JAA Australasian Jewellery Awards

“My jewellery tries to be dynamic in meaning,” says Roberto Mattei, a third-time winner of the JAA Awards CAD category. “I always try to insert…

“My jewellery tries to be dynamic in meaning,” says Roberto Mattei, a third-time winner of the JAA Awards CAD category. “I always try to insert mechanisms and customisations that include the wearer in the meaning and that will change daily and forever. My jewellery is not a picture of your memories, but a movie about them.”

For me, every spark of inspiration I get starts from the beauty of the natural creations around us. The meaning behind this piece comes from the depth of the ocean, which has as many secrets and mysterious creatures as the depths of space.

These earrings, with a sophisticated and unique coupling mechanism for the lowest part, represent the fascinating and powerful suction of an octopus’s tentacles. My goal was to have a jewel that changes with the wearer. It follows your differences and allows you to be part of the creating process, changing with your mood and daily fashion. It is always in mutation—shapes and colours— exactly like an octopus. Exactly as you. As a form of art, jewellery is like a memory that is constantly in our lives. For me, it’s a need, which is never filled because art, memory, personal expression is always changing and growing with us.

They are precious things—jewels and memories—and you always want them with you. Here is my art, I say. Fix it into metal. As a wearer of jewellery, I only wear what has meaning for me, but as a creator, I am constantly challenging myself. I’m always thinking about the future and the next step that will bring me there, with my art. Winning an award, especially here in Australia, makes me to feel part of the community. I feel as if this win contributes not just to my personal success but helps in raising the profile of jewellery in this country and representing it to the world. Participating in competitions, particularly the JAA Awards, has become an obsession for me but it’s only recently that I’ve understood why.

A diamond is created under high pressure and high temperature and it turns out that applies to me too. I found myself always able to produce amazing things under a big pressure to compete and deliver the best possible result in a defined timeframe. Errors, hesitations, frustrations are all there with me in the creation moment. I feel already like a winner when I dominate all those ghosts and the piece takes form. Winning the competition is a plus which I always like to share and dedicate to all the people and suppliers who joined with me in the journey of creating the piece.

To my colleagues, 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.

If I had a dream, I would love to create a team of jewellers able to blend together as one person, so that we could take on big challenges then create the impossible. Who I am as a jeweller is a distillation of the training I’ve received and the dedication I give to everything I study in life. Every time I draw the first line of a new job I picture in my mind all the teachers, masters and professors who have helped me throughout my career. Their gifts to me indirectly contribute to this success which grows every day. Thank you also to all my customers, my friends and the people who sustain me. And to the best workmate ever, Myra, my partner and my future wife.