entire list of winners, second place and more see the MJSA website)

The competition provides designers with several opportunities for deserved recognition. The winning entries will be acknowledged and on display at MJSA Expo.

Professional Design Excellence 
Open to all independent or company-employed designers, the Professional Design Excellence Category celebrates work that exemplifies the best of contemporary jewelry design. The winners show a thorough grounding in the tradition of fine design, along with an eagerness for experimentation and innovation by meeting the highest standards of craftsmanship and creativity.

Professional Design Excellence (4 years in business): Honors designs that exhibit exceptional creativity, craftsmanship, and marketability by jewelers in business for 4 or more years.

Klaus Kutter, A Jour Jewelry Inc., Bristol, Rhode Island
First Place Winner

Professional Design Excellence (1-3 years in business): 
Honors designs that exhibit exceptional creativity, craftsmanship, and marketability by jewelers in business for 1-3 years.

Baiyang Qiu, BQ Jewelry, Milpitas, California
First Place Winner

Laser Distinction: 
Honors entries in which the design relied upon the use of a laser and any technical challenges that were overcome to take the piece from concept to completion.

Baiyang Qiu, BQ Jewelry, Milpitas, California


CAD/CAM Distinction: 
Honors designs that were created with the use of CAD/CAM technologies and the challenges that were overcome to take the piece from concept to completion.

Gregoré Morin, Gregoré Joailliers, Santa Barbara, California

Custom Design Distinction: 
Honors designs that met a client’s request and the challenges encountered during the design process and how they were overcome.

Cynthia Renée, Cynthia Renée Inc., Chapel Hill, North Carolina

(NEW for 2016) Responsible Practices Distinction: 
Honors designs that use responsibly sourced materials, including recycled metals and fair-trade gems, and were created using environmentally sensitive manufacturing processes.

Sandy Leong, Sandy Leong Fine Jewelry, New York City

Future of the Industry Award: 
This award recognizes the work of students in jewelry-related programs who exhibit exceptional design talent and creativity.

Seung Jeon Paik, Savannah College of Art & Design, Savannah, Georgia

Future of the Industry - First Place Winner

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

NEW Gallery Exhibit - Summer at Reinstein|Ross!

From a Press Release

Above: Fleur Bleue Necklace, Julie Decubber.

Compared to a Summer's Day - conjures up a natural world of inherent beauty. On view today through August 28th, this international group exhibition showcases the work of six jewelry artists who look to the natural world for inspiration. The title of the exhibition is a playful twist on Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, an ode to his beloved:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,And summer's lease hath all too short a date......

One-of-a-kind pieces, including delicate floral enamel earrings, porcelain brooches with cicadas and butterflies, hand-pierced steel necklaces with painted botanical images, golden butterflies...... all come together to form this summer fantasy.

Above: Red Dragonfly and Red Underwing Moth Pendant from the Hexapoda Collection, Mielle Harvey.

Compared to a Summer's Day features the work of Nicolette Absil, Julie Decubber, Mielle Harvey, Judith Hoetker, Sarah Hood, and Helen Shirk - and includes select work from Reinstein|Ross, Goldsmiths and Gaetano Pesce.

The Gallery is open everyday, and the exhibition will run from June 23rd through August 28th.

Unable to make it to the gallery? Contact them for a "Skype tour" of the exhibition with their gallery director.

The Gallery at Reinstein|Ross - 30 Gansevoort Street - New York, NY 10014 -  212.226.4513


Monday, July 18, 2016


From a Press Release:


Nate Light, Dorothée Gizenga and Chow Tai Fook Receive Honors

Three global industry leaders were honored for their outstanding leadership and service at the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s Diamonds Do Good Awards Gala, just one of several evening events held during Jewelry Week in Las Vegas.  

How can you support DEF's Diamonds Do Good Initiative?  The new Diamonds Do Good Bracelet
designed by Jewelry Designer, Mark Patterson, will be available at retail this Fall.

Nate Light, former CEO of Sterling Jewelers, Dorothée Gizenga, executive director of the Diamond Development Initiative, and Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group were recognized for their actions, which have left a positive impact on communities from the United States to China to Africa. 

An inspirational beat of African drummers kicked off the program that highlighted the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s mission of education empowerment for youth from diamond communities around the world and demonstrating how Diamonds Do Good. 

Honoree and Award Recipient, Nate E. Light, Former CEO of Sterling,
at the Diamonds Do Good Gala, Four Seasons Hotel, Las Vegas, Thursday, June 2, 2016

Nate Light, who received the Diamonds Do Good Lifetime Achievement Award for his influence in  spearheading the “Party With a Purpose” and inspiring what is now called Jewelers For Children said “This honor is truly a wonderful and symbolic highlight of my career. I want kids as they grow up not to have to suffer. We need to keep raising money to create a better life and a better world for them. I challenge you to use this as a call to action to do even more for kids and for your community”. 

Honoree and Award Recipient, Chow Tai Fook CEO, was represented by Kent Wong
at Diamonds Do Good Gala, Four Seasons Hotel, Las Vegas, Thursday, June 2, 2016

Accepting Chow Tai Fook’s Diamonds Do Good Community Development Award was Managing Director, Kent Wong. “For 87 years we have been upholding our belief ‘From the Society, For the Society’ and have been devoted to supporting charitable activities and social services for the betterment of future generations”. 

