By NICK CHURCHOUSE - The Dominion Post

The old and the new of Wellington jewellers have been recognised in the age-old art of bling.

Veteran jeweller Chris Persen and 19-year-old apprentice Nick Hensman, both from The Village Goldsmith [The Inspired Collective], have been named as finalists in the Jewellery Design Awards next week.

The other two finalists were Auckland brothers David and Michael Robinson.

Mr Persen said the opportunity to create anything for the awards was a privilege and he had tried to express the aeons of history in jewellery making with his $9000 piece Timeline.

Made from rusted steel, titanium and sporting seven diamonds and a $2000 mandarin garnet, the necklace showcased the metals used "to win wars" in ages past through to constructing modern technology.

"We've made things for thousands of years and managed to use all these materials," he said.

Mr Hensman was surprised he had been asked to enter the competition. Ditching a music degree after six months, he got a job on the back of a jewellery portfolio he had created in his father's Hawke's Bay carpentry shed.

His $6700 piece was called Erays, named after a few mistakes he had to correct during its construction, and combined a wave and a window, hiding an elaborate diamond-studded reverse side.

Village Goldsmith owner Ian Douglas said both pieces had sold and the new owners had already commissioned matching earrings.

Despite being competition pieces, the ideal was for people to wear them, and it was a reflection of the jewellers' talent that the pieces had been snapped up so readily, he said.

The kudos of being named a finalist was a huge reward for both the young apprentice and Mr Persen, more so than the prospect of a $2500 prize for the winner, Mr Douglas said.

Neither finalist had decided what to wear to the awards dinner at Auckland's SkyCity next Thursday, but Mr Douglas said there would be no shortage of sparkles. "There'll be a lot of bling it is Auckland, after all."