The first Jose Hess Design Awards—named for the late jewelry designer who helped pioneer the designer jewelry movement in the U.S.—were recently presented by the American Jewelry Design Council (AJDC) in Tucson, Ariz., at the Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum.
AJDC created the Jose Hess AJDC Design Challenge last year, armed with the belief that “designers who are presented with a challenge can bring fresh ideas and innovations to the American jewelry industry,” according to a prepared statement from the organization. Hess was a founding member of the AJDC, which was created in the 1980s to “elevate jewelry design, educate the industry, and advance talented jewelry designers and the branded designer jewelry category,” according to its mission statement.
Each applicant in the Jose Hess Design Awards was asked to create an original piece of jewelry based on the theme “Connection.” And from an entry field of 80 applicants, the judges selected six finalists who were honored at the gala event in Tucson.
The grand prize winner of $15,000 was jewelry designer Baiyang Qiu, an established artist based in North Carolina.
The Grand Prize trophy was based on a series of sketches co-created by Hess and his wife, jewelry designer Magdalena “Maggie” Hess—who shared with TZR that the five-inch sculpture depicts “a sphere created in an interwoven design signifying how the world is interconnected, yet the sphere connections suggest individuality and unique talent, perfect for its presentation to an emerging jewelry designer.”
Magdalena added, “I’m overwhelmed with joy to know that Jose’s legacy will continue to be celebrated with this meaningful award that recognizes and honors up-and-coming talent in the fine jewelry industry.”
Top: Jose Hess Design Awards statue, co-designed by Magdalena and Jose Hess
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