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Monday, July 30, 2012

I’m proud to say that I got an honorary mention in the American Jewelry Design Council (AJDC) 2012 New Talent contest!

I received my certificate at the JA (Jewelers of America) New York summer trade show today. I wore a 2011 Prada dress that I’d worn earlier this month, accessorized with my Hatshepsut locket and Empress Wu dragon earrings.

From left: Prize-winner Leon Mege, me, AJDC’s Jose Hess and runner-up Jenny Reeves.

The AJDC emphasizes the artistic qualities of jewelry design. Its website says,

 “Essential to every culture, art is the vehicle for expressing emotions and ideas in a personal and creative manner. The American Jewelry Design Council is a non-profit educational corporation, which recognizes and promotes the appreciation of original jewelry design as art.”

I’m so thankful for this organization. A lot of people look at fine jewelry as an expensive and unnecessary luxury item.  But, as a designer, I’ve always seen my work as a form of expression that is as meaningful — as essential! — as any painting or sculpture, musical composition or dance, or even sport. My designs convey my ideas and feelings and seek to elicit a reaction from a wearer or viewer. For instance, the dragon earrings I wore symbolize one of China’s female rulers, so the design had to be elaborate enough for an empress. Therefore, the intricately engraved 18K yellow gold dragons have 18K rose gold tongues and tsavorite (green garnet) eyes. (Each dragon has two eyes, even though only one shows from the front.) The tips of the dragons’ horns are adorned with diamonds set in platinum, and pearls dangle from the dragons’ tails.

A look at the detail on one of the Empress Wu dragon earrings. Click for more information.

I don’t have to put so much effort into my work. I could also use a lot less metal and employ less-skilled labor. But that wouldn’t communicate my commitment to quality; my fascination with symbolism; or my passion for women’s history, which inspires many of my designs. It is a luxury to own this kind of jewelry, just like it is a luxury to go to a New York art gallery and make a purchase. But I’ve always felt that those who can’t afford to buy can still appreciate. That’s why we have museums and libraries. And that’s part of the reason I started this blog five years ago this month: to give people a chance to enjoy and learn about this ancient form of self-expression.  I hope you’re liking the journey!


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29 Responses to “American Jewelry Design Council New Talent Award”

  1. Mary Panjari says:

    I love your jewellery so much! One day I shall purchase one of the ‘fine’ pieces. Just get me that rich husband! Nah fuck that, I’ll do it on my own.

  2. Madeleine Gallay says:

    Bravo!! Woot, woot.

    So deserved, very cool and you look fabulous. Some groovy skirt.

  3. Melanie says:

    Congratulations on your award!! That’s awesome!! Those earrings are absolutely exquisite. You really have to see them on the model’s ears to appreciate how small you are working, such extreme detailing and craftsmanship. Truly the work of an artist. I’m glad you were recognized for your dedication and vision.

    • WendyB says:

      I love making the tiniest detail perfect. Like the platinum setting for the diamonds on the horns…that’s one of my favorite things about the dragon earrings.

  4. sulky kitten says:

    Congratulations Wendy! I love that dress on you. I certainly appreciate the creativity and work that goes into your beautiful designs, and I’ve learned a lot since I started reading your brilliant blog.

  5. Katrocket says:

    Beautiful design – Congratulations Wendy B!

  6. That’s excellent news – congratulations! The new haircut’s looking good.

  7. Megan says:

    Congratulations! Well deserved honour!

  8. Marti says:

    Congratulations!! Your designs truely are Art the detail stands out there’s thought behind each piece you’re not just “throwing it together”.
    I’m glad you pride yourself on quality, afterall it is better than quantity.

    • WendyB says:

      I’ve always been under a lot of pressure from people (never customers, just busybodies!) to cut back on quality, but I feel I need to stand for something! I really hate the thought of making anything for other people that doesn’t meet my own standards.

  9. As one of those museum goers and gallery hop attendees, I love getting the chance to appreciate your work! 😀

    Congrats, you deserve it. Just looking at the picture of your dragon jewelry makes me happy.

  10. Melissa says:

    Congratulations!! Love your hair here also!!

  11. Laurel H says:

    We all know you shoulda won … but recognition by such an organization is recognition and applause is applause and hear me clap for you! That said, your standards — how you maintain them and what you sacrifice to keep them — are one of the reasons we are all here reading your blog and adding your art to our “gotta have” lists.

    And as much as I hate to share this quote without attribution, I must cuz it’s a reminder to me of who you are: “whatever you compromise to keep, you lose.” Keep on winning!

    • WendyB says:

      Thank you SO much, Laurel. And that quote is so on…I have to share it with someone right now related to a conversation we were having last night!

  12. K-Line says:

    Congrats Wendy! You are very deserving of such a mention. And the best dressed designer there, I’m sure. 🙂

  13. stacy says:

    Congratulations! You really deserve this!!
    And I like what the AJDC stands for 🙂

  14. I really, really love what you said about your designs being a meaningful and essential artistic expression–not unlike other, more “traditional” artists. It is a wonderful point that people are able to experience your point of view through your jewelry–and you’re right that a person doesn’t even have to actually own a piece in order to have that experience. I think because jewelry is also a “luxury” item, and because it physically ornaments the body (much like fashion), people tend to forget how artistic and creative a process it is. The behind the scenes of jewelry design also includes so many creative, artistic elements–from having a initial vision, to sketching, to sculpting, to all methods of creating things by hand. People are also used to mass produced products that they are not always able to appreciate the time, money, and effort that went into the creation of a piece of jewelry from an independent designer.


  15. Wendy says:

    Congratulations Wendy, you’re most deserving.

    Love the dress!! You look absolutely stunning in it.

  16. I’m so proud of you Wendy!