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Throw Your Hat Into the Ring
September 2nd, 2021

Win or lose, there’s value in entering design competitions By Shawna Kulpa If you’re just getting started as a jewelry designer, you might wonder about the value of entering design competitions. After all, they often have entry fees (which can sometimes be steep), and spending the time preparing entries is time you’re taking away from […]

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Split Decisions
September 2nd, 2021

Brody Rice’s platinum, rose gold, and diamond floral ring By Tina Snyder After making a ring for his wife with a split shank design, Brody Rice of Brody Rice Designs in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, wanted to use the concept for this floral ring. Crafted with a jewelry design competition in mind, the platinum and 14k […]

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Celestial Glow
August 18th, 2021

Judith Kaufman’s druzy and moonstone brooch By Tina Snyder When West Hartford, Connecticut-based Judith Kaufman stumbled upon a donut-shaped periwinkle druzy quartz at the Tucson gem shows a few years back, she was reminded of a recurring theme in her repertoire. “Back in the 1960s, there was an abundance of clocks that had a very […]

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Set in Stone
August 2nd, 2021

Kenetha Stanton, kintsugi, and the healing process Kenetha Stanton stumbled upon kintsugi art several years ago, during a difficult period of her life where she experienced several intense losses. The kintsugi philosophy resonated with her, and she began visualizing how she could put back together the pieces of her life to create something better. She […]

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Breaking New Ground
August 2nd, 2021

Christopher Taylor Timberlake mimics kintsugi in metal Christopher Taylor Timberlake, a fine art jeweler in Austin, Texas, had never heard of kintsugi until a client walked into his studio a few years ago and mentioned the art form as a possible source of inspiration for his wedding ring. As luck would have it, Timberlake’s assistant […]

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Embracing Flaws
August 2nd, 2021

Designers taking a crack at the Japanese art of kintsugi By Shawna Kulpa It used to be if you broke your favorite bowl or plate, you mourned the loss and disposed of the remains. If the item was significant enough, you might send it out for repair, but the lingering scar would forever mar the […]

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Defining Moments
August 2nd, 2021

Andrew Seginovich’s Milestones Ring By Tina Snyder Andrew SeginovichKoan JewelryOdessa, Ukraine In an effort to capture life’s milestones, Andrew Seginovich of Koan Jewelry in Odessa, Ukraine, painstakingly crafted this titanium mokumé gane ring with 14k gold accents. “The design of the ring reflects life’s many crossroads and choices, while the 14k gold points represent the […]

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Stitched Up
July 1st, 2021

Suzanne Schwartz’s Squares All Around Necklace By Tina Snyder Growing up, Suzanne Schwartz’s grandmother LeeLee taught her how to knit and sew at a young age. “There was something about learning how to stitch and work with textiles that introduced me to this freedom art could bring me,” she says. “It opened up my world.” […]

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Making Waves
July 1st, 2021

K. Mita Design, New York City Like many of the designers who agree to participate in the Mystery Box Challenge, Keiko Mita was excited to take on the challenge but also a bit nervous. “It was a little bit scary because you never know what you’re going to get,” she says. She felt some relief […]

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Just Say Yes
July 1st, 2021

Shana Kroiz Jewelry, Baltimore Shana Kroiz hadn’t been familiar with the Mystery Box Challenge when she was invited to participate in it. Once she learned the details, though, she was fully onboard. “I was excited for something new to do,” she says. “Anytime I’ve done something outside of what I normally do, it’s always pushed […]

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Raindrops on Clovis
July 1st, 2021

Thomas Dailing Designs, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Some might call it sibling rivalry, but Thomas Dailing thinks his excitement over participating in the Mystery Box Challenge is because he enjoys a good challenge. Dailing’s brother Jim participated in the challenge six years ago and shared with him how fun it was. So when the invitation for […]

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Tooth Fairies
July 1st, 2021

MJSA’s Annual Mystery Box Challenge 2021 Sponsored by: By Shawna Kulpa Fun. That was the goal when we launched what has become the annual Mystery Box Challenge 10 years ago: that the project be fun. We send out a box full of “mystery” materials, and the designers have fun figuring out how to use them […]

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Where It All Began
May 11th, 2021

Designers share the inspirations behind their pieces By Shawna Kulpa How often do you scroll by a jewelry image on Instagram or walk by a jewelry showcase and stop in your tracks? You may be captivated by the piece’s beauty, or fascinated by its display of technical mastery. Or maybe it’s just so unusual that […]

