Leon Parry is a professional jeweller from Winton in western Queensland; he's won the opal category of the Jewellery Association of Australia 2010 Design Awards and came second overall.
Print Email this Share Permalink His winning piece is a pendent set with three opals and a number of diamonds and is called 'the other women'.
He said the three opals are Queensland boulder opals and added that he wouldn't use anything else, but the thing that makes this piece very unique is the piece of rusty 44-gallon drum!
"It's surrounded by 18-carat rose gold, all handcrafted and the diamonds are set in white gold.
"But the brown material is quite unusual; it's a piece of my good friend's rusty 44-gallon drum.
"So I've made it really like an outback piece," said Mr Parry.
It's the first time he's used the rusty metal and he said he will be using more of it in the future.
"You can't go wrong with it because you can't break it; you get that nice shade of rust on it and if you clean it up it won't flake and it just looks superb," he said.
The opals in the winning pendant are from Opalton (a boulder opal mining area out from Winton).
"I only wanted to use the local product here to help promote the local opal industry as well," he explained.
"You can't beat a good boulder opal, the depth of the colour is absolutely magnificent," he said.
It was Mr Parry's wife, Tracey, who coined the name, 'the other woman', because the pendant took him in excess of 100 hours to make.
"I spent more time with it, than I did with her," he said.
Mr Parry's quite proud of his awards and said it was a great honour.
He said the Jewellery Association of Australia Design Awards were presented in Sydney at a gala black tie event with plenty of celebrities in attendance.
"And they went through the categories... the pearl, the diamond and the opal category came along and I was lucky enough to be chosen as the winner.
"Then the overall Australian jeweller of the year category was the last one and I came second in that, so, I was quite ecstatic," he said.
Mr Parry has now won himself an automatic entry into the International Jewellery Awards in Hong Kong which are held next March.
"So that's going to be a fun time as well!"
If it seems a little unusual for one of Australia's top jewellers to be living and working in a small town in outback Queensland, then it probably is.
The Parry's moved to Winton from Townsville for a tree change because western Queensland had always been a favourite place.
"I used to live in Townsville as a professional jeweller and Townsville became too big - the city came to Townsville and we decided to move to Winton, it's a lovely town.
Mr Parry is also a horticulturalist and he works in the parks and gardens section of Winton Shire Council and his jewellery making is now his 'second' job.