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NMIT Jewellery student shines at Industry's top awards night

25 Mar 2013

A stunning white gold cuff with a 1.7 carat diamond won a prestigious industry award for NMIT Jewellery apprentice Jade Harper earlier this month.

Jade took out the 3rd and 4th Year Apprentice Design and Craftsmanship Award at the JAA Australian Jewellery Awards hosted by the Jewellers Association of Australia, for her design titled “Dangerous Game”. She received a trophy and certificate and her winning entry was featured in the October issue of Marie Claire magazine.

The 22-year-old, who is completing the Certificate III in Jewellery Manufacture at NMIT's Fairfield campus, says the award will give her career a major boost. “It was absolutely amazing,” she says. “I couldn't believe it when they called my name out. It's a pretty big thing.”

The third-year apprentice who works at MDT Design in Melbourne was awarded the prize at a black-tie gala dinner held at Darling Harbour, Sydney on August 30. Each of the finalists had their jewellery modelled at the event which was attended by 395 industry professionals including jewellers, manufacturers, designers and wholesalers.

It took Jade about 50 hours, working evenings and weekends, to complete the intricate design. She also made a trial piece at the NMIT studios. “The centrepiece has eight curls coming out. I did a lot of practice curls at school with guidance from my teacher. He gave me ideas on how to get it to work,” she says. The finished piece is on sale at MDT Design where it retails for $16,250.

The JAA Awards are recognised as the most prestigious in the country and Jade is the first NMIT student to win at the event since 2001. NMIT Jewellery teacher Stephen Keogh says students of the jewellery apprenticeship are successful because the course is so specialised. “It's very practical hands-on training. It tends to be more challenging than what they're doing at work and they get some design experience.”

Jade, who's based in Brunswick, has always wanted to work as a jeweller and is due to finish classes at NMIT next week. “It's been good to learn in two different environments and learn different ways to do the same thing. I've really enjoyed trade school. NMIT has been a good place to learn.”

The Certificate III in Jewellery Manufacture is offered as an apprenticeship. The course is nationally accredited and delivered by projects set over the course of three years block release.


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Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.

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