Winners of the January 2020 DESIGN CHALLENGE

Discover who the winners are this month! And get a sneak peek at upcoming Design Challenges. 


In January, we asked our readership to send jewelry submissions inspired by the Chinese New Year. The ancient celebration motivated designers to send dragon themes, meditative patterns, and symbolic figures. While there were many engaging submissions, we were limited to only four winners. The Facet readers had a chance to vote for one READER’S CHOICE AWARD, while the Facet/Bead&Button editorial staff voted for three favorite pieces. In both cases, voting was blind, as submissions should not have names in the gallery material.


Due to the dire conditions and death toll caused by the coronavirus, we would like to express our deep concerns and sincere wishes to all those struggling with this global health emergency.


Also, thank you to all who participated in the January 2020 DESIGN CHALLENGE, we appreciate your hard work and creativity. We can't wait to see what you send us next month!  Until then, here are the January 2020 winners!



Oriental dragon necklace

By Laura Giusti


Our READER’S CHOICE AWARD winner for January lives in Rome, Italy, with her husband, three children, and a dog. Inspiration for this necklace came from the mythical Chinese dragon with the central pendant representing the head and the straps depicting the sinewy body. This talented designer stitched her dragon-inspired necklace with kite beads, Amos par Puca, Crystal Element pearls, Delicas, and seed beads.


“I started to bead in 2003,” Guisti said, “and it was love at first sight. I am self-taught, and I learned to mix different techniques to make surprising jewels. Currently, I am a professional jewelry maker and teach beading in a large bead shop in Rome, called La Pallina, where I have many students.”


You can see more of Laura Giusti’swork on her website or Facebook site.



Bamboo forest Eastlake necklace

By Mary Meier


Congratulations to our next January winner who is from Montgomery, Texas, USA. Mary Meier created this beautiful necklace with textured sterling metal clay and an aventurine gem.


Meier tells us: “Evocative of a quiet, meditative walk through a misty bamboo forest, this pendant is textured in sterling metal clay. The sterling chain is hand created using traditional metalsmithing techniques. Beautiful aventurine is a ‘comforter stone’ — again, this necklace abounds in peace & serenity!”


You can see more of her work, and buy this necklace, on her website.




Brocade necklace

By Shayne McQuay


Our next winner for January hails from Peoria, Arizona, USA. McQuay tells us: “I am originally from Minnesota, but have lived in Arizona for 30 years. I have been doing bead embroidery for 45 years — mostly clothing. I started making jewelry in 1992 after my first trip to the Tucson Gem Show. This is the first contest I have ever entered, and I am just tickled!”


Here’ a little bit about the necklace: “I love all things Asian and was inspired to create this piece using some cinnabar that was gifted to me. I worked the embroidery in size 15 seed beads attempting to replicate Chinese brocade fabric, adding brass vintage components to give it an older look. The center focal area is 4 1/2" by 3 1/2". I also used tiny faceted pyrite beads to give it a bit of sparkle. 


Kudos! You can reach McQuay at



Harmony and wealth necklace

By Michelle Phipps


Last but not least, our final winner for January is from Saskatchewan, Canada. Phipps shares: “Creating original, one-of-a-kind pieces is my passion because I strongly believe everyone should be unique and have their own distinctive look and style.” She makes “original handmade jewelry with an eclectic, contemporary, free-spirit feel; designs as unique as your every mood. I also cater to the plus-sized woman.”


This winning kumihimo-style necklace uses olive and black C-Lon cord (which is woven in a diagonal pattern) along with natural green garnets (green symbolizes harmony and wealth), Toho seed beads (luster black diamond/opaque yellow-lined and metallic bronze iris). The focal piece is a Chinese-inspired pendant carved from ombre green alabaster with beaded accents.


To view or purchase Michelle Phipps’ jewelry, visit her website.


Congratulations to all of our winners! We are so thrilled each month to see the creative designs that our readers share with us. 


Come join in the fun! There is still time to enter the current Design Challenge, February 2020, VIVE L'AMOUR! Submissions will close for this challenge on the last day of the month. (Psst: The March Challenge will celebrate Earth Day with the theme: EARTHEN.)



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