Not so long ago, I went with my husband to one of his work functions.
A professor engaged me in conversation. He was intrigued to learn that I was a goldsmith and he proceeded to quiz me on the subject. His final question was,
“Are you any good?”
I don’t mind a straight up question, but this one caught me off guard.
A good friend told me how he had grown up with a saying from his father,
“Son, if you are good at something people will tell you, you do not need to tell them.”
So, am I any good?
It is for this reason that I have entered into a couple of jewellery competitions.
The first one was three years ago and it was run by JAA, Jewellers Association of Australia, and it was open to New Zealanders as well.
The necklace I created for it was made from white gold, with a touch of red gold and Australian South Sea Pearls.
The piece was about the uniqueness of life. Simple frogs' eggs appear the same, but they are each individuals, just like the Australian South Sea pearls that represented them.
My piece did not ‘wow’ the judges, but it did catch the attention of the editor from the Australian Bride to be Magazine. The necklace went in to an on-line Readers' Choice Award.
At the awards’ evening, another jeweller asked me about my piece and then said to me ‘Lynaire, I challenge you to play with light.’
I was puzzled by his comment, but it challenged me to start experimenting and to think outside the square.
What I discovered was the amazing effect light has when it refracts and reflects through a coloured stone, whilst sitting in a highly polished white gold cup.
The first time I used this concept was in a ring for a client.
I continued to experiment and I found the same effect happened with pearls.
This was the concept I knew I wanted to use in my next competition piece.
Competition Number Two
The second, and recent competition I entered was called the Jewellery Design Awards and was open to Australasians.
I had the concept I wanted to use, but I needed to work out how I would present it.
A quote from my jewellery hero, is never far from my thoughts when I am designing.
“Any fool can make a complicated piece of jewellery, if he knows how to solder. Making a simple piece is much harder.”
Creating the Piece
Whilst the interaction of light between the surface of the pearls and highly polished cups was beautiful, it was taken to another level when the pearls moved. It looked as if each pearl was bathed in coloured water.
Working out how to set a pearl so it could move, took some time and thought processing!
Small goblets created a sense of regality and became the best format in which to house the pearls and the mechanics for the movement.
I chose to use a variety of natural coloured South Sea Pearls: Australian whites, golds from the Philippines, peacock and pistachio greens from Tahiti and bronze gold, grey blue, pink/green pearls from Fiji. All of the pearls reflected their beautiful colours within the cups.
In order for the wearer to enjoy the beautiful optics, I decided to make the piece as a bracelet. Effortless wrist movement enables the pearls to gently move within their cups.
Entering the Competition
In order to submit my design to the competition organisers, and be selected as a finalist, I needed various photos and a video of my piece.
I waited about 6 weeks till I finally heard that I was one of five people selected as a finalist in the pearl category! "YEEHA!"
Now my piece was required in Australia for the judges to choose the winners of each category.
A good aspect of this particular competition was that no one knew who the judges were, and the candidates were kept anonymous from the judges.
Awards Evening - take two!
The Awards’ Evening finally arrived filled with tension for me, like that of an expectant drum roll.
The evening was held at the Sydney Convention Centre on Darling Harbour.
Dame Edna Everage (impersonator) was our MC for the evening and she kept all the wee possums under control!
There were ten categories up for awards and an overall supreme winner.
1. 1st and 2nd year apprentices
2. 3rd and 4th year apprentices
3. Australian Opal Award
4. Bridal Award
5. CAD/CAM Cast Award
6. Coloured Gemstone Award
7. Diamond Award
8. Men’s Accessories & Jewellery Award
9. Pearl Award
10. Precious Metal Award
Finalists from each category took their turn to line up, receive a finalist certificate and then wait for a representative from their sponsoring company to announce the winner.
Barely breathing, I lined up with the four other finalist in my category and waited for Chris Paspaley, from Paspaley’s to announce the winner.
“The winner for the 2017 Pearl Jewellery Design Awards is............ Lynaire Kibblewhite."
Arghhhh….that’s me! My heart leapt and an uncontrollable smile consumed my face.
Thanks to Expertise Events who organised and ran the Jewellery Design Awards, to the judges who chose my piece and to Paspaley, the sponsors for the Pearl Award.
I guess now I can officially say, “Yes, I am good.”