When Princess Anne visited Barrie on Oct. 22, she was presented with not one, but two unique pieces of jewellery created by recent graduates of Georgian College’s Design and Visual Arts programs.
Emily Wojna, who graduated in June, won a City of Barrie design contest to create a piece fit for royalty. Her winning bracelet, made entirely of Canadian materials, was based on an equestrian theme and featured blue sodalite, diamonds and 14-karat yellow gold.
“I felt intimidated to create the bracelet for the Princess Royal at first,” Emily said, “But when I thought about the experience I gained at school and in creating custom work, I knew I could do it. I’m very happy with the result.”
The bracelet’s intricate centre medallion resembled a horse’s bit and featured the motto “Tenacious and Versatile,” from the Grey and Simcoe County Foresters – a regiment ceremonially led by Princess Anne, who is their Colonel-in-Chief.
“I’ve been an equestrian since the age of five and Princess Anne shares my love for horses, so the design of the centre medallion is inspired by the equestrian gear in a stylized way,” explained Wojna. “When I designed this bracelet, I wanted it to relate to her personally, to Ontario, and to her work with the Foresters.”
At the same time, Wojna’s classmate Kyle Barrett crafted a brooch commissioned by the Foresters using Ontario gold, silver, diamonds, sodalite and amethyst. “It’s an enormous honour to be one of two graduates to be chosen to work on pieces for Princess Anne,” said Barrett. “It’s one of those rare opportunities that only happen a few times in a career if you’re lucky.”
The brooch was designed by Georgian faculty member Greg Merrall, who re-imagined the regiment’s badge. The brooch’s gems and materials were prepared by Georgian’s Jewellery and Metals program faculty and donated by program partners Crossworks Manufacturing and Detour Gold.
Representatives from those partner organizations, as well as Wojna and Barrett themselves, were on hand when Princess Anne was presented with their work at a civic reception at the Southshore Community Centre.
“I get a lot of satisfaction sitting down to design something for someone,” said Wojna. “Custom jewellery brings me happiness because I’m doing what I love to do and I get the satisfaction of seeing others’ joy.”
Both Wojna and Barrett started in Georgian’s two-year Jewellery and Metals diploma program and, after graduation, opted to continue their studies and obtain a one-year graduate certificate in Goldsmithing and Silversmithing. Both Georgian programs offer hands-on learning from professionals.
Members of the general public are invited to see and purchase current students’ work at the annual Jewellery Christmas Show and Sale from Dec. 3 to 5 in C Building at the Barrie Campus, or on Dec. 6 at the Orillia Campus.