Lafayette, LA—Evgenii Fedko and Aleksey Saburov, both winners in the Centurion 2019 Emerging Designer Competition, were winners again in Stuller’s fourth annual Battle of the Benches competition, a hands-on, time-pressure event during the 19th annual Bench Jeweler Workshop. The workshop, held March 22-23 at Stuller’s global headquarters in Lafayette, drew more than 160 jewelers from across the world. (Left: Contestants Patrick Dobbs, Joe Kremer, Aleksey Saburov, Evgenii Fedko.)
“Workshop is always a great time for our customers,” says Tammy Lail, vice president of tools, metals, and packaging. “It’s an action-packed event where they get to learn, network, and enjoy a little of the Louisiana culture.”
The Battle of the Benches competition took place during the two-day event. It consisted of two different challenges: the Parts and Pieces challenge, where contestants fabricated a custom piece on the spot from an assortment of components, metals, and gemstones; and the Ready, Set challenge, where they prepped, polished, assembled, and set their original entry piece. The jewelers selected for this year’s competition were: 2018 defending champion, Patrick Dobbs of Hammerman Forge; Evgenii Fedko of Fedko Jewelry; Aleksey Saburov of Saburov Art Studio; and Joe Kremer of Joseph Kremer Inc.
Saburov won the Parts and Pieces challenge on day one, while Fedko won the Ready, Set challenge on day two, and was also declared the overall winner.
Left: Entries that helped both Fedko and Saburov win their Emerging Designer booths at the Centurion Scottsdale Show 2019. Left, a snail ring by Fedko and right, one of Saburov's "hobo nickel" rings.
“It’s incredible to watch the determination, passion and talent that the contestants put forth over the two days,” says Battle of the Benches judge Emily Graffagnino. “I have so much respect for the work that was created by all four of these bench jewelers.”
“What an honor to win the Battle of the Benches,” says Evgenii Fedko, a native of Sochi, Russia. “Everyone’s pieces were beautiful, I’m sure the judges had a hard time.”
Evgenii Fedko at work.