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History of the International Challenge Cup Competition
by Glenn Klein

On July 31, 1984 Australian Rupert Pickrell wrote, "we are enjoying the summer games" of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. We are looking forward to entertaining Glenn and Martha Vargas in the near future, when they visit Down Under.

The Australians were all in high spirits because of their winning the 1983 "America's Cup" sailing race. The America's Cup is the battle for the oldest trophy in sport. The United States had won the Cup over its entire one hundred and thirty-two (132) year history. The Australians had every right to be proud for breaking that long winning streak.

In September 1984 three Australian Facetors' Guild members enroute to the annual guild seminar in Warwick, Queensland, conceived the idea of challenging the faceters of the United States to a faceting competition. At the seminar the idea was enthusiastically approved.

Glenn and Martha Vargas enjoyed their 1984 trip to Australia. They were always treated with great respect. During the Warwick seminar, which they attended, Jenny King proposed that the Australian Faceters Guild challenge all United States guilds to a four-stone international competition in 1986, as part of the Loxton, South Australia Gemboree. The Challenge was then offered to Glenn & Martha Vargas.

The competition was open to members of any AFG or USA guild. The AFG had members in the UK, New Zealand, and South Africa--all of which were invited to join in. Glenn Vargas accepted the responsibility as coordinator for the USA side of the competition.

The International Challenge CUP, is a perpetual trophy, and will always remain the property of the Australian Faceters Guild. It is to be returned every two years for display at their Easter time Gemboree. The battle is to determine which country will hold the Challenge CUP. This competition is to be held every two years. The Trophy itself is a large (approx. 14" diam.) silver bowl, or CUP.

During the twelve months following the initial challenge, Glenn Vargas sent competition information to any and all who requested it. Glenn also mailed the information to all guilds that he could find addresses for.

The inaugural International Challenge Cup competition results were made known, at the Loxton, South Australia March 28-31, 1986 Gemboree.

THE AMERICANS WERE DECLARED THE WINNERS OF THE CUP, when the results were announced. Four Australian judges (Ron Madden, Gary Brunkhorst, Frank Barnett, and Don Wilkinson) had done the judging for all stones entered, and they had used all Australian Rules.

One of the rules was that the CUP would go to the top five competitors from either country that obtained the highest aggregate points for their four stones. Included were bonus points, to be allocated on the basis of six points for first place, three points for second place, and one point for third place--in each of the four stone sections. There were nine entries from Australia and nine entries from the United States (72 stones). Out of 2100 points possible, the CUP winning American Team scored 2066.543, and the second place Australian Team scored 2062.816- - a difference of 3.7 points! The 1986 United States team consisted of:

1.    JOHN ALDEN    Hayward, CA    435.458 points
2.    VERN JOHNSON    Alamo, CA    429.152 points
3.    CHARLES HETTICH    OR    421.412 points
4.    GLENN KLEIN    Santa Ana, CA    398.052 points
5.    JACK McLELLAND    Long Beach, CA    382.469 points

The United States Coordinator was Glenn Vargas
The Australian Coordinator was Barbara Crouch

The next International Challenge Cup was to be judged in the United States, the current holder of the CUP.

The Americans had no conception of what VISUAL EFFECT was about, in the current Australian Rules. Even the Australians could not explain what they meant by Visual Effect on their score sheets. Visual Effect was a sore point with the USA competitors, who thought it was too subjective to be on any judges score sheet. Norm Steele pointed out that if the USA cutters changed angles for a better visual effect, they would be conflicting with the rules as written--by deviating from the design.

Prior to the Challenge being made in 1984, the American faceters had been quietly going their individual way, keeping their cutting secrets pretty much to themselves. Once the 1986 Challenge was under way, the competitors did share information back and forth by talking to each other at Shows, or with phone and letter contacts. Advice was given on how to handle a particular gem material and how to proceed with the cutting of the four required designs.

