The Saul Bell Design Award Competition
—Recognizing Distinction In Jewelry Design
By every measure of what makes a great teacher, Saul Bell was an incredible teacher, going above and beyond to help jewelers learn and perfect their craft. Through this competition—now celebrating 20 years of innovative designers—Rio Grande honors the giving spirit, boundless generosity, and wealth of knowledge of its founder, Saul Bell, and carries on the legacy he left for us.
Saul Bell began his jewelry apprenticeship when he was eight years old. By his early teens he was a capable bench jeweler, and he continued to study and perfect his skills, going on to become a watchmaker as well. In 1944, he established the business which would, over the next 75+ years, grow into Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Now a worldwide company, Rio Grande continues to pursue Saul Bell’s passion—to serve, support and teach the jewelers and artisans who live to create…wherever they may live.
Through the business he started, which today serves jewelers all over the world, Saul Bell fostered professional relationships with personal investment. To the end of his life in 1996, Saul Bell took special delight in sharing his considerable knowledge with anyone who asked. His quiet patience endeared him to all, his good humor brought a smile to almost every interaction, and our industry abounds with stories of the support and opportunities he provided to jewelers who were working to develop their skills.
This competition honors the spirit of Saul Bell and his life’s work. Through its first 20 years, and now into the future, It is our goal that his influence will continue to inspire and enlighten jewelers everywhere. Its array of awards, prizes and special benefits helps support jewelry artists as they move along their chosen career paths.
About Rio Grande
Among the largest worldwide suppliers to the jewelry industry, Rio Grande was founded in 1944 by Saul Bell, a skilled bench jeweler, teacher and mentor who supported metalsmiths and jewelers throughout his life. Today, Rio Grande is a member of The Richline Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, and remains as committed as its founder to supporting jewelers in every way possible.