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Depazzi captures all that is Australian

The Depazzi story began over 140 years ago. The Tully family were amongst the earliest pioneers to settle the remote grazing lands of Outback Queensland. They soon discovered that just below the surface of the harsh terrain lay deposits of exquisite boulder opal.

Bruce Tully has spent most of his life in the outback on the family property and mining opal. In 1998 he sold the property to pursue his interest in opal mining. His desire for Australians to share in his passion for opal led him into design, where he was able to incorporate his knowledge of working with raw materials such as leather, metals, and opal.

Depazzi, named after Bruce's grandfather, was launched at the Brisbane Hilton in 2002.

In 2003 Bruce was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to study design in Florence, Italy. He received a commission from Florentine socialite Elisabetta Gucci who later presented his exhibition at Cafe Pitti, Florence, attracting 160 guests and the Italian media.

Exhibitions soon followed in Basel, Vienna, Cairo, and Hong Kong and the Depazzi Brisbane store opened in June 2006. Depazzi now operates from Brisbane and Hayman Island Resort on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.

Subject of ABC's Australian Story episode "Romancing the Stone" in 2005, Bruce describes opal as a hologram from ancient times and crocodiles the perfect predator – living dinosaurs with the lines of time etched into their rugged beauty – the ultimate in luxury leather.

Primary materials incorporated into Depazzi designs are opal, crocodile leather, South Sea pearls, and precious metals.

Indigenous Australians believed opal empowered women.

The design concept is striking in its simplicity. It is innovative, raw, and sensual. Combined with these exquisite materials, the result is pure, primal, elegance.

Timeline - The Evolution of Depazzi

  • Tullys & Duracks settle far outback Queensland and begin to mine boulder opal on their land.

  • Tully Wolaston travels to these areas overcoming incredible odds in the harsh outback as well as successfully marketing opal in London.

  • Drought ceases almost all opal mining and it was not to get under way again until 1960s.

  • Cameron Tully continues mining old mining claims on small scale, with Bruce joining him in 1976 at "Depazzi" opal mine (from the nickname of Cameron's father, a well known Queensland sporting identity).
  • Bruce Tully steps-up mining in Yaraka region marketing opal to USA.

  • Bruce sells family grazing property (4th generation on this land) to pursue mining full-time.

  • Bruce meets Marilynne Paspaley from Paspaley Pearls when she stayed with Bruce & Michelle at Naretha (still running mining operation from there although the property is sold) as a guest speaker at Quilpie opal expo. Bruce expresses his dream for marketing opal and relates the industry's problems to her.

  • Began working with award winning jewellery designers on various design concepts.

  • Depazzi's launch at Brisbane Hilton, showcasing contemporary designs with some of the best opal Australia has produced — by this stage Bruce was doing much of the designing, then all of it from this point on.

  • Journalist, Selena Wallace, introduced Bruce to Richard de Chazal, to do a photo shoot. This was Bruce's first introduction to the fashion world, and the experience gave him the knowledge to take his vision to the next level.

  • Bruce was encouraged by Churchill Fellow Adelle Rice his wife Michelle to apply for Churchill Fellowship.

  • Received fellowship and it was presented by Governor of Queensland, Quentin Bryce.

  • Concentrated on custom designing of jewellery collection and exhibitions in Brisbane.

  • Bruce left Australia for his Churchill Fellowship to study design and manufacture of jewellery and Italian language. This involved travelling to:

    • The USA — attending gemstone trade fairs, meeting with international patent lawyers, and meeting with people at top of diamond industry in New York & Chicago, as well as studying major brands and their histories and marketing techniques.
    • Munich, Germany — attending jewellery trade fairs especially famous for their new designer section.
    • Milan, Italy — attending Milan fashion week shows.
    • Florence — studying jewellery design, geometrics, rendering, jewellery manufacture, creative arts and Italian language (also studied history of major design labels)
    • Began discussions with Isabel Herrera (one of his tutors who was already an established name in Mexico) on the intricacies of starting a label. Consequently they planned to do a show in Florence.
    • Was introduced to Elisabetta Gucci they became good friends — she commissioned Bruce to make a piece of jewellery for her.
    • Basel, Switzerland — attended jewellery trade fair, exhibited several pieces.
    • Sardinia — looked at possibilities of doing a show there.
  • Exhibited in Hong Kong.

  • Exhibited in Cairo.

  • (Florence) Elisabetta Gucci presented Bruce and Isabel Herrera for an exhibition of their jewellery. It was covered by several television stations and the international press. Depazzi received much more media coverage upon Bruce's return to Australia. Bruce was approached as a subject for ABC's Australian Story. The feature proceeded, and involved six months' filming including crews being sent to Italy and the outback for filming.

  • Australian Story's feature episode on Depazzi, "Romancing the Stone" aired on the ABC.

    Travelled to Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China to look at materials, manufacturing, branding and marketing techniques.

  • Bruce sat on the distinguished judging panel of Australian Gemstone Jewellery design awards at Sydney Marriot. He was also guest speaker at the Australian Gemmological Association's federal conference.

  • June 14: Launched Depazzi's debut store in the Brisbane CBD.

  • Bruce Tully appeared in a one-hour documentary showcasing five artists inspired by the outback including: Pro Hart and Troy Cassar-Daley ("Outback Inspirations" — 4pm Saturday 17 June, Network 10).

  • Adelaide Street Brisbane boutique store relocated to Hayman Island Resort.