Young jeweller Matthew Ely (centre) won the Opal Award, presented by Ikecho’s Erica Miller (left), and the Diamond Award, presented by Steve der Bedrossian of SAMS Group Australia (right). Image credit: Orlando Sydney Event Photography

The 2019 Jewellery Design Awards (JDA) were presented at the International Jewellery & Watch Fair (IJWF) in Sydney over the weekend, with winners taking home stunning prizes.

One of the most highly anticipated events at this year’s Fair, the second edition of the JDA took place on Sunday 25 August on the show floor at the ICC Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour, with a full crowd gathering for the prize-giving and canapé reception.

Gary Fitz-Roy, managing director Expertise Events, hosted the awards and introduced the 44 finalists across the 10 categories. Meanwhile jewellery industry veteran Lester Brand – one of the three judges, alongside David Ole and Brett Low – was on hand to welcome everyone to the event.

Representatives from the sponsors of each category were invited to announce the winners and present them with their prizes.

The big winner on the night was Matthew Ely of Matthew Ely Jewellers in Sydney’s Woollahra. He took home the Diamond Award for ‘Ballare’, a pink and white diamond ring inspired by the tutu of a ballerina, and the Pearl Award for his ‘Chinese Fan South Sea Pearl Ring’ featuring a magnificent Autore South Sea pearl from a million-dollar strand set in 18-carat white gold.

Mindika Haddagoda was a finalist across four categories, and won the Coloured Gemstone Award – the most competitive section at this year’s awards – with ‘Tulips’, a pendant featuring Ceylon blue, yellow and pink sapphire, ruby and diamond. Haddagoda previously took out the CAD/CAM/Cast category in the 2017 edition of the competition.

Jason Ree was also a repeat winner, winning the Men’s Jewellery & Accessories category with ‘Kikkou’  – a ring featuring an Australian bi-colour sapphire – after triumphing in the Precious Metal and Fair Visitor Choice sections two years ago.




1st/2nd Year Apprentice/Student Award
Bradley Pike, ‘Griffin’



3rd/4th Year Apprentice/Student Award 
Eileen Leahy, ‘Transformation of a Moth’

Opal Award
Cindy Xu, ‘Icy Conversation’

Bridal Award
Ben Tracy, ‘Diamond Fantasie’

CAD/CAM/Cast Award
Matt Sime, ‘The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed’

Coloured Gemstone Award
Mindika Haddagoda, ‘Tulips’

Diamond Award
Matthew Ely, ‘Ballare’

Men’s Jewellery & Accessories
Jason Ree, ‘Kikkou’

Pearl Award
Matthew Ely, ‘Chinese Fan South Sea Pearl Ring’

Precious Metal Award
Paul Amey, ‘Pink Mist’

A full report of the design award winners will be published in Jeweller’s October issue.