AWARDS – American Gem Trade Association announces 2023 AGTA Spectrum Awards winners

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DALLAS – The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) has announced the winners of the 2023 AGTA Spectrum & Cutting Edge Awards.

This year’s competition took place Oct. 24–25 in Dallas, at the Omni Frisco Hotel at the Star, which served as a sponsor.

Entries to this year’s competition are 24% greater than last year, with a 28% increase in the Business/Day Wear category and a 26% increase in the Evening Wear category.

While there were—not surprisingly—many Sapphires and Sapphire jewels entered in the competition, other trends included Tourmaline, Garnet (including many tsavorite Garnet-accented pieces), enameled jewels, cabochon-cut gems, natural Pearls, and finished jewels with fantasy-cut or carved gems as focal points.

In the Spectrum division, extraordinary entries included an exceptional 5.34 ct. kite-shape Mahenge Spinel in the Business/Day Wear division and a massive two-piece platinum and 18K gold necklace with nearly 73 carats of Garnet in the Men’s division. In Cutting Edge, meanwhile, loose gems ranged from a 9.49 ct. peach Mahenge Malaya Garnet to a 10.42 ct. oval Portuguese-cut Rhodochrosite. There were also a number of green gems entered into both divisions of the competition this year.

“This year’s Awards are one of our best ever,” says CEO John W. Ford Sr., who has now been at the helm of AGTA for over a year. “We had an additional 100 entries this year over last, and many of them had stunning green and blue-green gems. The Omni Hotels are the new home of the Awards for the next few years, and we hope to take the competition national to other Omni venues.”

Judges this year included Allan Koo, A. Koo & Co.; Brent Malgarin, Elegant Gems, Ltd.; Christina Gandia Gambale, Greenwich St. Jewelers; Lika Behar, Lika Behar Jewelry; and Clayton Bromberg, Underwood’s Jewelers (Jacksonville, Fla.).

“The 2023 AGTA Spectrum & Cutting Edge Awards have a new home and a new vibe!” says Kimberly Collins, owner of Kimberly Collins Colored Gems and president of the AGTA board of directors. “Our judges were amazing and worked so well together. They seem to be extremely on the same page with the selections they made. As always, the integrity of the judging competition is of the upmost importance. I felt the winners had a classic, timeless aesthetic this year. I’m so proud to be part of a judging competition that holds itself to the most stringent standards.”

Many of the winning pieces will be on display during the 2024 AGTA GemFair Tucson, Jan. 30–Feb. 4. The AGTA Spectrum Gala is the highlight of 2024 Gem Week festivities and will take place on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, in the newly built addition to the Tucson Convention Center. For more information or tickets, log onto agta.org.

Head to @agta_gems to see all the Best of Show and First Place winning images later today! AGTA will upload winning images to the website as time permits.

Winners of the 2023 AGTA Spectrum Awards are:
Spectrum Award Winners 

Best of Awards

Best of Show – Two This Year!

AWARDS – American Gem Trade Association announces 2023 AGTA Spectrum Awards winners
Stacked from 12 images. Method=B (R=8,S=4)

Spectrum: Niveet Nagpal, Omi Privé – Platinum ring featuring a 15.22 ct. black Opal accented with Tourmaline (0.72 ctw.), tsavorite Garnets (0.40 ctw.), and Diamonds (1.56 ctw.)

AWARDS – American Gem Trade Association announces 2023 AGTA Spectrum Awards winners
Stacked from 8 images. Method=B (R=8,S=4)

 

Cutting Edge: Joseph Ambalu, Amba Gem Corp. – Suite of 4 oval “Paraíba-type” Tourmalines (31.01 ctw.)

Best Use of Color

Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore, LLC – Platinum “Ocean & Grass Wave” bracelet featuring Sapphires (25.02 ctw.) accented with demantoid Garnets (7.87 ctw.), yellow Diamonds (1.14 ctw.), and white Diamonds (7.32 ctw.)

Best Use of Pearl
Fannie Thomas, Fannie Thomas Jewelry – 22K yellow gold “Birds Eye View” hand-carved ring featuring a cultured South Sea baroque Pearl bird

Fashion Forward
Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore, LLC – 18K yellow gold and black ceramic “Greek Key Fancy Diamond Perfection” bracelet featuring mixed fancy vivid Diamonds (14.82 ctw.) accented with tsavorite Garnets (1.70 ctw.)