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Beachcombed
September 24th, 2020

Luana Coonen’s Merah Necklace By Tina Snyder While beachcombing during a trip to Indonesia, jewelry designer Luana Coonen happened upon a treasure trove of red coral. “A storm had just swept in all of these amazing little pieces of coral, and I thought, ‘I can make great jewelry out of this,’” she recalls. After hours […]

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Creative Design
September 24th, 2020

Andrew Bugher’s rock star rings By Tina Wojtkielo Snyder Getting backstage passes at a concert for a band you love is a dream come true for any music fan. So imagine the delight for a jeweler whose meet-and-greet turns into the opportunity to design a collection of rings for the band members? That was exactly […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2020: Amy Smetana
September 24th, 2020

A Home Away From Home 9: Amy Smetana As I read Maria’s story, I was amazed at the life she’s lived and all of the hurdles she’s overcome. She’s had quite a life! Now with her children grown, she’s moving into the next phase of her life, and I wanted the piece I created for […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2020: Betsy Cross
September 24th, 2020

A Home Away From Home 8: Betsy Cross With any custom design project, I like to dig into a person’s story and figure out a way to honor that story as fully as possible. When considering Maria’s story, which is so deep and rich and filled with sacrifice and triumph, I thought about how to […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2020: Emily Kuvin
September 24th, 2020

A Home Away From Home 7: Emily Kuvin Long before I was a jewelry designer, I was a journalist and I still consider myself a writer. Perhaps that’s why I wanted to express Maria’s life story in the piece. Her story is very compelling, and in order to show off all the elements of it, […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2020: Niki Grandics
September 24th, 2020

A Home Away From Home 5: Niki Grandics Maria’s story hit home for me, as my mother is planning on getting her citizenship later this year. Considering that this gift will be from Maria’s children, I wanted to focus on the idea of family and home, and the idea of marrying Maria’s native homeland with […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2020: Meredith Young
September 24th, 2020

A Home Away From Home 6: Meredith Young Appearing as far back as 2500 B.C., signet rings have long been a symbol of family. It seemed only appropriate then to create a statement signet ring for Maria. Besides being a significant reminder of her loving family, a ring is also one of the easiest types […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2020: Emily Dubinsky
September 24th, 2020

A Home Away From Home 4: Emily Dubinsky As I studied Maria’s story, I began envisioning a piece of jewelry that would commemorate the occasion of her taking the citizenship oath to become a U.S. citizen. I found myself focusing on the idea of a cuff bracelet, imaging it as something she would receive on […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2020: Sabrina Hoffman
September 24th, 2020

A Home Away From Home 3: Sabrina Hoffman When I read Maria’s story, the thing that stood out the most to me was that this piece would be something sentimental—that all of her accomplishments in life should be incorporated in it. Since I envisioned it as an heirloom, I immediately thought of creating a pendant. […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2020: Nanz Aalund
September 24th, 2020

A Home Away From Home 1: Nanz Aalund After learning Maria’s story and about her life as a marine biologist, I couldn’t help but to focus on the mabe pearl, which looked like a jellyfish to me. I made the connection immediately, and at that point, there was no other choice for me. Initially, I […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2020: Tammy Denmark
September 24th, 2020

A Home Away From Home 2: Tammy Denmark To learn more about Maria, I looked into what her job entails and what she’d be surrounded by on a daily basis. I read about oceanographers and their study of the adaptation of aquatic organisms, and that word “adaptation” really stood out to me as it seemed […]

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MJSA Design Challenge: A Home Away from Home 2020
September 24th, 2020

A Home Away from Home MJSA Challenge: Responsibly Sourced Designs By Shawna Kulpa An immigrant from Mexico and soon-to-be-naturalized U.S. citizen who has spent her life dedicated to the studying and protecting the oceans and ocean life is at the center of our annual MJSA Challenge: Responsibly Sourced Designs. Every year we present nine designers […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2019: Mimi Favre
September 24th, 2020

Striking the Right Note 9: Mimi Favre Creating a custom piece of jewelry is one of the most satisfying aspects of being a jewelry designer. Listening to what people want is such an important part of the process. And often, the project is very personal. Sarah’s parents wish to celebrate their daughter’s accomplishments with a […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2019: Petra Class
September 24th, 2020

