The entry deadline is Feb. 16.

This week, INSTORE announced the judges for its third annual design competition, the INSTORE Design Awards, which is accepting entries through Feb. 16. Five top retailers and two award-winning influencers comprise the panel. They are:



Owner, Virtu, Chicago

Having worked in retail since the age of 14, Julie opened Virtu, “A Curious Collection of Fine Craft,” in 2001. The boutique offers more than three dozen designer jewelry collections as well as artisan ceramics, wood, textiles, paper and metal.

Owner, Max’s, Minneapolis

Max’s is the realization of a dream for Ellen, who opened the store in 2006 and named it for her grandfather, who owned Max’s Jewelry Company in Michigan for more than 50 years. The store, named America’s Coolest Store (Small Cool division) by INSTORE in 2011 and a perennial top 10 in JCK’s Design Center Retailer awards, carries more than 50 jewelry collections but is also known for its unique chocolates.

Owner, Regina Jewelry & Treasures, Birmingham, AL

After a long career in teaching, Regina founded Regina Jewelry & Treasures in 2004, an upscale designer jewelry boutique inside Gus Mayer, an independently-owned department store. The former New Yorker aims to connect customers with jewelry “they don’t see on anyone else and won’t find anywhere else.”

Co-owner, Greenwich St. Jewelers, New York

Jennifer and her sister Christina took over Greenwich St. Jewelers from their parents, who founded the business in 1976, more than a decade ago and have transformed its selection from traditional to designer-oriented. The store has been recognized multiple times by JCK’s Design Center Retailer awards and carries more than two dozen designer lines.

Director of Sales, Borsheims, Omaha, NE

Sean has worked for Borsheims, one of the largest independent jewelry retailers in the country, since 1991, when he began as a sales associate. He has been Director of Sales for the past five years. He is a GIA graduate gemologist and a JA-certified Senior Management Professional (SCMP). Borsheims stocks more than 200 jewelry and accessories designers, according to its website.

Founder and Editorial Director, The Adventurine

Before founding The Adventurine in 2016, Marion was responsible for InStyle’s award-winning jewelry and watch coverage for almost two decades. The Adventurine is an online destination for designer profiles, celebrity jewelry coverage, news, historical retrospectives and more. Marion has written eight books and consulted on numerous exhibitions. In 2018, she received the GEM Award for Media Excellence from JA and the “Jewelry Champion” T&C Award from Town & Country.

Author/blogger, Gemologue

Since 2009, the Russian-born, London-based and NYC-educated gemologist has published GEMOLOGUE, one of the top jewelry blogs on the Internet. Her aim has been to communicate the personal side of jewelry, writing about her own experiences in wearing and covering jewelry and always searching out new designers. Liza has collaborated with more than 500 jewelry brands and her influence noted by Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. In 2015, she received the UK Blog Award for Best Blog in the Fashion Category.

These judges will choose 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each of the following categories of jewelry: gold, platinum, silver, colored gemstones, diamonds, alternative materials, pearls, and engagement/wedding rings. Additionally, all entries will be displayed online at where jewelry retailers will be invited to vote and choose a “Retailer’s Choice” award in each category.

Winners will be featured in the June issue of INSTORE, which is distributed at JCK and Couture in Las Vegas, as well as online at Each winner will also receive a trophy commemorating their achievement.

Designers may enter at

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