Best of Single Entries – Cutting Edge
Joseph Ambalu, Amba Gem Corp. – Suite of 4 oval “Paraíba-type” Tourmalines (31.01 ctw.)

Best of Single Entries – Spectrum
Joseph Campanelli, Campanelli & Pear – 18K white gold “Something Blue” earrings featuring blue Zircons (8.50 ctw.) accented with Diamonds (0.77 ctw.)

Best Use of Platinum and Color

Mary van der Aa, Mary van der Aa Fine Jewels – Platinum and 18K “GARANATAS: From Rough to Cut” two-piece necklace featuring various species of Garnets (approx. 77.26 ctw.)

Best Use of Platinum Crown

Adam Neeley, Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry, Inc. – Platinum “Fantasia” ring featuring a 12.24 ct. Aquamarine accented with Akoya Pearls and Diamonds (1.00 ctw.)

Bridal Wear

Bridal Wear – 1st Place and Best Use of Platinum Crown

Adam Neeley, Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry, Inc. – Platinum “Fantasia” ring featuring a 12.24 ct. Aquamarine accented with Akoya Pearls and Diamonds (1.00 ctw.)

Bridal Wear – 2nd Place

Niveet Nagpal, Omi Privé – Platinum ring featuring a 3.02 ct. Ruby accented with Diamonds (1.39 ctw.)

Bridal Wear – 3rd Place

Benjamin Javaheri, Uneek Jewelry – Platinum ring featuring a 4.60 ct. Emerald accented with Emeralds (2.65 ctw.) and Diamonds (1.62 ctw.)

Bridal Wear – Honorable Mention

Gabriel Angulo, Pompos Jewelry Corporation – Platinum “Euphoria” necklace featuring an 11.94 ct. heart-shape Colombian Emerald accented with round Emeralds (0.62 ctw.) and Diamonds (0.68 ctw.)

Bridal Wear – Manufacturing Honors

Bella Campbell, BHI/Campbellian Collection – 18K white gold “Enchanting Moon” earrings featuring rainbow Moonstones (16.0 ctw.) accented with heart-shape rainbow Moonstones (2.00 ctw.), and Diamonds (0.97 ctw.)

Bridal Wear – Platinum Honors

Dallas Prince, Dallas Prince Designs – Platinum “Unity” wedding ring set featuring a 1.54 ct. pear-cut blue Sapphire accented with Diamonds (1.93 ctw.)

Bridal Wear – Gem DIVA

Erica Courtney, Erica Courtney LLC – Triple-drop earrings in 18K yellow gold featuring white Zircon (15.0 ctw.) accented with Tourmalines (2.66 ctw.) and Diamonds (1.54 ctw.)

Business/Day Wear

Business/Day Wear – 1st Place

Gabriel Angulo, Pompos Jewelry Corporation – 18K yellow gold ring featuring a 2.39 ct. Colombian Emerald accented with round Emeralds (0.18 ctw.) and Diamonds (1.52 ctw.)

Business/Day Wear – 2nd Place

Wolfgang Vaatz, Earth Terra Erde, Inc. – Argentium and 22–22.35K placer yellow gold “Aspen Duet Cuff in Turning Colors from Green to Red” featuring tsavorite Garnet (0.38 ctw.) accented with orange Sapphire (0.61 ctw.)

Business/Day Wear – 3rd Place

Gabriel Angulo, Pompos Jewelry Corporation – Platinum “Dance to Flamingo” ring featuring a 4.09 ct. cushion-cut purple pink Sapphire accented with round Diamonds (1.95 ctw.) and baguette Diamonds (1.07 ctw.)

Business/Day Wear – Honorable Mention

Randy Coffin, Coffin & Trout Fine Jewelers – Platinum ring featuring a 6.54 ct. color-change Zircon accented with blue green Grandidierite, violet Sapphires, and colorless Diamonds

Business/Day Wear – Platinum Honors

Raja Mehta, AG Gems – Platinum earrings featuring lavender-blue star Sapphires (28.50 ctw.) accented with heart-shape Diamonds (1.91 ctw.) and round brilliant-cut Diamonds (1.93 ctw.)

