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My Bench

My Bench: Anthea Plug

Anthea Plug's favourite gemstone is the amazing watermelon tourmaline.
Anthea Plug

Works at: Smales Jewellers

Age: 28

Years in trade: 8 years

Training: Perth TAFE Apprenticeship

First job: Nina’s Jewellery Store, 2012–2018

Other qualifications: Certificate IV in Visual Arts


This piece was created for the Smales Jewellers Gold Nugget Heritage Collection. The tiara is the signature piece of the collection, named after the famous Hannan Street in Kalgoorlie where Smales Jewellers originated more than 70 years ago. I designed the Hannan tiara with help from my partner on-site at Smales Jewellers’ Subiaco, Perth workshop. It features yellow gold and hand-picked natural gold nuggets sourced by local prospectors from the West Australian goldfields. Set within the tiara are keshi pearls, selected to be distinctive, making this pendant rare and unique and reflecting the heritage of Smales Jewellers.

Favourite gemstone:

The amazing watermelon tourmaline must be my favourite gemstone! The pink and green colours have an unparalleled beauty.

Favourite metal:

Platinum is my favourite metal due to its colour and weight. It evokes the senses like no other metal as it can be felt by the wearer.

When other metals such as gold are worn there is no difference in weight, but this piece of jewellery has a point of difference in the fact that the owner really knows they have it on.

Favourite tool:

Thehammerismyfavourite tool; you can forge so much with it – and not just jewellery. You can have fun with it and create organic shapes and pieces, such as a metal spoon.

Best new tool discovery:

The laser machine. It is so helpful in reducing the ‘make’ time when assembling pieces together.

Best part of job:

Seeing the reaction of customers when they receive their special creation, having their dream come to life.

Worst part of job:

Ensuring no fingerprints are left from either filing or polishing.

Best tip from a jeweller:

One of my old mentors would always remind me, “Don’t let mistakes get the better of you!” This is important, as mistakes can flow on to your next piece. You always need to start every job fresh.

Best tip to a jeweller:

Keep a creative flow going. Never stop creating as you do not know what you may be able to discover.

Biggest health concern on the bench:

Slicing my fingers when cutting.

Love jewellery because:

While don’t personally wear jewellery, I find so much joy in seeing the pleasure jewellery creations can bring to others.




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