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The making of the Wellington Cup trophy

Media Release January 2005

The making of the Wellington Cup trophy

The prestige of winning the 2005 Wellington Cup will be matched only by the prestige of owning the Cup itself, a valuable work of jeweller’s art in precious metals that will stand on the family mantelpiece for generations to come.

“We want people to look at the Cup in a hundred years and say, “that’s a stunning piece of art’,” said Ian Douglas of The Village Goldsmith in Wellington.

The Village Goldsmith designed and made the Wellington Cup for five years from 1997 to 2002 and was contracted again to make this year’s trophy for the Dulux NZ Colour Map Wellington Cup race in the same design as before.

“For the design, I went out to Trentham to look at the first Cup of 1894 which is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. I adapted the essence of it – the overall rosebowl shape, the detail like the finials, leaf work and scrolled handles – into a simplified, modern and stylish Cup with visual links to the original trophy,” Mr Douglas said.

The large Cup in solid sterling silver plated with 18-carat gold is presented to the winner of the Cup race and miniatures are presented to the jockey and trainer. The Cup itself is housed in a stylish mahogany presentation case.

“By international standards, such a package is worth more than $20,000. But, to the Cup winner, the pride of owning it is worth much more,” Mr Douglas said.

The making of the Cup is a complex business with specialists round the country contributing their expertise to its components. The parts are brought together as a whole and finished by craftsman Dan Palmer who also carved the master pattern from which the Cup is taken.

The Cup begins as a sheet of sterling silver which is spun into an undulating rosebowl shape. The curving, scrolled handles and finial of overlapping leaves are individually cast before being soldered to the bowl. The trophy is then plated with 18-carat gold. It is mounted on a mahogany plinth with a gold-plated plaque for engraving with the winner’s details.

The highly polished finish to the Cup means the owner will never have to do more than gently rub it now and then with a soft cotton cloth.

“From experts’ reaction to the Wellington Cups we have made, we believe they have become iconic pieces of New Zealand jewellery and art,” Mr Douglas said.


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