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Published: Thursday, 4/7/2005

Local jeweler rings up award for design work

FROM BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Nick Licata won a first-place award for two pearl rings. Nick Licata won a first-place award for two pearl rings.
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Nick Licata says since the first grade he has wanted to follow in his father's footsteps in the jewelry business. And his dream is paying off.

The 26-year-old manager of the Sylvania location of Licata Jewelers, a business founded by his father, Joseph Licata, in 1981, has won a first-place design award in the 14th Annual 2005 American Vision Award Design Competition.

Nick Licata, a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America, won the professional category for his design of South Sea and Tahitian pearl rings. The South Sea pearl ring is cast in 18-karat yellow gold, and the Tahitian pearl ring is cast in platinum. Both are accented with diamonds. Each retails for about $5,800.

The international competition was held last month at the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America's annual Expo New York in New York City, one of the largest trade shows dedicated to jewelry manufacturing.

Mr. Licata received a trophy and $1,000.

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When it came to fashion last spring, everything that was sweet and dainty was feminine. Minimalism was sexy.

This spring, forget all that.

Bigger is better and more is more, particularly when it comes to the season's hottest accessory - the necklace.

"We're moving away from the brooches that were so big last year and we're seeing a movement toward necklaces and the bracelet," said Glenn McMahon, president of Ellen Tracy. "The longer necklaces seem to be really important."

Accessories in general are hot this season. Shoes and handbags are funkier and more ornate. Belts are big, whether Western-style, beaded, or made of colorful ribbon. Bangles and cuffs should be big, big, big - and piled on.

But if you can afford just one accessory this spring, the necklace is it.

All over runways, fashion magazines, and cool "It" girls, the necklace has made a major statement.

"For spring, it's just necklaces galore," said Jodi L. Brodie, co-owner of Treasure House in Owings Mills, Md. "The big thing about necklaces right now is layering. Layering pearl with gold, or silver with gold, or wooden beads or turquoise beads with gold or silver necklaces."

Turquoise is the season's signature material, and the bigger the bold, blue beads, the more in style you'll be.



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