Striking the Right Note 8: Petra Class I approached this project like I always approach designing with gemstones: I let the shapes and colors of the stones inspire me, playing with the elements like pieces in a puzzle and see where they guide me. Since Sarah is embarking on a career of making connections between […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2019: Allison Mack
September 24th, 2020

Striking the Right Note 7: Allison Mack I enjoyed this challenge because Sarah is a lot like myself—we are both starting out on our career paths. I settled on designing a necklace for Sarah. She has a busy lifestyle, but I wanted her to have something that she could wear to work or while visiting […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2019: Sophia Hu
September 24th, 2020

Striking the Right Note 6: Sophia Hu Although Sarah is still young and just at the beginning of her career, I wanted to create a classic piece of jewelry for her rather than something that was just fashion forward. I wanted it to be something that she could continue to enjoy as she advances in […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2019: Brent Neale Winston
September 24th, 2020

Striking the Right Note 5: Brent Neale As soon as I saw the hexagonal shaped blue chalcedony, I knew I wanted to make it the focal point of the piece. I also really love baguettes, and I use them a lot in my work so I really wanted to use the mint green beryls to […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2019: Adam Foster
September 24th, 2020

Striking the Right Note 4: Adam Foster Because Sarah’s mom provided a large number of stones for the project, my first task was to determine which stones blended together in the best way to tell Sarah’s story. Ultimately, I went with the blue-hued stones, tying her ring into the waterways that she loves to kayak. […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2019: Christine Alaniz
September 24th, 2020

Striking the Right Note 3: Christine Alaniz When reading Sarah’s story, the part that stood out the most to me was the connection between Sarah and her parents. I wanted to honor her parents’ desire to celebrate their daughter’s achievements by showcasing all of the gemstones they so thoughtfully selected for her gift. I loved […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2019: Lori Kaplan
September 24th, 2020

Striking the Right Note 2: Lori Kaplan When I design, I’m usually inspired by the gemstones with which I’m working. However, I’ve never worked with hexagon shaped stones before and they had me stumped a little at the beginning of this project. But then I went back and reread Sarah’s story and noted her love […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2019: Theresa Kwong
September 24th, 2020

Striking the Right Note 1: Theresa Kwong Since Sarah has long had an interest in jewelry, I decided to create a statement bracelet. It’s an accessory that she could easily wear with her active lifestyle—whether working at the office during the day, attending cultural events in the evening, or museum hopping on the weekend. Given […]

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Striking the Right Note: MJSA Challenge: Responsibly Sourced Designs
September 24th, 2020

Striking the Right Note MJSA Challenge: Responsibly Sourced Designs By Shawna Kulpa And the Winner Is… Congratulations to Theresa Kwong for winning the 2019 MJSA Design Challenge! Click here to see her winning design.   A young woman dedicating her life to fighting injustice and to help bring attention to those who are marginalized was at the […]

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Podcast: Finding the Sustainable Path
September 24th, 2020

July 22, 2019Guest: Susan Crow, East Fourth Street Jewelry/Susan Crow Studio The path to building a jewelry business focused on sustainability is different for every jeweler. Some jewelers make sustainable practices the cornerstone of their businesses right from the get-go. Others, like Susan Crow, owner of East Fourth Street Jewelry, in Northfield, Minnesota, learn about it later in […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2018: David Dorian
September 24th, 2020

A Mission in Life 9: David Dorian When I first started thinking of a design, I was initially drawn to the idea of making a ring for Lila. She didn’t seem like someone who needed a big fancy engagement ring, but I thought she might like a ring to complement the simple silver band that […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2018: Jillian Sassone
September 24th, 2020

A Mission in Life 8: Jillian Sassone I loved everything about Lila and Mark’s story, and one of my goals was to utilize as many of the stones that Mark had sourced as possible. Rings are one of my favorite things to design so I created the piece as an anniversary ring that I imagined […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2018: Peter Indorf
September 24th, 2020

A Mission in Life 7: Peter Indorf I had a lot of ideas of different pieces to create for Lila, but ultimately I settled on a ring. To me, a ring is the most personal anniversary gift that you can give. It’s something she’ll be able to wear and look at and enjoy. Earrings and […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2018: Emily Phillippy
September 24th, 2020

A Mission in Life 6: Emily Phillippy After reading Lila’s story, my initial thoughts were of the silver band she’s been wearing. She has a meaningful ring for everyday life, so I wanted to create something that was big and beautiful. The first few iterations of my design were of a pendant, but I kept […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2018: Erin Jane Staples
September 24th, 2020

