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NZ Jeweller Shortlisted For Global Award

NZ Jeweller Shortlisted For Global Award

The co-founder of one of the country’s leading jewellery designers has been short-listed for a global leadership award.

Chris Benham (30), director and co-founder of The Inspired Collection, is the only New Zealand finalist in the inaugural Jewellery News Asia Awards, Young Leader of the Year category.

Other nominees in the category include Hong Kong’s L' Dezen Jewellery Co Ltd and Israeli jewellers, Leibish & Co Ltd. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner ceremony to be held in the world’s tallest hotel, The Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong on 20 September 2012.

Mr Benham says it’s an honour to be announced a finalist in the awards and to be amongst such high profile nominees.

“This nomination reflects the work of the entire Inspired Collection team’s fresh approach to jewellery design. We’ve only been trading since December 2009 and already we’ve had terrific success all over the world. In such a competitive industry, this speaks volumes about our collaborative, design-driven approach.”

I am looking forward to attending the Award ceremony in Hong Kong in September and establishing new relationships with progressive jewellery companies” said Chris Benham.

Organised by Jewellery News Asia, the event recognises excellence and achievement in the jewellery and gemstone trade. The Awards honour the innovators and leaders in the jewellery industry, focusing on areas such as manufacturing, branding, retail, sustainability and outstanding contribution.

Finalists in other categories include prestigious companies such as Cartier.

The Award’s headline sponsors include Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest producers of rough diamonds and Chow Tai Fook, the largest jewellery company in Asia.

In the last 18 months, The Inspired Collection has won contracts in China, North America and throughout Australasia. It has recently secured a contract to design and create an exclusive collection for the Chinese market after being approached by major jewellery company, Hiersun. The resulting deal will see the new range feature in more than 200 of Hiersun’s ‘I Do’ branded stores throughout China.

Mr Benham, with his fellow-directors Ian Douglas and Christine Douglas also established the Wilshi brand (pronounced ‘Will She?’) where they created the ‘Proposal Ring’. Wilshi brand rights have been successfully licensed in Australasia and the proposal rings are sold in more than 60 stores in five countries.

Just two and a half years young, The Inspired Collection has an impressive list of achievements including winning the Gemological Institute of America’s supreme George A. Schuetz Award for Men’s Jewellery in 2010 and 2011, the supreme award in the New Zealand Jewellery Design Awards in 2009 and 2010 and a Bronze Pin in the 2011 The Best Design Awards from the Design Institute of New Zealand.

Inspired Collection’s ‘Stellad’ ring has just been announced as a finalist in the 2012 The Best Design Awards.

Ian Douglas has also recently been announced a finalist in the JAA Australasian Jewellery Awards and was also a finalist in this year’s IU Design Awards.

About the company

The Inspired Collection co-founded by Ian Douglas, Christine Douglas and Chris Benham is the international arm of The Village Goldsmith, founded by Ian Douglas 30 years ago. Both companies work closely together, with all of the jewellery designed locally in Wellington, New Zealand. The company’s design philosophy represents the experience and collaboration of a group of artisanal award winning jewellers. Inspired Jewellery specialises in world leading innovative jewellery design and provides its specialist design expertise and manufacturing experience to jewellery companies internationally. The company plans to grow its Wellington based design hub with The Village Goldsmith and continue to leverage its world-class designs internationally.

For further information visit


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