By SEAMUS BOYER - The Wellingtonian

The Village Goldsmith's Karl Williams and Nigel Wong both had pieces chosen for the final of the national event, and will compete against two other finalists in the fine jewellery section.

Mr Williams, a first-time finalist who has been a goldsmith for 10 years, said it was great to be recognised, but he had mixed feelings about taking on his colleague, he said.

"We're all very competitive, but we don't like competing against each other."

He said his entry was the product of a long-recurring idea. "I had this idea for a ring, and the more I thought about it the more the story developed."

The ring design was based around the myth of the Egyptian sun god Ra, and was made of platinum and gold with 24 round diamonds and a large Marquise-cut yellow diamond.

It has a retail price of $24,000 – largely owing to the scarcity of its showpiece stone.

"It turns out the yellow diamond is extremely rare – and expensive," he said.

Mr Wong's entry comes with a slightly smaller price tag of $18,250, and was influenced by a decidedly more modest idea.

The neckpiece, called "X-Tension", was loosely based on two popular bathroom fixtures: the extendable mirror and the towel rail.

The result was far from common though, he said.

"It's a combination of engineering and art. It adds a new dimension to engineering."

The piece took 90 hours to make and features white and yellow gold plus 13 diamonds and an 11-carat green tourmaline stone.

After nearly 30 years in the trade and one previous final showing, Mr Wong said it was the opportunity to be creative that made it all worthwhile for he and his colleagues.

"It's what you live for really. Fortunately we have a boss and a company that supports this."

Village Goldsmith owner Ian Douglas said a win for his company would cement its place as the country's pre-eminent jeweller. Another employee, Nick Hensman, won the top prize last year.

The final will be held in Auckland on July 1.