Goto your account
Search Stories by: 


Articles from DIAMOND JEWELLERY (984 Articles), (DISCONTINUED) TROPHIES (2 Articles)

The Hardy Brothers 2010 Melbourne Cup Trophy
The Hardy Brothers 2010 Melbourne Cup Trophy

Jeweller creates Cup that stops the nation

While the race may only take three minutes to run, it requires more than 200 hours to craft the winner’s trophy – arguably Australia’s most recognisable prize – the Melbourne Cup.
For the past 22 years, the task of creating Australia’s most iconic and highly coveted horse-racing trophy, the Melbourne Cup, has been the responsibility and privilege of Hardy Brothers Jewellers.

The tri-handled “Loving Cup” is crafted from 1.65kg of 18-carat yellow gold atop a Queensland Wattle timber base. This year’s trophy is valued at around $175,000.

According to Hardy Brothers manager Brendan Merakis, the design hasn’t changed since its inception by James Steeth in 1919, adding the same traditional techniques are still used in its construction. Hardy Brothers Jewellers has six stores across Australia, including the Brisbane store where the Cup is created.

“We stick to the traditional methods of manufacture, hand-beaten gold,” Merakis said. “There are 34 parts that are riveted and soldered together to make the Cup.”

Merakis said it was a great source of pride for the company to have the much-loved trophy’s construction entrusted to it, but added it wa18s hard to quantify whether or not it had any impact on the business’ retail sales.

“The Melbourne Cup is a horse race that stops a nation and being the manufacturer of the Cup itself is nothing shy of amazing. Can it translate into business? I guess it is hard to say how it affects us commercially other than that people recognise the Melbourne Cup as being a premium event and that goes hand in hand with our company being a premium jeweller,” he said

“The same care goes into manufacturing our diamond rings as what goes into the Melbourne Cup, year in and year out.”

Hardy Brothers Jewellers will celebrate its 160th year as a family business next year and is the oldest jewellery retailer in Australia. Merakis said business for the company had been “favourable” this year thanks to a lot of hard work behind the scenes.

John Hardy established the business in 1853 after arriving in Australia from Nottinghamshire England. His first store was located in from his rooms in Jamison Street, Sydney and in 1929 Hardy Brothers was appointed jewellers by Royal Warrant to His Majesty, King George V.  

Bart Cummings with his 12 Melbourne Cup trophies
Bart Cummings with his 12 Melbourne Cup trophies
A Royal Warrants is a mark of recognition to businesses or people who have regularly supplied goods or services for at least five years to certain members of the Royal Family. They have always been regarded as a mark of excellence and quality, and are highly prized.

Merakis said Hardy Brothers’ Royal Warrant is only one of seven outside of the United Kingdom.

Prior to the current design of the Cup, previous winners of the race were awarded a range of prizes, including a hand-beaten gold watch, a silver bowl on a stand, a winged female figure and a golden horseshoe.

The man with a trophy cabinet full of Cups, Bart Cummings, will be hoping to add to his collection of 12 this year, though every owner, trainer, jockey in the race (hence the tri-handle) will be wanting to get their hands on this classic piece of modern history.

The Trophy’s History

The Cup, as it’s known today, was first designed by Mr James Steeth in readiness for the 1919 Melbourne Cup won by Artilleryman.

He was commissioned by the VRC to design the trophy which would be in keeping with the prestige of the race. Little did the committee, or Steeth for that matter, realise that they would develop the icon we know today.

The Cup was manufactured by Drummonds Jewellers and handmade by James W. Steeth and Son. Maurice Steeth took over manufacturing the Cup from his father yet following Maurice's premature death; it was left to his able assistant 'Lucky' Rocca to continue the tradition.

In 1980, the making of the Cup was then entrusted to Hardy Brothers Jewellers and the same processes commenced in 1919 are still adopted today.

Stuart Bishop, Chief Executive of Hardy Brothers Jewellers is entrusted with this responsibility today. It is made of 34 pieces of gold metal hand beaten over 200 hours.

The evolution of the Cup from the inception of the Melbourne Cup race in 1861 is quite fascinating and reflective of a people determined to develop a symbol reflective of a developing nation.

The following timeline charts the Cup history:

1840 - 1900

1861: Archer - The trophy took the form of a hand beaten gold watch.

1865: Toryboy - First year the trophy was awarded. Manufactured in England, the trophy was an elaborate silver bowl on a stand.

1867: Tim Whiffler - Silver trophy from England shows 'Alexander Taming the Horse', the engraved name of the winning horse and the figure of a winged female.

1868 - 1875: No mention of trophy presented.

1876: Briseis - The first gold cup trophy manufactured in Victoria. An Etruscan shape with two handles. One side depicted a picture of a horserace with the grandstand and hill of Flemington in the background. The opposite side, inscribed on a crimson enamelled garter, the words "Melbourne Cup, 1876" and the name of the winning horse.

1877 – 1886: No trophy presented.

1887: Dunlop - A golden horseshoe mounted on a plush stand and valued at 100 sovereigns.

1888: Mentor - Known as the "Centenary Cup", three horses appeared on a silver-plated base.

1890: Carbine - This magnificent trophy reflected the opulence of the time. A silver ewer, salver and tazzas are representative of this magnificent trophy. The trophy was purchased by the VRC in 2000 and is on permanent display at the National Sports Museum at the MCG, Melbourne.

1891: Malvolio - A trophy measuring two feet in length and fifteen inches high of a draped figure of Victory, standing on a pedestal, holding out an olive wreath to a jockey upon his horse.

1893: Tarcoola - Multi-piece trophy of silver tankard, punch bowl and beakers.

1894 – 1898: Trophies were not presented as the economic depression engulfed the nation.

1900: A tea and coffee service was presented.

1901 - 1920

1908: Three feet long plaque of an embossed silver galloping horse, that some people thought resembled a greyhound. A much ridiculed design for trophy.

1909 - 1911: Two-handled silver cups.

1913: Silver epergne.

1914: This was the last year the Melbourne Cup Trophy was made in England. It had a long base with a horse on each end facing out and a chalice cup in the centre.

1915: A large rose bowl that was made in Australia.

1916: The first gold cup is presented.

1918: Two-handled gold cup trophy.

1919: James Steeth's three-handled "Loving Cup" first introduced.

1950 – 1980

1973: Smaller Melbourne Cup miniatures are presented to the winning trainer and jockey.

1980: Iconic jeweller, Hardy Brothers Jewellers takes control of the manufacturing The Cup.

2000 - Present

2001: The Cup moves from 9ct to 18ct gold. Valued at $80,000. A 2/3 height miniature of the Cup is presented to the trainer and jockey.

2005: The breeder of the Cup winner will be presented with a Melbourne Cup half-sized Cup.

2008: The value of the Cup trophy is increased to $125,000 reflecting the rising price of gold. Trainer, jockey, strapper and breeder trophies are also increased bringing total value of all trophies to $150,000.

World Shiner

Read current issue

login to my account
Username: Password:
SAMS Group Australia
Rapid Casting
Jeweller Magazine
© 2024 Befindan Media