Design Competition

The Hawaii Jewelers Association (HJA) holds a Design Contest annually which showcases the incredible designs of Hawaii's jewelry professionals. Typically held concurrently with the Annual Fundraiser Banquet, this nationally and internationally recognized design contest is open to HJA members. However due to the current pandemic, the Design Contest was held on its own this year (2021).

Submitted pieces are graded by three independent judges the week prior to the Annual Banquet (usually held in May) and the winners are announced during the banquet. In addition to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners from the formal judging, banquet attendees normally vote for their favorite entries as "People's Choice" award winners in each category.

This year (2021), the design contest was held in mid- October. The deadline to submit entries was Thursday, October 14th. Entries needed to be delivered to Tom Wheeler at Opal Fields (International Market Place, Waikiki - by the Tesla dealership) with entry forms and payment submitted prior to delivery.

Voting for the 2021 People Choice Awards was done via a Poll linked to the HJA Facebook Page. Online voting was from October 22 - 31, 2021.

Click here to download the 2021 Design Contest Rules and Entry Form

Winners for 2021 are:

Designer of the Year: Tom Wheeler, Opal Fields

Under $3500:

1st Place: Kaimana by David Johnson, Honolulu Jewelry Co.

2nd Place: Festive by Donna Wong, Keoni Collection

3rd Place: Kananaka by Maui Divers Design Team, Maui Divers

People's Choice: Kaimana by David Johnson, Honolulu Jewelry Co.

$3500 and over:

1st Place: Merry-Go-Round by Tom Wheeler, Opal Fields

2nd Place: Harmony by Donna Wong, Keoni Collection

3rd Place: Malie Kai by Carrie Nottage-Smith, Na Hoku

People's Choice: Cocotail by David Johnson, Honolulu Jewelry Co.

Hawaiian Themed:

1st Place: Green Flash by Tom Wheeler, Opal Fields

2nd Place: Maua Makai by Carrie Nottage-Smith, Na Hoku

3rd Place: Aloalo by David Johnson, Honolulu Jewelry Co.

People's Choice: Aloalo by David Johnson, Honolulu Jewelry Co.

The winners will receive a koa framed certificate. The winners are promoted by HJA in social media, trade magazines and industry publications, and other forms of communication both locally and nationally.

Design Contest Categories:

  • Jewelry under $3500
  • Jewelry $3500 and Over
  • Hawaiian Themed Jewelry
  • Estate/Vintage Jewelry (People's Choice Award only) - NOTE: there is no Estate/Vintage category in the 2021 Design Contest.

Entries are judged on a point system (does not apply to Estate/Vintage):

Judging Criteria

A) Overall Design40 points maximum
B) Marketability20 points maximum
C) Practicality/Wearability20 points maximum
D) Craftsmanship20 points maximum
Total100 points maximum

A) Is it compelling?
B) Does the price match the piece?
C) Is it comfortable to wear?
D) Is it well made?

The designer of the highest scoring entry across all categories is designated the Hawaii Jewelers Association "Designer of the Year". So the Designer of the Year could come from the Under $3500, $3500 and Over, or Hawaiian Themed category.

Estate/Vintage pieces are not eligible for Designer of the Year. Estate/Vintage pieces do not have to have been designed by an HJA member. NOTE - the 2021 Design Contest does not have a Vintage Category.

Entries in the Under $3500, $3500 and Over, and Hawaiian Themed categories must be designed by an HJA member and produced within 18 months prior to the Design Contest.

A designer must be from an HJA member company and can only submit one entry per judged category. More than one designer from a company may submit entries. Estate/Vintage entries are not associated with a designer and an HJA member company may submit as many Estate/Vintage pieces as they wish.

Featured at the Hong Kong Jewellery Show
Biennially, the HJA Designer of the Year is awarded a qualifying entry at the prestigious Hong Kong Jewellery Show.

2021 Design Contest Fee Schedule (per company):

  • $75 Single Entry
  • $70 Per Entry - 2 Entries ($140 total)
  • $60 Per Entry - 3 Entries ($180 total)
  • $55 Per Entry - 4 or more Entries ($220 for 4 Entries)

The winner of each category will receive a free entry in the following year's Design Contest.

Each new HJA member will receive one free entry Design Contest entry for the year that they joined (the free entry does not apply towards multiple entry pricing).

After the Design Contest, entrants who wish to know how they did relative to the scoring system may request an email with their score (per entry) along with a score break-down for each of the judging criteria. The total score of the winning entry for the same category will be listed for comparison. This feedback is intended to help designers see how they did and what areas they need to focus upon in the future.

List of previous Design Contest Winners

Archive of previous Annual Banquets and Design Contests.