Jeweller Magazine 

A Kiwi jeweller has just won a prestigious international competition with his design of a men’s diamond ring.

Wellington-born Karl Williams edged out competitors to win the Gemological Institute of America’s 2010 George A. Schuetz Design Contest.

The contest judges the best original men’s jewellery designs around the world and Williams’ platinum and yellow gold men’s ring with a tension set 1.5 carat diamond and eight 0.25 carat diamonds caught the judges’ eye.

Williams is best known for his women’s engagement rings but the men’s jewellery competition appealed to him, just because it “was something out of the ordinary.”

He told Jeweller, “Men’s jewellery doesn’t appeal to a broad demographic and I don’t think it gets the recognition it deserves.”

Creating a masculine piece out of something traditionally seen as a female accessory was a challenge that Williams relished.

“I basically had to ask myself what I’d want to wear. A bicycle chain inspired me and the ring is like the rim that goes through it. I mixed an industrial element that men would like with a bling factor. I’d love to buy this ring myself if it was not so expensive.”

Williams belongs to a team of jewellers called The Inspired Collective, led by former Apprentice of the Year Ian Douglas. The Inspired Collective was the winner of the National Jewellery Design Awards in 2009 and 2010.

The group has won many accolades in its time with two successive wins in the New Zealand Jewellery Design Awards. Nigel Wong from the team won it this year following apprentice Nick Hensman’s success last year. Williams himself was a finalist in this year’s New Zealand Jewellery Design Awards with his Egyptian inspired ring, Ra.

He attributed his success in the GIA contest to mentor Douglas and the collaborative atmosphere in The Village Goldsmith which fostered his creative juices. The Village Goldsmith is a specialist designing and manufacturing jeweller, headed by Douglas as well and is the birthplace of the Inspired Collective.

“It’s a great atmosphere working with these guys,” Williams told Jeweller. “We push each other and we have a healthy rivalry but we work together as a team.”

The Inspired Collective focuses on revolutionising the way diamonds are set into jewellery. Williams unconventionally set his main central diamond in a big solid block of gold, so that the ring looked like “a puzzle riveted together with the appearance of floating diamonds.”

Each entry is judged before an independent panel of industry exports, who review it based on design, wearability, manufacturability and appeal. Organisers of the event, the Gemological Institute of America are widely known as the one of the leading authorities on diamond cuts and grading.

Jeweller Magazine