Venice Design Week Chapter 6: discover the Jewelry Selection International Competition

Venice Design Week Chapter 6: discover the Jewelry Selection International Competition

The winner of the Jewelry Selection International Competition 2020

Our dossier about Venice Design Week continues with the Jewelry Selection International Competition, and with this new chapter, we will:

Let’s start by giving a general look at the frames of the goals and awards.

Jewelry Selection International Competition: goals and awards

The Jewelry Selection International Competition is open to anyone engaged in designing or working with precious metals, gemstones and other materials, also recycled or scrap materials. The award’s focus is on contemporary jewelry and it’s an ideal platform to increase awareness of your brand and get recognition in Italy – Venice Design Week.

Every year, Venice Design Week hosts several competitions [read here our article about the Venice Design Week Light Art and Color Competition 2020 – ed].

Among them, the prestigious Jewels Selection International Competition, repeats yearly.

For each edition, a jury composed by a commission of experts, launches a challenge, giving competitors a new theme to measure with. Detailed information about the competition will appear in the paragraph: The Jewellery Selection International Competition 2021 in this article.

Of all the participants, finalists are eligible to exhibit during Venice Design Week, according to the decisions of the jury. The competition has always a number of finalists, including three global winners, and a series of other awards, that keep on increasing since 2017.

The Awards include the possibility to exhibit in different towns and offers media promotion.

The Jewelry Selection is an important component of Venice Design Week, and a structural element of the concept of design for the city. To understand why Venice has an International Competition dedicate to jewel creations, you might need a little bit of context. Here we go.

Venice and Jewellery through History

Venice was the capital of a Republic that lasted from 697AD to 1797AD. During the time of the Republic, the city was a lighthouse for the whole Europe, rich and productive on many different fields.

Craftsmanship has been a symbol of that era, and it continues today, as the city walks through the pages of history at its own pace: goldsmiths and costume jewellery have always thrived here among the so-called minor arts.

Unfortunately, the end of the Republic, matched with the occupation of Northern Italy by the French army of Napoleon (afterwards it was part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire, until 1860, when Italy became a country), and under the occupation, destruction was enormous. A lot of the tradition got lost, but some was also saved (to read more about the Republic of Venice, click here).

In Venice, during the Republic, the artisans were gathered in guilds. Whoever wanted to learn a manual art, had to attend a period of training, two or three years as apprentice, then gain experience to become a worker, and after passing technical tests, they could aspire to work on their own and get the title of master (capomaestro).

This long time of specialisation granted artisans a very high skill in manual production, and Venetian jewels were known, widespread, and popular for their quality and creative value.

The tradition of guilds is somewhat surviving in the reality of the city, in forms of associations, despite it has adapted to the change of times. The art of learning new skills, in practical realities like goldsmiths and designers, is still partly the path in the Academies of Fine Art and labs. Artists are very active e.g. in pearls and glass productions, but not only.

What was typical Venetian?

Venice was well know for its production of necklaces, normally created with:

  • amber
  • coral
  • ivory
  • gold

Mother-of-pearl cameos were popular too, and so filigree rings. Among the precious stones, Venice artisans had a predilection for lapis-lazuli (lazurite) and turquoise, for bracelets too.

Which were iconic pieces?

In the production of jewellery, red coral and pearl were iconic. Venetian artisans created also a way to intertwine gold chains that took the name “Manin chain“.

Finally, the Rosetta, made of Glass Pearls. It was invented in Venice in the 15th century and got this name from glass artist Marietta Barovier, daughter of a famous glass maestro. She thought the design of the glass barrel reminded the shape a rose. The Rosetta is a pointed starry design with a specific colours pattern.

Looking back at the tradition, keep on mind that whatever sound classic and traditional today, was once new and innovative. The spirit of novelty and innovation, is the connection that leads to the presence of an international competition in Venice, and the focus is on creativity and new thinking.

The Jewellery Selection International Competition 2020

With a historical creative tradition, and a craftsmanship that lasts up to today, jewellery being considered today a creative expression of authentic design, Venice Design Week has its own international competition. In 2020 the theme of the competition was “Transgression“.

The challenge, as the name reveals, was to create works that were transgressive re-reading of a this long lasting and traditional art: it could be in the way you interpret materials, reversing the concept of a component in design, and so forth.

The jury, chose the following artists, consisting in finalists and global winners, and awarded them with a certificate and an exhibition in Venice:

Aldo Boscolo (Italy), Costanza D’Alpaos (United Kingdom), Anna Fanigina (Latvia), Laura Forte (Italy), Ariel Lavian (Israel), Meng-Ju Wu (Taiwan), Petra Mohylova (Czech Republic), Matilde Mozzanega (United Kingdom), Viola Pineider (Brazil), Tang Rho (USA), Valeria Zingaretti (Italy), Caterina Zucchi (Italy).

