NAJO is so excited to introduce Perth-based jewellery designer Megan Whelan, whose extraordinary entries earned her not one but BOTH prizes in our inaugural Design Competition.

A winning pedigree

Megan is definitely a young talent to watch in the Australian jewellery industry. Along with her passion and obvious talent, she has a solid background, studying jewellery design straight out of high school at Curtin University, then earning a Diploma in Gemmology from the Gemmological Association of Australia, and shortly afterwards completing her jewellery apprenticeship in 2012. Since then she has worked full-time in the jewellery industry across design, manufacture and sales.

Top-prize designs

The winning entry in NAJO’s Commercial Appeal category was Megan’s “Cross” earring design, which will be included in NAJO’s product range next year. “I was inspired by the trend of ear cuffs and asymmetrical earrings emerging internationally,” says Megan. “The angled cross-shape and polished silver surface I thought really gave the ear studs a ‘NAJO’ feel, which I see as simple, artistic and wearable.”

Happily, our panel of judges agreed: “Megan’s Cross earring design is fashionable, totally on-trend and a great price point. It sits very comfortably within the NAJO brand guidelines as it is simple, clean, and has broad appeal. The combination of gentle curves and sharp lines is harmonious. An entire range could be developed from this design.”

On the other hand, the winning entry in the Design Merit category didn’t need to be constrained by commercial requirements – and Megan’s striking “Wedge” necklace amply filled the brief of originality, creativity and harmony. “The contrast of silver, gold and stainless steel really make the design work and, crucially, the proportions are harmonious,” said the judges. “The design is deceptively simple yet the details make it beautiful: the steel cable sliding through the pendants, the detail of the stoppers, and a superb clasp which completes the design.”

Megan says her Wedge necklace is a statement piece she could see herself wearing, with the all-important addition of gold giving it that luxury and versatility only found in two-tone jewellery. “I envisage strong, confident women wearing these designs: trendsetters, not followers,” says Megan. “My personal jewellery style could be described as a little left-of-field. I like statement pieces and I appreciate quality – in the manufacture of a piece and the quality of the materials used,” she says.

Inspiration rules

A true jewellery junkie, Megan finds inspiration from a gamut of designers, including nouveau master René Lalique and Australian William Llewellyn Griffiths, along with Anthony Lent, Erika Winters, Stephen Webster and Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co. Megan hopes to one day launch her own line of fine jewellery – and we can’t wait to see the results.

The Runners-Up

While it’s safe to say Megan’s designs blew the judges away, there was undoubtedly stiff competition in both categories, and special mention must go to our talented runners-up.

Commercial Appeal Category Runners-up:

San Young ‘Kusi’ Kim for the Singing in the Rain Hoop Earring

Gretal Ferguson for the Skeleton Stackers rings

Megan Whelan for the Asymmetrical Tears Earrings

Adam Butterick for his Bracelet design

Design Merit Category Runners-up:

Damasque Wells for the Isladala Earring

San Young ‘Kusi’ Kim for the Necklace in Sterling Silver with Pearls

Miriam Baxter for the Pearl Pendant

Christina Egger for the Cactus Collar Necklace

2016 NAJO Design Competition Judging Panel

Special thanks to the judging panel for their efforts in our inaugural Design Competition. We can’t wait for next year’s!

Jo Tory, founder and managing director, NAJO

Anna Morwood, product developer, NAJO

Peter Beck, founder and managing director, Peter W Beck

Laura Sawade, marketing manager, from Peter W Beck

Katie King, owner and designer, Esola

Colin Desbrow, owner, Silvershop Australia


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