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Contact: Christine Payton JULY 11, 2011
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu

UL Lafayette graduate Michael Bartlett was recently awarded one of the highest honors at the JCK 2011 Platinum Innovation Awards hosted by the Platinum Guild International last month in Las Vegas.

Bartlett garnered top honors for his ring design in the Modern Engagement Ring category and also won Best of Show at the competition, which is the most comprehensive jewelry gathering in the country.

Bartlett graduated in Industrial Design from UL Lafayette and went on to work at Stuller Inc. in 2009. Though he had no previous experience working with jewelry, he was hired on as one of three associate designers. He quickly got a handle on the industry and trends and is responsible for tweaking rough design ideas that are presented to him. His job is to make the jewelry piece realistic and producible.

According to Bartlett, Stuller gives a lot of creative freedom to their associate designers- especially those who desire to put in the extra effort and pursue creative opportunities. This is proven to be true by the fact that they sponsored their employees to enter their own designs.

Bartlett’s ring made it through the first round of eliminations, which was decided by the bridal vice president at Stuller. This gained him entry into the JCK Platinum Innovation Awards. Next it was up to fashion editors from across the nation to decide which rings stood above the rest. The last round of voting was conducted through text messages as attendees walked the floor, deciding which rings they favored.

Bartlett’s ring received the most overall votes between editors’ choice and people’s choice, therefore awarding him Best in Show.

“I was pretty confident at first after hearing a lot of buzz about my ring,” said Bartlett. His ring was even featured in the preview video for the competition.

Nerves set in when he arrived at the competition. “I began to realize just how many big designers I was competing against,” he said. All the nerves paid off though.

Stuller, Inc. was awarded a $50,000 prize package because of Bartlett’s winning ring.
It will now produce Bartlett’s ring. Stuller will then sell the ring to jewelry stores around the world.

Document last revised Monday, July 11, 2011 10:59 AM

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