Exclusive! The Inside Scoop on Town & Country’s First-Ever Jewelry Awards

by Paige Reddinger

Town & Country is launching its first-ever Jewelry Awards. The glossy’s editor-in-chief, Stellene Volandes, has long been an authority on jewelry and published a tome in 2016 with Rizzoli entitled Jeweler: Masters, Mavericks, and Visionaries of Modern Design. The awards, which will be held in partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue at the Hearst Tower in New York on March 15th, will celebrate the masters, mavericks, and visionaries influencing the jewelry industry. Award categories include: Red Carpet Award of the Year, Stones of the Year, Philanthropists of the Year, Watches of the Year, Green Award for Sustainability, and more. The winners will be featured in T&C‘s February 2018 issue out this month.

“We are seeing wonderful talent in both the heritage and emerging brands, and have been for the past few seasons,” said Tracy Margolies, chief merchant of Saks Fifth Avenue. “Partnering with Town & Country magazine, and the jewelry guru Stellene Volandes, to found an initiative that showcases ​these jewelry artisans ​and  educates all about the art form behind their craft​ is an incredible opportunity, and one we are proud to stand behind.”

Saks Fifth Avenue’s ‘The Vault’ in Greenwich

The awards will be chaired by Volandes and decided upon by a team of judges including Lauren Santo Domingo, co-founder of Moda Operandi; Kate Young, celebrity stylist; Will Kahn, T&C fashion market and accessories director; Lizzie Tisch, jewelry collector; Marion Fasel, editorial director of The Adventurine; Jennifer Tilly, jewelry collector; Frank Everett, senior VP, sales director, Sotheby’s luxury division; Lisa Pomerantz, jewelry collector; Rachel Garrahan, jewelry writer; Claibourne Poindexter, Christie’s Auction House Jewelry Specialist; Cara Barrett, editor at Hodinkee.

The list of the winners of T&C‘s jewelry awards is out today with awards like the Red Carpet Award going to Tiffany & Co. for the stunning statement necklace Jessica Biel wore to the Oscars last year and the Collection of the Year going to Bulgari for their New York-inspired pieces that heralded the redesign of the jeweler’s Fifth Avenue boutique. Head over to T&C for a full list of the award winners.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 26: Actor Jessica Biel attends the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

We caught up with T&C editor-in-chief Stellene Volandes for a full look inside their first-ever jewelry awards.

Jewelry has always been an area of expertise and a passion for you. Did you have the idea for the awards since you became T&C’s EIC?
SV: We had the idea a year ago and have been working on the Jewelry Awards for several months. The jewelry world is filled with more talent right now than I have seen in my 20 years covering it. It was time that jewelers be celebrated and that jewelry be honored in this way. Town & Country has always been a champion of jewelry and jewelers and the leading authority in covering it. And yes, it is also a personal passion.

How did you choose the judges?
The committee was chosen to reflect different areas of expertise and different points of view on the jewelry world: there are editors and experts but also collectors, which was important to us.

How is each winner selected?
The judging committee, experts who are also authorities on the market and see the talent at market appointments, trade shows and constant appointments, submitted their top candidates in each category.

We were surprised to see Jennifer Tilly as one of the judges. What is her jewelry collection like?
Jennifer Tilly has one of the most interesting and important jewelry collections out there. She is a true jewelry hound and so knowledgeable. I’m glad you were surprised to see her. Part of the idea here is to broaden people’s ideas about jewelry.

How many total awards will be presented?
The awards are listed in our February issue. Though there may be one or two surprises in store on March 15!

What is the criteria for Stones of the Year?
It was not about the 4 c’s! Stones are mysterious natural wonders, we honored the ones that made the public take notice this year and see them as such.

If you were giving an award to something from your personal jewelry collection, which piece would take the cake?
A small Lalaounis emerald ring my family bought for me one long ago summer at the Athens Hilton. It’s the jewel that started it all. It deserves a prize don’t you think?

If you could raid one living person’s jewelry collection who would it be?
I’d like to set up camp in San Francisco, and take Danielle Steel’s collection one day and Denise Hale’s on another.  And then I’d fly back to New York and sneak into Jewelry Award winner Brooke Neidich’s.

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