About Opal
2009 IOJDAA Judges

Linda Jackson

Linda  Jackson is one of Australia’s most prolific artists and designers. Jackson studied fashion, design and photography in Melbourne and then travelled extensively during 1969-1973 throughout Asia and Europe. She met designer Jenny Kee on her return to   Sydney just as Kee was opening   Flamingo Park Frock Salon in The Strand Arcade. Their  collaboration caused sensations and created a fashion identity synonymous with Australia.  In 1982 Jackson opened a large studio space in Kings Cross and created a new label Bush Couture,  launched her opal jewelry and perfume “Opalessence’ and later opened the “Bush Kids” shop.

During the past three decades Jackson has travelled extensively across outback Australia, living and working with several Aboriginal communities. More recently  Jackson has  created exclusive interior and furnishing design commissions in Far North Queensland and continued creating artworks for solo and group exhibitions.

An important aspect of Jackson's design practice has been her advocacy of the Australian opal, an interest that has spanned many years of her career. She has collaborated with opal miners, cutters and jewelers to extend and revitalize the use of Australian opal and created opal-inspired textiles and paintings

Linda’s exhibitions, awards, performances are extensive. A few of the highlights are listed below:

1977 won the ‘Lyre Bird Award’  for  fashion innovation and takes the collection to Milan, Paris and New York
1980 onwards Jackson’s work and archives acquired by the Power House Museum Sydney
1981   Calalyst  for  the term ‘Art Clothes’ that leads to many national and international  exhibitions, Art Gallery of New South Wales, London, Tokyo, & Korea
1987 Linda’s book ‘The Art of Fashion’ is published
1996   awarded Australia Council Fellowship
2003  Life Fellow Power house Museum
Linda’s work is in the collections of Australia’s National Galleries and  Museums  



Helen S. Parer

Australian born designer Helen Parer gained her diploma of jewellery design in 1985 from the Gemological Institute of America, Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.After successfully graduating, Helen developed her skills bringing interesting fresh new ideas to opal design.In 1991, she decided to further her studies by returning to America to gain her Graduate Gemologist Diploma, which she did successfully.Since then, Helen has accomplished a list of achievements.1992    JAA Australian Opal Design Award – WINNER1992    JAA Grand Prix Design Award – GRAND PRIX WINNER1994    JAA Australian Opal Design Award – FINALIST1994    JAA Australian Platinum Design Award – FINALIST
1998    JAA Golden West Opal Design Award- WINNER
1998    Gemological Assoc. of Australia Opal Design Award – WINNER
2000    Gemological Assoc. of Australia Opal Design Award – SECOND
2000    Lightning Ridge Inaugural Design Awards –
            Opal Jewellery Design Award- PRESTIGE AWARD WINNER
2000    Lightning Ridge Inaugural Design Awards –
Opal Jewellery Design Award – SECOND
2000    JAA Coloured Gemstone Award – FINALIST
2001    Lightning Ridge Opal Design Awards – Platinum Jewellery – WINNER
2001    Lightning Ridge Opal Design Awards – Jewellery Manufacture – SECOND
2002    Gemological Assoc. of Australia, Opal Design Award – WINNER
2002    JAA Australian Opal Design Award – FINALIST
2003    Lightning Ridge Opal Design Awards-Jewellery Manufacture- HIGH COMMENDATION



Peter Sherman

Peter Sherman is the third generation of Australia’s oldest established family opal business, Sherman Opals.  Opal is in his blood and he is passionate about Australia’s national gemstone.  He has been working with opals since he could walk, when his father, Greg, used to drive to the opal mines in the latest Holden and return with a boot full of rough opal to snip and grade on the floor of their garage at home.

1896  Peter’s grandfather (Ernest Gregory Sherman) opal miner and buyer establishes the family business, E. Gregory Sherman Pty Ltd, trading as Sherman Opals.

1967  Peter entered the family opal business established by his grandfather, Ernie, part-time whilst still at school due to his father’s illness.

1969  Entered the business full-time to help his dad after completion of his HSC at Knox Grammar School.

1970  Received accreditation from The Sydney Chamber of Commerce for successful completion of their Professional Salesmanship Training Programme.For the last 39 years Peter has lived and breathed opal.  Peter has been actively involved at all levels of the industry from mining at Lightning Ridge through to cutting, grading, pricing and direct wholesale selling both locally and internationally.

Peter was a long time Committee Member of the AOGIA and subsequent President, where he produced the opal industry magazine, “Gemline”, for AOGIA members.  He is a past Director of the JAA where he sat for 2 years as Chair, Opal & Gemstone Sector Council.  He was involved in the design and development of the Opal Rainbow logo that was widely received and promoted through the AOGIA.




Bruce Tully

Bruce Tully's family were origonally graziers in the harsh Australian outback. That pioneering blood still runs thick today as Bruce steps-up his quest to take the Australian opal industry to unprecedented levels. Tully's passion earned him a Churchill Fellowship to study jewellery design in Florence, which he pursued after scaling down his family mining operation in Queensland. Tully is determined to do for opals what Paspaley has done for pearls. His  style features animal leathers such as croc, with illustrious pearls, coral, woven cotton, and most notably, Australia's national stone - the opal.