The redesign of my new shop has kept me so busy for the last year that I have not had a single moment to enter any design contests but when I read about the one that The Palladium Alliance International, was hosting in its debut year, it was too much to resist. Most design contests give ample press with trade magazines, ample prestige among your peers and a little prize money but this contest trumped any other, boasting over a million bucks of prize money!*?!! Plus the grand prize winner would be awarded a contract to create a line of palladium jewelry and be featured in top fashion magazines. Hell ya, Im in!!!
This contest was also unique in that it promised to pay back all metal costs (on palladium only of course) to the top finalists. Its usual for any contest entry Ive ever made to be constructed of the finest stones,the best metals and most labor intensive techniques so they are always a deep investment. Getting paid back has never been a consideration until the piece gets sold at the consumer level and that takes time. Before this contest came up, I’d been thinking about trying my weaving technique in palladium and this gave me the perfect excuse to put the time needed into learning to weave with a new material. I started designing my entry immediately.
After sketching the idea on paper, I brought it into my CAD (computer assisted design) program and drew out the details on my computer. The first step of the contest was to send renderings of the design and this took a lot more effort and help than I expected. The weaving is done after the rest of the bracelet is cast but for the sake of the rendering the contest required, the woven section which I considered the superstar of the design, had to also be drawn in CAD. I couldn’t figure it out and had to pull in two specialists to help me draw the wires so they went exactly as they would when I did the weaving by hand, and also render it so it looked like the real thing-not a computer generated image. Way way over my head. Mike and Ryan saved the day and together we produced this…
After just a little wait, both Laura and I got the call that we were selected as finalists. I was so excited to start weaving in this new material but I was also a bit anxious since the contest criteria stated that 100% of the entry needed to be palladium and I just didn’t know how it would weave. After casting and polishing the bracelet and a few quick prototype weaves in fine silver, I just jumped in. After all my ruminations and hesitations, it could not have been a more co operative material to weave. It had the malleability of platinum and the soft sheen of 24kt. I think I barked and then ye-hawed and then talked about it all day…I had serious metal lust…mmmmm, palladium.
After the stones were all set I was ready to ship it off to the contest headquarters but with it had to go a 100 word description. Ive written many contest entries describing technique, materials used and detailed gemstone description and that just seemed to shallow for this piece. Instead I used my words to describe the person who would wear it and why. We all laughed after I wrote it (using everyone of my 100 words!) but it really is how I feel about this bracelet.
This woman knows she has strength.
She’s worked hard to earn the undeniable association of status and her accessories but spends with an intellectual eye. Her metal is palladium.
The luscious whiteness drew her in then the unexpected light feel convinced her to own The Elevation Cuff.
Woven threads of pure palladium elevate a concave faceted green zircon that glows when surrounded by palladium. The pearls live on the private interior of this cuff giving center stage to the metal that carries the statement.
For a lifestyle defined by her unique style, Palladium, the perfect marriage of ‘essential’ and ‘luxury’.
The email came today. Neither Laura or I won the grand prize. I can't help but feel like the winner anyway though. I discovered a metal that weaves even better than platinum or 24kt and still has a beautiful color and sheen. My only regret is that I wont be able to touch it again for a year. All 88 of the finalists will tour nationally for a year being worn by celebrities and displayed at swanky industry cocktail parties and stylist events. I plan to pass that long year by producing the rest of the little sisters in The Elevation Collection and satisfying my metal lust that way. We will have a big debut party and introduce you to my new obsession, woven palladium.