A Mission in Life 5: Erin Jane Staples A major source of inspiration for my design was the depth of care Mark put into sourcing each of these treasured stones. It just struck me as so romantic! Each gem has such significance, and my goal was to really let the stones shine in a romantic […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2018: Bliss Lau
September 24th, 2020

A Mission in Life 4: Bliss Lau I see jewelry as an experience. I wanted to make Lila something she could wear and enjoy differently every day. As such, I designed four interchangeable rings, which can be combined or worn independently, allowing Lila to wear the pieces adapted for her lifestyle, feelings, and daily routine. […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2018: Anna Bario
September 24th, 2020

A Mission in Life 3: Anna Bario We specialize in custom design work, and part of our process involves working with the client and walking though how we can incorporate details of her life into the piece. When I read the story and saw the gemstones, I saw the piece as a ring. Mark had […]

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Committed to Creating
September 24th, 2020

Second-Place and Honorable Mention Winners in the 2020 MJSA Vision Awards     “Chrysanthemum Fold” Black Pearl Earrings Karin JacobsonKarin Jacobson Jewelry Design, Minneapolis Featuring the designer’s signature “origami” style of folded metalwork, these earrings feature recycled metals (gold and oxidized sterling), Harmony recycled GI–SI diamonds (0.10 ctw), and 9 mm Tahitian black pearl drops. […]

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Committed to Creating: Kyra Martin
September 24th, 2020

Kyra Martin’s Double Finger Ring First Place, Future of the Industry By Tina Snyder Designed as the hero piece of a thesis collection, the Befitting ring by Kyra Martin takes a playful approach to a twin-finger ring design. Following in line with the overall goal of the collection to accentuate the natural curves of the […]

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Committed to Creating: Karin Jacobson
September 24th, 2020

Karin Jacobson’s Rough Montana Sapphire and Diamond Dangle Earrings First Place, Responsible Practices Distinction, 2020 MJSA Vision Awards By Shawna Kulpa At first glance, being responsible and having fun don’t always seem to go hand-in-hand. But designer Karin Jacobson, owner of Karen Jacobson Design in Minneapolis, is living proof that jewelers can do both. And […]

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Committed to Creating: Frieder Lauer
September 24th, 2020

Frieder Lauer’s 51 ct. “Floating” Ametrine Solitaire Ring First Place, Colored Stone Distinction, 2020 MJSA Vision AwardsFirst Place, Custom Design Distinction, 2020 MJSA Vision Awards By John Shanahan You can’t ignore the 51.28 carat ametrine at the center of Frieder Lauer’s award-winning ring—and not just because of the intricate cut or the stunningly sharp delineation […]

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Committed to Creating: Larissa Moraes
September 24th, 2020

Larissa Moraes’ “Vase with Gladioli and China Asters”necklace Larissa Moraes, Brasilia, BrazilFirst Place, Professional Excellence (1-3 Years in Business) By John Shanahan In 1886, Vincent van Gogh moved from the Netherlands to Paris. The relocation brought with it a tonal change in the artist’s work, from earthy tones to brighter colors. He nourished this shift […]

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Committed to Creating: Sophia Hu
September 24th, 2020

Sophia Hu’s Blooming Cage First Place, Professional Excellence (4 Years in Business), 2020 MJSA Vision AwardsFirst Place, Laser Distinction, 2020 MJSA Vision Awards By Tina Snyder After spending a decade working as a professional architect, Sophia Hu was at a career crossroads in 2009. “I felt unfulfilled and I no longer had passion for the […]

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Committed to Creating: 2020 MJSA Vision Award Winners
September 24th, 2020

Honoring the winners of the 2020 MJSA Vision Awards Although it’s not a requirement for the job, resolve may be the thing that separates the best jewelry de-signers from all of the rest. After all, lots of designers can have great ideas, but those ideas aren’t always easily translated to metal. But it’s rarer to […]

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Hot Stuff
September 24th, 2020

Robin Waynee’s Fire and Ice ring By Tina Snyder Robin WayneeSanta Fe, New Mexico Having last won a Saul Bell Design Award in 2012, Robin Waynee of Santa Fe, New Mexico, was inspired to once again throw her hat in the ring with Fire and Ice, a statement-making 18k palladium white gold, diamond, and sapphire […]

