Introducing the first produced designs from NAJO’s Design Competition

The aim of NAJO’s Design Competition is to foster Australian design talent and nurture the creativity of up-and-comers in our local jewellery industry.

Our inaugural winner was Perth-based designer Megan Whelan. Her stunning “Cross” earring design was commercially on-point, on-trend and versatile enough to inspire a complementary Necklace. 

“I felt the angled cross shape and polished silver surface gave the earstuds a ‘NAJO’ feel, which I saw as simple, artistic and wearable,” says Megan, who studied jewellery design at Curtin University and earned a Diploma in Gemmology from the Gemmological Association of Australia. 

Megan is now working for Perth-based Clarity Jewellers. The main component of my job is designing and creating custom pieces of jewellery – mostly engagement rings, followed closely by remodelling older, outdated or heirloom jewellery. A job I thoroughly enjoy,” she says.

NAJO founder Jo Tory is proud to be able to support emerging industry talent. “Australia is rich with design talent, and NAJO’s Design Competition provides a platform for our best and brightest to see their visions brought to life via the extraordinary, sculptural medium of sterling silver,” she says.

Megan is equally thrilled with the result. “I wear the Megan earrings every day – they’re the perfect size and weight. I think NAJO has done an excellent job of recreating my designs in sterling silver. I’m so proud a company like NAJO has produced something I designed. All the staff here at Clarity here love the pieces!”

So what’s next for Megan?

“I’d love to design my own range of jewellery – I’m always sketching possible ideas down, and endlessly scrolling through Instagram for inspiration. I’m loving irregular and rose-cut shaped gems at the moment – anything asymmetrical.”

Megan would love to see more Australian jewellery companies embracing young talent and artisan makers. “Collaborations with up-and-coming designers for small collections would possibly keep Australian jewellery feeling fresh and new. I think too often Aussie jewellery is a reflection of overseas markets and trends – it would be much nicer to be followed rather than following,” she says.


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