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From around the world, Janeo Jewels presents today's hottest celebrities and budding fashion mavens wearing costume jewellery from 925 sterling silver, necklaces, bracelets and earrings with Swarovski crystals. They are setting the standard for fun and affordable fashion jewellery including leather wrist bands, men's stainless steel jewellery and women's charm bracelets. Janeo takes you center-stage to the juiciest news and hottest trends to hit the costume jewellery industry in years.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

NICHE Jewelry Awards Held this Week - We've Got the Winners

Jewelry lovers can often be found frequenting the windows or glistening display cases of brand name mall shops, sifting through the offerings at swap meets and markets in search of that elusive rare find, or pouring through the latest pieces in catalogs and magazines. But while a convention certainly isn't the first venue that comes to mind when considering hot spots for jewlery fiends, a recent one in the heart of Philadelphia has shown that jewelry isn't confined to the display case and the printed page. Rather, it flourishes under the spotlight of NICHE, the North American Jewelry and Craft industry's organization for encouraging professionals and amateurs alike to produce well-made and creative pieces for versatile wear.
The organization held its annual Buyers Market of the American Craft this week to the joy and frenzied note-taking of some of the country's most dedicated jewelry mavens and critics. Plenty of milling about and discussion on hot new trends and up-and-coming designers ensued, but the centerpiece of the event was to be found in the announcements of the NICHE Award, a prize given to designers in thirty four professional categories and fourteen subsequent student/apprenticeship categories. Winners received, among other perks, inclusion of their pieces and biography in the upcoming issue of the organization's magazine.
The convention's venue stayed true to the idea of lofty and impressive size with its original showcase of nearly one hundred and fifty finalists in the professional division, along with nearly seventy finalists displaying their pieces in the student division. Over the course of two days, these pieces were carefully considered by a panel of judges as well as the convention's attendees, who (following many hand-wringingly difficult decisions, one expects) eventually narrowed their choices down to less than fifty final winners. Of course, the earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, pins, and other baubles being judged weren't assessed quite in the same way an avid shopper might employ to decide if that pink cocktail ring is -really- necessary. No, far from observing themselves wearing the pretty pieces in a mirror or imagining their potential to match an outfit or five, the judges considered each piece of jewelry based on its originality and sense of uniqueness, its structural integrity and craftsmanship in terms of surface overall form, and in the case of professional entries, its potential to do well in the modern market.
The winning pieces ranged from the classically-inspired to art deco pins and modern chic, with plenty of nods toward the versatility and fun of costume jewelry. Lindly Haunani's “Ruffle Earrings,” dreamy chandelier earrings with flutters of deep and mossy greens dangling from discreet hook findings, were met with accolades:



As was this cute yet refined “Octopus Jellyfish Pin,” a work by Amy Roper Lyons and winner of the professional gold category and a bold direction for costume jewellery brooches:



Champion of the professional silver with stones category, this interesting bangle by Erik Stewart seems aptly named with the moniker “Mooncheese”:



While some finalists were faced with the lesson that you can't win all the time, the convention is sure to inspire many more new and tenured designers to be bold and create the kind of jewelry shoppers dream of adding to their collections.

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