Featured: Times Standard 2010 Design Contest

Holly Yashi Receives Award in National Jewelry Design Contest

by Donna Tam, July 24, 2010

Arcata-based jewelry designer Holly Hosterman, of Holly Yashi, snagged top honors in the Women's Jewelry Association's DIVA 2010 Design Competition for creating a bracelet using an innovative medium -- niobium.

The annual competition, which held its award ceremony in Las Vegas last month, selects winning designs based on creativity, wearability and the best interpretation of the theme. This year's theme was “New Dawn.”

Hosterman's design -- the “Contessa” bracelet in colorful niobium, copper, gold filled, and sterling silver fashioned into floral medallions accented with amethyst and garnet, pearlized glass and European crystals -- won in the new media category. The category focuses on the “exploration of all the new materials, techniques and components available today.”

2010 Design Contest Winner Contessa BraceletAccording to the WJA's website, “The winner will best combine newness with prettiness and technical competency. This is the cutting edge of fine jewelry -- enlighten us!”

Possessing physical and chemical properties similar to those of titanium, niobium is soft, muted gray metal is malleable and durable, can be permanently colored in a wide range of hues, and is hypoallergenic. Hosterman has used niobium for years in her jewelry and said she is thrilled for the recognition.

”Of course, it feels fantastic!” she wrote in an e-mail to the Times-Standard. “I've always loved how incredible it is to have 'the color component' as part of designing jewelry. Yes, we have semiprecious stones too, but metal that can be colored is still an incredible thing to me.”2010 Times Standard Design Contest Award

A trained jewelry artist and metalsmith, Hosterman started her design studio in 1981 with her business partner, Paul “Yashi” Lubitz, who holds a double degree in industrial technology and music. What began in their garage has evolved to a 15,000-square-foot studio in Arcata. According to a press release, the company's inspiration for nearly three decades has been its amazing surroundings -- nestled between the redwood forest and ruggedly beautiful Pacific coastline.

Hosterman said the next pieces she is working on includes formed cuffs of multiple materials -- combining brass, semiprecious stones and antiqued sterling -- expected to come out in the fall.

The company said the award is a significant recognition for the bridge/artisan jewelry category in the fine jewelry community.

”With a greater focus on the value of good design over that of the materials used, this category is gaining in importance and influence in the fine jewelry realm,” the release said.

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