The Centurion Jewelry Show is pleased to announce Marla Aaron, Alexis Mazza, and Alison Nagasue as the winners of the Centurion 2017 Emerging Designer Competition, sponsored by Stuller. All three designers will make their U.S. jewelry tradeshow debut at the Centurion Scottsdale Show, set for January 28 – Feb. 1 in Scottsdale, AZ.
The Centurion Emerging Designer Competition is limited to independent designers who have never shown at a U.S. fine jewelry trade show. Each year, hopeful entrants from around the world vie for one of three coveted spaces at the Centurion Scottsdale Show. This year’s competition drew more than 100 entries.
Centurion president Howard Hauben says, "Every year Centurion brings together the top prestige jewelers in the United States with an outstanding collection of high-end manufacturers. We're proud to also introduce such a high level of innovative new talent that adds to our tradition of bringing the best retailers and designers together under one roof."
Ashley Brown, Stuller’s executive director of marketing and public relations, says, “Stuller has been proud to sponsor the Centurion Emerging Designer Competition for the last five years. We know that innovation and creativity are essential to the future of the jewelry industry, and finding new talent is where it begins.”
A panel of expert judges from the jewelry industry narrowed down the entries to 15 finalists. This year’s first-round panel of judges included Maren Rosen, vice president of bridal and jewelry merchandising for Stuller, Shelley Brown, editor for The Knot, and veteran sales executive and blogger Barbara Palumbo of Adornmentality and What’sOnHerWrist.
The Centurion Retailer Advisory Board reviewed the finalists and voted for the three winners who each will receive a free exhibit space at the Show and a $1,000 merchandise credit from Stuller.
These are the three Centurion Emerging Designer Competition winners for 2017:
Marla Aaron (Salon ED-1)
After spending nearly 25 years as a global communications executive serving in senior roles for publishers and advertising agencies in Europe and the United States, Marla Aaron launched her eponymous collection in 2013 when her combined obsessions with bridges, hardware, and jewelry could no longer be ignored.
What began with one jeweled lock is now an entire collection designed to be worn in infinite ways and used as “jewel tools” with individuals’ own collections—to redefine with individuality the “precious” in jewelry. Although recognized for its streamlined, industrial look, Aaron’s collection is deeply rooted in the personal and emotional jewelry of the Victorian and Georgian eras.
Left: 14k gold lock with 421 1-mm diamonds (2.15 ctw) on an 18” Medium Curb chain in 14K gold. Right: Green gold "Stoned Heart" lock with turqoise on 6.5" mega-curb bracelet with green gold loops. Below, rose gold "Twisted" series lock on a green gold hard hook bracelet.
Her collection ranges from $89-$20,000, allowing for collectors at all price points. The entire collection was recently on display at the Museum of American Finance in New York City, in its exhibit, "Gold: Worth its Weight." Her collection is proudly made and finished by hand in New York City. See more at www.marlaaaron.com.
Alexis Mazza (Salon ED-2)
Born and raised on Long Island, New York, in a well-known jewelry family, Alexis Mazza attended The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City to study both jewelry design and accessories design. Upon graduation, not only did she gain experience by working alongside her family’s company, but broadened her skills by working for other companies in the jewelry industry as well. Although she is a sixth-generation jeweler bearing the Mazza name, her experiences ultimately aided in her final decision to branch out and follow her own signature look, rather than join the family firm.
LexiMazz Designs by Alexis Mazza is a New York based fine jewelry line that incorporates diamonds, pearls, and other colored gemstones in 14K and/or 18K gold. Alexis’s pieces are inspired by the quality she learned from her father, Jeffrey Mazza. His appreciation for the art of jewelry design influenced her to begin creating her own line, LexiMazz Designs, d a combination of sleek lines and chic drapery. Beginning with a contemporary touch, she infuses a bit of edge into her designs meant for everyday wear. Alexis Mazza’s work embodies a look that allows the average Millennial to express her creativity and style through clothing and accessories.
A selection of LexiMazz jewelry, left, and as modeled by the designer, right.
Alison Nagasue (Salon ED-3)
As a multiple-time international jewelry design award winner and a successful professional fine jewelry designer and product developer, Alison Nagasue’s work may be familiar to retailers even if her name hasn’t been until now. For more than 25 years she has consulted with many major jewelry companies and retailers. She has appeared on QVC, HSN, and Shop Channel Tokyo with her own collections. She has won major design awards in the United States and internationally, including DeBeers Diamonds International Award, World Gold Council-Virtuosi, Women’s Jewelry Association DIVA Award, Royal Asscher RebelChique, and more.
For Centurion, she introduces her copyrighted signature Gingko Collection. Classic yet modern, fabricated in 18K green gold with white diamonds and, in a few cases, Paraiba tourmaline, it features her iconic textural surface treatment with matte and polished accents resulting in a feminine unique look. Alison's attention to detail is a core characteristic of her artistry: even the backside of her gingko leaves are as finished as the front side with continuance of texture.
Nature is Nagasue's inspiration and additional themes in her collection include animals, flowers, birds, and leaves. She delivers a wearable, aesthetically true vision of her statement of what jewelry women like herself should wear and feel beautiful and special in. See more at www.alisonnagasue.com.