Business/Day Wear – Gem DIVA

Svetlana Kayton, Svetlana Lazar – “Wells of Wisdom” ring in 18K yellow gold featuring a subtle kinetic effect that creates the illusion of water moving beneath the gems, featuring cabochon Moonstones (6.22 ctw.) accented with Diamonds (0.32 ctw.)

Classical

Classical – 1st Place

Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore, LLC – Platinum “Moi et Toi Perfection in Green & White” ring featuring a 3.49 ct. unenhanced Colombian Emerald and a 3.36 ct. Diamond accented with Diamonds (0.43 ctw.)

Classical – 2nd Place

Gabriel Angulo, Pompos Jewelry Corporation – Platinum ring featuring a 20.14 ct. oval Ceylon Sapphire accented with pear-shape Diamonds (1.00 ctw.) and round Diamonds (1.74 ctw.)

Classical – 3rd Place and Best Use of Pearls

Fannie Thomas, Fannie Thomas Jewelry – 22K yellow gold “Birds Eye View” hand-carved ring featuring a cultured South Sea baroque Pearl bird

Classical – Platinum Innovation and Best Use of Color

Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore, LLC – Platinum “Ocean & Grass Wave” bracelet featuring Sapphires (25.02 ctw.) accented with demantoid Garnets (7.87 ctw.), yellow Diamonds (1.14 ctw.), and white Diamonds (7.32 ctw.)

Classical – Honorable Mention

Kim Nel, Alpha Inc. /DBA Brian Gavin Diamonds – 18K rose gold and platinum “Malaya Majesty” ring featuring a 6.32 ct. peach Malaya Garnet accented with Sapphire (0.20 ctw.) and Diamonds (0.94 ctw.)

Classical – Manufacturing Honors

Jenn Breznen, Mined + Found – 14K yellow gold “Aurora in Orbit” double-sided pendant featuring a 2.91 ct. cabochon Moonstone and a 6.95 ct. cabochon spessartine Garnet accented with Sapphires (0.30 ctw.), and Diamonds (0.50 ctw.)

Classical – Platinum Honors

Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore, LLC – Platinum “Something New & Something Blue Wave” choker featuring an 11.03 ct. cushion-cut Sapphire accented with Sapphires (5.13 ctw.), demantoid Garnets (3.29 ctw.), Sapphires (1.36 ctw.), yellow Diamonds (0.39 ctw.), and white Diamonds (4.10 ctw.)

Classical – 3rd Place and Best Use of Pearls and Classical – Gem DIVA

Fannie Thomas, Fannie Thomas Jewelry – “Birds Eye View” hand-carved ring in 22K yellow gold featuring a South Sea baroque

Pearl bird

Evening Wear

Fashion Forward

Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore, LLC – 18K yellow gold and black ceramic “Greek Key Fancy Diamond Perfection” bracelet featuring mixed fancy vivid Diamonds (14.82 ctw.) accented with tsavorite Garnets (1.70 ctw.)

Evening Wear – 1st Place and Best of Show

Niveet Nagpal, Omi Privé – Platinum ring featuring a 15.22 ct. black Opal accented with Tourmaline (0.72 ctw.), tsavorite Garnets (0.40 ctw.), and Diamonds (1.56 ctw.)

Evening Wear – 2nd Place

Beatrix Laura Jessner, B & W Jewels – Platinum ring featuring a 2.69 ct. triangular no-enhancement Colombian Emerald accented with Diamonds (3.39 ctw.)

Evening Wear – 3rd Place

Adam Neeley, Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry, Inc. – 14K gradient SpectraGold “Dono della Valle” earrings featuring green Tourmalines (47.47 ctw.) accented with Tanzanites (12.58 ctw.) and Diamonds (1.30 ctw.)

Evening Wear – Platinum Innovation

Shawndria Aghjayan, Harout R LLC – Platinum “A Woman’s Delightful Chaotic Life!” necklace featuring Diamonds (11.27 ctw.) and Emeralds (5.72 ctw.)