At this time on the West Coast of the United States, the Faceters Guild of Northern California sponsored a "Faceters Fair". It was held each January at San Jose, California (Sacramento from 1989 on), and offered the highest standards of excellence for faceters wishing to compete. From 1984 on, much cutting information was shared between faceters at this event.

The Faceters Guild of Northern California Faceters Fair offered competition for single stones, three stones, and also cases of stones. Since the AFMS Rules are directed mainly at judging cases of stones, it was obvious that more work was needed to establish rules for judging single stone competitions. It is always difficult for a facetor to assemble a whole case of well-cut stones, and demonstrate a variety of minerals and cut designs. So, many faceters were abandoning the case competitions, and choosing to enter single or three-stone competitions.

It was now to be a Team effort for the next Challenge in 1988. The Australians had many excellent competitive faceters, while the United States had only a few in comparison.

The Americans knew that the Australians were having their judges pre-judge competitors stones. The judges pointed out the faults, and it was up to the competitor to fix it, or cut an altogether new stone. The Americans were not in favor of pre-judging because of the threat of damage being done to stones in handling, or in transit. The Americans also felt that the Australian judges could recognize an Australian stone during the actual Challenge, since they had previously judged it. However, the Americans chose not to have their stones pre-judged, and wished to keep the stones entirely the result of their personal cutting decisions.

Upon Glenn Vargas' return from Australia, he began contacting the various guilds to form a committee, which was to plan and carry out the 1988 contest. Glenn Vargas asked for assistance, and announced that he would only act in an advisory capacity. His letter was sent to the Faceters Guild of Southern California, Texas Faceters Guild, Midwest Faceters Guild, Columbia-Willamette Faceters Guild, and Big Sky Faceters Guild. These were the only Guilds that he knew of at the time.

In May 1986 the Faceters Guild of Southern California proposed that the FGSC would host the next Challenge. Bob Kleppe had been appointed Committee Chairman, and he went on a fact-finding mission for the Guild before anything could be decided. The FGSC wished to announce the results in March 1988, but have the entered stones on display at the annual FGSC Faceters Fair in Anaheim, California, in September 1987. This meant that time was short for getting set up with the information, and getting it out to cutters, with at least twelve months made available for the actual cutting of the gems.

In June of 1986 Glenn Vargas announced that the Australians would accept the FGSC offer to host the next Challenge. Other Clubs were to give support in whatever way they could.

After written correspondence and phone calls between Glenn Vargas and the newly formed Faceting Challenge Committee, Ed Myers of the Midwest Faceters Guild offered to participate in the staging, financial aid, and administrative support for the next Challenge. The Midwest Faceters Guild agreed to head the judging. But after it was brought forward that the entries were to be on exhibit before being judged, the Midwest Faceters Guild withdrew all participation, because of the fear of damage to the stones before judging.

The FGSC then offered to pay the expenses for four judges who would come from the Midwest and Eastern part of the United States. The judging would be done in September 1987 before being displayed anywhere, and the results announced in March 1988 during the Castro Valley Gem & Mineral Show at Hayward, California.

For six months the ten best entries from each country would be on traveling display along with the CUP, at various Gem Shows around the United States. After the announced results in March 1988, the CUP and twenty sets of stones would be shipped to Australia for their April Gemboree, as called out in the Australian rules.

Under direction of Ed Myers, Special Competition Chairman of the Midwest Faceters Guild, the 1988 Challenge judges started judging the 1988 Challenge stones on September 23, 1987. There were thirteen entries from Australia, and ten entries from the United States. All of these stones were on display at the Faceters Guild of Southern California "Faceters Fair" in Anaheim, California September 26-27, 1988.

In addition to these 1988 Challenge stones, the International Challenge CUP and the 1986 winning team members gemstones were also on display. The inaugural five 1986 USA World Champions were also present in person, at the Show.

