Bench jeweller’s challenge

An online, live-streamed jewellery design and manufacture challenge was part of the recent Jewellery Industry Virtual Fair and the unique format inspired some stunning designs.

One of the first of its kind in the world, the Jewellery Industry Virtual Fair hosted its first online Bench Jewellers Competition, the Design and Manufacturing Championships.

Contestants were given 18ct yellow gold and platinum, donated by Chemgold, and a beautiful oval aquamarine, donated by ColAus Emeralds, to create their own piece in 15 hours.

The competition started at 9am on the 11th of March, the first day of the Jewellery Industry Virtual Fair. Using their own benches and tools, the contestants had cameras set up on their benches and could talk to each other throughout the competition, despite being in different states. Each bench was then live streamed to the Jewellery Industry Virtual Fair live stage, where guests of the fair could tune in and check how the contestants were going at any one time.

Four Australian jewellers joined the challenge, Nicole Viney from Tasmania, Michael Mooney from Sydney, Kirra-lea Caynes from Victoria and Janessa Lawson from Queensland, logging on and allowing us all a sneak peek into the lives of a bench jeweller whilst they attempted to beat the clock and claim the title of Champion for 2021!

Each finished piece will be auctioned off with 100% of proceeds donated to the Black Dog Institute, a mental health research institution working towards identifying the medical causes of mental illness – an issue close to the hearts of many in the jewellery industry, especially after the effects of Covid, social isolation and significant life changes, effecting mood and mental health.

Each jeweller was competing for a significant prize pool for the Champion, including $1000 cash from Q Report, $1000 voucher from AJS and a Benchtop Polishing Machine from Greenwax. The Runner up will receive a $500 voucher from Morris and Watson.

With materials supplied by Chemgold and ColAus Emeralds, the four pieces are as diverse as the jeweller’s locations, with pendants, brooch pin, and rings the designs created.

Finished pieces will be judged in Brisbane by Angelo Andronis, Tammy Keers and Steven Dibb in March, before being auctioned off by Cliq Auctions.

To hear the announcement of the 2021 Championship winner, head to the Jewellery Industry Fair website at www. and for news and information on upcoming events and competitions.