Rapaport Magazine –
Jennifer Heebner | November 2022 –
This year’s AGTA Spectrum & Cutting Edge Awards featured top-notch jewelry talent and exquisite carvings.
It’s been 38 years since the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) first launched its Spectrum Awards for jewelry design, and 30 since it added the Cutting Edge division to celebrate masterfully cut loose stones and objects of art. Together, these two award programs make up one of the most prestigious competitions in the gem and jewelry industry today, and the winners of this year’s edition did not disappoint.
“The awards cast a spotlight on premiere design and cutting talent, and any professional jeweler — including retailers or designers who wholesale — or stone cutter with a US or Canadian office…may enter,” says AGTA CEO John Ford.
The event took place in Dallas, Texas, over the last weekend in October, with a new crew of top gemstone, pearl and jewelry experts serving as judges. First-time judge Derek Katzenbach of Katzenbach Designs declared the jewelry entries his favorites. “I loved seeing the workmanship of how each was made and the skill levels of the artists who entered,” he says.
AGTA itself was founded in 1981 to represent the interests and ethics of natural-gemstone and cultured-pearl sellers in North America, so starting a jewelry award competition seemed like a natural fit to help members promote their work. The judges’ criteria for choosing a winner include innovation, craftsmanship, artistry and quality. Some of the world’s best-known fine-jewelry designers and stone cutters have been AGTA award recipients, launching careers and earning media attention and accolades from peers.