Dorothée Gizenga, who received the Diamonds Do Good Award for Sustainable Practices for her work with the Diamond Development Initiative, gave an impassioned speech on the need to keep encouraging these practices throughout the mining industry. “The very livelihood of millions of people in some of the poorest countries in the world, survive because of diamonds. We must maintain consumer confidence in the industry to keep the industry thriving. And to do so means the practices we all embrace must be sustainable and embody integrity”.

Honoree and Award Recipient, Dorothee Gizenga at the Diamonds Do Good Gala,
Four Seasons Hotel, Las Vegas, Thursday, June 2, 2016
Six Diamond Empowerment Fund Student Scholars were on hand to give the awards to the recipients. Androulla Markus, graduate of the African Leadership Academy and recent graduate of Columbia University said “Diamonds have played a pivotal role in who I am today and who and where I will be in the future. My plan is to complete medical school, earn a degree in Public Health and return to Botswana and effect change both at the individual and public level.”

Group Shot of students who have benefitted from the Diamond Empowerment Fund's
Diamonds Do Good
 initiative Four Seasons Hotel, Las Vegas, Thursday, June 2, 2016
Board President and CEO of Mercury Ring, Phyllis Bergman summed up the evening “as colleagues in the industry we are all driven by a shared desire to do well and to do good. Tonight we raised over one million dollars that will go towards scholarships for deserving young people around the world. We need to share our good stories with others outside the diamond industry and raise even more money so that thousands more deserving young people will benefit from the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s global mission.

Premier Presenting Sponsors of the Diamonds Do Gala included Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, Inc., De Beers Group of Companies, Signet Jewelers Limited (Kay Jewelers, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Zales Jewelers) Patron Sponsors were JCK and Rosy Blue Group, and Partner Sponsors included ALROSA, Exelco and Le Vian Group. 

 About the Diamond Empowerment Fund:
The Diamond Empowerment Fund is a global non-profit based in New York City and co-founded by Russell Simmons and leaders in the diamond industry in 2007 to empower diamond communities around the world.  Its beneficiaries include: the African Leadership Academy, a university preparatory school in Johannesburg, South Africa, founded on the belief that ethical leadership is the key to sustainable development on the continent and drawing students from all 54 countries in Africa, the Botswana Top Achievers program that provides the top high school students countrywide the opportunity to study at a university of their choice worldwide. Graduates then return to Botswana to contribute to its economic, social and political development; Veerayatan, a model for encouraging development of responsible citizens who are educated, have strong integrity and a motivation to give back to their community. D.E.F  supports students attending its colleges of Pharmacy, Business Administration and Engineering.  D.E.F also supports the Diamond Development Initiative’s mobile school program in the Democratic Republic of Congo and high school scholars in Tanzania through the Flaviana Matata Foundation

#FaberGallery Aaron Faber Gallery Spotlight: Jennifer Trask – Cabinet of Curiosities #GallerySpotlight #NewYork

Aaron Faber Gallery Spotlight: 
Jennifer Trask – Cabinet of Curiosities

For the summer 2016 season, Aaron Faber Gallery invites you to enter jewelry artist Jennifer Trask’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Like the wunderkammern for which her early 2000s collection references, Trask marshals together a divergent assortment of crushed gems, peacock feathers, butterfly wings, powdered pigments and curiously unidentifiable objects to create artist jewelry as fantastically atypical as the women they adorn.

18K and 22K gold and silver crystal-covered round cases are locked together and redefined as wearable cabinets to lock away Trask’s miscellany of nature’s marvels – which include dyed beetles, Salamis parhassus wings, crushed shells, sulfur, leaf skeleton, and the occasional eyeshadow. 
“Like that cabinet of curiosities, these colorful, wearable and inviting jewels provoke a range of responses upon close examination, from delight to caution to discomfort, that tell-tale frisson of our not-always-easy relationship with nature and our role in it,” says Patricia Faber, curator and co-owner of Aaron Faber Gallery.
“This is the territory that Trask explores in her jewelry collections: yes, breathtakingly beautiful…but is it ours to see, to have, to own? Judging from the many avid private collectors and public collections that have acquired Trask’s work, the answer is yes.”

Jennifer Trask’s Wunderkammern Collection 
featured at Aaron Faber Gallery 
July and August. 2016.
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC
  • Museum of Arts + Design, New York, NY
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
  • CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
  • Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia
  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX
  • Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
  • Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, State University of New York at New Paltz, NY
  • Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR
  • Rotasa Foundation, Tiburon, CA

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

#WordlessWednesday #DesignerSpotlight on YOKO London at The #Couture Show #GemShow #Couture2016

Yoko London, established in 1973, is a leading luxury pearl jeweller. The brand has evolved over 42 years with three generations of one family. Renowned for their use of unique pearls in rare natural colours and exceptional sizes, the family run team consists of the finest pearl specialists in the world. The brand’s gifted European designers and craftsmen work together in the London workshop to create pieces which are at the forefront of jewellery trends, combining a contemporary aesthetic, with timeless elegance. Each pearl is hand-picked for every individual design.

Contact Info:


These Pearls Are EXQUISITE!!!

 I am obsessed with the stunning range of pink and mauve...

Give them a call, you can't be without pearls in June...
and it's the gem for the 3rd & 13th Anniversaries.


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