The Americans chose to share information such as changing angles from what was called out on the design, this was done to achieve better results from light entering and exiting the gem. But changing angles was a no-no from the Australian Rules viewpoint. Much work was done to improve cut designs through the use of the computer. Walter Carss, Bob Long, Norm Steele, and Fred Van Sant were especially efficient in bringing forth good suggestions for the American cutters.

The 1988 contest continued to include a rule that called for bonus points to be awarded to those cutters who placed first, second, and third for each of the four required stones. Cutters receive six points for first place, three points for second place, and one point for third place.

The results of the 1988 International Challenge Cup competition were finally announced on February 28, 1988, at the Mineral & Gem Show in Castro Valley, California. Bob Kleppe announced that the Australians had won the CUP. There were nineteen entries from Australia and twenty-two entries from the United States (164 stones). The 1988 United States team scores were AT FIRST announced as:

1.    CHARLES HETTICH    Cottonwood, CA    401.l points
2.    JOHN ALDEN    Hayward, CA    400.2 points
3.    VERN JOHNSON    Alamo, CA    399.5 points
4.    JOSEPH SCOTT    Chicago, IL    375.6 points
5.    WALTER CARSS    Brenham, TX    373.2 points

The Australians had won the CUP with a total score of 2024.8 points compared to the United States score of 1949.6--a difference of 75.2 points. This was with the existing Australian Rule of bonus points being awarded for first, second, and third places with each of the four required stones.

Later the Australians decided to do away with Bonus Points that had been awarded. The results were a changing in placement of both countries top five cutters, although Australia retained the CUP with a total score of 1962.8 points, compared to the United States total of 1922.6-- for a difference of 40.2 points. The 1988 United States team scores BECAME:

1.    CHARLES HETTICH    Cottonwood, CA    393.1 points
2.    VERN JOHNSON    Alamo, CA    392.5 points
3.    JOHN ALDEN    Hayward, CA    391.2 points
4.    WALTER CARSS    Brenham, TX    373.2 points
5    JOSEPH SCOTT    Chicago, IL    372.6 points

The United States Coordinator was Bob Kleppe
The Australian Coordinator was Tony Annear?

In January 1990, at the Faceters Guild of Northern California sponsored "Faceters Fair", at Sacramento, California, Jim Ball and Charlie Hettich gathered a group of faceters together for a meeting. At the meeting Jim Ball suggested that an organization be formed to support the United States team in the future International Faceting Challenges. Jim Ball had been promoting his idea for quite some time, but until this meeting it had fallen on deaf ears. Those attending this first meeting were: John & Marian Alden CA, Jim Ball AZ, Walter Carss TX, Charlie & Lillian Hettich CA, Vern and Bettie Johnson CA, Glenn Klein CA, Charlie Moon CA, Norm Steele WA, and Fred Van Sant CA.

Jim Ball's stated purpose was to obtain backing for the USA cutters in the International Faceting Challenge, by building a kitty (through dues) to finance holding of the Competition in the United States. The group approved the idea, felt that a National guild was necessary, and wanted to draw members from all across the USA, by exchanging information which would improve the cutting of all faceters.

The group decided to name the organization the "USA Competition Faceters", or USACF for short. Later, in May 1993 this organization became the United States Faceters Guild or USFG.

In 1990 the competition name itself was changed from the International Challenge Cup Competition to the International Faceting Challenge, or IFC.

The results of the 1990 International Faceting Challenge were announced at Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia on April 13-16, 1990. The Australians won the CUP with a score of 1923.81. The United States team scored 1868.40--a difference of 55.41 points. Contrary to past practice, bonus points were no longer awarded. There were ten entrants from Australia and ten entrants from the United States (80 stones). Norm Coates (Aus.) obtained a score of 100% on his Stone three of the four required. He was the first facetor from any Country to achieve a perfect stone. The 1990 United States team consisted

1.    JOHN ALDEN    Hayward, CA    381.24 points
2.    CHARLES HETTICH    Cottonwood, CA    377.49 points
3.    PAUL BILLETT    Media, PA    371.55 points
4.    JIM BALL    Gilbert, AZ    369.49 points
5.    DON DUNN    Dayton, OH    368.63 points

The United States Coordinator was Sid Word
The Australian Coordinator was Tony Annear

Australia planned to invite Canada and New Zealand to enter the Cup Challenge, which to this point had only been a contest between Australia and the United States. An individual high-point winner that would determine the very top world cutter was suggested. This winner could come from any country.

