Sensational, provocative and absolutely luxurious - These are the words which come to mind while describing jewellery designer Reena Ahluwalia's award winning necklace for the North American Tahitian Pearl Trophy. The Cultured Pearl Association of America, which represents Perles de Tahiti in the United States, recently announced the winners of the 2007-2008 "The Song of the Stars" Tahitian Pearl Trophy-North American division. This prestigious international affair takes place every two years and is an unequalled international artistic competition.
Judging for the event was held at the Terrace Club in New York City. The jury included Laurie Schechter, Stylists and Co.; Elena Mauer, Bridal Guide; Jean Francois Bibet, Van Cleef and Arpels; Amanda Gizzi, Jewelry Information Center; Kathleen Fritzpatrick, freelance editor; Hedda T. Schupak, JCK and Fran Mastoloni, Frank Mastoloni and Sons.
First place winner and representing North America, "Ethereal Rhapsody" necklace now enters the TPT International Awards phase, to be judged by the international jury in May 2008. Along with this success, Ahluwalia has also won second place in both bracelet and brooch categories of the North American Tahitian Pearl trophy.
Known to jewellery insiders as one of the most sought after and discerning designers, Reena Ahluwalia is no stranger to the spirited world of International Awards. With 14 years of rewarding experience backing her, this Canadian designer's work has garnered almost all the Industry's top honors. Long list includes the HRD Awards 2007, De Beers Diamonds-International Awards, Gold Virtuosi International Awards by World Gold Council, Samshin International Diamond Design awards, Korea and the Swarnanjali Awards by WGC to name just a few. Her DIA 2000 award winning piece was featured by renowned fashion designer Alexander McQueen in his Spring/Summer 2000 collection in New York.
"The process of creating this neckpiece was an exhilarating journey," Ahluwalia said. "Perles De Tahiti challenged artists to interpret a theme which referenced 'The song of the stars' and emphasized Tahitian pearls. The interplay of light, shadow and colour became imperative for me to accentuate the neckpiece's rhythmic, interconnected shapes, which serves to contrast them against the negative space that is always visible within and around the piece. It was a constant negotiation of form, movement, and space, something which I hoped will be evident when viewing this piece from different viewing angles". Her inspiration came from the Pleiades star clusters also know as Seven Sisters in the Greek mythology.
The neckpiece uses sophisticated internal spring-loaded mechanisms, which open and close this piece comfortably. The necklace is hinged for flexibility and follows the body contours elegantly.
Sculptural & sensuous, this necklace is a result of collaboration between designer Reena Ahluwalia and Tahitian pearl leaders Baggins & Chodhari who sponsored the piece. Anil Maloo of Baggins Inc. said, "We have the advantage of having the finest assortment of Natural Colour Tahitian pearls as our resource. We wanted to collaborate with designer Reena Ahluwalia to help create an extraordinary jewel that can draw attention to this nature's miracle".
He adds, "We were enthused by her body of contemporary work and started off with a sense of adventure, openness and mutual admiration. Tahitian Pearl Trophy is indeed the highest honor in this realm. In this idea to collaborate and create something unique, luxurious and contemporary, we are pleased to have contributed to her design vision". Baggins & Chodhari have a history that boasts of longevity in the pearl trade. They have significant presence in the USA, Japan, and Thailand, also a pearl farm in Vietnam producing Vietnamese Akoya Pearls.
The Tahitian Pearl trophy competition is the initiative of GIE Perles De Tahiti, the official promotion body for Cultured Pearls in French Polynesia.
Kathy Grenier, of the Cultured Pearl Association of America said, "This regional award is one of, if not the most highly coveted and respected within the worldwide pearl community. Reena's artistic talent and creativity brought to life more than a piece of jewellery, but an 'object of art'. She goes on to explain, "The judging panel was composed of top jewelry and accessories magazine editors as well as a member of the Cultured Pearl Association of America. Judges were selected for their talents in understanding and interpreting women and men's fashion and life style. We wish Reena and her sponsors success in the international phase, to be announced May 2008 in Kobe, Japan".