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Jewelry Auction Benefiting Navajo Nation Begins November 1 October 25, 2021 (0 comments)


Attleboro, MA—MJSA and Columbia Gem House, a renowned U.S. supplier of responsibly sourced colored gems, are partnering on a live online auction Nov. 1-7 to benefit the Navajo Nation Community. Image: Pendant by Donna Distefano

The auction will feature the custom-designed jewelry entered into this year's MJSA Responsible Design Challenge. All funds raised will go toward Navajo Nation replenishment following the hardships it experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Held annually, the Challenge has traditionally asked participating designers to render a piece of custom jewelry based on a fictional scenario and featuring select gemstones provided by Columbia Gem House, competition sponsor. All entries are showcased on and the winner is announced in the December MJSA Journal.

This year's Challenge story focused on a wedding gift for a Native American woman, dedicated to issues affecting Indigenous people worldwide. It also had a new twist: rather than just submitting renderings for the online voting, the designers also created live pieces to be auctioned. 

Columbia Gem House president Eric Braunwart said, “After years of working together, I have become both personally and professionally invested in our Navajo Nation partners, and the community as a whole. When Covid-19 first hit, we wanted to support any way we could and was thrilled when MJSA was interested in extending the Responsible Design Competition into a fundraising auction for Navajo Nation. This is the first of many we see in the future.” 

“We were delighted when Columbia Gem House generously offered to donate the stones for this year’s challenge so that the designers could bring their designs to life and the resulting pieces could be auctioned off to raise money for the Navajo Nation,” says Shawna Kulpa, MJSA’s editorial director. “As an industry, it’s important that we continue finding ways to give back to the communities where we source so many of our materials.”

The participating designers are:

Pieces by, from left, Helen Chantler, Dominique Larson, Dana Bronfman, Jennifer Dewey, Donna Distefano Thomas, and Betty Padilla.

Columbia Gem House will preview finished pieces, designer spotlights, and host Instagram LIVE events with some of the designers leading up to the auction, beginning Monday, November 1. The auction page can be found here

For more information about the MJSA Responsible Design Challenge, visit

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