Here you can see the certificates for this edition:

The certificate for the awards winners at the competition
The certificates for the 2020 awards – Picture courtesy of Venice Design Week

The ceremony was held at luxury Hotel Saturnia, a few steps from San Marco Square. The owner of the hotel, Marianna Serandrei, art connoisseur, collector, and patron, is a member of the Jury, together with: Maria Rosa Franzin (Associazione Gioiello Contemporaneo), Roberto Zanon, professor at the Venice Academy of Fine Art), Anna Schetelich, owner of the  Oona Gallery, Elena Rizzi, owner of the Oh My Blue Gallery, and Lorenza Bini, owner of Bini Gallery.

Before the ceremony for the awards was held, all finalists had the opportunity to meet the public (by appointment) to talk about their works.

The hall at the Hotel Saturnia where the exhibition and awards ceremony were held in 2020
The hall at the Hotel Saturnia where the exhibition and awards ceremony were held in 2020 | Picture courtesy of Hotel Saturnia

Let’s see the winners of the main prizes for the 2020 edition.

Third Prize: Laura Forte (Italy)

Laura Forte, class 1982, studied Applied Art Jewelry at the Goldsmith Art School in Lecce, Italy. She continued her studies at the Institute IRIGEM, where she obtained a certificate as qualified goldsmith designer. In 2005, she opened a laboratory in the city where she was born, Copertino, Italy. Laura Forte has won several prizes and competitions both nationally and internationally. Here’s her winning piece:

Rubber Ring by Laura Forte 3rd prize at the Jewelry Selection International Competition 2020
title: Sintesi (rings) | materials: rubber | picture courtesy of Venice Design Week

At the prize ceremony, Laura told the audience:

“I chose rubber, a material with a rough touch and with a strong visual impact, as it emphasises in a particular way this passage between evolution and change, in terms of contemporary jewelry.”

When asked how she relates to the theme “Transgression”, she replied:

“I thought about the concept of the word transgression, as a vehicle for the transformation of the artistic creativity, translating it into its literal meaning of going beyond [expectations -ed]. […] Sintesi is the result of a research for something new, the material that transforms into an object, the uniqueness of what we are in an abstract though tangible symbiosis.  My work is composed by two spheres, these parts, getting in touch, give life to one body. It’s an object with a dual function”

Laura Forte’s work was also selected by Lorenza Bini from the Bini Gallery for a special prize, consisting in a virtual exhibition at her gallery.

Second Prize: Ariel Lavian (Israel)

Ariel Lavian class 1983, was born in in Israel. He graduated from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in 2012, and has a Master’s Degree in conceptual design. Since 2017, Ariel teaches at Bezalel. He has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world, and in 2018 he was appointed Ambassador of Israel’s AJF (Art Jewelry Forum), receiving the following year the Design Award from the Israel Ministry of Culture. Here’s his winning piece:

Necklace by Ariel Lavian, second prize of the Jewelry Selection International Competition 2020
title: Watching the sunrise with my son in my hands| materials: copper, various patinas | picture courtesy of Venice Design Week

At the prize ceremony, Ariel said:

I live on the mountains and from here I can see Jerusalem.[ ..]In the morning I wake up long before sunshine and […]with my son we stand on the balcony and watch the sunshine together, wit all its colours. The connection between us in that moment is something very powerful for me. I have spent several years working with copper […] and this was my way to tell people how I feel about this connection.

For the second and first prize, we can show short videos with the interviews of the winners during the 2020’s ceremony.

Here’s the interview with Ariel Lavian.

Ariel Lavian was also selected for special awards by Anna Schetelich, owner of the Oona Gallery and by Elena Rizzi owner of Oh My Blue Gallery. These awards are particular because it does not only consist in an exhibition, but also the opportunity to sell the jewel in the galleries. To this, the artist added:

It’s a honour for me, thank you, and I am really envying you, because I want to be in Venice too, rather than talk to you via zoom.[…] Again, thank you very much for this opportunity, I appreciate it. A lot of exhibition and Design Weeks have been cancelled but you are still going, and it’s really nice to see it: I hope next year we will meet again, in person. Thank you very much.

Indeed, during the terrible year of the pandemic, the majority of events worldwide were cancelled, but not Venice Design Week, that, in harmony with the spirit of Venetian people, used to recurrent climate challenges, decided to adapt to the time, and was indeed one of the very few events in Europe that held the flag “business as usual”, opting for a strong connected online reality to lead the major events.

