Goto your account

Fairs and Events

2019 Jewellery Design Awards winners revealed

The Jewellery Design Awards was one of the most highly anticipated events at this year’s International Jewellery & Watch Fair. Read on to discover the successful competitors, including some familiar faces and promising young talents.

With its second edition, the Jewellery Design Awards (JDA) cemented its reputation as a highlight of the International Jewellery & Watch Fair in 2019. The ceremony took place on Sunday 25 August on the show floor at the ICC Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour, with a full crowd gathering for the prize giving and canapé reception.

Gary Fitz-Roy, managing director Expertise Events, hosted the awards, introducing the 44 finalists across the 10 categories. Meanwhile jewellery industry veteran Lester Brand – one of the three judges, alongside David Ole and Brett Low – was on hand to welcome everyone to the event.

Brand told Jeweller he found it hardest to select a winner for the Diamond Award, which eventually went to the night’s only double success: Matthew Ely, of Matthew Ely Jewellers in Sydney’s Woollahra.

He won with ‘Ballare’, a pink and white diamond dress ring inspired by the tutu of a ballerina, which was aimed at “challenging the traditional cluster with pear shape diamonds making the outer skirt”. “The underside of this cluster is directly inspired by a Gothic cathedral in the hand-carved basket,” Ely added.

He also took home the Pearl Award for his ‘Chinese Fan South Sea Pearl Ring’ featuring a magnificent Autore South Sea pearl from a million-dollar strand, set in 18-carat white gold. The piece was “inspired by the folding arms of a Chinese fan while cupping the pearl like a shell. Clean and simple lines were designed to showcase the pearl at its best.”

Matthew Ely
Matthew Ely
"It is always an honour to be a finalist for any award, let alone win. I was absolutely thrilled to have two pieces win"
Matthew Ely, Matthew Ely Jewellers

Ely told Jeweller: “It is always an honour to be a finalist for any award, let alone win. I was absolutely thrilled to have two pieces win.”

Meanwhile, judge Ole praised the quality of all this year’s entrants, saying, “The standard of creativity and workmanship was very high.” For him, the Coloured Gemstone category was the hardest to choose a winner from, due to the innovative designs presented.

Low agreed, telling Jeweller, “The colour gemstone categories [at jewellery competitions] are always my favourite and also the hardest to judge. It is great to see more coloured gems being used in the Australian market.”

He added that this year’s competition entries showed “some clear standout pieces using both handmade and CAD methods of manufacturing.”

The Coloured Gemstone Award eventually went to Mindika Haddagoda for ‘Tulips’, a pendant featuring Ceylon blue, yellow and pink sapphire, ruby and diamond.

“I am humbled, grateful and very happy about it,” Haddagoda said of his win, adding that the main challenge of creating a winning coloured gemstone piece was “to get the colours to contrast stylishly. I also wanted to create a pendant that can be worn in many different ways to give maximum benefi t to the consumer.”

Haddagoda previously took out the CAD/CAM/Cast Award in the 2017 edition of the competition. Looking ahead to the next JDA, the jeweller revealed, “I will try to win [again]. I think the Jewellery Design Awards are a wonderful event for the jewellery industry in Australia and New Zealand. I would like to take this opportunity say thank you in every possible way to all the staff of Expertise Events and Jeweller magazine for all their hard work.”

Jason Ree was also a repeat winner. After triumphing in the Precious Metal and Fair Visitor Choice sections two years ago, he took out the Men’s Jewellery & Accessories category with ‘Kikkou’ – a ring featuring an Australian bi-colour sapphire and the mokume gane metalworking technique.

When it came to selecting the winners across the categories, Ole revealed the judges agreed on “95 per cent” of the top choices, with Low adding that they “generally had a similar top two or three pieces. We then would discuss our opinions until a clear winner was chosen.”

This year’s awards boasted a $20,000 prize pool including cash, equipment and gemstones. Representatives from the sponsors of each category were invited to announce the winners and present them with their prizes.  The next JDA is scheduled to take place in 2021.





(c) 2024 Befindan Media