MJSA Reveals 2012 Vision Awards Winners

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1st Place in design excellence: Adam Neeley’s “moonlight and caviar” ring

Attleboro Falls, MA—MJSA, the U.S. trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, named the winners of its 2012 Vision Awards for excellence in jewelry design.

The annual awards honor both design prowess and technical skill, and recognize outstanding talent in jewelry design. The award categories this year included design excellence and visionary technical solution, in addition to a variety of distinction categories, including gold, laser, palladium, platinum, and custom design, the latter to honor the growing number of jewelers who are designing their own jewelry for clients. Finally, a “Future of the Industry” award recognizes the designs of students enrolled in jewelry making and design programs.

The winners will be honored during the annual MJSA ExpoNew York, scheduled for March 11 to 13 at the Hilton New York.

The winners of the MJSA Vision Awards are:


1st Place: Adam Neeley, Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry of Laguna Beach, California, for “moonlight and caviar” ring showcasing a 12 millimeter AAA South Sea pearl, which sits upon 2.52 ctw of pavé-set black diamonds. The ring was crafted in 14K X1 white gold and set with 1.20 ctw of white diamonds around the entire trim. This design was fully realized using CAD technology to create the precise, geometric forms.  

Second place in design excellence: Gregoré Morin’s bamboo earrings

2nd Place—Gregoré Morin, Gregoré Joailliers of Santa Barbara, California, for bamboo earrings with chrysophrase, 950 platinum, Mexican fire opal, and white and black diamonds.


1st Place: Edward Mirell, Edward Mirell of Deerfield Beach, Florida, for Safari gold & black Ti Ring with black titanium and 14K gold, featuring the co-casting of contemporary and precious metals using new technology.

Julie Buckareff won second place in visionary technical solution and laser distinction for this blue zircon diamond rope ring in 950 platinum.

2nd Place: Julie Buckareff, JJ Buckar of Toronto, for blue zircon diamond rope ring with 950 platinum, a 7.05 carat blue zircon, and 1,006 diamonds totaling 3.04 carats. The ring was designed around a concept of “celestial diamond rope” and the challenge of this design was to keep the round wire or “rope” effect throughout. The stone could not be bezel set in a traditional manner without destroying the round contour. The design also calls for a seamless connection of all parts with no visible polished metal showing when the ring is worn. This means diamonds must be set all the way around the thin round wire. The round contour is then set with as many as five rows of diamonds—impossible to lay out by hand in any efficient manner.

In addition, Buckareff also won 2nd Place Laser Distinction for this same ring, due to the complex laser welding of six separately cast pieces in platinum, accomplished at various points in the diamond setting process. She also received first place in laser distinction for her rock crystal flower brooch.


Just Jules won first place in gold distinction for this 14K yellow gold cuff with diamond slice.

1st Place: Julie Lynn Romanenko, Just Jules LLC of Scottsdale,Arizona, for gold cuff in 14K gold, cast and hand fabricated with a 1.66 carat diamond slice, surrounded by 0.25 carat brilliant round diamonds. Individual sections of the bracelet were cast and then hand-assembled.

2nd Place: Liaung Chung Yen of Henrietta, New York, forThe Garden” brooch/pendant in 18K gold, brown and white diamonds, pearls, and steel. The concave discs with the cutouts, pods, and pearls are scattered, with the linear elements linking them all together. The pod elements are loosely attached to create sounds when worn.


1st Place: Brian Sholdt, Sholdt of Seattle, for palladium engagement ring featuring the artist’s Fern Finish in a solitaire engagement ring with a 6.5 millimeter diamond.

1st Place in platinum disctinction: Brian Sholdt’ platinum Ring with a fern finish milled surface that allows the jeweler to finish it with hand milgraining.

2nd Place: Susan Drake, Spectrum Art & Jewelry of Wilmington, North Carolina, for green flash ring, from a hand-carved wax that was cast in palladium and set with a 7.77 carat mint-green tourmaline; an oval flat-top cut, channel-set 1.23 carat hot pink spinel; and 64 ctw round, channel-set diamonds.


1st Place—Brian Sholdt, Sholdt of  Seattle for platinum ring with a fern finish milled surface that allows the jeweler to finish it with hand milgraining. The casting is 90% platinum and 10% iridium. The weight is 6.47 dwt. and the top diameter is 15 millimeters. The 23 diamonds weigh a total of 0.30 carats.

2nd Place—Mark Schneider of Mark Schneider Designs in Long Beach, California, for manta ray brooch, featuring black onyx, 0.29 ctw emerald cabochons, 0.108 tcw fancy yellow diamonds, and 1.753 ctw white diamonds.


Mark Schneider won first place in custom desgin for this black and white ring in 14K white gold using black and white acrylic, a magnet, and black and white diamonds.

1st Place—Mark Schneider of Mark Schneider Designs of Long Beach, California, for black and white Ring in 14K white gold using black and white acrylic, a magnet, and black and white diamonds.

2nd Place—Cynthia Renee of Cynthia Renee Inc. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for fireball Ring featuring a vivid 22.44 carat Nigerian spessartite garnet and crafted from 18K yellow gold, 14K rose gold and platinum; engraved in shank. The garnet is accented by five flames of gemstones in graduated colors representing the color progression in a flame: fancy intense yellow diamond, yellow sapphire, red spinel, spessartite garnet, one 2.5 millimeter white round diamond for accent, and two blue sapphires.


Student awards will also be awarded to:

1st Place: Ariel Alexandrou of University of Kansas, for her Pods ring.

2nd place in custom design: Cynthia Renee’s fireball ring featuring a vivid 22.44 carat Nigerian spessartite garnet

2nd Place: A tie between Youngjoo Yoo of University of Iowa, for her laurel brooch, and Bongsang Cho of Savannah College of Art & Design, for her stellar brooch #9.

The judges panel for this year’s competition included Michael Coan, Fashion Institute of Technology; Cindy Edelstein, Jewelers Resource Bureau; Sarah Graham, Sarah Graham Metalsmithing; Todd Reed, Todd Reed Inc.; Marlene Richey, Consultant; and Tina Snyder, MJSA.