BY Lara Picone
Inspired by crystalline waves and the lush hinterland of the Northern Rivers, local jewellery designers capture the beauty of the region in their covetable collections.
With an ever-growing community of talented makers drawn to the Northern Rivers, there’s no shortage of locally designed jewellery to lust after. From the raw magnificence of semi-precious gems to the precision of solid gold metal work and the ethereal shimmer of Pāua shell, these local jewellers imbue their craft with diverse and distinct beauty.
Working only with ethically produced Pāua from New Zealand, Libby Pool’s (libbypool.com) pieces have a shimmering beauty akin to peering deeply into a sunlit rockpool. They feel entirely otherworldly, which is perhaps why Libby’s designs have caught the eye of filmmaker James Cameron for his fantastical, off-planet realm in Avatar. Libby translates the beauty of nature into her jewellery. It may be a cluster of water droplets or the stem of a wattle tree, but she imagines each adornment as a cascade of shells resting on the wearer’s collarbone.
New Zealand-born and self-taught in her craft, Libby found herself in New Brighton with her backpack and rescue dog 25 years ago and has remained there ever since. “There’s definitely a strong correlation between living so close to the beach and working with sea shell,” says Libby. She prefers to let the shells guide her hand, rather than have a specific customer in mind when she creates, which ultimately leads to a wearer finding the piece that speaks just to them.
Also finding a likeminded community in the region, jeweller Krystle Knight (krystleknightjewellery.com) began her small business from a dining room table in Sydney ten years ago. Now the eponymous brand has grown to occupy a light-filled shopfront and headquarters in her adopted home of Byron Bay. Krystle mines endless inspiration from nature’s pure and most beautiful gifts, crystals. Fascinated with the beauty and healing properties of these stones since she can remember, Krystle’s pieces imbue a mystical simplicity that she hopes will heal and enhance the wellbeing of each wearer. Taking cues from her travels and oceanside abode, Krystle’s pieces hero the amplifying qualities of clear quartz, but also feature a kaleidoscope of other semi-precious gems. Her upcoming range is centred around the watery beauty of ammonite, which she says is a reminder that “life's currents will always guide you to where you are meant to be.”
More local jewellers to discover
Temple of the Sun You’ll find these beautifully crafted pieces have something of a museum quality about them. Reminiscent of antiquities, Temple of the Sun jewellery wouldn’t look out-of-place in an exhibition featuring unearthed treasures of a bygone civilisation. That’s because jewellery designer and owner, Turkish-born Yonna Derofe has always been deeply inspired by archaeology and the longevity of well-made adornments. Growing up in Istanbul, but Byron-based, Yonna imbues her creations with symbolism and nods to ancient cultures, while giving them a refreshed and contemporary aesthetic. templeofthesun.com.au
Designed from sustainable, recycled silver in a wearable aesthetic, One Sixteenth took a little while to come into being. Ten years and two babies after studying jewellery design and silversmithing, jeweller Amy eventually channelled her skills into creating a range of stunning, every day pieces that could be worn from the surf to the yoga studio. Based in Cabarita, her creations are made to withstand a lifetime of being loved with Amy providing a repair and polish service for cherished pieces. onesixteenth.com.au
This Bangalow-born jewellery brand from Julie Flower has been in bloom since 2008. Marked by simple, delicate elegance, many Petals pieces conceal beautiful and meaningful messages entwined within their designs. From the Language of Whispers range, which spells out words such as ‘hope’, ‘love’ and ‘mother’ in the dots and dashes of Morse code, to the Family collection that features interlinking circles signifying togetherness, these pieces make sweet gifts for loved ones. petalsaustralia.com
From expletive emblazoned signet rings to purposefully rough-hewn hoops and chains, Pirates Dreaming does things differently. These are pieces “for the rule breakers, style makers, dreamers and adventurous spirits,” says jewellery designer Adelaide Friday, who has been crafting unique collections in a Mullumbimby studio since 2010. With a masculine edge and a chunky appeal forged in sterling silver, they’ll last a lifetime of rebellion. piratesdreaming.com