Omi Privé recently won two AGTA Spectrum Awards, a jewelry design competition that has been held annually for over 30 years. What does winning a design competition mean for the designer, and the consumer who might be considering buying a winning piece? There are many factors that go into the value of the award for all involved.
Let’s look at the Spectrum Awards specifically, which is considered one of the most prestigious design competitions in the world This competition is produced annually by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), a trade association who’s mission is to promote colored gemstones. The competition provides value for the association by encouraging jewelry designers to use colored gemstones in their designs, hopefully purchased from AGTA gemstone dealers. What helps set the Spectrum Awards apart is that each piece of jewelry is physically judged by a panel of jewelry industry experts that changes each year, ensuring that not one form of design is ever favored over another and that the smallest of details can affect the final outcome. To win a Spectrum Award is a benchmark that many designers aspire to achieve.
2016 AGTA Spectrum Award winning Spinel ring
Many gem dealers and designers collaborate on individual pieces to take advantage of the opportunity for exposure for individual gemstones and design aesthetics. Each year the competition receives between 500 and 600 entries. Each entrant knows that they are going to be competing against the best jewelry designers in the US and Canada, so everyone tends to put their best foot forward and sends in their best work. As the judges work their way through each of the entries, they must consider the quality of the gemstones, the quality of the workmanship and the design aesthetic. It usually takes two days of judging to determine the winning entries. Winners are announced the following day and the media are invited to see all the winners and other entries. The media values the competition because it offers a rare opportunity to look for new trends and emerging designers all in one location.
2016 AGTA Spectrum Award winning Alexandrite ring
designed in collaboration with Remy Rotenier
Winning designers benefit from an incredible amount of exposure driven by AGTA’s public relations efforts to share the results of the competition. AGTA and the media feature the winning designs throughout the year until the following year’s competition. The designers themselves publicize their wins through traditional marketing channels and social media. Yet, the true value for the designer who wins is that their work stood out against some of the top designers in the world. If they are a new designer, this exposure can serve as a launching point for their collection. For an established designer, a win reinforces their standing and provides additional caché for their jewelry lines.
For the pieces that win, many are sold quickly to collectors of those designers. For a client to be able to own an actual award-winning design gives them another opportunity to talk about the jewelry they love. Other designers hold on to their winning pieces and feature them in shows and museums. Many designs are incorporated into the designer’s collections in a bigger way to take advantage of the exposure and potential trends developing as a result of their win. We love to see our pieces being worn and enjoyed by our clients, so our award-winning designs are made available to our collectors. The awards are a welcome recognition for the quality of work we do, but in the end, it is all about these pieces adorning the people who appreciate their beauty.
Sapphire is one of the most revered gemstones in the world. It has held special meaning from the most ancient of times when it was worn as a symbol of power, wealth and as protection from harm and witchcraft. It is even said that the Ten Comandments were given to Moses on tablets of sapphire. As sapphires made their way into more modern pieces of jewelry, their siginificance and value continued to rise. Sapphires are found in the world’s most important royal jewelry pieces – so much so that sapphire is considered a “royal” gem. One royal-related piece that has garnered incredible attention in recent years is the blue sapphire engagement ring that Prince Charles gave to Diana, and subsequently that Prince William gave to Kate Middleton.
Sapphire is probably best known as a blue gemstone, but it is found in every color of the spectrum. When a sapphire is red, it is called a ruby. This wide palette of colors gives jewelry designers a lot of flexibility in creating colorful, all-sapphire designs. Sapphires are an excellent gemstone to use in everyday jewelry because of its durability – as it is the second hardest gemstone behind only diamond. A recent trend, maybe with help from Will and Kate, has seen many couples choosing sapphires for their engagement rings over diamonds – either in the traditional blue sapphire with a diamond halo, or in other colors as in the purple and pink sapphire ring below. Sapphires durability makes it suitable for everyday wear.
Would you say “Yes” to this engagement ring?
