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Barbara Tipple

Diamonds International Award winner 50th Anniversary

Barbara Tipple was awarded a Diamonds International Award (DIA) whilst she was a first-year student at Hornsey art college. Winning this coveted award made the reputations of world class designers such as Andrew Grima. Giannni Versace also won it once.


Diamonds International Award winning piece 1973

Diamonds International Award winning piece 1973


Barbara went on to win the DIA in 1984, 1998 and 2004. She became the only woman in the United Kingdom to be awarded the Diamonds International Award Membership. The DIA was most prestigious and became known as the Oscars of Jewellery.

Established by De Beers in the early 1960s it ran bi-annually until 2004. Over 3000 designs were entered from all over the world. The first judging took place in London, Hong Kong and New York. 100 designs were chosen from each city and the finals took place in London where 30 designs were chosen to be made and became the DIA winners. Once made they were taken around the world on tour.

Initially, the judges were celebrities such as Walt Disney and movie stars. Soon, designer icons such as Alberto Alessi and Joyce Ma were introduced to the judging panel. The presentation of the Awards was always amazing. Barbara remembers in 1998 winning with a diamond necklace which was crafted by her husband David Ward. The presentation took place in the Garnier opera house in Paris. Each piece had a couture gown made by Dior, Lanvin, Vivienne Westwood and other luxurious brands. The event was truly glamourous. Television crews from across the globe lined the circles of the opera house to capture the beauty and prestige within the atmosphere.

Throughout her career Barbara has been offered many prestigious design jobs but has always preferred to design her own work in her own way. Which has worked a treat for the multiple award-winning jeweller. Barbara received an Honorary doctorate from the University of Portsmouth in 2011 and has had her work placed permanently on display in the jewellery gallery in the V&A museum.

This felt as if she had come a full circle, as it was in the V&A that she was inspired to design jewellery after seeing an exhibition of contemporary jewellery. This monumental achievement acts as a humbling reminder of just how extraordinary Barbara’s journey has been and how much she has accomplished throughout her thriving career.

Barbara enjoys designing collections that anyone can own and cherish. They are just as original and artistic as her more complex pieces. Her work described by Lucia van der Post in the Financial Times as ‘strong and bold, almost monumental, with an almost primitive feeling counterpointed by the extremely high quality of the workmanship’.

Born in Gosport, Barbara has lived in Southsea for 45 years. Her career has taken her all around the world, but Southsea is always home.

“It has been my honour and pleasure to create jewellery intended to bring joy to people” – Barbara Tipple.

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