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Precious Damage
September 24th, 2020

Christopher Taylor Timberlake’s wabi-sabi ring By Tina Snyder Christopher Taylor TimberlakeChristopher Taylor Timberlake – Austin, Texas The Japanese call it wabi-sabi. It’s the idea of seeing beauty in imperfection—and it’s the concept that one of Christopher Taylor Timberlake’s clients wanted represented in his wedding band. “My client wanted cracks in his wedding ring, referencing one […]

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Treasure Chest
September 24th, 2020

Pamela Froman’s Maltese cross pendant Pamela FromanPamela Froman Fine Jewelry – Los Angeles We recently asked designer Pamela Froman of Pamela Froman Fine Jewelry in Los Angeles, “What’s the coolest thing in your vault?” Here’s what she had to say. What’s the coolest thing in your vault?It is my St. Petersburg Maltese cross pendant. It […]

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Awakening Creativity
September 24th, 2020

Alex Boyd’s Sleeping Beauty turquoise bracelet By Tina Snyder When Alex Boyd first laid eyes on a small chunk of flawless Sleeping Beauty turquoise at the Denver Gem & Mineral Show last year, he knew he had to have it. Unsure of its fate, he began cutting into the material, slicing carefully to get as many […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2018: Karin Jacobson
September 23rd, 2020

A Mission in Life 2: Karin Jacobson The first thing that struck me in reading about Lila was the places that she’s traveled, and how each must be special to her. I wanted to incorporate some of those places in the piece but without being too literal. I also saw the project as a way […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2018: Claudia Endler
September 23rd, 2020

A Mission in Life 1: Claudia Endler When reading Lila and Mark’s story, a lot of important things stood out to me. They’re at an meaningful moment in their lives—their celebrating their five-year wedding anniversary and expecting their first child. I wanted the piece to be a window looking back at their past, with different […]

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A Mission in Life
September 23rd, 2020

The 2018 MJSA Online Design Challenge By Shawna Kulpa Congratulations to Karin Jacobson of Karin Jacobson Jewelry Design in Minneapolis for winning the 2018 MJSA Online Design Challenge! Click here to see her winning design! A young couple dedicated to protecting the natural environment is at the center of our ninth MJSA Online Design Challenge. […]

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Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon: MJSA Online Design Challenge 2017
September 23rd, 2020

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon The 2017 MJSA Online Design Challenge By Shawna Kulpa Congratulations to Liz Sabol of Liz Sabol Jewelry Art in Pittsburgh for winning the 2017 MJSA Online Design Challenge! Click here to see her winning design! A loving family struck by tragedy is at the center of this year’s MJSA […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2017: Jim Grahl
September 23rd, 2020

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon 8: Jim Grahl This story hit home for me because I have experience in the world of law enforcement. There’s always a risk there so it’s hard to be involved in that line of work. To be a wife and mother in this environment requires courage, and it takes […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2017: Baiyang Qiu
September 23rd, 2020

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon 9: Baiyang Qiu After reading Jenny and Tim’s story, I was touched and honored to be creating a sentimental piece for Jenny to cherish. Because jewelry is a personal object, an object which carries memory and identity, I started my process thinking about Jenny, her relationship with Tim, her […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2017: Liz Sabol
September 23rd, 2020

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon 7: Liz Sabol I was excited to take on this challenge because my style lends itself to telling stories, and I knew I could find a way of incorporating images and aspects of Tim and Jenny’s lives to tell their story. Because I like pendants and believe they make […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2017: Ashley Morgan
September 23rd, 2020

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon 6: Ashley Morgan When I design jewelry, I view my creations as little love story time capsules. I look at jewelry through the lens of a keepsake, and I try to tell a poetic story through my work. After reading Tim and Jenny’s heartfelt story, I knew I wanted […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2017: Alex Boyd
September 23rd, 2020

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon 5: Alex Boyd When I sat down to design the piece, I drew a correlation between the three sapphires and the three most important people in Jenny’s life: Tim and their two sons. I knew I wanted the piece to be representative of her whole family, with the large […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2017: Denny Wong
September 23rd, 2020

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon 4: Denny Wong After reading the story and seeing the three sapphires for the project, I envisioned the stones as representing the three most important people in Jenny’s life: her husband Tim, and their two sons Patrick and Ryan. I added a fourth blue sapphire to the top of […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2017: Karina Mattei
September 23rd, 2020

