Award-winning jewelry designs

James Currens' brooch with with oval emeralds set in white metals, with colored diamond accents, won Best of Show.

James Currens' brooch with with oval emeralds set in white metals, with colored diamond accents, won Best of Show.

Here’s a peek at the winners of this year’s Spectrum Awards, the annual jewelry design competition held by the American Gem Trade Association. Given AGTA’s mission, this contest is always as much about the gems as the jewelry itself.

Two pieces tied for Best of Show – and both were by the same guy, New York designer James Currens. One, a leaf-shaped brooch, signals a return to Retro-style glamour. It’s constructed almost entirely of oval emeralds (66 carats worth!) with multi-colored diamond accents.

Victor Velyan's 24k gold and silver cuff with 20.54 ct star ruby and natural-colored diamonds.

Victor Velyan's 24k gold and silver cuff with 20.54 ct star ruby and natural-colored diamonds.

Currens’ other big winner, a ring with a honking (15.58ct) pear-shaped moonstone surrounded by smaller moonstones and color-change garnets, will change your idea of moonstones forever. This is the kind of stone you can fall into, every time you look at it. The available photo doesn’t do it justice so it’s not here (sorry). It’s nearly impossible to capture the enchantment of certain gemstones in a still image – and the mysterious, murky light show of a world-class moonstone is one of those.

JW Currens specializes in the kind of jewelry AGTA loves: glitzy, masterfully constructed, and designed to show off the stones. What passes for “precious gem” among the AGTA crowd is the connoisseur’s definition – truly rare, world-class, beautifully cut.

Liora Berdugo's earrings of jade set in 18k white gold, with diamonds and onyx.

Liora Berdugo's earrings of jade set in 18k white gold, with diamonds and onyx.

When you see Spectrum-winning jewelry firsthand – I usually see them at the Tucson Gem Shows – your eyes go right to the stones. Sometimes, honestly, that’s the best part. It’s not easy to compete with nature.
Some eye candy that made the initial cut: Victor Velyan used a brown patina and natural-colored diamonds to set off a cabochon-cut star ruby, and Liora Berdugo set off vivid green jade with diamonds and onyx.