Couture Design Awards: My personal experience of the judges and winners of the competition

The Couture Design Awards honour achievements in jewellery design, and are held annually as part of the Couture exhibition in Las Vegas. Five judges from various branches of the jewellery industry shortlist the top three pieces in the categories of “Gold”, “Platinum”, “Diamonds”, “Gemstones”, “Innovation”, “Début” and a few others, before announcing the winner. This year, alongside designer Yossi Harari; the Director of Accessories at Vanity Fair, Daisy Shaw; boutique buyer at Stanley Korshak, Melissa Geiser; and co-owner of the Von Bargen’s Jewelry boutique Julia Thom, I judged the pieces, in all 14 categories.

In the four years since was established, I have been lucky enough to hold in my hands and study thousands of pieces of jewellery, for which people have begun to call me “the eye of the industry”. I’ve seen about ten thousand works, which have allowed me to form my own taste and look at what pieces are most worthy of being proclaimed the very best. During the discussion of the pieces at the awards, my opinion did not always coincide with other members of the judging panel, and it really was the versatile approach to their evaluation which allowed for an adequate assessment of the pieces, with regard to their aesthetics, performance quality, sellability and ease of wearing, along with certain other factors.

The selection process for the winners took place in several stages. To begin, we awarded points between 1 and 5 to each piece in every category, separately. Then, on the eve of the awards ceremony itself, we met to review and tally up the scores, looked at the pieces which had received the most points, and finally decided which jewels should be awarded winner. With more detailed analysis and fittings, some pieces seemed less attractive, whilst others were better than they had been in photos or in displays. Once again, this proved that the finest evaluation for a product can only be achieved by holding it in your own two hands.


The smallest debates happened over the categories “Diamonds over 20K”, in which Fernando Jorge won; “Gold”, in which the brand Cadar won; “Coloured gems under 20K”, won by Amali; and “Haute Couture”, in which the trophy was taken by the Bruni family from Pasquale Bruni. The “Platinum” category proved to be more interesting and contentious. The Henrich & Denzel bracelet which won first prize was not selected initially. We asked for the piece to be brought over after none of the jewellery selected in the earlier rounds seemed worthy of first place. Once the platinum bracelet had been seen again, however, we unanimously decided that it was the perfect embodiment of the “Platinum” category.

Couture Design Awards Judges: Katerina Perez, Melissa Geiser, Yossi Harari, Daisy Shaw and Julie Thom

Most of the jewellery I liked was in the “Pearls” category, because each piece was beautiful and unique. The Yvel bracelet almost wrestled the crown from the hands of the Mizuki piece, because the brand’s earrings were too heavy for comfortable wearing, albeit incredibly attractive. The most difficult category, though, was probably “Début”. It included about 30 works, and they were all so different that it was hard to evaluate them with any concrete justifications. In the end, I think we just had to trust our gut instincts and we chose what caught everyone’s eye at first sight.


So, let’s take a closer look at each category and the winners of the Couture Design Awards


Colored Gems Above

Colored Gems Below


Diamonds Above

Diamonds Below

Editor's Choice


Haute Couture




People's Choice



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