Women in Jewellery Panel to Inspire at Jewellery Industry Fair

The Women in Jewellery (WIJ) panel at the Jewellery Industry Fair will bring together a diverse group of accomplished women who significantly contribute to the…

Left: Laura Lediaev Right: Kara Breadmore

The Women in Jewellery (WIJ) panel at the Jewellery Industry Fair will bring together a diverse group of accomplished women who significantly contribute to the industry. With their wealth of knowledge and experiences, these panellists aim to inspire and empower other women attending the event. Let’s explore the insights of the five panellists, Janelle O’Connell, Tammy Keers, Renee Hudson, Kara Breadmore, and Laura Lediaev as they share their perspectives on the significance of the WIJ panel and their expectations for the event.

Janelle O’Connell of Calleija Jewellers recognises the importance of growth in the jewellery industry, which WIJ provides. “The beautiful thing about the jewellery industry is that you are always growing and learning. Bringing together talented women to learn more about their achievements, I hope will inspire others to keep growing their careers. I can’t wait to learn from the panellists and get insights into their journeys,” she says. 

“When I started in the jewellery industry, I worked for an amazing lady who pushed the boundaries of what women were ‘supposed to do’ in our industry.  She taught me that if people thought you can’t do something, that was no reason to not do it. I am hoping that events like this might just trigger something for one of the attendees to grow their career despite any perceived obstacles,” Janelle adds. 

Tammy Keers, from Artisans Bespoke Jewellers, reflects on her nearly 30 years in the jewellery industry and expresses her excitement at being recognised for her contributions to the trade. She values collaboration over competition and believes in mentoring and supporting others. Tammy also acknowledges how events like the Women in Jewellery panel give her opportunities to mentor other women and support their career growth. Her fundamental advice to aspiring female professionals is to back themselves, bring their creativity to their work, and be cheerleaders for other women.

“We [women] know what we like and what looks good on us. The market is [designed] predominantly for us, so it makes sense to have equity for women in employment as jewellers, on industry boards, and on judging panels for awards,” Tammy says. “When featured in jewellery trade magazines, female jewellers should be given [the] opportunity to discuss technical topics of manufacturing with a view to [reducing] the ‘boy’s club’ mentality of our trade.”

Renee Hudson, from Legassick Diamonds, considers being part of the WIJ panel an honour. She emphasises the importance of having a platform where women can share their achievements in a supportive environment. “Having panel discussions and communities like WIJ creates a safe and supportive place where women can share and thrive together. The support I have received from other women in this industry has been integral in helping me prosper as a jeweller,” Renee explains.

“I have also been very fortunate in my career to have experienced a lot of support from men in the industry. I feel when discussing equality, it’s important to acknowledge it comes down to everyone supporting everyone – men supporting men, men supporting women, women supporting men, and women supporting women. If something can empower and inspire you, it is worth investing time and energy into it. For me, connecting with other women does exactly that. The more barriers we can break down, the better the industry will be for everyone,” she adds. 

Kara Breadmore, from Kallure Jewellery, is a strong advocate for female entrepreneurship and collaboration in the jewellery industry. She recognises the historic dominance of men in the field and believes in championing women who are shaping the industry. Kara values the opportunity provided by the WIJ panel to connect face-to-face with peers from various aspects of the industry, forging new paths and realising unknown possibilities. 

“The [most] precious gems that surround me are the women in my life. To have the privilege of connecting with more fantastic women who share my passion for the artistry of jewellery design and making, and to hear their stories firsthand, is a real thrill. I’m excited to receive their pearls of wisdom, to be inspired by their experiences and perseverance, and to share my own,” says Kara.

“I expect knowledge will be shared… and at the very least, I will make some like-minded friends. I hope the panel will inspire women in the room to pursue their passions, [and] remind them that they’re not alone… we can lift each other up, [encourage them] to not hold back, to be bold and authentic, to open themselves to possibility, to back themselves and to know that there are many paths to success in this fabulous industry,” she says. 

Laura Lediaev from Ezara Fine Jewellery also expresses her honour and appreciation for being part of the WIJ panel at the Jewellery Industry Fair. As a woman in the jewellery industry, Laura is excited about the event’s collaboration opportunities. She believes that the learning among industry professionals, both during the Fair and through the networks built afterwards, is invaluable. 

“Manufacturing a piece of jewellery is a role of solitude, with many of us working in small businesses or alone. The moments to celebrate are often missed, and the challenges aren’t shared. This platform brings all of our shared experiences to light which is really important for everyone’s growth,” says Laura. 
After the success of the WIJ event at the Jewellery Industry Fair in Melbourne, the panellists and attendees eagerly anticipate the Sydney edition. They look forward to networking, mentoring, listening, and being inspired by the community they have built. The WIJ panel will be a significant event for celebrating the achievements and recognising the challenges faced by women in the industry.

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