Recognizing Distinction in Jewelry Design
Design matters. Even when you don’t notice it, it surrounds you.
And design well done has the power to order the world.
To elevate common elements to a higher purpose.
The Saul Bell Design Award honors that moment
when a brilliant idea meets a keen set of skills.
The moment when exceptional design happens.
What is design to you? When you create a piece that tells your story, what will it say?
The Saul Bell Design Award competition is your opportunity to design for an audience of your peers, jewelers who know the effort that goes into crafting an exceptional design. After all, people who will never sit at a bench judge your work every day. This is your chance to have it judged by jewelers who understand design and the painstaking hours that go into ensuring it is seamless. Because every joint must be invisible. Every stone level. Every proportion flawless. You know this and so do the judges of the Saul Bell Design Award.
You design every day. Why not enter the design competition judged by jewelers who understand the nuance and power of your craft?
The Saul Bell Design Award—recognizing distinction in jewelry design
Golden Kinematic: Ring
Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation View Winner
Louisville, Kentucky, USA View Winner
Silver Filigree Vanity Mirror
Yorktown, Virginia, USA View Winner
Oil Can Teapot
Sue Aygarn Kowalski
Carver, MA View Winner
The Cynosure II
Valerie Jo Coulson
Pequea, Pennsylvania, USA View Winner
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA View Winner
Freedom, California, USA View Winner
Luminous Ring-Mandarine Fish
Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation View Winner
Bee Cave, Texas, USA View Winner
Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, USA View Winner
Doors To My Dreams
Marana, Arizona, USA View Winner
Slavic Tales: Leshy
Kraków, Poland View Winner
Emerging Jewelry Artist
Quito, Ecuador View Winner
Emerging Jewelry Artist
Auburn, Washington, USA View Winner
Emerging Jewelry Artist
Carrollton, Texas, USA View Winner
Design is every element relative to the next.
Choose a category from below. This will be your foundation and must compose the majority of your piece. Once you’ve decided on a category, build your design using any additional stones, materials and methods you choose. The only limitation we place on you is that the end result must be wearable jewelry (unless you are entering the hollowware/art objects category). After all, it’s your unique story as a designer we’re so excited to see.
We’re looking for an original vision, a fresh take on traditional methods and materials and a mastery of your craft. We want you to stretch the boundaries of your capabilities as a designer and as a jeweler.
The Saul Bell Design Award competition is open to jewelers and hollowware artists from across the globe. The only requirement is that you possess a mastery of your craft and an original point of view. You may enter as many pieces as you wish, though you can only be a finalist once per category. Employees of Rio Grande or of any affiliate company and their immediate family members may not participate. Entrants in the Emerging Artist category must be 21 years of age or younger at the entry deadline, November 28, 2014.
We cannot accept entries from countries the U.S. is prohibited from doing business with by the State Department. International entrants who reach the final round and need to send us a finished piece must fill out a commercial invoice. Send in three copies with your finished piece. Keep one copy for your records. You must also ship your finished piece from and back to the same country. If you cannot do this, you must arrange your own international return shipping and pay for all related expenses.
We cannot accept entries from the following countries: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Burma, Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), North Korea, Syria, Balkan Countries (Serbia, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo), Belarus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Iraq and Zimbabwe.
Your final design must be wearable jewelry (unless you are entering the hollowware/art objects category) and it must be composed of a majority of the material specified in your chosen category. The piece must be your original design and cannot have won an award in any other competition prior to entry.
If you have already entered your piece in another competition, you may also enter it in the Saul Bell Design Award. You will need to let us know by the date of the first round of judging (October 16, 2014) if the piece won in another competition. If it did, we will remove it from the judging and refund your entry fee.
Entries will be judged on:
October 8, 2014: A digital file of your piece, which can be in the form of a drawing, rendering or photograph, is due (except the Emerging Artist category).
October 16, 2014: First round of judging is held.
October 28, 2014: The five finalists in each category are notified.
November 28, 2014: A digital file for the Emerging Artist category is due. This can be in the form of a drawing, rendering or photograph.
January 30, 2015: Finished finalist pieces are due for all categories.
February 26, 2015: Final round of judging is held for all categories.
March 2, 2015: Winners are notified.
May 17, 2015: The Saul Bell Design Award ceremony honoring winners and finalists takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
June 2015: Winning pieces go on display at the Plumb Club at JCK, Las Vegas.
July 2015: All winning pieces will be returned to finalists.
The Saul Bell Design Award is one of the industry's most respected international jewelry competitions. Winning it helps propel jewelers to new heights in their careers and new levels of recognition and acclaim for their work.
First and second place winning pieces will be promoted through a variety of media and industry events, including display in the exclusive Plumb Club during the 2015 JCK, Las Vegas show.
First place in each category (except Emerging Artist): $2,000 Rio Grande gift certificate
Second place in each category (except Emerging Artist): $1,000 Rio Grande Gift certificate
First place in the Emerging Artist category: $500 Rio Grande gift certificate (and a matching award for the winner’s instructor or school)
Second place in the Emerging Artist category: $250 Rio Grande gift certificate (and a matching award for the winner’s instructor or school)
Third place in the Emerging Artist category: $100 Rio Grande gift certificate (and a matching reward for the winner’s instructor or school)
First and second place winners (except for Emerging Artist winners) will receive free travel and lodging to attend the awards celebration in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Winners are encouraged to bring a guest to the awards celebration, though guests will have to pay their own travel and lodging expenses. All winners will also receive a gift certificate to attend any one Rio Grande class.