Sapphires are found in many countries around the world, including the United States. Most of our sapphires come from Sri Lanka/Ceylon, Madagascar and Myanmar/Burma. In most of these places sapphires are still mined by hand by artisanal miners in very remote areas. We travel the globe to find sapphires that best meet our strict standards and our clients’ needs. Fine sapphires are rare and prices have risen steadily for many years as demand continues to be very strong, which makes fine sapphire a nice long term investment. There is nothing more fulfilling for us than sourcing a gorgeous sapphire, designing a beautiful jewelry piece around it, then having someone appreciate it enough to add it to their personal jewelry collection.
Award-winning Omi Prive’ sapphire and diamond platinum bracelet
While we are all in the throws of Olympic Fever (no, not the type you catch when swimming in Rio Bay!) – we thought it might be fun to explore the meaning behind the colors in the Olympic rings on the official flag. We here at Omi Gems and Omi Privé are hyper-focused on color.
The multi-color interlocking rings symbol that we all associate with the Olympic Games was designed in 1912 by one of the co-founders of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin. His inspiration stemmed from the interlocking rings of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who thought the ring symbolized continuity and the human being.
The five rings symbolize the five populated continents at the time: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. The ring colors, contrary to belief at one point, are not assigned to specific continents. The colors (including white) represented all of the colors on all of the nation’s flags who competed in the Olypics at that time. Coubertin shared the following in 1912:
“…the six colorscombined in this way reproduce the colors of every country without exception. The blue and yellow of Sweden, the blue and white of Greece, the tri-colors of France and Serbia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, America, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Hungary, and the yellow and red of Spain, are placed together with the innovations of Brazil or Australia, with old Japan, and with new China. Here is truly an international symbol.” (Olympique magazine)
So, enjoy the rest of the Olympic Games and it’s symbolism. We all can use a little dose of the Olympic ideal of bringing the world together to celebrate sport and life.
For more than a century, August babies have had to embrace peridot and sardonyx (a reddish-brown quartz) as their official birthstones. Peridot is a polarizing gemstone – many people like the yellow-green hued gem, but many do not. But fashionable people born in the eighth month can rejoice in the streets as they now have a great additional option – the spectacular spinel.
The American Gem Trade Association and Jewelers of America recently announced their decision to add spinel to the official birthstone list for August. This is only the third update to the list that was created in 1912. The last addition took place in 2002, when tanzanite was added as a birthstone for December.
Spinel is a gemstone that deserves more exposure and recognition. For centuries, red spinels were mistaken for rubies and it wasn’t until more modern testing techniques were developed that the difference was identified. In fact, one of the most prominent “rubies”, the Black Prince Ruby in the Imperial State Crown in the British Crown Jewels, is actually a 170 carat red spinel. While a deep, vivid red is the most valuable color of spinel, the gem naturally occurs in a spectrum of colors including pink, blue, purple, yellow, black and green hues.
Spinels are often called the “Gemologist’s Gemstone” because of their fabulous properties, including single refractivity and octahedral crystal structure. Unlike many gemstones, spinels are almost never treated in any way to enhance their color or clarity. Cutters are able to release the color and life of these natural gems by faceting the rough crystals into a multitude of shapes.
Omi Privé has featured spinels in many of its pieces over the years and will continue to do so in upcoming collections. Niveet is passionate about sourcing beautiful spinels, then designing jewelry around them with complementary colors. Just recently, one of our finest spinel pieces was recognized with a prestigious AGTA Spectrum Award – which honors jewelry design, craftsmanship and gemstone quality.
Pantone always has surprises up their sleeves when it comes to color. Each year the “Color Authority” invigorates our world by unveiling their one select color choice. But for 2016 they’ve really surprised us by announcing two colors. Welcome to the world Rose Quartz and Serenity! Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute states “Joined together Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.” The soothing, calming nature of colors in the Spring collections are led by Rose Quartz, a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. While a transcendent blue, Serenity, provides us with a naturally connected sense of space.
