Wellington, NZ – September 2, 2010 - Karl Williams of The Inspired Collection has just been announced the winner of the Gemological Institute of America’s 2010 George A. Schuetz Design Contest. The annual competition is open to jewelers the world over and judges the best original men’s jewelry design. The GIA is widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority on gemology. Their invention of the 4 C’s method of grading diamonds according to colour, cut, clarity and carat has become the industry standard and they have been entrusted with analysing some of the world’s most famous and valuable diamonds including the Hope Diamond and the Burton-Taylor Diamond.

The news of Karl’s win comes shortly after another Inspired jeweler, Nigel Wong, took top prize in the New Zealand Jewellery Design Awards. It was the second such success for The Inspired Collective with young designer Nick Hensman claiming the 2009 award. Karl paid tribute to the influence of owner and mentor Ian Douglas and credited the atmosphere of collaboration and creativity fostered in the Village Goldsmith, the Wellington business from where the Inspired Collection originated. “In line with the Inspired philosophy I wanted to design something that challenged regular perceptions of men’s jewelry”, says Karl, “I’ve transformed a diamond ring into something strong and masculine.” 

The Inspired Collection’s focus is first and foremost on innovative and creative design – they are as much of a philosophy as a business and their ambition is no less than to revolutionise the way diamonds are set into jewelry. The recognition from one of the world’s leading diamond grading authorities is another successful step for the fledgling business. Under the stewardship of director Chris Benham, The Inspired Collection has exceeded expectations in its first 9 months of operation and is in negotiations with respected jewelry retailers around the world who share the same ideals of excellence and originality. Ian’s success has been recognised by the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program and he has been chosen as a finalist for their 2010 awards.

Almost thirty years since The Village Goldsmith opened they have gone a long way towards fulfilling Ian’s vision of being the best jewelry store in New Zealand. Thriving through two global recessions – traditionally tough times for the jewelry market – and the successive wins in the NZ Jewelry Design Awards are testament to that. Recognition from major international organisations like the GIA and an invitation to showcase Inspired designs in the Designer Avenue at the world’s biggest jewelry expo in Hong Kong have The Inspired Collection poised to take that success global. 

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