Yowah Opal Festival & The Great Queensland Outback!
The small town of Yowah, Queensland is home to the annual Yowah Opal Festival, an event I had longed to attend for many years. With international travel off the radar for the foreseeable future, we thought this was the perfect time to venture into the great Queensland outback. I had also wanted to create a piece of jewellery to enter into their annual jewellery design competition. The main requirement to qualify in the competition, being the use of the distinctive Yowah Opal. As it turns out I had been purchasing these remarkable Opals over the years from different dealers, and had a nice selection from which to choose. Competition pieces tend to be either pendants or rings, however I had in mind a sterling silver bracelet, set with a variety of Yowah Opals. The body of the bracelet would be similar to a wooden one I had purchased in Kenya many years ago, and have longed to replicate it, but with my modern twist.
Hubby and I loaded up our 12 year old Border Collie Jasper, along with our three month old baby Border Collie, Ruby and headed out. Traveling with a puppy is a whole new experience, yet she did really well and we all enjoyed the journey. We had pre-booked into “Doggie Friendly” accommodation along the way with no issues.
Finally arriving at the festival on Saturday morning, we were greeted by the interesting, unusual and unique “town” of Yowah, with the population of a few hundred. Every single person living there is an Opal miner or involved in Opal mining in some way. Once at the festival itself, we hit the open air market, which did not disappoint. This was filled with Opal dealers sharing their magical stones for all to see & buy and what a place for a jewellery nut, like me!
Fast forward to the big event that evening, the Opal jewellery design competition awards.
There are three categories for the jewellery competition, based on the value of the piece, and I am thrilled to say my bracelet won First Place in the top category! Hurrah, Whoopee, Cartwheels of excitement! Other than the obvious honour of winning, entering a jewellery competition allows me to stretch my creativity as a designer, and I really enjoy that.
It’s hard to capture this bracelet in a photo, virtually impossible to get all 12 stones in one shot, but you’ll get the overall idea. I also added gum leaf engraving on the bracelet, with slight antique finish on the leaves, which was the perfect touch. I called the piece: “Embracing Yowah.”
At the end of the week end, we packed up the dogs and ourselves and with hearts filled with our adventure, started the journey home, back to my studio, full of inspiration and happiness.