Launched in 2005, the Diamond Guild Australia Jewellery Awards is the most prestigious national award for diamond jewellery design in Australia. Held every two years, the Awards provide jewellery designers with the opportunity to showcase the superior quality, innovation and style of Australian design.
The competition entries are judged by pre-eminent fashion and jewellery identities including Carla Zampatti, Dr Brandon Gien (CEO of Food Design Australia), jewellery photographer David Perryman, Susan Skelly, Qantas magazine editor and master jeweller John Calleija.
In 2013, Michael Hill proudly submitted 3 entries to the awards. Desginers Jack Pilatowics, Shoko Fukusaki and Nicole McBurney worked with setters Dien Dang, Anthony Argent and George Tokatlian to produce pieces for the Gents, Red Carpet and Fancy Shape Category.
Learn more about Jack and his piece ‘Kano’.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
‘I grew up in Poland where I did my apprenticeship and masters in jewellery – graduating in 1989. I later moved to South Africa where I lived and worked for 17 years. For the last nine years I have been living in Australia. I have been involved in the jewellery trade for the last 24 years.
I have worked at Michael Hill International for three years now, and I am involved in the manufacturing of, mainly rings, from the raw cast material to the final finished product.’
What does a normal day at Michael Hill involve?
Cast jewellery comes to my bench in a raw stage. Rings are mainly in two pieces, the shank and the setting. These pieces need to be cleaned and soldered together before they are highly polished. After the final polishing the rings are checked for quality before they are sent to the setter.
What do you like more about being a jeweller?
Actually, the part of jewellery making that I enjoy most is the creative part: bringing to life, making a reality, the vision or idea that someone has in their head, and seeing their reaction at the finished product.
What does jewellery mean to you?
Each piece of jewellery is an expression of a person’s style, a statement about themselves. In many cases, I work with pieces of jewellery that represent a family heritage. So they are not purely objects of beauty and fashion, but also they have a history behind them and great sentimental value.
Tell us about a favourite piece of jewellery that you own.
This would have to be my personal sterling silver bracelet. I made it straight after finishing my Master Jeweller qualification. I have worn it every day for the last 24 years.
Tell us about your Australian Diamond Guild Awards entry.
I decided to enter the Gents’ category. I personally believe that jewellery for men is a growing trend these days. There is not yet a great deal on the market for men – not much that is unique. Men’s jewellery is usually quite generic.
What is it made from?
It is made from 18 carat yellow and white gold, diamonds and black enamel.
What was the inspiration behind the design?
Sometimes a particular pattern I notice somewhere will resonate with me. In this case a porcelain watch strap with a block design which I saw while browsing a jewellery magazine struck me some how. The strong symmetrical pattern represented strength and confidence to me, images of armour and warriors, and I was inspired to create this design for the modern working man who has, in his environment, strength and confidence of a different kind. I love the sheer bulk of it. It is solid and chunky, yet beautiful and sophisticated.
Does it have a name?
I was looking for a name that would convey what this ring means to me. I thought of Goliath, but since he was conquered by David, then a young Shepard boy, I looked up some other names and I came across this Japanese name ‘Kano’, which is a boy’s name meaning ‘masculine power and capability’. This made me think of the Samurai warriors and it seemed like an appropriate name.
How long did your piece take to make?
It went through many stages, from start to finish. I sketched the design by hand first, then this was transferred to and finished on CAD design Matrix software. From there, it went for printing and casting. I then had to clean and assemble all the individual pieces, then the ring went to the diamond setter. After the diamonds were set, there were more pieces to be assembled and then the final polishing.
This took about one week, with all the various stages and people involved. It was good team work.
What is your favourite diamond cut shape?
Probably round brilliant cut. If it is cut correctly, and if the stone has great colour and clarity, this cut brings out the beauty of mother nature.