(NEW YORK) - The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has announced the winners of the 2016 WJA DIVA Design Competition, an annual contest founded in the late 1990s as a way to encourage women from all walks of life to express their creative voices through the medium of precious metals and gemstones. The competition is open to all women, whether or not they are employed in the jewelry industry and whether or not they possess any formal training.
The first place winners of Gem DIVA awards, a WJA-sponsored category of the well-known AGTA Spectrum Awards, will be honored at the AGTA Spectrum Awards Gala in Tucson on Feb. 6. Gem DIVA honors women designers and their specific accomplishments with jewelry that showcases the best in colored gemstone design.
The winners of Dazzle DIVA awards showcase jewelry design in drawing, rendering, or photography, with the 2016 theme of “Empowerment." This portion of the contest allowed a wide range of designers to enter the contest, whether they could afford to manufacture the jewel or not.
All Dazzle DIVA and Gem DIVA winners will be honored on March 10, 2016, at WJA In The Spotlight, an evening event to be held after WJA's In The Know conference. WJA awards each DIVA winner a prize package valued at $1,000.
“WJA congratulates all of our 2016 WJA Gem DIVA and Dazzle DIVA award winners,” says Brandee Dallow, incoming WJA president. "These awards celebrate the best in design by women, and we look forward to congratulating you at WJA In The Spotlight.”
“GemDIVAs and DazzleDIVAs both put a great deal of work into preparing their entries and it's gratifying to see the depth and breadth of their jewelry and design expertise," says WJA DIVA Competition Chair Cindy Edelstein. "We'd like to thank Gem DIVA judges Myriam Gumuchian of Gumuchian, Jennifer Heebner of JCK magazine, and Stephanie Albertson of Stephanie Albertson Jewelry, for joining me in choosing these winners. A huge thanks also to Dazzle DIVA judges Marlene Richey, consultant; Lorraine DePasque, author/blogger; Amanda Gizzi, Director of Public Relations and Events, Jewelers of America; Jennifer Heebner, senior editor, JCK; Marthe LeVan, owner, Mora Contemporary Jewelry; Elizabeth Garvin, designer; Tanya Dukes, editor, Instore magazine, and Hannah Connorton, fashion editor, National Jeweler, for their work in selecting our DazzleDIVA winners."
GEM DIVA AWARDS
Bridal Wear: Erica Courtney, Erica Courtney Jewelry
Classic Wear: Naomi Sarna, Naomi Sarna Designs
Evening Wear: Lisa Linhardt, Linhardt Design
Business/Day Wear: Gurmit Kaur Campbell, Gurmit
Bridal Wear: Hisano Shepherd, little h
Bridal Wear: Caroline Chartouni, Caroline C
Classic Wear: Heena Chheda-Shah, Valani
Classic Wear: Pamela Huizenga, Pamela Huizenga Jewelry
Evening Wear: Erica Courtney, Erica Courtney Jewelry
Evening Wear: Claudia Kretchmer, Steven Kretchmer Design, Inc.
Business/Day Wear: Elizabeth Garvin, Elizabeth Garvin Fine
Business/Day Wear: Jennifer Morin, Gregore Joailliers
DAZZLE DIVA AWARDS
Bridal Wear: Laurence Bruyninckx, LX Collection
Evening Wear: Laurence Bruyninckx, LX Collection
Business/Day Wear: Malak Atut, Zaiken Jewelry
Bridal Wear: Lisa Linhardt, Linhart Design
Bridal Wear: Halle (Richardson) Millien, Halle Richardson
Evening Wear: Alison Nagasue, AKN Designs Ltd.
Evening Wear: Jessica Neiwert, Jessica Neiwert
Business/Day Wear: Jocelyn Prestia, Un Hada Jewels
Business/Day Wear: Halle (Richardson) Millien, Halle Richardson
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