In an effort to facilitate networking among jewelry designers and jewelry manufacturers, all first and second place winners (except Emerging Artist winners) will be registered to attend the 2015 Santa Fe Symposium, the industry’s premier conference for jewelry manufacturing technology. The Symposium will be held May 17-20, 2015 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Rio Grande will take publication-quality photographs of all finalist and winning pieces. All images will remain the property of Rio Grande. Rio Grande reserves the right to use these images in any promotions or marketing materials. Designers will be given credit any time their piece is featured in any promotion by Rio Grande. We may retain winning and finalist pieces until the end of June, 2015, for photography and display purposes. Winners and their designs may be featured in publicity campaigns.
It is the responsibility of the designer or organization to insure their pieces during delivery to Rio Grande. Insurance of pieces while in our possession will be the responsibility of Rio Grande. We also assume responsibility for shipping and insuring pieces being returned, with the value of the piece limited to the replacement cost of materials. Any additional insurance beyond the replacement cost of materials will be the responsibility of the designer.
The predominant metal is gold or platinum group metals including palladium or a combination of these. Can be cast, fabricated, forged, assembled or created with any combination of techniques.
Includes vessels and non-wearable objects made of precious metal. Can be made using one or a combination of techniques, including spinning, drawing, forging, raising, repoussé, and forming, primarily from milled stock. Decorative cast components can be incorporated.
The predominant metal is silver, Argentium® Silver or a combination of both. Can be cast, fabricated, forged, assembled or created with any combination of techniques.
The predominant surface material must be glass-based enamel. Can be fired on any type of metal.
The predominant material can be any non-traditional metal (a metal not covered in another category, including base metals and reactive metals) or material (including resin, glass, wood, found objects and textiles).
The predominant material can be any form of metal clay.
There are no limitations on media, as long as the finished piece is wearable jewelry and is fabricated by the entrant. Designer must be 21 years of age or younger at the time of the entry deadline, November 28, 2014.
Design is the perfect extension of human creativity.
The judges of the Saul Bell Design Award competition bring a broad range of perspectives from across the jewelry industry. They are accomplished and respected bench jewelers and designers, editors at leading industry publications, and experts in their craft. They will examine each finalist piece by hand and on a model.
Ryan Roberts began his career as an apprentice in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and worked for a time in Hawaii with his aunt, who is a goldsmith. Most of his expertise, however, came by way of self-study, through trial and error, driven by his passion for working with precious metal and gemstones. Wrought primarily in platinum and high-karat gold, and set with unique and precious gems, Ryan’s design features an architectural crispness rendered timeless by the flair of romanticism at its heart.
Jurgen Maerz learned the art of jewelry-making during formal apprenticeship in Germany. A renowned platinum expert, Jurgen has served as a consultant around the world and was the Director of Technical Education at the Platinum Guild International for 13 years. He also created the platinum education program GIA uses. Jurgen is a familiar presenter at the Santa Symposium for Jewelry Manufacturing and has been been recognized for his work in improving casting and manufacturing processes with platinum and other precious metals.
Struck at an early age by the passion to manipulate materials that seemed, at first glance, to be unyielding, Chris Ploof thrives on challenge and is driven by curiosity; as he likes to say, "Impossible is a temporary condition." His design often revolves around unusual materials such as meteoric iron and Damascus steel beautifully crafted together with karat gold using ancient techniques as well as cutting-edge processes. He loves sharing what he’s learned through writing, teaching and consulting across the industry.
Kate Wolf has three loves: carving wax, designing tools and teaching. From the first time she sat at a jeweler’s bench, she knew the passion to design and create would be with her forever. With a BFA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry, she worked for the Franklin Mint as a master model-maker and as the Director of Production. She went on to found her own jewelry school, launch the WolfTools brand of tools, and collaborate with manufacturers to create specialized products just for jewelers.
Jim Binnion learned the basics of jewelry making in high school and has spent his entire adult life expanding that knowledge. Always drawn to the beauty and workmanship of Japanese metal craft, Jim is one of the industry’s foremost experts on mokume gane. In 1991, he established James Binnion Metal Arts and began working exclusively with other mokume artists to develop his knowledge of metallurgy and the techniques for producing and creating jewelry with this incredibly patterned metal.
Yvonne M. Padilla
Design gives order to the universe.
The deadline for entries in the Emerging Artist category is November 28, 2014.
The deadline for entries for the 2015 Saul Bell Design Award competition is CLOSED.
You can start the registration process below. Simply follow the instructions to upload a 10MB rendering or photograph of your piece. The entry fee is $95 per piece ($25 per piece for the Emerging Artist category). Submissions that do not meet the entry criteria will be disqualified and the entry fee refunded.
Design is what drives you.
Have a question? Unsure about how to enter? Need a little guidance or moral support before submitting your entry?
Send us an email or give us a call. We’d love to hear from you.
7500 Bluewater Rd. NW Albuquerque, NM 87121
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