Australian Tony Annear wrote on March 4, 1991 that the members of the Competition Committee decided NOT to make any changes as published in the International Competition schedule. Annear stated that the angles must not be changed, and that the outline shape of the stone cuts must be as shown in the schedule. The Australians made clear that the judging feature Visual Effect was in the rules to stay, regardless of the American wishes to delete it. Annear asked that the United States faceters accept the Australian rulings.

Up to this point the Australians had set all of the rules. They had done all of the judging except for the 1988 Challenge. They resisted suggested rule changes. An AFG letter dated August 6, 1991 stated that the AFG unanimously agreed NOT to accept the offer of USA Judges officiating at the 1992 International Competition. The AFG did offer to arrange a Judges Course for any interested USA member. This would be at Perth Western Australia just after the Gemboree there. Judging & Rules Chairman, Jenny King, would run the Judges Course to "qualify" American judges.

The Challenge continued as a contest of best five member team scores from each country fighting for the CUP. But in addition, individuals were invited from around the world to enter in the International Faceting Champion SHIELD contest. Australian Bill Evans donated the SHIELD. The individual could be the best facetor of a five-member team, or it could be an individual from any country, whether that country had enough faceters for a team or not. This then, would determine the best individual facetor in the world, and encourage faceters from small countries to try for the "best facetor" honor

The results of the 1992 International Faceting Challenge were announced at Perth (Midland), Western Australia, during the April 17-20, 1992 Gemboree. Australia again won the CUP with a total score of 1938.77 points. The United States team was in second place with a total score of 1907.29, a difference of 31.48 points. The inaugural International Individual Faceting Championship Shield winner was Australian Don Henson. There were thirty-five entrants, from six countries (140 stones). The order of finish for the 1992 United States team was:

1.    CHARLES HETTICH    Cottonwood, CA    386.15 points
2.    GLENN KLEIN    El Toro, CA    384.88 points
3.    JOHN ALDEN    Hayward, CA    382.72 points
4.    DON DUNN    Dayton, OH    379.32 points
5.    PAUL BILLETT    Media, PA    374.22 points

The United States Coordinator was Charles Moon, CA
The Australian Coordinator was Tony Annear

Immediately following the Perth Challenge, several Americans took the Jenny King Judging Course. This course is required for judges in Australia. Attending were, John Alden, Walter Carss, Don Dunn, Jean Marr, Hugh Rackets, and Norm Steele.

In the July/August 1992 Newsletter Facet Talk the Australians announced that they would conduct the 1994 International Faceting Challenge, and that their incoming Challenge Committee Chairman would be Rupert Pickrell (replacing Tony Annear). The Committee proposed to make a "heap" of changes.

They asked that the USA provide two judges and two observers, and Australia would do the same. They were staying with the existing Australian Rules, with not enough time to make changes (but possibly would for 1996). The USA judges would have to come from those who had been trained by Jenny King in Perth. Walter Carss pointed out that the only eligible USA judges were going to enter the competition.

The Americans were allowed to pick two of the four cut designs. A big change was that angles could be changed from what was called out on a design. Each entrant would now receive back a completed score sheet showing the cutting faults on the design, for each stone, along with the judge's list of deductions and comments. These were to be signed by the judge, and counter-signed by the observer-recorder. Each entrant would receive a set of boxes to submit stones in. Being identical, there should be no chance of some odd container being recognized by the judges.

Biron International, of Western Australia (a producer of lab-grown gemstones) agreed to sponsor a special faceting competition, held every two years, involving the ten most successful competitors of the 1992 International Challenge. The winner of the competition would be announced at the 1993 Gemboree in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. It was planned that the Biron competition would fill in the years between the International Challenges.

