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2015 AGTA Spectrum Awards

By Jacquie De Almeida

Good ‘wings’ come to those who wait—at least they do for Canadian designer Gregoré Morin.

Although he had been thinking over the last few years about creating a pair of earrings inspired by the butterfly preserve near his home, he neither had the material nor the time to make them.

“I had this image in my head of some kind of branch with all kinds of butterflies hanging off it,” Morin tells Jewellery Business from his studio in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“It had been sitting at the back of my mind for a long time. I kept drawing it and drawing it, and finally I came up with something that captured the image I wanted and was doable with the amount of material I could actually get.”

Entitled ‘Goleta’s Pride,’ the 18-karat white gold earrings featuring Mexican fire opal (68.88 ctw) and pavé diamonds (2.19 ctw) earned him Editor’s Choice at the 2015 American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Spectrum Awards.

The award is bestowed on the favourite design as voted by the editors, bloggers, and stylists who view the winning pieces at the AGTA-hosted Editor’s Event.

Translating the image of Monarch butterflies hanging from branches into something that could be worn presented a bit of a challenge, says Morin, whose award count at Spectrum now sits at 19.

Rather than incorporating a simple post and backing, he wanted the diamond-set ‘branch’ to appear as if it was going through the ear. He also wanted a butterfly to sit on the back side. To accomplish that, he created his own spring clasp.

“When you pinch the two sides, it opens up and you slide the post through the back of the ear,” he adds. “Releasing the spring closes the two sides around the earlobe.”

Now in its 31st year, the Spectrum Awards celebrate the use of gemstones in several categories, including Bridal, Business/Day Wear, and Classical. Entries are judged on the basis of overall beauty and wearability, innovative design, and effective use of materials. The quality of gemstones and workmanship, consumer appeal, and the ability to create a positive impression of natural coloured gemstones are also part of the judging process.

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A 4.71-carat Paraiba tourmaline ring by Leon Mege led the pack. Set in platinum and accented with French-cut diamonds (1.31 ctw), the piece garnered Best of Show at the competition.

“We were thrilled with the variety of entries at this year’s AGTA Spectrum Awards competition,” said Douglas K. Hucker, the association’s chief executive officer (CEO).

“I did not envy the decisions our judges had to make, yet I was pleased to see how carefully they deliberated over each and every decision, resulting in this year’s amazing list of winners.”

The judging panel comprised Jerrold Green of Reginald C. Miller; Myriam Gumuchian of Gumuchian; Joseph Mardkha of ColorMasters; Tim McClelland of McTiegue & McClellan; Larry Pelzel of Neiman Marcus; and Jeffrey Post of the Smithsonian Institution.

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