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon 3: Karina Mattei After reading Jenny and Tim’s story, several concepts stood out for me: Tim and Jenny’s love for each other and their family, their love of the outdoors, and Tim’s passion for being a police officer. His badge holds great significance, and I wanted all of its […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2017: Gina Pankowski
September 23rd, 2020

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon 2: Gina Pankowski With a nephew that is about to embark on a career in law enforcement, Tim and Jenny’s story really hit home for me. That path can be hard on families, and I was excited to honor it with my design. To learn more about Tim and […]

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MJSA Journal Online Design Challenge 2017: Susan Wheeler
September 23rd, 2020

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon 1: Susan Wheeler I don’t usually design things that are representational, but with the blue sapphires matching the color of Tim’s uniform, I felt moved to design a piece that was symbolic of who Tim was and of the career for which he had such passion. I started researching […]

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MJSA Online Design Challenge 2016
September 23rd, 2020

A Long Time Coming The 2016 MJSA Online Design Challenge By Shawna Kulpa Congratulations to Joel McFadden of JMD Jewelry in Red Bank, New Jersey, for winning the 2016 MJSA Online Design Challenge. Click here to see his winning design! A loving couple finally taking the plunge after 40 years together is at the center of this year’s […]

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MJSA Online Design Challenge 2016: David Giulietti
September 23rd, 2020

A Long Time Coming 9: David Giulietti After reading the story of Kate and Rebecca, I knew I wanted to create a ring. Rings have a long history in the human story—they are not only an expression of love and union, but also a representation of the sealing of the marriage contract. Plus, Kate could […]

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MJSA Online Design Challenge 2016: Sandy Leong
September 23rd, 2020

A Long Time Coming 8: Sandy Leong When I read the story of Kate and Rebecca, I knew I wanted to make a ring. They’ve been together for 40 years, but it still felt like they were making a commitment to each other. For me, rings are symbols of commitment. Plus, I liked the idea […]

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MJSA Online Design Challenge 2016: Patricia Daunis-Dunning
September 23rd, 2020

A Long Time Coming 7: Patricia Daunis-Dunning One thing that struck me upon reading the story of Rebecca and Kate was the fact that they have been together for 40 years. I liked the idea of tying their long history into the piece, and playing with the idea of something that gets even more precious […]

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MJSA Online Design Challenge 2016: Joel McFadden
September 23rd, 2020

A Long Time Coming 6: Joel McFadden When I read Kate and Rebecca’s story, I knew I wanted to design a ring, as I find that women tend to be more inclined to wear a ring every day versus any other type of jewelry. I saw my design as a real-life rendering of their relationship […]

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MJSA Online Design Challenge 2016: Pia Giambrone
September 23rd, 2020

A Long Time Coming 5: Pia Giambrone When I sat down to create this piece for Kate, I knew I wanted to create a ring for her. I thought a ring would be the best choice, as it’s the traditional token of celebrating love, relationships, and commitment. I opted to make it in platinum because […]

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Online Design Challenge 2016: Rémy Rotenier
September 23rd, 2020

A Long Time Coming 4: Rémy Rotenier I designed a ring because I imagined that it is what Kate would want after waiting this long. I also believe it could be the strongest manifestation of their feelings. Because Kate’s tastes are more modern, I opted to set the ruby east/west. Setting the stone sideways created […]

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MJSA Online Design Challenge 2016: Julie Luckenbill
September 23rd, 2020

  A Long Time Coming 3: Julie Luckenbill As I read about Rebecca and Kate’s story, a few things stood out clearly: Their love of the outdoors near their coastal home outside of Seattle. Their active lifestyles, especially with their family. And, of course, their obvious love of art. The customer always influences design, with […]

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MJSA Online Design Challenge 2016: Heather Oleari
September 23rd, 2020

A Long Time Coming 2: Heather Oleari I was excited when I read Kate’s story because I love rubies and I’m excited to design with them. Since Kate isn’t the type to wear traditional looking jewelry, I looked back through my modern art books. I wanted to create something that would appeal to Kate’s artistic, […]

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MJSA Design Challenge 2016: Gigi Gruber
September 23rd, 2020

  A Long Time Coming   1: Gigi Gruber   When I heard Kate’s story, some details stuck out for me, namely the struggles that Kate and Rebecca experienced during the early days of their relationship as well as the sacrifices Kate has made over their 40 years together. These were on my mind when […]