The results of the inaugural 1993 Biron Invitational Gemcutting Competition were announced during Easter at the Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Gemboree. Australian Norm Coates won the first Biron Championship. The best ten competitors in the 1992 International Faceting Challenge had been invited by the Biron Corporation to cut one piece of reconstituted (synthetic) Biron emerald and one Biron morganite to the competition designs. The preform weights were 10-12 carats each.

The cutters also faceted two smaller stones. These were to the cutters own choice of designs. The Cutters were allowed to keep the two larger competition stones, after they had been displayed around the World for one year. The order of finish was:

1.    NORM COATES    Australia    193.12 points
2.    RON HARDMAN    Australia    192.03 points
3.    JACK TUFFLEY    Australia    191.97 points
4.    DON HENSON    Australia    190.65 points
5.    VIC KOSTIC    Australia    190.52 points
6.    DES STENNETT    Australia    189.86 points
7.    GLENN KLEIN    USA    188.18 points
8.    JOHN DARBY    Australia    187.66 points
9.    FRANK DICKSON    Australia    186.67 points
10.    JOHN ALDEN    USA    185.33 points

Sadly, it was announced that Charles Hettich, one of the USFG's most talented competition faceters, passed away June 27, 1993, from the results of cancer. Charles demonstrated great personal effort in helping with the team effort in the IFC. Charles was one of the winning United States team members in the first International Challenge Cup Competition (1986).

Jack McLelland passed away in July 1993. Jack had just learned to facet when he suffered a massive stroke. The doctors said at the time that Jack would only be able to move his eyes. Although he lived in a wheel chair for eighteen years, he would facet all night, and was determined to use his hands and mind. Jack became an accomplished competition faceter. Jack was one of the United States' five-member team, which won the first International Challenge Cup in 1986.

In 1994 along with the Australia v United States Faceting Challenge, and the International Individual Faceting Championship, there was a trophy to be awarded to the highest scoring facetor from any country other than Australia/United States.

The results of the 1994 International Faceting Challenge were announced at the Ballarat, Victoria, Australia Gemboree on April 1-4, 1994. The Australian team won the Challenge CUP with a total score of 1971.85 points. The United States team scored 1893.01--a difference of 78.84 points. The International Individual Faceting Championship Shield winner was Australian Don Henson. The second place 1994 American team consisted of:

1.    GLENN KLEIN    El Toro, CA    392.16 points
2.    RALPH MATHEWSON    Lewiston, ID    389.14 points
3.    BILL HORTON    Howell, MI    377.21 points
4.    VERN JOHNSON    Sonora, CA    369.01 points
5.    DON DUNN    Dayton, OH    365.49 points

The United States coordinator was WALTER CARSS
The Australian Coordinators were RUPERT PICKRELL & NELSON ROBERTSON

There were thirty-seven entrants from six countries (148 stones). The Challenge had seven entries from countries other than the United States and Australia. Pekka Kuivala of Finland was the highest scorer--and special trophy winner--from a country other than the United States and Australia, with a very respectable score of 385.74.

Results of the 1995 Biron Invitation Challenge were announced at the Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia Gemboree on April 15, 1995. Australian Don Henson won the second Biron Championship. The order of finish was:

1.    DON HENSON    Australia    194.68 points
2.    RALPH MATHEWSON    USA    192.78 points
3.    DES STENNETT    Australia    192.43 points
4.    NORM COATES    Australia    192.39 points
5.    RON HARDMAN    Australia    192.17 points
6.    JACK TUFFLEY    Australia    192.16 points
7.    RAY MAUNDER    Australia    190.65 points
8.    RALPH WESTEN    Australia    190.45 points
9.    GLENN KLEIN    USA    189.98 points
10.    JOHN DARBY    Australia    188.87 points

Facet Talk September/October 1995 had an IFC report by Coordinator Rupert Pickrell. It stated that it was expected that the 1996 Challenge would have one judge from the United States, one from the UK, and two from Australia. The Australians also proposed that Australia become the permanent coordinator of the Challenge, and the permanent location for it to take place. All previous Challenges except for 1988 (California) had been in Australia.