Evening Wear – Platinum Innovation

Shawndria Aghjayan, Harout R LLC – Platinum “Ignore the Sound of Chaos” earrings featuring Diamond (1.78 ctw.) and Emerald (0.30 ctw.)

Evening Wear – Honorable Mention

Nikki Swift, Nicole Mera – 18K yellow gold “A Kaleidoscope of Green” ring featuring a 2.15 ct. Australian black Opal accented with tsavorite Garnets (0.99 ctw.) and Diamonds (1.23 ctw.)

Evening Wear – Manufacturing Honors

Marcia Budet, Marcia Budet – 18K yellow and white gold earrings featuring Colombian Emeralds (8.21 ctw.) accented with Diamonds (1.74 ctw.) have removable extensions that can be worn in three different looks

Evening Wear – Platinum Honors

Helen Kim Currens, J.W. Currens, Inc. – Platinum “The American Queen 2023” brooch featuring a 6.47 ct. pear-shape Tanzanite accented with colored Diamonds (1.08 ctw.), white Diamonds (2.3 ctw.), and tsavorite Garnets (0.36 ctw.)

Evening Wear – Best Use of Platinum and Color

Mary van der Aa, Mary van der Aa Fine Jewels – Platinum and 18K “GARANATAS: From Rough to Cut” two-piece necklace featuring various species of Garnets (approx. 77.26 ctw.)

Evening Wear – Gem DIVA

Anita Agrawal, Jewels 4 Ever/Vartanian Jewellers – “I Dream in Pink” 3-in-1 pendant and ring(s) set in 14K rose gold featuring a 3.52 ct. unheated, untreated Sri Lankan heart-shape pink Sapphire accented with pear-shape pink Sapphires (6.52 ctw.)

Men’s Wear

Men’s Wear – 1st Place

Niveet Nagpal, Omi Privé – Platinum ring featuring a 2.35 ct. oval cabochon Alexandrite accented with Alexandrite (3.07 ctw.)

Men’s Wear – 2nd Place

Carl Larson, AntiHero – 18K white gold “Captain Mayer’s Revenge” brooch/pendant featuring red Spinels (6.30 ctw.) on a hand-struck cob piece of eight accented with Diamonds (3.42 ctw.)

Men’s Wear – 3rd Place

Marc Hollmuller, Somewhere In The Rainbow – Steel and 18K rose gold “Iron Man” ring featuring an 8.19 ct. faceted-edge Garnet accented with Diamonds

Men’s Wear – Platinum Innovation

Jeffrey Bilgore, Jeffrey Bilgore, LLC – Platinum “Ocean & Grass Wave” ring featuring a 3.18 ct. demantoid Garnet and Sapphires (4.72 ctw.) accented by Sapphires (1.25 ctw.), demantoid Garnets (2.66 ctw.), and Diamonds (0.41 ctw.)

Men’s Wear – Honorable Mention and Men’s Wear – Manufacturing Honors

Michael Endlich, Pave Fine Jewelry – 22K “Sail Away” ring featuring a 10.33 ct. boulder Opal accented with Diamonds (0.06 ctw.)

Men’s Wear – Platinum Honors

Inken Krause, Enhoerning Jewelry – Platinum “Zaniglas” ring featuring a 4.46 ct. oval unheated Ceylon Sapphire accented with French-cut gray Spinels (2.93 ctw.)

Men’s Wear – Gem DIVA

Robin Callahan, Robin Callahan Designs, LLC – “Hageshi” cufflinks in 14K white gold featuring Tahitian South Sea Pearls accented with white Diamonds (1.48 ctw.) and black Diamonds (1.02 ctw.)

