Rio Grande has announced its call for entries for the 19th annual Saul Bell Design Award Competition, an international design competition that challenges jewelers and metalsmiths to pick up their tools and seize their moment.
“The Saul Bell Design Award Competition offers designers a challenge unlike any other,” says Rio Grande Creative Director Jamie Gros. “To compete on an international level, to have their work judged by iconic names in the jewelry industry, and to be celebrated alongside a list of amazing winners and finalists.”
One of the jewelry industry’s foremost design events, the Saul Bell Design Award Competition is unique for its intensive judging process. Two rounds are judged by a total of 10 jewelers and industry leaders who are masters of their craft. In the initial round, five judges look for originality of design, proposed use of materials, and aesthetics to select finalists. In the final round, a second panel of five judges examines completed finalist pieces up close, in the hand, and on model, looking for successful incorporation of materials, wearability (except in the Hollowware category) and quality of workmanship.
2018 winner Sophia Hu says receiving the Saul Bell Award has been “such a highlight in my life - a milestone in my career.” Her beautifully inventive “Origami - Window with a View Collection” received the Saul Bell Award’s 2018 Best of Show special distinction. “I really appreciated the two rounds of judges in the competition, since they have the eyes and tastes to see deeper, to identify and appreciate all the design efforts I put into each design in this collection.”
Matthieu Cheminée appeared as a finalist in the 2017 Silver/Argentium Silver category; he returned to win First Place in that same category in 2018 with his “Itado” cuff. “I actually designed that piece as I was in Albuquerque last year after the ceremony of the Saul Bell Award,” he says. “I had so much fun, and I thought it was such as good experience, that I had to come back.”
There are nine categories in the 2019 competition: Gold/Platinum, Silver/Argentium® Silver, Enamel, Hollowware/Art Objects, Alternative Metals/Materials, two categories of Emerging Jewelry Artist, and two categories of Jewelry Collection.
The Emerging Jewelry Artist categories encompass two age ranges: 18 years old and younger (high school age), or 22 years old and younger (college age) as of October 25, 2018. The two Jewelry Collection categories invite designers to create a cohesive set of wearable pieces (such as a coordinated necklace, bracelet and pair of earrings). Jewelers can compete in Jewelry Collection Couture/Fine, representing a line of luxury jewelry, or Jewelry Collection Fashion/Bridge, representing a line of trend-setting jewelry.
Entrants can pay a discounted early-bird fee of $75 for work submitted through September 17, or the regular $125 fee for work accepted through the final October 25 deadline. All Emerging Jewelry Artist submissions are just $25 through the final October 25 deadline.
Entries are accepted through October 25, 2018. Finalist pieces are due by January 25, 2019. The entry form and detailed information about the competition, including submission guidelines and information about each of the categories, are available at www.saulbellaward.com.