This “engaging combo” perfectly complements so many other colors which convey both lightness and intrigue. Here are some color pairing examples:
Rose Quartz and Serenity are represented in a variety of stones, including sapphire, pink tourmaline, aquamarine, and padparadscha sapphire. The Pantone Institute® 2016 Colors of the Year can also be represented in the metals you wear, like rose gold and platinum.
The possibilities are endless!
Aquamarine and Sapphire Pendant
Padparascha Sapphire and Diamond Ring
Martha Stewart Weddings magazine is renowned for creative and unique ideas for an amazing wedding day. Their Spring issue dubbed, “The Color Issue,” doesn’t disappoint when it comes to bright and colorful suggestions. On newsstands now, check out their jewelry feature, “Dramatic Duos,” starting on page 262. “Diamonds shine bright on their own, but they take on a whole new sparkle and personality when coupled with colored gems” explain the Martha Stewart Weddings experts. We agree with their choice of our classic 3-stone emerald ring flanked with trilliant cut diamonds set in platinum and 18K yellow gold.
We are honored to present our newest designs at the 2016 CENTURION Jewelry Show in Scottsdale, Arizona this January 31st – February 2, 2016. Please join us in salon 404 and discover how “It All Starts with a Gemstone” at Omi Privé. RSVP to [email protected] or call us at 877.OMI.GEMS for your personal appointment time.
For existing attendees, you may also login and request an appointment through the CENTURION Appointment Maker.
We are always excited to welcome the fall season at Omi Privé, as it celebrates sapphire, the birthstone of September. Sapphire is named from the Greek “Sappheiros,” which is roughly translated as “blue stone.”
Sapphire comes in a wide range of blues, varying from very light to deep blue that can appear nearly black. A slightly subdued hue of sapphire known as cornflower blue, displays a lighter and more open blue, which is preferred by many. A highly valued shade of sapphire is “Royal Blue,” which is a very deep, rich blue. The very finest sapphires are a velvet, slightly violetish medium to medium dark blue, often called Kashmir blue, after its original location in India.
A wondrous fact about sapphire, besides its durability (it is a 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale), is that it is found in a multitude of colors. Generally referred to as “fancy sapphires,” these include pink, purple, violet, yellow, orange, green and their intermediate hues. Some sapphires do exhibit a color-change, most often transitioning from blue in daylight or fluorescent light to purple in incandescent light. Padparadscha sapphires are amongst the rarest, exhibiting a unique combination of pink and orange, reminiscent of a warm sunset.
This award-winning platinum ring features a 20.03 blue sapphire certified as “Royal Blue”.
A cornflower blue sapphire sits at the center of this double halo ring from our Duet collection.
A cushion shape fancy purple sapphire is the star in this 18K rose gold and diamond ring.
An intense round fancy sapphire grabs attention in this unique 18K yellow gold ring.
A new twist on a classic, this sapphire and diamond ring features black rhodium accents, intensifying the overall look.
Last but not least, a stunning oval padparadscha sapphire displaying the rare pink and orange combination, which defines a padparadscha.
We’re excited for the upcoming Jewelry Week in New York City! Omi Privé will be at the LUXURY Privé show by JCK from July 26th-28th. The luxurious show offers a more intimate setting than most, which gives more time for viewing our colorful designs one-on-one.
President and designer, Niveet Nagpal, at the 2014 LUXURY Privé show with the “Omi Privé” fashion show model in some of our most prized emerald designs.
Last year, Manos got caught in the action at the 70’s themed American Hustle party with JCK’s Victoria Gomelsky and publisher, Mark Smelzer.
We look forward to enjoying time at the 2015 show and attending some of the other fabulous events including the American Gem Society Circle of Distinction Dinner and the Women’s Jewelry Association Awards for Excellence Gala. Please join us in Salon 101 for a private viewing of these newly debuted designs:
A glorious color-change 3-stone alexandrite suite designed in collaboration with Rémy Rotenier, debuting at the LUXURY Privé show.
Ten carats of cuprian elbaite tourmaline glow at the center of this stunning platinum design.