First Prize: Rho Thang (USA)

Rho Thang is a contemporary jewelry artist based in New York City. She obtained bachelor’s degrees in Architecture and Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a Master’s degree in urban planning from Architectural Association in London. Her understanding of form, space, geometry, and volume from architectural design is carried out in a minimalist approach to jewelry creations (source Venice Design Week)

She presented a very particular object, a modular brooch, whose title is “Evolution of Being – Glyptodon II. Of this work, Rho Thang said:

This series, called Evolution of Being, comes from the understanding of something called the mitosis which is a process of the cells’ reproduction. Each identical component is in mother of pearl that connects […] with silver sterling pins. Together through repartition[…] each creature is created. Evolution is an organism’s response and adaptation to the environmental stress. In this case, with the pandemic and the way we live and communicate, dramatically changed, interaction is transformed in virtual experience, so we start asking us questions about what the future might be […]

Venice Design Week Chapter 6: discover the Jewelry Selection International Competition 7
Title: Evolution of Being – Glyptodon II (brooch) | Material: Mother of pearl, silver, nickel silver (pin) | picture courtesy of Venice Design Week

The brooch Glyptodon II from the series “Evolution of Being”, is a combination of identical components assembled into four similar forms within a communal space, “symbolizing preservation of space and distance, yet coexisting in a shared space and environment, connecting in new virtual ways and unity to stay strong and maintain our humanity when overcoming this catastrophe together” (source Venice Design Week)

Here’s the interview with Rho Tang:


As the winner has shown, a material that comes from a typical Venetian tradition, Mother of Pearl, can be adapted, formed and transformed into a trasgressive piece, where the message is harmonic and positive, but the structure is disruptive and new.

The Jewelry Selection International Competition 2020 was promoted in collaboration with Associazione Gioiello Contemporaneo (AGC), Ca’ Pisani Design Hotel , Autor-Bucharest , OhMyBlue Gallery, Oona Gallery, Bini Gallery, Creativity Oggetti, 16metriquadri contemporary Jewelry and Vicenza Jewelry, Yalos Murano.

The Jewellery Selection International Competition 2021

If you are a designer and you want to submit your work for the Jewellery Selection International Competition 2021, this is the right time to act. This year the jury will choose again 12 finalists and 3 global winners among them.

New York Style Guide is glad to give you some rough informations about the competition.


The theme for the 2021 edition is “Dazzle Me!“: a clear exhortation, (with an exclamation point !), to create a piece of jewelry that:

  • captures the attention;
  • surprises the observer;
  • is a challenge to play with light, colours, reflections, and more;


  • Deadline to present your work is: June, the 28th, 2021;


  • all entries must be delivered by mail to: [email protected];
  • your submission will be evaluated on visual appeal, choice of material, and craftsmanship. The best practice is to send an editorial main image on a white or black background where the product is clearly visible;
  • your final design must be a piece of wearable jewelry. The piece must be your original design;
  • Fill this form;
  • send your files by mail or “WeTransfer” to [email protected], the following way: SurnameName_jewelryname00.jpg
    example: JohnSmith_necklace01.jpg; JohnSmith_necklace02.jpg;


The competition has affordable fees and is open to students:

  • fee for designers: € 30;
  • fee for students: € 10;
  • fee for AGC members: € 25;


  • June 28th, 2021: deadline to mail your digital file: it can be in the form of a drawing, rendering, or photograph;
  • July 15th, 2021: First round of judging;
  • July 18th, 2021: tinalists are notified and have to send their objects to the organization by 26th July;
  • July 28th – August 28th, 2021: Final round of judging, 12 finalists are selected;
  • September 12th, 2021: The 12 finalists are notified;
  • October 2021: Ceremony and meeting with designers by invitation only (and open online);
  • October during VDW, 2021: guided visit at 5 pm some designers will present their works to the public;
  • After the 5th of November 2021: All finalist and winning pieces will be returned to designer;

Of course this is just a rough idea, but if this inspires you enough, and you want to learn more, and collect all the necessary informations to compete, we invite you and warmly recommend to visit the official link: Jewelry Selection International Competition 2021 “DAZZLE ME!” Complete Rules and Regulations

The Competition is promoted by Venice Design Week, Associazione Gioiello Contemporaneo (AGC), Ca’ Pisani Design Hotel.
Galleries and partners: OONA gallery, OHMYBLUE, Bini Gallery Australia, 16metriquadri Udine, Creativity Oggetti Torino, AUTOR International Fair for Contemporary Jewelry

Media Partner:, Vicenza Jewellery

Technical Partner: architetti Da Rin Perego, D33 sas, Euroinnovators


Our previous articles about Venice Design Week can be found at the following links

Venice Design Week Chapter 1 meet Venice Design Week

Venice Design Week Chapter 2 meet the tradition of Murano Glasses

Venice Design Week Chapter 3 meet the Light Art and Color Competition

Venice Design Week Chapter 4 meet Next Future Transportation

Venice Design Week Chapter 5.1 meet Pieces of Venice

Venice Design Week Chapter 5.2 meet Feelin’ Venice


Additional historical sources:

“Gioielli Nella Civiltà Veneziana, O Sia, Contributo Alla Storia Della Gioielleria Veneta Considerata Dall’età Delle Origini Di Venezia Alla Caduta Della Repubblica Aristocratica” – Pazzi, Piero.

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