In an increasingly globalised world, it’s becoming more difficult to have any connection with the maker of any of our products. That’s why, there is nothing more beautiful than a piece of jewellery that’s been lovingly handmade by someone. Many people often believe that handmade means expensive, which isn’t necessarily true. Yes a machine is faster but it’s lacking the human connection. Hand making jewellery is a craft with history and heritage, and it should be celebrated.
I’ve definitely become more tuned in over the last few years to who made my products. It’s a privilege to be able to read a maker’s story or even meet them at their market stall. Below are some handcrafted jewellery brands from across Australia, all with different styles and stories. If you’re in the market for a long lasting piece of jewellery to treasure that isn’t mass-produced, keep reading.
I was recently debating what to get my sister for her 30th birthday, something special but not wasteful. I wanted her to have something forever. I found Brocks Bangles through a stylish friend, that always wears one from her partner. The beautiful handmade brass bangles can be engraved and are custom made in Australia, funnily enough by a guy called Brock. The founder and owner, Brock, was a professional musician that started making the bangles for friends whilst working at a vineyard. As the popularity has increased, he has been able to create a new profession from it as well as design more styles.
There are currently four styles to choose from, in brass or sterling silver and each one is unique to the owner. No mass production in sight.
Luxury jewellery brand PetiteGrand has been around since 2010, founded by Tanja Kovacevic. She wanted to create pieces that connected with the wearer, rather than just another piece of jewellery. Each piece is handmade in Surry Hills in Sydney in a sunlit studio by the designer or one of her team.
Kovacevic launched her line of jewellery after fifteen years in the fashion industry, and where, after working as an accessories buyer, found the urge to create a simple and elegant product, that reflected her own personal aesthetic. She wanted to create something that was felt, as well as worn.’
Her pieces available online are all very elegant but with an edge, which would suit most people. They are also made with high-quality materials such as silver and gold. With an average price point of $150, it’s an investment to treasure forever or an item to give to someone as a special gift. My earrings are constantly breaking so I decided a while ago that I was only going to purchase jewellery that was well made. The higher quality a product is, the more you’ll look after it.
This lifestyle jewellery and fashion brand sell its gorgeous items at markets, via the website and on Etsy. Founder Lauren Batten is also its Silversmith Jeweller, which is a job title you don’t hear too often. Each piece is handmade from start to finish using raw-silver. Batten also has a line made from Italian Rose Gold. Ayana (meaning beautiful flower in African-Somali) strives to be ethical, environmentally friendly and locally sourced where possible. The silver is from Australian and British sources which are certified. Lauren aims to recycle as much silver as possible, use no harsh chemicals and minimal packaging.
Each piece of jewellery in the Ayana Jewellery range is handcrafted with love from start to finish, with each piece holding with its own uniqueness. Lauren designs her collections drawing from her own experiences in style, adapting it to the idea that jewellery is to be worn and enjoyed every day.’
One of my absolute favourite jewellery brands is Haus of Dizzy, weaving social, environmental and political issues into the 80’s style acrylic pieces. This face behind the brand is the Queen of Bling Kristy Dickinson. She uses a solar-powered laser cutter and makes everything by hand in her studio. I’ve seen multiple designers try to copy her designs, selling cheap knock-offs and dodgy faux Haus of Dizzy products, but none have come close.
Dickinson’s brand is probably most famous for her bold slogan earrings such as ‘Women Power’, ‘Deadly’, ‘Stop Adani’ and ‘Black Magic’. Being a Wiradjuri woman, she has ensured her brand is soaked in Aboriginal pride from indigenous flag earrings to pins. Make sure to get some handmade jewellery from a badass lady like Kristy Dickinson.
I accidentally found this brand the other day on Etsy and was attracted to the unique pieces. Nias founder and designer Jade Solien loves using natural materials in her designs which she describes as ‘wearable art’. She uses self-taught techniques such as electro-etching, enamelling and macrame, as well as things from her mental smithing course.
Jade has found inspiration for her unique designs from her family heritage and the beauty of northern NSW where She lives. As a child Jade experienced a rich Papua New Guinean culture, along with a mother who was also a jewellery designer. This fortified Jade’s memories and influenced her very own sense of expression in fashioning unique and cultured adornments.’
Her pieces are really unusual, each one with a sense of her background and culture. The Lafu Dangles ($80) are my favourite, handcrafted from brass and oxidised to make an ocean blue colour. Each piece is made to order so nothing is wasted and surprisingly, really affordable.
Let’s keep supporting Australian artists!
Title image credit: Nias