Editor’s Choice (Not yet photographed)

Spectrum – Editor’s Choice

Business/Day Wear

Ai Van Pham, Gem & Gold Creations, “Pendulum/I Spy” pendant necklace in 14K yellow gold with Black Jade and a 13.88 ct. fantasy-cut pink Tourmaline with Opal inlay

Cutting Edge – Editor’s Choice

All Other Cut Gemstones

Bryan Lichtenstein, 3090 Gems, LLC, 12.85 ct. emerald-cut bi-color blue and green untreated Zoisite

Winners of the 2023 AGTA Cutting Edge Awards are:

Cutting Edge

All Other Cut Gemstones

All Other Cut Gemstones – 1st Place

Desmond Chan, Gem Arts International – 9.49 ct. peach Mahenge Malaya Garnet titled “The Sparkle in Her Eye”

All Other Cut Gemstones – 2nd Place

David Nassi, 100% Natural, Ltd. – 12.02 ct. modified cushion Mahenge red Spinel

All Other Cut Gemstones – 3rd Place

David Nassi, 100% Natural, Ltd. – 14.07 ct. modified cushion “Paraíba-type” Tourmaline

All Other Cut Gemstones – Honorable Mention

Bryan Lichtenstein, 3090 Gems, LLC – 12.85 ct. emerald-cut bicolor blue and green untreated Zoisite

All Other Cut Gemstones – Honorable Mention

Jaimeen Shah, Prima Gems USA – 6.47 ct. emerald-cut pink Tanzanite

Carving

Carving – 1st Place

Patrick Dreher, Dreher Carvings LLC – 515 ct. Heliodor carving titled “The Green Jewel – Frog on Heliodor”

Carving – 2nd Place

Meg Berry, Milstead Gems LLC – 228.25 ct. Morganite double-sided carving titled “Cock-a-doodle-do”

Carving – 3rd Place

Brandon Messing, BM Gems – 145.49 ct. portal-cut optical Quartz inlaid with Opal

Carving – Honorable Mention

Meg Berry, Megagem – 74.15 ct. particolored Sapphire “Sugar Magnolia” two-sided carved pendant featuring a variety of flowers

Classic Gemstone

Classic Gemstone – 1st Place

Ron Rahmanan, Sara Gem – 20.21 ct. unheated royal blue cushion-cut Sapphire

Classic Gemstone – 2nd Place

Intercolor USA – 10.34 ct. cushion-cut Ruby from Madagascar

Classic Gemstone – 3rd Place

Ron Rahmanan, Sara Gem – 5.04 ct. unheated pink cushion-cut Sapphire

Classic Gemstone – Honorable Mention

Ron Rahmanan, Sara Gem – 13.60 unheated yellow pear-shape Sapphire

Innovative Faceting

Innovative Faceting – 1st Place

Bryan D. Drummond, Drummond Gems & Jewelry – 17.13 ct. indigo precision carved Tanzanite titled “Nine of Diamonds”

Innovative Faceting – 2nd Place

Lee Haynes, LWH Gems – 121 ct. mix-cut spiral crown and twisted pavilion Amethyst titled “Multiverse”

Innovative Faceting – 3rd Place

Christopher Wolfsberg, Fossilium/Roy Leggitt – 68.93 ct. micro concave-cut Morganite

Innovative Faceting – Honorable Mention

Larry Woods, Gem Arts International – 33.26 ct. Tanzanite titled “Compass Rose Tanzanite”

North American Mined Gemstones

North American Mined Gemstones – 1st Place

Ben Kho, Kho International – 10.42 ct. oval Portuguese-cut Rhodochrosite from Colorado

North American Mined Gemstones – 2nd Place

Dalan Hargrave, Somewhere In The Rainbow – 295.15 ct. “Dazed & Dazzled” carved colorless Quartz from Arkansas

North American Mined Gemstones – 3rd Place

Derek Katzenbach, Katzenbach Designs Inc. – 31.45 ct. green Tourmaline from Newry, Maine, titled “The Maine Event”

North American Mined Gemstones – Honorable Mention

Derek Katzenbach, Katzenbach Designs Inc. – 12.50 ct. precision faceted oval blue Tourmaline from Maine, USA

Objects of Art

Objects of Art – 1st Place

Patrick Dreher, Dreher Carvings LLC – 457 gram Agate “Playtime” fish accented by 18K yellow gold, Jasper, and rock crystal Quartz

Objects of Art – 2nd Place

Desmond Chan, Gem Arts International – 200.05 ct. Jadeite dragonhead carving titled “The Protector”

