Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Contest Winners Announced

in First Annual 
Jewelry Design Contest
Alishan Halebian

From more than 300 entries submitted and 88 finalists, Dawn Muscio, Alishan Halebian and Mackenzie Sala named winners

Palladium Alliance International (PAI) announced the winners of The Biggest Jewelry Design Contest Ever created to find the next “gems” in the jewelry design world. The contest, their first, exclusively showcases innovative designs crafted in palladium. Eighty-eight exquisite pieces, which are to be part of a special collection, headed straight to Hollywood for Award Season with finalists and the grand prize winner taking part as the stars of a national marketing campaign for palladium. Designers Mackenzie Sala and Alishan Halebian finished third and second place respectively, with Dawn Muscio winning the prestigious first place honor.

Dawn Muscio
The contest launched in May 2012 and submissions of cads, images, and photos came in from coast to coast. As the deadline came to a close in October, PAI commissioned designers to create their pieces and be honored as part of The Palladium Collection for 2013, a specialty collection comprised of the best-designed jewelry pieces in the metal. Designers selected to be included then had 3 months to bring the piece to life, with PAI reimbursing up to 5oz. of 950 palladium. “We are delighted with the number of participants; the finalists; and of course, the winners. This first design contest went well beyond our wildest expectations. Palladium is quickly becoming the go-to precious metal. The number of designers working with palladium and consumers requesting palladium is growing in leaps and bounds,” said Frank McAllister, Chairman of the Palladium Alliance.

The third place award was given to Mackenzie Sala, from Providence, RI, with her unique neckpiece – The Ten Story. This formed yet flexible neckpiece is hand-woven from 100 feet of palladium wire featuring a fabricated clasp at the back held together with two rare earth magnets. The designer explains, “Designing this piece was a great pleasure, and creating it took plenty of patience! A hundred feet of wire, over 10,000 bends and more than 60 work hours went into the finished collar,” Sala explained. “Palladium’s light weight makes it comfortable to wear and the material’s ability to harden quickly helps the piece keep its geometric shape."
MacKenzie Sala
Designer Alishan Halebian of Alishan Jewelry received second place for his exceptional flower ring. The Southern California based designer created a palladium ring featuring white and black diamonds surrounding a Tahitian pearl that has presence, depth and a softness to its shape from petal to petal. According to the designer, “palladium, a naturally white metal, works beautifully with any design application.”

The Grand Prize was awarded to designer Dawn Muscio of D. Muscio Fine Jewelry Studio in Atlanta who created a daring neckpiece for Monseiur or Madam. The bowtie features 38 bead-set white diamonds on a sandblasted, dimpled bow with a contrasting high polish edge in the dimples. Bead-set black diamonds appear to peek from above and below offering texture and dimension. “I was going for something that was unusual and beautiful,” she said. “So I decided to take a modern twist on a classic accessory – the bowtie – not typically crafted in metal,” continued the winner. “I was thrilled to be selected the winner of their first contest. I have been working in palladium for several years and knew that the metal holds different surface finishes and stones set very well, so it was a perfect fit for my vision.”

The Palladium Collection will be used as part of a national editorial and celebrity initiative by the Palladium Alliance for the coming year. The three top designers will have their names and pieces featured in national and trade PAI print ads in top magazines, such as InStyle, W, Elle and Marie Claire. In addition, the Grand Prize winner will also receive a contract to create a line of palladium jewelry with PAI supplying the metal alloy to facilitate its manufacturing.

About The Palladium Collection
The Biggest Design Contest Ever was open to designers and retailers located in the United States and the District of Columbia. All entries had to feature 95% palladium alloy as the only precious metal design element. Initial entries included a detailed drawing, CAD rendering or photo of the proposed design. A panel of industry experts scored entries based on how well each design highlights the key attributes of palladium including its natural whiteness, durability and light weight along with creativity and marketability.

In addition to a reimbursement for the palladium used in the piece (up to 5 ounces), each of the 88 winners will receive a professional photo of their design, inclusion in a design look book for the year and inclusion in a major stylist showroom throughout 2013 for possible use in celebrity dressings at major events such as the Golden Globes, Grammy Awards and Oscars; along with other prizes. The total package value for the contest approached $I million in product, promotional and marketing consideration.

About Palladium Alliance
Formed in March 2006, Palladium Alliance International is the world’s first organization dedicated to promoting palladium as a luxurious, precious and distinctive jewelry metal. PAI provides a vision for the advancement of palladium, backed by industry leading education, marketing, public relations and technical support, available to designers, manufacturers and retailers.

Palladium is a rare and lustrous silvery-white precious metal that, along with platinum, makes up the group of elements known as the platinum group of metals. It is lightweight, durable, naturally white and hypoallergenic.

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