Each year, the American Gem Trade Association (@agta_gems) holds the Spectrum Awards, an annual competition for the best of the best in various categories of all things gemstone: jewelry, cutting, carving, and objects of art. Hundreds of entries are carefully judged in several categories over the course of two days. It is the jewelry industry’s Academy Awards. This year, we drew upon one of Mother Nature’s most remarkable occurrences for inspiration: the spiderweb. And yes, there are many people out there—this writer included—who are not the biggest fans of the crafty 8-legged artisans responsible for weaving these fleeting masterpieces, but one must give credit where credit is due. A spiderweb’s beauty is nothing short of astonishing, its proprietor excluded.
The journey began with a blank sheet of paper and a single gem, a gorgeous sky-blue zircon. Zircons are wonderful gems, especially the blues. Their color is impossibly rich and their sparkle rivals that of a diamond. Our designer thought that this particular gem needed a larger, more elaborate piece to showcase its brilliance. She imagined the zircon amid a kaleidoscopic explosion of smaller gems. The challenge was how to incorporate such a burst of color into a piece of jewelry. A spiderweb came to mind, and just like that, a design was born.
First, an intricate, domed framework was crafted in platinum, then settings for smaller gems were sprinkled throughout. The hardest challenge was selecting gems for accents. This zircon packs a powerful punch so lighter colored gems would “pale” in comparison (pun intended). We thought paraiba tourmaline, purple sapphire, tanzanite and yellow diamonds both complement and stand their ground next to this cerulean stunner.
And even though we didn’t win a Spectrum Award this year, we are thrilled to have created this prismatic piece. Congratulations to all of the winners and their remarkable pieces!