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Infrastructure for the Body
July 24th, 2020

Exploring the creation of Caitie Sellers’ Highway Necklace By Tina Snyder Caitie Sellers’ fascination with urban landscapes began during her artist residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft—a culture shock compared to her home in the mountains of western Virginia. Finding inspiration in Houston’s intense interstate highway system that starkly contrasted her rural up-bringing, […]

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Creative Design: It All Adds Up
July 8th, 2020

It All Ads Up Pierre-Yves Paquette’s Moebius No. 1 By Tina Snyder One of the most famous and curious shapes in mathematics, the Möbius strip was the inspiration behind the 2019 first place winner in the Saul Bell Design Award’s gold/platinum category. Translated into the Moebius No. 1 mixed metal ring by Pierre-Yves Paquette of […]

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Under Hypnosis
July 6th, 2020

Under Hypnosis Thomas Dailing’s Abberation By Tina Snyder Thomas DailingThomas Dailing Designs, Steven’s Point, Wisconsin Award-winning jewelry designer Thomas Dailing of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, has built a reputation for his inventive jewelry designs showcasing one-of-a-kind gemstones cut by Richard Homer. His most recent show stopping pendant, a finalist in the 2020 Saul Bell Design Award […]

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Expect the Unexpected
July 2nd, 2020

MJSA’s Annual Mystery Box Challenge By Shawna Kulpa Jewelry designers are on to us. Every year we invite a small group of designers to participate in our annual Mystery Box Challenge, where they’ll have four weeks to transform a box of materials into a piece of wearable jewelry. The big catch? They don’t know what’s […]

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Expect the Unexpected: Beyond the Horizon
July 2nd, 2020

Michael & Catherine JensenMichael Jensen Designs, Rio Rancho, New Mexico For Catherine and Michael Jensen, participating in the Mystery Box Challenge was a no-brainer. “For me, it was like an electric charge to my senses,” Catherine says. “It was like a school project—it was all out of our control and then we had to make […]

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Giving Up Control
July 2nd, 2020

David GiuliettiDavid Giulietti Designs, Berkeley, California “Once in a while, it’s good to take a chance,” says David Giulietti, explaining why he jumped at participating in the Mystery Box Challenge. “I agreed to [the challenge] because I spend so much time connecting A to B—taking client orders, doing them, doing everyday stuff,” he explains. “I […]

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On Full Display
July 2nd, 2020

Karin JacobsonKarin Jabcobson Design, Minneapolis When asked to participate in MJSA’s annual Mystery Box Challenge, Karin Jacobson didn’t hesitate to say yes. “Designing is my favorite part of making jewelry, so any chance that I get to do something new or outside my wheelhouse is fun for me,” she says. That excitement continued once she […]

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Dance of the Diamonds
July 2nd, 2020

Thomas Turner’s dazzling copper-bearing opal necklace By Tina Snyder When it comes to designing a piece of jewelry, overthinking may be overrated. Thomas Turner of Kalamazoo, Michigan, prefers a somewhat subconscious approach, starting with a beautiful gemstone and letting his mind wander.  That’s exactly how the necklace design for a copper-bearing opal from West Java, […]

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Beyond the Basic Bead
July 2nd, 2020

Two designers who have redefined the basic bead By Shawna Kulpa When many people think of beads, they likely think of colorful resin or glass spheres that can be strung together to create simple, basic jewelry. That’s how many jewelers get their first introduction to beading. But some jewelers aren’t content with the beading status […]

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Rings on the Run
July 2nd, 2020

Tips for sketching ring designs on the go By Rémy Rotenier As a busy designer, teacher, and painter who travels a lot, I always look forward to quiet time, especially when I’m on a train or a plane without a strong connection to the internet. During these precious moments, I often enjoy sketching rough ideas, […]

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Additional 2019 MJSA Vision Award Winners
July 2nd, 2020

2019 Additional Winners MJSA Journal would also like to recognize the following second-place and honorable mention winners in this year’s Vision Awards competition. Rosario GarciaR&E Garcia, Fort Lauderdale, FloridaYellow and Green Gold RingSecond Place, Professional Excellence (4 or More Years in Business)   Anna BerezinaMoscowOpal and Chrome Diopside RingHonorable Mention, Professional Excellence (4 or More […]

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The Road Less Traveled: A Trip to Remember
July 2nd, 2020

