I knew Portland had a thriving community of jewelry and accessory designers making original, of-the-moment pieces that thrive on the indie commerce channels, but turns out we've had fine jeweler Mark LaJoie in our back pocket too. After a 40-year career, he just recently entered himself in his first contest, the international 2011 Designer Jewelry Competition, where he walked away with the top honor of Jeweler of the Year, a cash prize, an "engraved crystal achievement award, and will be featured in the coveted Designer Jewelry Showcase website through 2012. The annual online and print resource highlights contemporary jewelry designers. His winning entry will be published in the 2012 Designer Jewelry Showcase yearbook, which gets distributed to more than 6,000 jewelers worldwide."
Locals might know him as the master jeweler at Margulis Jewelers at 800 SW Broadway, where he's held the position for 17 years—check Margulis' "custom jewels" and engagement rings and wedding rings" galleries to see more of his work. As for the winning piece itself:
Titled “Sunrise,” the composition has a choice oval checkerboard cut 25 carat Brazilian Lemon Citrine, which is set into a handmade 18 karat yellow gold carved and fabricated design and then mounted on a 4 mm rubber cord with 18 karat yellow gold slide ends. This allows the wearer to freely adjust the overall length anywhere from 15 to 25 inches. The pendant measures approximately 39.5 by 25 by 9.5 mm with a gold weight of 1.25 ounces.
- Mark LaJoie