Pearl Essence competition – winners announced (updated)

Pearl Essence competition – winners announced (updated)

(originally covered 5th May, 2010)

The Dubai Pearl Exchange (DPE), a subsidiary of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), announced today the winners of its prestigious Pearl Essence programme, the world’s first-ever global pearl design initiative encompassing all different types of pearls. The Awards were presented to the students who were hosted and felicitated, along with their tutors, during the Gala and Awards Ceremony at Almas Tower held on the 2nd of May, 2010.


Reinhardt Van Zyl from Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa was named the Pearl Essence winner for ‘Curvature,’ a unique, edgy piece created using Fresh Water pearls. Van Zyl was awarded a month-long internship at Stephen Webster in London.

The bangle, which features 24 light purple fresh-water cut pearls set in 18 carat black rhodium-plated gold, is inspired by the ocean. “The flowing organic lines and open-work are reminiscent of the weird and wonderful flora and fauna of the ocean,” says Reinhardt.

2nd prize was awarded to Design Centre Enmore’s – Catherine Buman’s “The Life Line”, a piece inspired by dhows and pearl divers, created from Mahogany wood, white gold and Akoya pearls, reflecting a refreshingly zen approach. Buman was awarded a week-long trip to the pearling operations and pearl farms of Paspaley Pearling Co. in Western Australia.

3rd prize was awarded to Design Centre Enmore’s – Belinda Koopman for “Dubai Night Sky,” an avant-garde piece with a beguiling story created using South Sea and Fresh Water pearls. Koopman was awarded a pearl course at the Gemmological Institute of America’s (GIA’s) New York campus, followed by exclusive meetings with GIA’s experts and trade visits for a total of five days.

In addition, there will also be an online pearl course for all finalists sponsored by GIA.

The final round of judging was conducted between 11 finalists, shortlisted from 644 entries received from 46 institutes across 10 countries. The short-listed designs were fabricated into finished jewellery exclusively by DMCC-nominated manufacturers and pearl sponsors.

The student awards required jewellery design students to create contemporary and innovative pieces using a variety of pearls with a focus on the revival of UAE’s pearling heritage. DMCC showcased the finalist designs and pieces for the first time at the Gala and now have them on display for a further six months at Level 2 Almas Tower, home of the DPE.

“Pearls are integral to the history of the region, and DMCC is working towards revitalising the traditional Arabian pearl trade that once thrived through the ports of Dubai,” said Ahmed bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC. “The response to the Pearl Essence programme has been phenomenal, further highlighting the cultural significance of this traditional gem and the need for initiatives that continue to establish Dubai as a premier hub for the trade.

Pearls for the pieces have been provided by exclusive pearl sponsors – Paspaley Pearling Co., Robert Wan Tahiti and Euro Pearls. All finalist designs have been crafted into pieces of jewellery by leading international manufacturers including ARY Jewelers, Damas, Dhamani, Gellner, Hof & Co, Liali Jewellery, Mahallati Jewellery, Mikura Pearls, Pinctada, Taiba and Universal Pearls (Umi Pearls).

Pearl Essence is also supported by Bonnington Hotel and International Diamond Laboratories (IDL).

Other Pearl Essence Finalists

Student Name / Name of the Design / Institute Country / Pearl Category

Joanne Piper /Past & Present / Design Centre Enmore Australia / Combination

Yuki Shizuno / Metropolis In Desert / Hiko Mizund College Of Jewellery Japan / South Sea

Feng Feng / No Ending / Raffles Design Institute Singapore Singapore / South Sea

Dao Ying / Memory Of Sea / School Of Art And Design Tsinghua University China / Fresh Water

Asako Oshima / The Sea / Japan Jewelry Craft School Japan / Akoya

Yang Xing / Ark /Vacation School In China Academy Of Art China / Akoya

Ho Cheuk Fung / Marvelous Journey / Hong Kong Institute Of Vocational Education Hong Kong / Tahitian

Hong Wangke / Dance Of Amirah / Vocational School In China Academy Of Art China / Tahitian

Pearl Essence Jury

Entries were judged by an international jury, chaired by Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC and comprising of trade experts, industry journalists and professional jewellery designers including: Paul Boots, Associate Director, Precious Gems, DMCC; Tawfique Abdullah, Chairman, Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group; Stephen Webster, Designer and Director, Stephen Webster Ltd; Jorg Gellner, Managing Director, Gellner GmbH & Co; Julia Goh, Managing Editor, Solitaire Magazine; and Melissa Wong, Editor, Jewellery News Asia.

Pieces were evaluated for commercial design, wearability, usage of unconventional designs with non-traditional material usage and theme-based creativity with pearls as the main design feature.

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