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The competition's Prestige Professional Jeweller Award winner was Vick Nackashian. Image courtesy: L.G.Edlund
The competition's Prestige Professional Jeweller Award winner was Vick Nackashian. Image courtesy: L.G.Edlund

Aussie contest highlights ‘non-traditional’ opal jewellery

A biennial opal jewellery design competition that encourages ‘unconventional’ use of Australia’s national gemstone has been well-received both locally and internationally. 

The International Opal Jewellery Design Awards, organised by the International Opal Jewellery Design Awards Association (IOJDAA), encouraged entrants to "find innovative ways to design pieces of jewellery that conserve opal and move away from traditional oval shaped pieces".

The competition was held in conjunction with the annual Opal and Gem Festival in Lightning Ridge, NSW, which took place from 27 July to 30 July. Pieces were judged on the Tuesday prior, with the award winner presentation ceremony taking place on Friday 28 July.

Australian and international designers had the opportunity to compete in 10 different categories. The competition was open to jewellers and apprentices; with no limit to the number of pieces entrants could submit. Four of the 10 categories were for ‘non-professionals’.

Tough call

Greg Dunn, owner of Greg Dunn Jewellery Design, has been a manufacturing jeweller and opal cutter for approximately 40 years and was one of four asked to judge the competition.

“It took four judges a considerable amount of time to be able to sort through all entries,” Dunn told Jeweller.

“There was sufficient entries in all categories to be able to make clear choices on winners and highly commended certificates.”

Fellow judge Grant Stephenson, a contractor for Nauthe’s Jewellers in Springwood, NSW who also has more than 40 years of industry experience, described the event as an “eye opener”.

“This was the first time I’d ever been to Lightning Ridge,” Stephenson said, confirming he believed the competition had been successful.

“It was great seeing the support of everyone in the community,” he added.

Opal cutter Josef Belicka and Australian fashion designer Linda Jackson completed the judging panel.

One of the competition’s top gongs was the Christine Roussel Incentive Award, which was created to honour the late opal carver’s commitment to the industry. Entrants were required to submit carved pieces from undulated surface opal; this year’s winner Katharina Zimmer was awarded a cash prize of $2,000.

International Opal Jewellery Design Awards winners

• Prestige Professional Jeweller Award, sponsored by Down to Earth Opals: Vick Nackashian
• Carving Professional Figurative Award, sponsored by The International Opal Jewellery Awards Association: Michael Burgess
• Carving Professional Abstract Award, sponsored by The International Opal Jewellery Awards Association: Daniela L’Abbate
• Carving Non-Professional Figurative Award, sponsored by The International Opal Jewellery Awards Association: Katharina Zimmer
• Carving Non-Professional Abstract Award, sponsored by The International Opal Jewellery Awards Association: David Valenti
• Fantasy Award, sponsored by Lahoud Opals: Dean Walker
• Alf White Non-Professional Evening Wear Award, sponsored by Sue White and family: Mary Turner
• Alf White Memorial Non-Professional Day Wear, sponsored by Sue White and family: Sonia Pallett
• Designer Wear for Men Award, sponsored by The International Opal Jewellery Awards Association: Miroslav Schulc
• Jewellery Hand Sketches Award, sponsored by The International Opal Jewellery Awards Association: Jennifer Rowlands
• People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Vick Nackashian Fine Jewellers: Tony and Kathy Simon
• Christine Roussel Incentive Award, sponsored by Michelle and Danny Hatcher: Katharina Zimmer

selection of winning pieces

Fantasy Award winner Dean Walker. Image courtesy: L.G. Edlund
Fantasy Award winner Dean Walker. Image courtesy: L.G. Edlund
Alf White Non-Professional Evening Wear Award winner Mary Turner. Image courtesy: L.G. Edlund
Alf White Non-Professional Evening Wear Award winner Mary Turner. Image courtesy: L.G. Edlund
Alf White Memorial Non-Professional Day Wear winner Sonia Pallett. Image courtesy: L.G. Edlund
Alf White Memorial Non-Professional Day Wear winner Sonia Pallett. Image courtesy: L.G. Edlund
Designer Wear for Men Award winner Miroslav Schulc. Image courtesy: L.G. Edlund
Designer Wear for Men Award winner Miroslav Schulc. Image courtesy: L.G. Edlund



 

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Sunday, 27 May, 2018 06:11pm
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