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Jewellery competition winners showcase the beauty of Australian pearls

05 Oct 2016

Melbourne Polytechnic is thrilled to report that two of our Jewellery students have won the Apprentice category in the inaugural Australian Pearl Jewellery Design Competition.

The Australian Pearl Jewellery Design Competition has drawn entries from across Australia with over fifty innovative wearable pieces of jewellery received. Cygnet Bay Pearls, one of only three producers on the Western Australian coast actively culturing South Sea pearls, launched this competition in May 2016 to coincide with the Shinju Matsuri 'Festival of the Pearl' held in Broome 11-18 September 2016. Competition winners were announced on 15 September 2016.

Since the Australian cultured pearling industry emerged in the late 1950’s Australia has consistently produced the highest quality and most beautiful and valuable pearls in the world. Cygnet Bay Pearls felt that despite its fame, the pearl is perhaps the least understood gem in a jeweller’s showcase and wanted to share their passion and expertise about the industry.

To give things a kickstart, Cygnet Bay Pearls offered free, hand-selected pearls from their harvest to the first jewellers to enter from each state of Australia, equating to approximately $10,000 of Australian South Sea Pearls in total.

There were three prize categories: Winner, People’s Choice and Apprentice Award. Three independent judges, with decades of pearls, jewellery and fashion experience between them, have viewed all entries and graded each piece across three criteria. 

  • Innovation and originality of design

  • Ability to showcase the Australian South Sea Pearl

  • Quality of workmanship and material

Melbourne Polytechnic's Certificate III in Jewellery Manufacture students took out both Apprentice Awards, with Yuki Mathwin winning first prize (main picture) and Rachel Reilly taking out second place (pictured below) with their gorgeous creations. 


Marten Matthews from Cygnet Bay Pearls says he is delighted with the response from jewellery industry. 

“We created the competition to raise the profile of the Australian South Sea Pearl and its design possibilities and ultimately showcase Australia’s designer jewellery talent combined with some of the finest pearls in the world. The time, effort and resources the jewellers have put into their pieces is impressive. From the skills and effort that it takes to grow these beautiful pearls, to the talent and craftsmanship involved in creating these designs, this collection of jewellery is something Australia can be proud of.” 


Media enquiries should be directed to Melbourne Polytechnic Media Officer, Anita Coia, on 03 9269 1251 or ua.ud1477467258e.cin1477467258hcety1477467258lopen1477467258ruobl1477467258em@ai1477467258dem1477467258

Melbourne Polytechnic operates across six campuses and five specialist training centres throughout Melbourne. The institute delivers high quality vocational and higher education in industry-standard facilities.