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Profile: Stephen Dibb

A Helping Hand

If you take a look at Stephen Dibb’s charity work, you might actually be surprised to find out he also runs a successful jewellery business. From his work as a guest speaker, transporting and selling pottery birds crafted by Kechene Women Potters (an Ethiopian charity which helps women learn a craft and earn a living), bringing up his four adopted children and operating Stephen Dibb Jewellery in Queensland, it is easy to wonder if he’s some kind of superhero.

Dibb was inspired early on to work in some kind of design industry. The combination of being able to work with his hands and grow his rock collection is what finally led him to the jewellery industry.

“I entered the jewellery industry because I liked design, art, working with my hands and my rock collection, and I came from a family that enjoyed craft and hobbies. I also grew up two doors up from a famous wood-carver, he sowed the seeds that I could have a career if I had a good-eye, a steady-hand and plenty of practice.”

Dibb started training as a jeweller at 15 and became qualified at 19 but decided to continue his training in the UK. In 1987 he returned to Australia to start his own business with a focus on helping others.

“I love the jewellery trade. I learnt along the way gem-setting, design, production work, engraving, finishing, master pattern making, wax carving, high-end hand making (studied at the Polytechnic Jewellery College in England) and now CAD, not to mention starting and growing a small business, employing people, training 7 apprentices and managing a team of creative across 3 design studios, Holland Park, Cleveland and now Brisbane Arcade in the Brisbane CBD.

“I have the greatest respect for anyone who has a viable business which employs and trains others in this industry.  I’m committed to training, innovation, attention to detail and design. My team sincerely enjoy designing with our clients to craft jewellery that is treasured and handed-down to future generations.”

Becoming accredited with the JAA was always going to be on the cards for Dibb. After years in the industry, he felt accreditation was the perfect way to celebrate his achievement and demonstrate his vast skillset.

“It was quite a rigorous process to become an Accredited Master Jeweller. I had to supply detailed images of my work, numerous trade references and be able to satisfy the many criteria.  I applied because I feel this JAA accreditation promotes professionalism in the jewellery industry.

“I believe the industry in general benefits from the JAA accreditation program by being part of an Australia-wide organisation that was created with industry input from apprentices, bench jewellers, suppliers and retailers.  It is something to aspire to and to feel proud of.  We earn our living in a creative manner and accreditation celebrates and promotes this to the wider public.”

Of course, once you become accredited you ought to show it off.

“We will promote my accreditation on-line on our website and Facebook as well as on our business cards, stationary, email banner, studio windows, studio walls and point-of-sale. I will proudly wear the accreditation lapel pin. We will probably put in our newsletter as well.”

Dibb has earned a lot of attention for his work and gathered up quite a trophy collection. He won his first a JAA Design Award at 19, and returned with his whole team to win another in 2000. Under his guidance his team members have gone on to win numerous design and people choice awards as well as a training award from the Prime Minister and recently a favourable mention for corporate citizenship from the Mayor of Brisbane.

While proud of his work, Dibb said he is extremely proud of his wife Lisa and the charity work they have done together. The Dibb’s children were adopted from Ethiopia and the couple have visited the country nine times, they do extensive work with a variety of charities in the region.

Stephen Dibb Jewellery is the most awarded jeweller in Queensland, however Dibb is adamant his proudest work is when he can give back.