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GIA’s 6th Annual Jewelry Design Competition Highlights Emerging Talent

Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation Award for Excellence in Jewelry Design
The winning design for the 2022 Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation Award for Excellence in Jewelry Design Sara Guergova – a graduate of the GIA Jewelry Design Course in London, UK. The sketch features gold, black onyx, ruby, diamonds, tourmaline and blue sapphire.

CARLSBAD, Calif. – Feb. 23, 2023 – As a leading educational institute, GIA helps educate the next generation of gem and jewelry professionals in gemology, jewelry design and jewelry manufacturing arts. The Institute awarded the sixth annual Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation Award for Excellence in Jewelry Design earlier this month to GIA graduate Sara Guergova from the GIA London school. Guergova is the first student from the GIA London school to win the award.

“On behalf of the Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation, we want to congratulate Ms. Sara Guergova, this year's winner, plus all the other finalists whose work so enriched this year's competition. We also want to recognize the talented GIA design instructors who helped guide the students on their way to the final judging in Tucson,” said Larry French, chief officer, North America strategies at the Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation. “Our founder, Gianmaria Buccellati, believed that designing jewelry was an art and like all art needed to be studied and practiced in order to grow into a master designer. The Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation is proud to partner with the Gemological Institute of America to encourage the growth of these young designers and we hope they will continue on this exciting career path.”

The judges for this year’s competition were Alishan Halebian, award-winning designer and goldsmith, and owner of Alishan Jewelry Studio in Southern California; Cathy Calhoun, owner of Calhoun Jewelers in Royersford, Pennsylvania and Carmel, CA; Remy Rotenier, fine jewelry designer and jewelry rendering and design teacher; Shelly Sergent, collections manager of Somewhere In the Rainbow Gemstone and Jewelry Collection; and Victoria Gomelsky, editor-in-chief of JCK.

“The evening was incredibly inspirational, but then also to go on and receive the Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation Award; it was truly an unforgettable experience for me. In a way, it validates the hard work throughout the years and diminishes any previous self-doubt in what I can achieve,” said Guergova. “Attending GIA was a transformative moment in my life, I learned so much …going forward, the techniques and technical skills I gained, will propel me even further.”

The award was created in partnership with the Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation in 2018 to recognize outstanding talent in design among GIA students globally. The 2023 Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation Award for Excellence in Jewelry Design competition is underway and open to students in GIA’s Jewelry Design course who meet the eligibility requirements. For more information, visit

GIA’s Jewelry Design course teaches drafting, shading, design theory and illustration using several mediums. At the completion of the course, students have a hand-developed portfolio of their work and a digital copy. The course is offered at GIA campus locations in Bangkok, Carlsbad, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, New York, Taipei, and at locations in Shanghai and Shenzhen, China. GIA also offers programs in Jewelry Design & Technology and Comprehensive Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM).

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