It’s the biggest event in the WA Goldfields calendar, the Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum, held anually in Kalgoorlie for over 30 years. This year  attracted more than 2500 delegates including miners, explorers, brokers, bankers, investors and mining service industry personnel, all coming together to network and catch up with the latest developments in the mining industry.

A perfect opportunity for master stone cutter Murray Thompson and bespoke jewellery designer Julianne Karavitis to team up and create a boutique pop-up store on Hannan street for visitors to see the local gem material from surrounding mine sites transformed into stunning heirloom pieces of jewellery and ornaments. The collaboration of Desert Fire Designs and JLK Artistry proved to be a great success and is set to be a regular event in Kalgoorlie for August.

A diverse selection of material was on display including polished variscite, Marra Mamba tiger eye and the latest gold veined quartz pieces from the Beta Hunt mine in Kambalda. This gold veined quartz in particular, when combined with diamonds and 18ct gold into handmade jewellery has been extremely popular. Julianne, having worked in some of the globe’s most prestigious jewellery houses, is WA born and has been based in Kalgoorlie for several years. “Being able to supply [gem material pieces to] people who work for these mining companies… maybe they worked for that mine, or it was the first mine they worked at when they met their partner – there’s all these wonderful connections,” she said in a recent interview.

Murray, with a lifetime of experience in lapidary (including gaining a Churchill Fellowship in 1987), prospecting and geology has been supplying JLK Artistry with the locally sourced, finely crafted WA material. He visits the mine sites, knows the prospectors and is passionate about sharing his knowledge. Quoted from the Kalgoorlie Miner newspaper where the team made the front page news: “The world has no idea, Australia has no idea, what they’ve got here. We’re dealing with a natural cultural heritage item that’s local to this area.”