The Ultimate Designer’s Challenge / You Be The Judge

One of our The Ugly Necklace Contest Winners

The Ultimate Designer’s Challenge

Can you put together a well-designed and functional, yet UGLY, necklace? What kinds of things might you do if you were trying to design a necklace that is ugly, hideous, unsatisfying and what have you?

What Is Ugly?

Some The Ugly Necklace Contest Submissions
Some The Ugly Necklace Contest Submissions

About The International Ugly Necklace Contest

The Ugly Necklace Contest, first announced in 2002, and held 10 times since then, was one of the programs Land of Odds-Be Dazzled Beads launched as a way to reaffirm our beliefs in a design-oriented, theory-based, professional craft education curriculum. The Contest was conceived as a fun way to break students out of the traditional craft mold, and get them to think, ponder, and translate their feelings and perceptions of what is UGLY into an organized and functional necklace design.

NOW, You be the JUDGE!

Below, I present three very different Ugly Necklace submissions. Each artist submitting their necklace must include the following in their packet:

1) At least 4 images (front, back, someone wearing it, detail of clasp assembly)
2) A poem where they get to put into rhyme the kinds of things they were thinking when they made their various design decisions
3) A list of materials and techniques.

The Judges Criteria

Each necklace is scored on 10 jewelry design criteria.

Your Turn

Use the scoring sheets below to evaluate UGLY NECKLACE #1 and UGLY NECKLACE #2 and UGLY NECKLACE #3.

UGLY NECKLACE #1: Brings Me To Tears

UGLY NECKLACE #2: Oooh! It Smells!

UGLY NECKLACE #3: Venerable Spirits

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design



Deeb, Margie. The Beader’s Guide To Jewelry Design: A Beautiful
Exploration of Unity, Balance, Color & More. NY: Lark Jewelry &
Beading, 2014.

The International Ugly Necklace Contest, sponsored by Warren Feld Jewelry, Land of Odds, Be Dazzled Beads, As referenced:

I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (

Beading and jewelry making have been wonderful adventures, from custom work, production work, and teaching. *Design is about the ability to make smart choices.

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