Objects of Art – 3rd Place

Kent Raible, Raible Studios LLC – 18K yellow gold and platinum “Crystal Sky City” with Diamonds, Emeralds, Spinel, Aquamarine, Tanzanite, Chalcedony, rose Quartz, rainbow Moonstone, Sugilite, Agate, Tourmaline, Lapis, Chrysoprase, Sapphires, gem silica, Topaz, and Opal

Objects of Art – Honorable Mention

Ziad H. Noshie, Almaza Jewelers – Sterling silver “The Painted Bunting Bird” featuring a Lapis base accented with Carnelians, black Diamonds (1.0 ctw.), cognac Diamonds (15.15 ctw.), tsavorite Garnets (6.50 ctw.), Sapphires (43.53 ctw.), and Tanzanites (18.25 ctw.)

Pairs & Suites

Pairs & Suites – 1st Place, Best of Single Entries Cutting Edge, and Best of Show

Joseph Ambalu, Amba Gem Corp. – Suite of 4 oval “Paraíba-type” Tourmalines (31.01ctw.) from Mozambique

Pairs & Suites – 2nd Place

Justin Zaroovabeli, The Rare Gem LLC – Pair of oval Alexandrites (6.97 ctw.) from Mozambique

Pairs & Suites – 3rd Place

Ron Rahmanan, Sara Gem – Pair of royal blue cushion-cut unheated Sapphires (10.35 ctw.)

Pairs & Suites – Honorable Mention

Stephen M. Avery, Stephen M. Avery – Pair of Morganites and Tanzanites (69.68 ctw.)

Phenomenal

Phenomenal – 1st Place

David Nassi, 100% Natural, Ltd. – 28.41 ct. oval black Opal

Phenomenal – 2nd Place

Bryan Lichtenstein, 3090 Gems, LLC – 14.55 ct. cushion-cut color-change gray violet green Zircon

Phenomenal – 3rd Place

Bruce Furst, The Cutter’s Bench – 29.22 ct. modified Portuguese-cut tsavorite Garnet titled “The Green Envy”

Phenomenal – Honorable Mention

Neal Hurni, Lewis and Clark Sapphires LLC – 5.09 ct. unheated color-change modified brilliant-cut Sapphire from Montana

AGTA is grateful to our sponsors this year, including the Omni Hotels, Platinum Guild International, and the Women’s Jewelry Association.

AGTA Spectrum Awards entries are judged on overall beauty and wearability, innovative design, effective use of materials, quality of gemstones, quality of workmanship, broad‐based consumer appeal and potential to generate positive publicity for natural colored gemstones.

AGTA Cutting Edge Awards honor excellence and creativity in lapidary arts, including natural colored gemstones and cultured pearls, carvings and other gem materials.

Platinum Honors, sponsored by Platinum Guild International (PGI), recognizes the outstanding use of platinum in colored gemstone and/or cultured pearl jewelry in 11 Spectrum Awards categories and for the Platinum Honors Innovation Awards in Bridal Wear, Business/Day Wear, Evening Wear, Classical, and Men’s. Platinum Innovation. PGI also awards two “Best of” awards – Best Use of Platinum and Color and Best Use of Platinum Crown.

WJA Gem DIVA Awards, sponsored by the Women’s Jewelry Association, grants awards in the Bridal Wear, Evening Wear, Classical and Business/Day Wear categories. All women who enter the AGTA Spectrum Awards competition are eligible for this category.

Manufacturing Honors recognizes outstanding use of colored gemstones and cultured pearls along with exceptional design in jewelry that can be readily manufactured for high volume (repeatable) distribution and sale. All designs that qualify for judging in the AGTA Spectrum Awards competition will also automatically be qualified for Manufacturing Honors judging.

Fashion Forward Honors recognizes the outstanding use of colored gemstone and/or cultured pearl in artful, trend‐setting jewelry. All designs that qualify for judging in the AGTA Spectrum Awards competition are eligible for Fashion Forward Honors judging.

For more information regarding the AGTA Spectrum Awards competition, please contact Kimmie Petersen at (800) 972‐1162 or [email protected]. For further information regarding the 2024 AGTA GemFair Tucson or the AGTA Spectrum Awards Gala, please call (800) 972‐1162 or visit our website at www.agta.org.

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 is headquartered in Dallas.