A 14-year-old Perth school girl has won the ‘non-professional’ category of the International Opal Jewellery Design Awards.
The winning piece, Tapestry Pendant, features a boulder opal set in 18 carat yellow gold enhanced by one carat of mixed earthy coloured diamonds, peridot and blue topaz
Maddy Blennerhassett, the daughter of John and Sue Blennerhassett of Blennerhassett Fine Jewellers, designed and handcrafted the piece entirely by herself, “learning each skill” as she progressed.
While making the piece, Maddy was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunctional Syndrome and spent two weeks in hospital.
She said working on the pendant gave her “the focus and drive” to push herself through many barriers of the illness.
“My inspiration came from seeing my mum working long hours to make amazing pieces of jewellery.
“As long as I can remember I have wanted to follow in her footsteps and become a jeweller.”
The International Opal Jewellery Design Awards attracted more than 100 entries from around Australia and overseas.
The other major winners at the awards, which were presented at a Gala Dinner on July 29 during the Lightning Ridge Opal and Gem Festival, were:
- Haute Joaillerie – Gwennie Tam, Hong Kong
- Prestige Professional – Meridee Cram, Sydney, NSW
- Apprentice – David Marshall, Shoalhaven Heads, NSW
- Object D’Art Professional – Jurgen Thomas, Lightning Ridge, NSW
- Object D’Art Non-Professional – DaniellaL’Abbate, The Basin, Vic
- Jewellery Hand Sketches – Christopher Ditsas, Peakhurst, NSW
- Fantasy – Ian MaCarthur, Bellingen, NSW