A ring designed by UL alumnus Michael Bartlett won top awards at the recent JCK 2011 Platinum Innovation Awards, hosted by the Platinum Guild International.  Bartlett's design for Stuller, Inc. won 'Best in Show' overall, as well as best design in the Modern Engagement Ring Category.

The competition, which is the most comprehensive jewelry gathering in the country, began in New York in May with editor’s voting. It culminated in Las Vegas in June for the people’s choice voting, awards banquet and press conference.

Bartlett graduated in Industrial Design from UL and went on to work at Stuller, Inc. in 2009.  With no previous experience working with jewelry, he was nevertheless hired on as one of three associate designers. After rapidly mastering the basic concepts, Bartlett is now responsible for tweaking rough design ideas that are presented to him. His job is to make the jewelry piece realistic and producible.

According to Bartlett, Stuller gives a lot of creative freedom to their associate designers, especially those who put in the extra effort to pursue creative opportunities. In the case of the JCK competition, Stuller sponsored their employees to enter their own designs.

Bartlett’s ring made it through the first round of eliminations, selected by the Bridal Vice President at Stuller. This gained him entry into the JCK Platinum Innovation Awards. 

From there, an impressive 180 entries were first reviewed by editors from the nation's leading bridal and fashion publications, and then voted on by retailers during the JCK Las Vegas Show. Entries were up more than 200% over last year's competition.

The last round of voting was conducted through text messages as attendees walked the floor deciding on which rings they favored. Bartlett’s ring received the most overall votes between the Editors’ Choice and the People’s Choice, thereby winning 'Best in Show'.

When asked if he was surprised Bartlett said, “I was pretty confident at first after hearing a lot of buzz about my ring.” His ring was even featured in the preview video for the competition.

Nerves set in when he arrived at the competition. “I began to realize just how many big designers I was competing against,” he said. All the nerves paid off though. Stuller, Inc. was awarded a $50,000 prize package for Bartlett’s engagement ring.

Stuller, Inc. will now produce Bartlett’s ring, which they will then sell to jewelry stores around the world. When asked about his career goals, Bartlett said that he hopes to be one of the people coming up with the ideas and setting the trends.

It seems he is well on his way.

To view all of the winners, click here.

Platinum Guild International is dedicated to promoting platinum and its pure, rare and eternal qualities to the consumer and the jewelry trade. PGI has offices in each of the world's major jewelry markets, providing information, assistance and education on all aspects of platinum jewelry. For more information please visit PlatinumGuild.com.

This is a submitted article.  Send your press releases and articles on UL, the UL District, and quality of life in Acadiana-- particularly education & culture-- to ultoday.com by clicking here.