Lightning Ridge Holds Opal Design Contest

The International Opal Jewellery Design Award winners for 2007 have been announced. The biannual competition was launched in 2001 to promote and showcase freeform and undulating opal as well as cutting methods that conserve opal.

The contest, held in the Lightning Ridge Bowling Club in Lightning Ridge, Australia, is part of the annual Lightning Ridge Opal Festival. JCK gemstone editor Gary Roskin shared judging responsibilities for this year’s event with Dalan Hargrave, award-winning gem carver from San Antonio, and Lightning Ridge opal expert Michelle Schellnegger. The three judges examined more than 150 entries, photographed several outstanding pieces, and learned the subtleties of opal polishing.

Eternal Flame, a necklace and pendant by Vicki Rodd, of Ricco Ricco Jewellery, took first place in the competition. Amanda’s Fantasy, by Merridee Cram, was honored in the Highly Commended category. My Valentine, also by Rodd, and Oasis, by Yuji Satomi, Wellington Jewellers, were honored as Finalists.

Awards were presented during the International Opal Jewellery Gala Awards Dinner, with Hargrave serving as master of ceremonies.

To see all of the entries, visit Check out Roskin’s blog at for more images.

A full report on Lightning Ridge will appear in the January 2008 issue of JCK.

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