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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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24 July, 2021

Jewellery awards; a feast for the eyes

The Gem Gallery Awards accompanied a wildly successful festival.

By Michael R Williams

All winning artists in attendance, Steve Smart who did the cutting for Rita Williams who won the People’s Choice award; Rita Williams winner of the People’s Choice award; Leona Nowland winner of the Open Category; Adrian Hogan winner of the Emerging Artist category; Melissa Eliott runner-up of the open category for “Spinifex Ridge”, Roby Carmichael third place in the People’s Choice award for “Heart of the Reef”. PHOTO: Michael R Williams

ALONG with the street markets, Queensland Boulder Opal Association (QBOA) hosted the Gem Gallery Awards night on Saturday with an accompanying cocktail party.  

The best of the best opal jewellers was on display including local Leona Nowland who won the open category for her gorgeous piece called “Country Calling”.  

Other winners included Rita Williams from Bundaberg who won the People’s Choice award for her piece, “Renewal”; and Adrian Hogan from Brisbane who won the Emerging Artist Award. 

The winner of the Queen of Gems Award went to Angela Hampton for her earrings called Peacock, unfortunately, Ms Hampton was not in attendance.  

Other stand-out pieces included Melissa Eliott’s “Spinifex Ridge” which landed her a runner-up nomination for the open category and Robyn Carmichael’s “Heart of the Reef” which managed a third place in the people’s choice award.  

Queensland Boulder Opal Association President and grandson of Vincent Evert, father of tourism in Western Queensland, James Evert said design awards are an integral part of the opal industry.  

“We’re into our 27th year of this award, and tonight we’ve had a great response,” he said.  

“We’ve got beautiful jewellery, every year it gets stronger and stronger. 

“We’re extremely proud and fortunate to have so many talented people bringing jewellery to the show.” 

Mr Evert said the entrants were judged on two fronts: one was the creativity of the design, and secondly on the quality of the rock itself. 

“It’s luxury, it’s rare; the creative side is getting stronger each year,” he said.  

“[We’ve had] more entrants.” 

Mr Evert is third generation in Winton and has been opal mining for 38 years.  

“The culture in these little communities — it’s a very positive, progressive way of thinking,” he said.  

“We’re always thinking into the future, we work as a team, there are some amazing people in this community that keep pushing projects forward. 

“And our opal mining community is the same.” 

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