Results of the 1996 International Faceting Challenge were announced on April 5, 1996 at the Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia Gemboree. The Australian team won the CUP with a total score of 1961.27. The second place United States team score was 1911.24--for a difference of 50.03 points. The third place team from Canada scored 1729.65, and the fourth place team from the U.K. scored 1466.58. This was the first time that more than two teams contested the Challenge. The International Individual Faceting Championship Shield winner was Australian Des Stennett. There were thirty-six entrants in the Challenge, from seven countries (144 stones).

The judges were Irene Whitham, Manuel Pelecanos, Nelson Robertson, and Ed Romack (USA). Ed Romack was the first judge from another country to be accepted by the Australians, although Ed had not taken the Jenny King Judges Course (which previously had been required).

The Americans had chosen two of the designs, and the Australians chose the other two designs. Angles could be changed from those called out on the designs, but the length to width ratio had to conform to the outlines in the diagrams as provided. The final scores of the 1996 United States team were:

1.    RALPH MATHEWSON    ID    395.11 points
2.    GLENN KLEIN    CA    391.85 points
3.    EWING EVANS    TX    387.25 points
4.    PAUL BILLETT    PA    376.59 points
5.    DON DUNN    OH    360.44 points

The United States Coordinator was CHARLES MOON
The Australian Coordinator was RUPERT PICKRELL

The 1996 contest allowed the entrant to choose the material for the fourth design. Previously all materials for the four required cuts had been called out on the design sheets.

Charlie Moon wrote on July 28, 1996 of several changes in the IFC rules for 1998. These changes also appeared in the July/August issue of Facet Talk. The item Visual Effect was suspended, with its six points being spread out to other judging areas. A cutter could change angles, but would be disqualified if an altered "Plan View" was used. The next Challenge would only require three stones from each entrant (contrary to previous Challenges which all required four stones). Ed Romack had impressed the Australians with the idea that there would be more interested American cutters if all stones were of natural materials. The Australians agreed. Now the three stones would be of natural materials, no more synthetics.

Results of the 1997 Biron Invitational Challenge were announced during Easter at the Tasmania, Australia Gemboree. Ralph Mathewson was the winner of the third and last Biron Championship. Ralph was the first non-Australian to win. The order of finish was.

1.    RALPH MATHEWSON    USA    181.69 points
2.    DES STENNETT    Australia    180.45 points
3.    PEKKA KUIVALA    Finland    180.32 points
4.    GLENN KLEIN    USA    179.49 points
5.    NORM COATES    Australia    179.46 points
6.    DON HENSON    Australia    187.66 points
7.    JOHN BURNS    Australia    177.71 points
8.    EWING EVANS    USA    177.39 points
9.    RON HARDMAN    Australia    175.22 points
10.    RAY MAUNDER    Australia    172.86 points

Regrettably, this was the last Biron competition. It was discontinued due to a number of organizational difficulties. A reporter visited the Biron factory in Perth, and reported that they were using about 500 autoclaves, each about 30cm long by 5cm in diameter. These were charged with crushed natural beryl and a liquid, with a seed crystal. Power was used to keep the autoclaves at 600 degrees Celsiuus and 32000 psi. Over about a month, each autoclave grows a crystal about 5cm long and 2 cm in diameter. Faceted stones were on sale for about $65.00 per carat. The Biron competition had been a great reward for those in the top ten of each IFC. Each cutter received two pieces (10-15 cts each piece) which they could keep after the competition.

