Enter a world of exquisite craftsmanship and unparalleled creativity at the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) Australasian Jewellery Awards. In its 27th year, the awards are Australia’s longest-running local jewellery design and manufacture competition, celebrating the highest standards of excellence in design, craftsmanship, and marketability. With participants from all sectors of Australia and New Zealand’s jewellery industry, the JAA Awards are a prestigious recognition of the finest talent in the field. The event offers an array of prizes, including the coveted Jeweller of the Year award, which includes return flights and accommodation to the esteemed 2024 Hong Kong International Jewellery Show. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a budding talent, the JAA Australasian Jewellery Awards is an unmissable opportunity to witness the best of the best in the jewellery industry and to be inspired by the breathtaking artistry and innovation on display. Let’s get familiar with their previous winners.
Claire Brice | Precious Metal Colour
A spark of inspiration, a green pear-cut tourmaline, and a boundless imagination – these were the elements that propelled Claire Brice to new heights as she claimed the prestigious award for Precious Metal Colour. What began as a playful experiment evolved into a masterpiece that left the jewellery world in awe. Drawing upon diverse influences, including Native American jewellery, Claire transformed the centrepiece of her creation into a choker with adjustable moving parts. It was a true labour of love, born from Claire’s unbridled creativity and unshackled from the constraints of client commissions.
For Claire, the thrill of the competition was about more than just winning. “My dad always talked about the importance of competitions to showcase your creativity and experience something different from our everyday work. I came into the competition with absolutely no expectations. A tremendous wave of emotion and pride filled my eyes when my name was called out,” says Claire.
Reflecting on her experience with the JAA, Claire expressed her gratitude for the incredible team she worked with and the invaluable lessons learned. Her award now proudly hangs in her workshop, constantly reminding her of her artistic prowess and unwavering passion for her craft. Claire Brice is a force to be reckoned with and one to watch at this year’s competition, where she will again be in the running.
Maria Kostina | People’s Choice
Maria Kostina, a master jeweller renowned for her exceptional craftsmanship, captivated the industry with her resplendent ring adorned with 238 exquisite diamonds, 86 stunning sapphires, and lustrous pearls, set in 18K gold. The sheer intricacy of the design required a staggering 55 hours of meticulous work in computer-aided design (CAD) alone, showcasing Maria’s unwavering commitment to her craft. Despite the challenges and delays posed by the global pandemic, Maria’s unwavering determination and perseverance shone through, as she received both the Runner-Up Award for the CAD division and the esteemed People’s Choice Award for her dedication.
After keeping her design hidden for six months, only sharing it with her closest family, Maria was overjoyed to finally unveil her creation at the Awards. Maria’s remarkable achievement is a testament to her talent and unwavering passion for her art. As she reflected on her win, Maria expressed her desire to see more competition in the CAD division, which is a vital part of the industry. Her commitment to excellence continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of jewellery design, and her talent is sure to inspire fellow artisans and captivate admirers alike.
Michael Muratore | Jeweller Of The Year
Michael Muratore, founder and creative director of Murazzo, received the prestigious JAA Australasian Jeweller of the Year award in 2021 for his breathtaking Cascade earrings, which also triumphed in the colour category. This momentous recognition has validated Michael’s dedication to his craft. A journey that began at the tender age of 15 when he embarked on his apprenticeship in the jewellery industry, Michael has honed his skills and expertise over the years, perfecting every facet of the intricate manufacturing process.
Reflecting on his award-winning creation, Michael shared, “It pushed me out of my comfort zone for design, to be more experimental than any other pieces I had previously designed.” His passion for creating exquisite, handcrafted jewellery is evident in his conceptual approach to design, drawing inspiration from the innate beauty of natural materials such as gemstones and metals, which he seamlessly blends with the unique style of each wearer. Nestled in the heart of Sydney, Murazzo operates by appointment only, ensuring that every customer receives a truly bespoke and meticulously crafted piece of jewellery that reflects their individual style. Michael’s award is a testament to his mastery and ability to create timeless, captivating and elegant pieces.
Roberto Mattei | CAD/CAM/CAST
Roberto Mattei is a JAA Award and international award winner and has been an artist for over 30 years. Winning in the category of CAD/CAM/CAST in 2019, Roberto wowed the Awards with his My City ring made of 18K yellow, white, and rose gold, including steel, titanium, osmium, white and cognac diamonds. “I really recommend entering the JAA jewellery awards as the challenge and competition will increase as more and more people join in and that will benefit us all – as artists and as an industry. The only suggestion that I would make is to draw inspiration from an unusual input such as nature, science, mechanical things, numbers… Don’t contaminate your brain with someone else’s job. In my future products, I see innovation and communication. The jewellery I’m looking at will always be disruptive and unique. That’s my style,” he tells JW.
Benjamin Tracy | Diamond
According to jeweller and business owner Benjamin Tracy, submitting an entry to the JAA Awards presents a unique opportunity to display the breadth of creativity the industry offers. Tracy encourages his peers to seize this chance to showcase pieces that may not typically be requested by customers but are nonetheless breathtakingly original. “For me, jewellery has been a form of art more than anything else. In fact, before I became a jeweller, I wanted to create artworks but was never quite sure in which medium, and it wasn’t until an excursion to an art school that I discovered silver and goldsmithing and realized that was how I wanted to express myself. As much as a sculpture or a canvas evokes certain emotions, so too does a piece of jewellery, but with the added benefit that jewellery adorns the wearer, is transportable and can be enjoyed no matter where or when,” he adds.
Tracy remarks, “I believe that participating in this competition is an excellent way to exercise our minds and push the boundaries of our skills. We may be pleasantly surprised by what we can accomplish.” It is easy to become engrossed in producing daily, practical pieces, but the JAA Awards allow jewellers to achieve tremendous job satisfaction by challenging themselves and their clients to think beyond the ordinary. Benjamin’s wise words should inspire all jewellers to aspire to greater heights in their craft.
We are thrilled to hear from previous winners about their exceptional experiences with the JAA community. Their eagerness for the upcoming 2023 edition is a testament to the organisers’ hard work and the event’s ever-growing reputation. The coveted prize of flights and accommodation to Hong Kong is undoubtedly a compelling reason to participate, but the real value lies in the opportunity to unleash your creative potential and bask in the camaraderie of like-minded individuals. Take a cue from Claire’s experience, let your imagination run wild, and discover the magic that awaits you. The JAA competition is an unparalleled platform for unleashing your artistic talents, and we urge you to give it a go yourself.
Why enter the JAA awards:
Receive a professional photo of your entry.
Great prizes to be won across all categories.
Entries judged on physical piece, not photos.
Showcase your work on a professional platform.
Potential to be recognised on an international stage.
Be seen by a potential 7700+ JAA social media followers.
Entries judged by renowned and respected industry experts.
Reflect and evaluate yourself against others in the industry.
Enter at jaa.com.au/awards. Entries due July.