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Diamond Guild Australia Awards are a battle of brilliance

Leading jewellery industry association the Diamond Guild Australia has given a preview of would-be finalists in its biennial Jewellery Awards, which will be announced in October at a gala event in Melbourne.

DSC06730 Diamond Guild Australia was established in 2005 to cultivate creativity and innovation in local jewellery design, and to maintain integrity in the industry of mined, natural diamonds.

Its keystone Awards event this year received around 40 entries from member jewellers around Australia. The entries were submitted for a variety of categories that included Fancy Coloured Diamonds, Diamonds for Every Day, Solitaire, Emerging Talent, and Red Carpet.

DSC06801 The trends apparent in this year’s entries were the use of pink diamonds, rose gold and innovative combinations of metals of different hues.

DSC06835 Entries were whittled down to finalists in each category by a panel of four judges: international interior designer Greg Natale; Good Design Australia general manager Rachel Wye; actor April Rose Pengilly; and master jeweller and technical advisor to the panel, John Calleija.

DSC01807 Diamond Guild Australia Awards judges April Rose Pengilly, Greg Natale, Rachel Wye and John Calleija

The criteria for judging included innovation, quality of workmanship, and marketability – the latter less in evidence in Red Carpet, a category that placed no constraints on practicality or market acceptance.

Judge Rachel Wye, who boasts an impressive career in industrial design prior to her management of design authority Good Design Australia, acknowledged the instruction the panel received from Calleija in assessing aspects such as marketability and wearability, along with innovation.

DSC06791 Product designer and Good Design Australia general manager, Rachel Wye

“There’s some tension between Innovation and Marketability – it seems that if something’s really innovative, it might not be accepted in the market,” Wye explained. “But there are pieces here that are definitely innovative, without being at all outlandish. They’re definitely moving the design along.”

Wye singled out a personal favourite piece from the Red Carpet category, a leaf-shaped ring centred on a large amber-coloured diamond, with smaller pink and white diamonds radiating from it. Aside from its size and intricacy, what intrigued Wye was what lay beneath: a vine-like web of white and rose gold leaves.

“As a designer, I always appreciate the joy factor – with this piece, the intentional joy that has been woven into it – all this detail, this story that only the owner will see.”

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