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Centurion Announces Emerging Designer Winners For 2014

Feb 12, 2014 1:48 AM   By Centurion
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Press Release: Babette Shennan, Stanislav Drokin and Rhyme & Reason were named on February 1 as the winners of the Centurion 2014 Emerging Designer Competition, sponsored by Stuller Inc.  All three were awarded at their U.S. tradeshow debut at the Centurion Jewelry Show.

The Centurion Emerging Designer competition, now in its sixth year, drew 90 entries from luxury jewelry designers around the world. The first round of judging was conducted by three industry design experts: celebrity stylist and TV commentator Michael O’Connor; the Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) global jewelry manufacturing arts director, Mark Mann and Stuller’s executive director of product development, Gary Baines. They were tasked with narrowing  entries to just 12 finalists, and the Centurion Board of Retail Advisors then voted to select three winners. Each of the winners received a free exhibition space at the show and with it the opportunity to meet and mingle among top, prestige-level U.S. jewelers.

As one of the sponsors of the Future of Design business incubator competition, held in March 2014 by directors Cindy Edelstein and Andrea Hill, Centurion president Howard Hauben awarded one of the Emerging Designer exhibition spaces to Boston-based Rhyme & Reason, the 2014 Future of Design winner. They join Babette Shennan and Stanislav Drokin to comprise the three new designers presented to show attenddrokinees.

Hauben said, “We received a record number of entries this year and they were all amazing. We’re proud to be able to offer the winners an unparalleled opportunity to meet the top prestige jewelers in the United States and we’re equally proud to offer our Centurion attendees this level of outstanding global talent as an exclusive first introduction.”

Ashley Brown, Stuller’s executive director of marketing and public relations, said, “Stuller is pleased and proud to sponsor the Centurion Design Competition. We believe innovation and creativity are essential to the future of the jewelry industry, and being able to help showcase new talent like these designers falls right in line with our mission.”

These are the 2014 Centurion Emerging Designers:

Babette Shennan, G.G., San Francisco, California
The work of jewelry designer Babette Shennan is closely linked to her travels and memories. From Antoni Gaudi’s stained-glass mosaics in Barcelona, Spain to the corals and deep reds from her mother’s rose garden, to the soft turquoise of the ocean and the timelessness of the gingko tree leaf, Shennan has weaved these inspirations into a palette of vibrant colors that form the basis of her bespoke jewelry collections.

Shennan’s timeless pieces not only reflect her meticulous craftsmanship showcasing the beauty of each stone, but also testify to the quality of her work. During her graduate gemology program at GIA, she won The Silver Trend Project design competition sponsored by HSN. Her winning bracelet was manufactured and sold on air to great success.

More recently, Shennan won second place at the “Best In Show” at the Women’s Jewelry Association’s Designer By The Bay Event in Northern California. She divides her time between San Francisco and New York City.
Her 18-karat white and yellow gold convertible “Gingko” earrings featured lens-cut aquamarines (54.76 total carat weight (tcw.), the sterling silver and 14-karat yellow gold “Gingko” hinged cuff has an antiqued silk finish accented with tsavorite garnets (6.80 tcw.).

“In this industry, it is hard to stand out amongst so many amazing designers. Thank you, Centurion, for recognizing my hard work, dedication and love for all things jewelry,” said Shennan. “Winning gives my company the invaluable opportunity to show the top retailers in North America my dedication to design, integrity and the importance of creating a timeless, unique, one of a kind product.''

Stanislav Drokin, Kharkiv, Ukraine
Drokin was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine. After school, he was hired as apprentice engraver at an industrial factory, carving stamps for marking technical details. After seven years, he mastered the profession of engraver but during this time also began to study jewelry on his own and from 1992 to 1994, worked creating master models for jewelry companies.

In 1994, he founded his own jewelry atelier (private company S.D.). At the time, his main design focus was on classical style. In 1995, he organized an exhibition titled, "The Magical World of Stone," which to date is one of the traditional exhibitions held in Kharkiv.

In 1998, Drokin became a member of the Designers Union of Ukraine and an international association, the Society of Designers. That year, he also went for further study in the gemological centers of Kiev, Ukraine; Idar-Oberstein, Germany and Warsaw, Poland. In Germany, Drokin met world-famous jeweler André Enskat, whose precepts became a turning point in his creative work. Thanks to that meeting, Stanislav rethought his design and embarked on a path of creative search and experiment. Today, he is the winner of many competitions in Ukraine and Russia, and earned a master’s degree in design in 2011. He also organized another design exhibition, the Ukrainian festival of design "YuvelirArtProm," in Kharkiv Art Museum, in 2004.

His ring of 18-karat yellow and blackened gold (pictured above) has a fire opal center with diamond and sapphire accents, while the  Phoenix earrings in 18-karat white gold feature  tourmaline and pink and purple sapphire.

“Thank you and the jury for choosing me to be one of the winners in the Centurion Emerging Designer Awards Competition 2014,” said Drokin. “Winning in those competitions is a big event in my life, creative activity and business. In the history of my country, this is the first award to be won by a Ukrainian in an international jewelry competitions in America. The Centurion Emerging Designer Awards Competition is a very important incentive in the development of international jewelry business and art.”

Rhyme & Reason, Boston

Rhyme & Reason is the collaboration of the combined efforts of Vahé Ghazarian, Esin Guler and Mihran Guler.  Ghazarian has been immersed in the world of jewelry since age 10 at his family’s jewelry store. He combines business knowledge with his talent and passion to create works of jewelry art. Also a sculptor and painter, Ghazarian transforms precious metals into elaborate, one-of-a-kind and limited-edition jewels and his firm belief that jewelry is meant to be an extension of the body is a core theme in all the company’s designs.

Guler learned from his father to work persistently to be successful. As an adolescent, his father asked a jeweler friend to take him on as an apprentice in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. Classically trained in the art of diamond setting by numerous masters, Guler became a craftsman at the age of 12. After years of working in Istanbul, he came to the U.S. to be with his family and share his knowledge. At Rhyme & Reason, he combines classical and contemporary precious gem setting techniques in all kinds of metals.

Esin Guler developed a passion for jewelry watching her brother Mihran work on gem setting and decided to pursue jewelry design as a career. After completing her training at Academie Istanbul, world-renowned jeweler Sevan Bıçakçı accepted her as his apprentice. Following her apprenticeship, she brought her creative mind, skillful hands, and dream to open her own business to America where, under the tutelage of Ghazarian, she honed her talents.

The three decided to join forces and formed G&G Creations—recently renamed Rhyme & Reason — and in 2014 were chosen as the winner of the Future of Design business incubate or competition sponsored by designer jewelry and business experts  Edelstein and  Hill. As the winner, along with other prizes, Rhyme & Reason was awarded one of Centurion’s Emerging Designer exhibition spaces.

The trio's Renaissance bridal set features 18-karat white gold with diamonds and sapphires,  oxidized silver with 24-karat gold inlays, rubies, full-cut white, black and blue diamonds and yellow and orange sapphires.

"As artists we are incredibly humbled to have been an Emerging Designer at the Centurion Show. This is a very exciting time for us,” said Ghazarian.

"We couldn't be happier about this honor," added design partner Esin. "Awards like this inspire us and bring us strength as a design team.” Mihran concurred, “This opportunity to be featured as an Emerging Designer is an incredible platform to share who we as designers with the industry."

The 2014 Centurion Show took place February 1 to 4, 2014. For more information, visit Centurion online at

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