In New Mexico for Judging International Jewelry

I was so honored to have been chosen as a final judge for the Saul Bell International Design Award annual contest.  I had the opportunity to work with some very talented and knowledgable people.  I’ve listed a short bio of them below.

I’ll post images of the winning pieces as soon as they are available….we’re waiting for the announcement.  The creations were so fantastic, they truly are all winners.  The artists designed items that were beyond imagination and the hours of work was obvious.  It was a very difficult task to narrow the jewels to a few winners.  UPDATE….here’s the link to the winners! 2015 Saul Bell Award

The judges of the Saul Bell Design Award competition bring a broad range of perspectives from across the jewelry industry. They are accomplished and respected bench jewelers and designers, editors at leading industry publications, and experts in their craft. They will examine each finalist piece by hand and on a model.


TODD REED: Todd Reed is a self-taught metalsmith and award-winning designer. In 1992, Todd launched a collection under his own name and set out to change the future of the fine jewelry industry by designing solely with raw, uncut diamonds and recycled metals.

VICTORIA LANSFORD: For over 25 years post-conceptual artist, educator, and author Victoria Lansford has created one-of-a-kind wearable sculpture and art objects that evoke the mystery and splendor of ancient masters yet are infused with her own provocative vision.

BLAINE LEWIS: Blaine Lewis is widely recognized as the premier diamond-setting instructor in the U.S. today and is the founder and director of New Approach School for Jewelers in Nashville, Tennessee.

EILEEN MCCLELLAND: Eileen McClelland is the managing editor of INSTORE Magazine, where she has worked since 2007.

JANET DELEUSE: Fine jewelry designer Janet Deleuse began working in the family jewelry business following her marriage to gemologist Jeff Deleuse. She put a degree in molecular biology aside to embrace her passion for art and design, which she had cultivated since childhood. Her hand-fabricated pieces are widely recognized for their classic lines, quality gems, and monochromatic styling. Her work has been featured in WWD, Town & Country, The Robb Report and Lustre Magazines, among others. Janet recently expanded into couture outerwear and accessories with a collection of pearl evening bags, pearl belts, silk scarves and outerwear, all handcrafted and offered under the Janet Deleuse label. Janet and Jeff Deleuse opened Deleuse Jewelers in Tiburon, California in 1982.

At the old Simms estate built in 1937 now transformed into an Inn called “Los Poblanos” with a lavender farm and beautiful peacocks roaming the property.  It was cold and the chiles glowed red in the bright morning sun.  The food was incredibly wonderful.   


The entrance road to the old estate; Jeff shot it in black & white capturing the cold stillness in the air.  77340011 copy

Jeff contemplating what to shoot next with his Hasselblad camera–so many beautiful things everywhere.  He chose to shoot me in black & white!   77340006 copy:janet:b&W:albuqurque copy

Canadian geese grazing in front of the greenhouse.  Our casita, fully equipped to live a lifetime there–including a wood fireplace, opened onto this garden.


Walking the old estate gardens was such a treat.  The Native Americans made important symbols with pebbles in the patio.  IMG_0239

This beautiful peacock gracefully walked around…I especially loved the pink casitas with the white furniture and the colorful peacock…it looked like a Hollywood set.


When we arrived to the estate at night this all white peacock was roosted in a leafless old tree and the white plumage ‘glowed’ against in the darkness.  I have to say it was a bit eerie.  There are lavender fields, rose gardens and a farmhouse with lambs and turkeys.    77330003 copy

Here we are..all collaborating, boy, was that a hard job!  Thankfully, each one of us had our areas of expertise.  Thank you Eileen for reading all about each piece!  What a treat and honor to work with Todd, Eileen, Victoria and Blaine.

IMG_3128  WS8J3hPwl-Q4z06rxy9ar2BLr_KlWF6QwaMpy32jFVwUnknown  Unknown-1  tgVnC12RTD09f0llR0tlT57eDvd1X-O12_YP2n5kjRQIMG_3127  Htz29F1Gi3P7w5NbiVWiiOGyHe4BdQcn5ERDmnlRZLcIMG_3131

Jeff walked the old route 66 and took some shots of the downtown Albuquerque….memories of a long time ago.  77330006 copy  77330007 copy

We woke up to a peaceful white landscape. 


The white peacock is nestled in the old tree blending into the white snow.

77330008 copy:white peacock:tree copy

Goodbye to Todd Reed…each of the judges running off to catch a plane.  

Rio Grande gave us the red carpet treatment, with tasty meals, new friends and a joyful time I’ll always remember.


And, the winners of the competition are… Here are a the winners of the Gold..

G-10-1-2015_SBDA_KentRaible    G-5-1-2015_SBDA_SusanBlennerhassett