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JAA Australasian Jewellery Design Awards

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Inspiration for Maria Kostina’s winning piece came from a walk around the rockpools at Sydney’s Collaroy. She saw an opportunity to create a piece of jewellery that was not only beautiful, but which also carried an important message, as all jewellery does, she says.

The rockpools at Collaroy have tiny sea creatures living in them such as anemone, crabs, sea urchins and more. One morning I saw a sea urchin shell just lying on top of one of the rocks and it made me think. If we don’t preserve the oceans’ wildlife now, we will only see the shells like this in the museums. The “Sea Urchin on the Rockpools” design is an advocate for all the sea creatures and animals. I created a statement cocktail ring which, I hope, will spark a conversation and focus some attention on the issues of ocean pollution and the preservation of sea-life. Art and jewellery are conversation starters and I hope that this ring will raise issues and educate everyone who comes across it and make them interested in this global problem.

The result which I’m trying to achieve is to keep oceans clean and help preserve sea animals and sea life safe for future generations. I like think the piece is already having some impact, having been selected as a finalist and winning the People’s Choice Award. For me, jewellery is a miniature wearable art piece which represents a point in life for a person. The pieces are meaningful and might not look like the event which they are representing, but in the beholder’s eye, the jewellery is a time capsule and the preservation of that point of time of their life. Jewellery is body adornment too, which is about representing personal style. The wearer is adorning themselves in jewellery to show the world their personality, style, and character – a voice and an unsaid message.

This award is definitely a special achievement for me and a proud one which I have strived for and was such a surprise and an honour to receive! I believe that this is a stepping stone in my career and an acknowledgement that I will use as a momentum to commence my jewellery design collection as this has provided me with all the confidence necessary to succeed providing me with the recognition from the public. My current plans in the works are to create two jewellery collections and to set up a studio for client meetings. My dream is to create art jewellery and hopefully enter other markets like USA, Middle East, or Japan in the near future. As a CAD designer for the trade, I don’t make too many physical pieces or in fact I don’t get much of a chance to bring to life and create my ideas, and so this competition gave me a great reason to make something I’m passionate about – to tell a story and to execute a complex piece to be shown as my vision to the public eye. Design competitions are highly motivating, though it’s not about winning.

It’s about creating a piece within a short timeframe that really pushes you to make and execute a project within the extreme deadlines It has also taught me to be patient and have resilience! I believe more designers should enter this competition and showcase their work because I meet so many designers just in Sydney who are hesitant, and they have incredible pieces! The important part of the competition is to see and showcase all the talent we have across Australasia and this needs to be brought to spotlight for the public eye. My advice is just to “go for it” and make something that is you, creative and unique, pushing your own boundaries as a designer and creating a challenging piece which you can learn from.

I’d like to thank my team for making this happen in such a short turn-around. Their patience and attention to detail to make it right, particularly because we started making it during the lockdown when the due date for the entry was in July 2021, and we had only one week to physically create the piece as I just came out of hotel quarantine! Most importantly I’d like to thank my parents, my family and friends and each and every person who has voted and supported me along the way. It’s been a truly humbling experience and I couldn’t believe the amount of support that I have received! I’d like to dedicate this award to each and every person who has voted for my piece. Your support has provided me with such a boost of confidence and the belief that I’m on the right path doing what I love and, most of all, that there is an audience out there for my designs.