Gold, diamond or other precious metals and stones such as ruby or emerald don’t mean anything to consumers if not designed elegantly. Without the right design and packaging, gold remains bullion and could be used by banks to strengthen their vaults. Similarly, diamonds or other precious stones remain just rough ‘stones’ without any consumer appeal.
So, every metal or stone needs the midas touch of the designers and professionals to convert them into valuable jewellery – that the consumers die to buy. The value is created by the designers and professionals who turn the raw material – bullion or rough stones – into valuable jewellery. Unfortunately, these professionals still remain the unsung heroes – for decades and keep on delivering the best designs while staying behind the curtains.
It is the designers who actually contribute to the gold and diamond jewellery market, that will see revenue grow 3.68 percent to US$298.4 billion in 2023. Most of the revenues come from the sale of jewellery that are designed by designers and made by goldsmiths.
Jewellery design has come out of age and enters into a new era of sophistication as consumers and luxury customers – both demand new and innovative designs for their precious possessions, be it gold or diamond or emerald. However, the plight of the designers has hardly changed except for some design-entrepreneurs who developed their own branded jewellery.
“We have launched the world’s first global industry award to recognise the true creative talents in the jewellery design industry and award them – so that the rest of the world can recognise them for their skills,” says Tarun Jain, Founder and Managing Director of World Academy Design Awards (WADA).
“World Academy of Design will organise a mentoring programme for the designers who do not reach the next level, to help develop their skills for next year participation.”
More than 300 designers registered their designs in first 80 days of the competition, from 31 countries. Submission rules were kept flexible to allow maximum participation of designers by submitting their work in any art form.
A panel of internationally acclaimed jury shortlisted 100 best designers for the next round of the WADA programme. The international jury members include Tamjid Abdullah from the UAE; Evan Caplan from the USA; Paola De Luca from Italy: Katerina Perez of France; Marco Carniello from Italy; Oriol Collelldemont from Spain; Ann Ong from the Philippines; Costa Elhreich from Lebanon; Tarun Jain from India and Mahima Verma from India.
On Monday, February 13, 2023, the internationally renowned jury members selected 100 best designs and shortlisted them for first round of selection. Now all these shortlisted designs will proceed to phase two.
These candidates will be presenting their designs in 3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) format for 2nd round of judgement in June. Where the top 5 designers from each category will be selected and sent for actual manufacturing. Finally, the first year grand finale will take place in October – Nov 2023 at a grand ceremony in Dubai awarding 42 world-class designers.
The year-round three-stage registration, design submission and selection process will create a new benchmark in creativity in jewellery design worldwide that will become an annual process-driven quality international benchmark award for the industry.
Mahima Verma, Co-founder and CEO of World Academy of Design and WADA, says, “We have launched this in Dubai, the City of Gold, bringing all the industry stakeholders and designers to strengthen Dubai’s position as the global hub for jewellery designing and manufacturing.
“In order to nurture creativity in design, Dubai has established the Dubai Design District – that could easily become the hub for future jewellery design and research while the Gold Souq is the world’s largest such gold jewellery market, which also houses a number of gold refineries and commodities exchange that trades in gold, diamond and other precious metals and stones.
“So, Dubai has almost everything to bring all the creative talents. So, Dubai is ideal for launching any gold-related initiatives, such as the World Academy Design Awards.”
Gold jewellery sale in the UAE jumped by 38 percent to reach 46.9 tonnes in 2022, according to the World Gold Council (WGC). The UAE’s gold consumption in 2022 was the highest in the Middle East region, outpacing the demand in Saudi Arabia, which logged 37.9 tonnes, Egypt (33.6 tonnes) and Kuwait (14.7 tonnes).
Jewellery demand in the UAE also outstripped those in other Middle East countries, where total demand reached 27.5 tonnes.
“Jewellery remained popular in the UAE, while overall global consumption softened a fraction, down by 3 percent at 2,086 tonnes, which was due mainly by price increases during the fourth quarter of 2022,” said a recent report.
WADA will see a whole lot of activities going forwards in promoting creative designs as well as industry workshops and research.