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Queen of Gems Jewellery and Design Awards

The Queen of Gems Jewellery and Design awards held its inaugural ceremony in 2006, as an initiative of Winton local business owner, Mary Pearce. The first event included a Fashion category of evening wear, and an open Jewellery category, with entrants from across Australia showcasing both the Queensland Boulder Opal in all its splendour, and the creativity of their design and manufacture. Since then, the annual competition has increased to receive entries from Australia-wide and internationally.

The awards grew over the years, with expanded categories for both Fashion and Jewellery. With the QBOA pleased to announce the new OPEN CATEGORY for Object and Jewellery.

Sponsorship for the generous prizes has come from QBOA membership and Winton Shire Council. We have the pleasure of exhibiting the entries, and hosting the awards ceremony, at the spectacular world class Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, Queensland.

The QBOA offers a forum for talented jewellery designers and makers with a view to stimulating the creativity of the contemporary Queensland boulder opal. The competition aims at showcasing the modern opal jewel through the limitless creative energies of our designers/jewellers; avant-garde ideas and exclusive designs are a must. It promotes boulder opals in general and the QBOA as a “centre of excellence” in particular. The competition is open to professional and non-professional designers, students, graduates, teachers, jewellers, goldsmiths, etc.

The “Queen of Gems” Boulder Opal Jewellery Design Awards are in celebration of the opal gemstone of Queensland. The design awards focus foremost on the originality to which the boulder opal is presented, followed by the craftsmanship of the manufacture, and finally the wearability, and the creative use of opals.

The judges for the awards are chosen from various disciplines to each bring different expertise to the panel and vary year to year. Apart from our opal and jewellery industry experts, a third judge brings design skills from a background specifically not from jewellery, to give a fresh eye. Our judging is done “blind”, with no identifying marks, etc., and no discussion is entered into while the judging is proceeding. The design committee enters all scores given by the individual judges, and the winner is announced at the evening event of the QBOA Opal Trade Fair.

Our past awards have focused on handmade jewellery, matching the artisan jeweller to the artisan opal cutter – a meeting of skills allowing our Queensland boulder opal to shine in its full glory. With new techniques in jewellery manufacture, our OPEN category clears the way for new styles in the design, of both jewellery and objects, with the use of CAD or casting techniques allowed.

The categories for the Jewellery Design section are as follows:

  • Category 1: Professional Jeweller
    •  A – Handmade – Prize $4,000
    •  B – Cast / CAD / CAM – Prize $2000
  • Category 2: Emerging Jeweller
    • A – Handmade – Prize $2000
    • B – Cast / CAD / CAM – Prize $1,000
  • Category 3: Wearable Fashion – Prize $1000
  • Category 4: Art / Object – Prize $1000

Please read the Terms and Conditions for each category carefully.

A short technical description, and the source of inspiration, is to accompany each piece.

The technical description should include the materials used to complete the piece. Please send electronically, either in an email or as an attachment, to the QBOA secretary.

The source of inspiration should include the concept/idea the piece conveys to the maker and their audience. Please send electronically, either in an email or as an attachment, to the QBOA secretary.

Please read the Judging Criteria below

Judges use the following criteria for assessing the Entries:

Originality is defined as having a quality of being novel or unusual.

  • Does the design surprise or engage
  • Does the design inspire
  • Recognisable design theme

Craftsmanship is defined as the quality of workmanship.

  • Quality of design
  • Quality of work made by hand
  • Quality of finish / polish
  • Design and materials used are compatible

Wearability is defined as being capable of being worn on the body.

  • Design shows interesting use of wearability
  • Design is comfortable when worn

Aesthetic appeal is defined as being the relation of all parts to each other.

  • Design is interesting and attractive
  • Form, material, texture are in relative proportion

Creative use of opals is defined as showing good imagination and/or original ideas

  • Design is imaginative
  • Ideas are original in their execution
  • Routine design: Fair
  • Innovative design: Good
  • Creative design: Excellent

3 Classes of Design

as described by Gerhard Schmidt

Routine Design

The design problem is well understood and it is only required that a prototypical model be refined rather than radically altered. An example of this might be a solitaire diamond engagement ring for mass production and consumption. An existing design is simply reworked.

Innovative Design

Requires that various prototypical designs be combined and/or modified to provide a new prototype. An example of this might lie in the task of having to design a new range of engagement rings around a specific theme.

Creative Design

Opens up the possibility of entirely new solutions to entirely new designs, or at least, novel reworking or rethinking of previous design ideas. This would include the use of new materials and/or techniques as a focus for the design.