The results of the 1998 International Faceting Challenge were announced at the Gawler (Adelaide), South Australia Gemboree, on April 10-13, 1998. The Australian team won the CUP with a total score of 1484.03 points. The second place United States team score was 1467.52--a difference of 16.51 points. The third place Euroscan (UK, Europe, and Scandinavia faceters as a team) scored 1429.70. There were twenty-eight entrants, from seven countries (84 stones).

Since the number of entrants had been great, requiring the judges to conquer a monumental task, three stones were required in this Challenge, not four as in the previous Challenges. All three stones were of natural materials. Previous top ten placers were automatically qualified to enter in 1998, but other entrants were required to go through a qualification procedure, so as to limit the number of stones, which would have to be judged.

Top scores worldwide for the three required stones were AMERICANS--for the first time in the Challenge:

Section A    GLENN KLEIN    99.95 points
Section B    RALPH MATHEWSON    100.00 points
Section B    EWING EVANS    100.00 points
Section C    RALPH MATHEWSON    99.80 points

The International Individual Faceting Championship Shield winner was American Ewing Evans, the first non-Australian to win the shield. Ed Romack was again a judge, along with Australians Irene Whitham and Manuel Pelecanos. The 1998 United States team consisted of:

1.    EWING EVANS    TX    298.91 points
2.    RALPH MATHEWSON    ID    298.83 points
3.    GLENN KLEIN    CA    292.92 points
4.    WILLIAM DEAZLEY    NY    291.19 points
5.    DON DUNN    OH    285.67 points

The United States Coordinator was CHARLES MOON, CA
The Australian Coordinator was RUPERT PICKRELL

Bill Deazley passed away on July 18, 1998. Bill was a highly creative genius. He was always coming up with new ideas, or equipment such as his self-made faceting machine. He traveled five hours from the Buffalo, New York area, across the border to Toronto to attend meetings of the North York Faceting Guild. Bill was one of the United States team members of the 1998 International Faceting Challenge.

John Alden passed away on January 9, 2000. John was one of America's most accomplished competition faceters. John was a member of the first team (from any Country) to win the International Challenge CUP. John was a descendant of the original John Alden of the Mayflower, and he demonstrated that he had the Right Stuff.

Martha Vargas passed away on February 10, 2000. Martha along with her husband Glenn Vargas was instrumental in accepting the original Challenge that the Australian Faceters Guild offered in 1984. Martha was an accomplished facetor. She was a busy woman. She was always ready to teach faceting, help in writing faceting books, and to enjoy Nature through her paintings.

The results of the 2000 International Faceting Challenge were announced at the Ballarat, Victoria, Australia Gemboree on April 21-24, 2000. The Australian team won the CUP with a score of 1482.61 points. The second place United States team scored 1442.80--a difference of 39.81 points. Ewing Evans--top facetor of the World, won the Individual International Championship.

Section A stone first place and Section B stone first place both went to Ewing Evans, while the Section C stone first place went to Australian Desmond Stennett. There were twenty-seven entrants, from five countries (81 stones). Ed Romack of the USA, Jim Finlayson of UK, and Irene Whitham of Australia were the judges. The Section A and Section B stones were of natural material. However, the section C stone was not (colored Cubic Zirconia). In this Challenge a non-natural material was again allowed. And, the Australians were back to again scoring that old item VISUAL EFFECT! The 2000 United States team consisted of:

1.    EWING EVANS    TX    298.13 points
2.    WILLIAM HORTON    MI    293.43 points
3.    ART KAVAN    AZ    289.12 points
4.    DON DUNN    OH    283.48 points
5.    JERRY CAPPS    WI    278.64 points

The United States Coordinator was JILL ROWLANDS, TX
The Australian Coordinators were RUPERT PICKRELL and NELSON ROBERTSON

Another of the United States top competition faceters passed away. Vern Johnson departed this World on July 9, 2000. Vern was admired by many other faceters because of his very likeable personality. Vern was called "the winning-est faceter in the United States" during the 1980's. Vern was one of the CUP winning United States team members in the very first International Challenge Cup Competition (1986).

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