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(L–R) The inaugural JDMC winners: Shaun Staples (CAD), Dean Sansom (setter), Ben Preston-Black (jeweller) and Chris O'Neill (hand engraver)
(L–R) The inaugural JDMC winners: Shaun Staples (CAD), Dean Sansom (setter), Ben Preston-Black (jeweller) and Chris O'Neill (hand engraver)

Sydney fair leaves jewellers winning and grinning

Some of Australia’s top jewellery design and manufacturing talent was recognised at the recent Sydney trade fair, with a number of other industry members also coming away from the event with awards and prizes.

A major new feature introduced at this year’s International Jewellery Fair (IJF) was the inaugural Jewellery Design and Manufacturing Championships (JDMC).

The competition, an initiative organised by the Young Jewellers Group (YJG), was loosely modelled on the US Bench Pressure Challenge held in Chicago and asked jewellers to demonstrate a number of manufacturing techniques across four categories – jeweller, setter, CAD technician and hand engraver.

Contestants were required to follow a brief that was issued on the first day of the trade show, carrying out their challenges using specific materials supplied by the organisers.

Each jeweller had approximately two days to complete their task, with winners being announced at a presentation ceremony held on the last day of the fair.

JDMC jeweller winner
JDMC jeweller winner
JDMC hand engraver winner
JDMC hand engraver winner
JDMC CAD technician winner
JDMC CAD technician winner
JDMC setter winner
JDMC setter winner

Jeweller category winner Ben Preston-Black said the JDMC had been beneficial on a personal level.

“Participating in competitions such as this has really helped me as a jeweller to improve my standards and identify my own style in design,” he stated.

Dean Sansom, who took the prize for the setter category, commented that in addition to showcasing local industry talent, the competition had given retail store owners and staff a glimpse of the various elements that go into making jewellery.

Chris O’Neill, who placed first in the hand engraver category, agreed, noting that the JDMC had also provided jewellers with an opportunity to ask competitors questions and receive one-on-one feedback that could potentially be used in-store to increase sales.

CAD technician category winner Shaun Staples had also been excited to see CAD work featured alongside the more traditional skills of bench jewellers, especially given the industry’s resistance to CAD technology in the past.

Evolution Jewellers director Anthony Nowlan, who was one of the JDMC judges, said it had been an honour to view the high standard of workmanship demonstrated by all the competitors.

“I’m confident that next year we will see even more entrants competing for the titles on offer,” he added.

JDMC 2016

YJG co-founder Ewen Ryley explained he and fellow co-founder Brett Low had already started looking at ways to improve the 2016 competition.

“The feedback has been quite overwhelming. Both competitors and visitors praised the competition and stated that it was the best thing they saw at the fair,” Ryley said. “A lot more suppliers have expressed interest in supporting the event for next year, which is also a great outcome.” 

Applications for the 2016 JDMC are scheduled to open in February next year.

Other contests
Arabesque by Erin Coates
Arabesque by Erin Coates

Another jeweller that gained recognition for her skills was Erin Coates. The designer won the People’s Choice Award in the Young Designers On Show exhibition for her butterfly-inspired diamond ring, Arabesque.

The biennial On Show exhibition, hosted by the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA), was introduced in 2013 to highlight the skills of young jewellery designers, manufacturing jewellers, apprentices and students.

Fair organiser Expertise Events also ran a number of contests over the course of the show.

Rachel Vellacott of New Zealand-based Jamies Jewellers won the Treasure Chest prize draw, which was held for the first time last year. The lucky winner scored almost $20,000 in jewellery-related products from exhibitors such as Peter W Beck, Sams Group Australia and Julie Sandlau, among others.

In addition, Disney Couture and Pallion were named this year’s best small and large exhibitor stand, respectively, by Expertise Events.

The IJF was held at the Sydney Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island from 29 August to 31 August.

Best stand winners

Best large exhibit winner Pallion
Best large exhibit winner Pallion
Best small exhibit winner Disney Couture
Best small exhibit winner Disney Couture

More reading
Sydney 2015 jewellery fair shines bright
Jewellery fair comp attracts international talent
Sydney jewellery fair to promote young designers
Visitors set to win at Sydney jewellery fair

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Tuesday, 21 May, 2019 01:33am
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