By Tim Peel, BA, FGSGA – GSGA Vice President
All around the world, people are recognised for the great things they’ve achieved with care, diligence and excellence. We see the entertainment industry honour achievements with ARIAs, Emmys, Tonys, Oscars, and more. We celebrate horses, rowers, drivers, and footballers, bestowing them with cups, plates, and medals. We even see everyday people recognised for doing extraordinary things on days of national significance.
What we don’t often hear of is the recognition of achievements in the jewellery industry, which is bestowed with the Tony Kean Award.
The Tony Kean Award is a perpetual trophy named in honour of its first recipient, the renowned gold and silversmith from country Victoria and one of the Guild’s founding members. Commencing in 1998, the Award was created to recognise outstanding contributions to the Australian jewellery industry and is awarded by The Gold & Silversmiths Guild of Australia Council.
Like many of the awards we are familiar with, it is a small but impressive silver trophy engraved with each recipient’s name on the base plate. The trophy was hand wrought in 1998 by Guild fellow, Chris Sherwin, in a striking form with the ubiquitous Guild Kangaroo embossed along with Chris’ maker’s mark. Guild marks and metal purity marks will carry their history and prove their provenance into the future. Each recipient is also gifted a handmade, sterling silver keyring, made by Chris Sherwin, with the distinctive kangaroo and the date mark of the year it was awarded.
Although not awarded every year like some trophies, the Guild’s Council are often considering individuals who have made significant contributions to education, service, and achievement to the benefit of the gold and silversmithing community within Australia.
These are the recipients of the Tony Kean Award since 1998, I’m sure you will recognise more than one or two quiet achievers and notable legends.
1998: Tony Kean – Fellow member #2, gold and silversmith, educator, and Guild councillor for 20 years
1999: Robert Smith – Jewellery valuer
2000: Debbie and Grant Hamid – Gem merchants, fellows of the GAA, and past presidents of the GAA
2001: Ernest Lamshed – An engraver of enormous talent including the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups
2011: Terry Coldham – Past president of the GAA and gem merchant
2012: PJ Williams – Phil Williams has been involved in all levels of precious metal production
2015: G Kellett – Fellow member #13 with a career spanning 65 years, a master craftsman, skilled educator, and generous mentor
2018: M Crofts – a fellow of the GAA and NCJV past president, precious gem merchant and highly skilled jewellery valuer
2019: Rex Steele Merten – Fellow member #58 and GSGA life member, and four-time De Beers International Diamond Award winner and exceptional educator
2022: Graeme Turnbull – metallurgist of 45 years and Analytic Gold, PJ Williams, and Palloys
2023: Debbie Sheezel – Fellow member #60, a highly skilled fine artist painter, goldsmith and enamelist, and mentor to many budding enamelists
So, you could say that this industry also has a Hall of Fame. It is only fitting that those in the Hall of Fame are recognised with a trophy and an award that is hallmarked or more appropriately in Australia, Guildmarked.