Timo KrapfRochester Institute of Technology, Pittsford, New York First Place, Future of the Industry By Shawna Kulpa It’s said that the trips we take as children tend to be far more memorable than other childhood experiences. Timo Krapf might agree. After all, a family vacation to Maine introduced him as a child to the metalworking […]

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The Road Less Traveled: Feral Beauty
July 2nd, 2020

Merry-Lee RaeFreedom, California First Place, Enamel Distinction By John Shanahan Throughout a long career in jewelry, Freedom, California–based artist Merry-Lee Rae has focused on animals in her work. Often she turns her eye to sea creatures—turtles, dolphins, and octopi, all rendered in beautiful, classic cloisonné. For her 2019 Enamel Distinction award-winning entry, she left the […]

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The Road Less Traveled: More and More
July 2nd, 2020

Tom Heyman Oscar Heyman & Brothers Inc., New York, New YorkFirst Place, Custom Design Distinction By Shawna Kulpa When it comes to custom jewelry, you never know where one simple job request can lead. For Oscar Heyman & Brothers Inc. in New York City, a customer request for a single diamond pendant somehow, over the course […]

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The Road Less Traveled: In Bloom
July 2nd, 2020

Sabina WongSabina Wong, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada First Place, Professional Excellence (1-3 Years in Business) By Shawna Kulpa Some jewelry designers play it safe when designing a piece for a celebrity. Sabina Wong decided that such an opportunity offered the perfect occasion to try something new. And in this particular case, not only did she successfully […]

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The Road Less Traveled: Your Attention, Please
July 2nd, 2020

Mark SchneiderMark Schneider Design, Long Beach, CaliforniaFirst Place, Professional Excellence (4 or More Years in Business) By John Shanahan “Contrast excites the eye,” says Long Beach, California, jeweler Mark Schneider. “That’s my goal in a competition—to make something that draws the judges’ attention.” And his men’s ring design that won first place in the Professional […]

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The Road Less Traveled
July 2nd, 2020

Imagination and a few creative detours lead to success for the 2019 MJSA Vision Award winners Imagination and creativity are funny things. As humans, we like to think that they’re traits we can control: With just the flip of a switch we can turn them on and steer them to the destinations we intend. In […]

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Love Beads
July 2nd, 2020

Three artists share their passion for crafting beaded jewelry By Shannon L. Brown Although they work with very different materials, the three artists profiled here share one common bond—a love of crafting jewelry with beads. From handmade glass to high karat gold to sparkling crystals, the media through which these talented artists express themselves vary […]

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The Art of the Bead
July 2nd, 2020

Three unique approaches to beadwork By Gerry Davies and Tina Wojtkielo Snyder When you hear the term “bead,” what do you think of? A simple round object, be it plastic, glass, metal, or some other material, with a hole through the middle? Take one look at the jewelry pieces in this article, and you’ll never […]

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Group Effort
July 2nd, 2020

The inspiring story behind the Matilija Poppy Project By Tina Snyder It was during a visit to the Newark Museum when metalsmith Tom Herman and enamelist Patsy Croft first held a piece of jewelry that would change their lives forever: The Ada Brooch, a plique-à-jour masterpiece crafted by Marcus and Co. in 1904. “As makers, […]

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The Call of Color
July 2nd, 2020

Valerie Jo Coulson paints beautifully in gemstone inlay By John Shanahan Editor’s Note: This is the next article in a periodic series, “The Art of Handcraft,” in which traditional metalworking techniques will be explored and explained. In this installment, jeweler and lapidary artist Valerie Jo Coulson discusses the art of gemstone inlay. Ask Valerie Jo […]

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Mad About Color
July 2nd, 2020

Liz Sabol’s Cheshire Cat necklace By Tina Snyder Following the creation of her Mad Hatter Cuff bracelet—a finalist in the PMC category of the 2016 Saul Bell Design Award Competition—Liz Sabol of Liz Sabol Jewelry Art in Pittsburgh set out to create a second Alice in Wonderland-themed piece, this time drawing inspiration from the Cheshire […]

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A Cure for the Blues
July 2nd, 2020

Julie Lamb’s mirror-cut aquamarine ring By Tina Snyder (Originally published May 2019.) Feeling blue that she wasn’t able to make the trek to Tucson for the annual gem shows in 2018, designer Julie Lamb of New York City sought comfort in the collection of gemstones she’d amassed in years past. It was while sorting through […]

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