susan ewington jewellery

birthday!!!!

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SUSAN EWINGTON JEWELLERY TURNS 10!!

Well I can barely believe it, but this month of November, 2017, sees my humble little business turn 10 years old!  In this month of 2007, I was graduating from my Tafe course and opening my first little shared studio with 3 of my fellow graduates.  It was very humble beginnings let me tell you.  I had just barely grasped the skills of some of the most vital parts of jewellery making - soldering, filing, saw piercing - there was, and still very much is to this day, a whole lot of skill to learn yet. 

This year I have been reflecting on my journey so far, pondering the highlights and challenges along the way, and considering what the next 10 years may hold.  

For those of you in a similar career, branching out on your own creative path, studying the trade, or simply interested, here's a little debrief which may help or interest you somewhat.  There are no two paths the same, no one way to go about things, and no final destinations.  

Over the past 10 years I have worked on growing my business - days, nights, weekends, any minute I could squeeze in between part time employment in the industry to grow my knowledge base and skill set.  I have worked in jewellery retail, for trade craftsmen, a precious metal merchant, but by far the singular most beneficial placement was with Robyn Wernicke at Small Space Jewellery.  It was here that I really began to grow my skill set, to learn from her was an incredible experience which gave me the confidence I needed to really feel like I was going to be able to do this! 

In the early years, for me there was a fine balance between choosing the path of the artist, or the path of the craftsperson.  In my opinion, they are not able to be pursued equally at the same time, however perhaps there is an option to slowly shift between the two with the ebb and flow of life and career.  

These two paths have challenged me over the years, and I still continue to struggle with the creative mind's constant pulling, insistent on stealing my attention and have me wishing there are more than 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week.    

Throw in 2 children, an interstate move from bustling Melbourne to coastal Noosa, the new juggle of family life and working from a home studio, and the logistics of running a predominantly online business, I guess you could say that I am currently at capacity!  

However what I have found, and what continues to drive my passion for this trade, is that I will never truly be at capacity.  The incredible thing about a craft/trade/art is that you can absolutely never know it all, it will continue to teach you new techniques, new approaches, and new perspectives until the end.  And for as many highlights and achievements, there will be even more self doubts, knock-backs, set-backs, and instances which steer you in a new direction to realise a new challenge, making those highlights even more satisfying.   

So here's to the next 10, 20, 30 + years.  With the utmost respect and gratitude to those that have taught me, supported me, and those who are yet to, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. 

Ribbon torque bangle - hand forged anticlastic raised sterling silver - from one of my first stock production collections, 2009

Ribbon torque bangle - hand forged anticlastic raised sterling silver - from one of my first stock production collections, 2009

One of my first engagement rings and the beginning of my obsession with two stoned rings.  Cognac diamond and ruby in 18ct white & yellow gold, 2010

One of my first engagement rings and the beginning of my obsession with two stoned rings.  Cognac diamond and ruby in 18ct white & yellow gold, 2010

Hand raised double cone neckpiece in sterling silver.  A piece from group exhibition 'Double Figures' at Small Space Jewellery, 2010

Hand raised double cone neckpiece in sterling silver.  A piece from group exhibition 'Double Figures' at Small Space Jewellery, 2010

'Cutout Locket', detail, 2012.  From my first and only (thus far!) solo exhibition, 'Transference'.  Sterling silver, lapis lazuli, reclaimed wood with silverpoint drawing on traditional gesso

'Cutout Locket', detail, 2012.  From my first and only (thus far!) solo exhibition, 'Transference'.  Sterling silver, lapis lazuli, reclaimed wood with silverpoint drawing on traditional gesso

One of the more elaborate engagement rings I've made in the last year.  All Australian mined and cut sapphires with champagne diamonds in 18ct yellow gold.  Tell my 10 year ago self that I would be hand fabricating this in 2016 and I would never have believed you!

One of the more elaborate engagement rings I've made in the last year.  All Australian mined and cut sapphires with champagne diamonds in 18ct yellow gold.  Tell my 10 year ago self that I would be hand fabricating this in 2016 and I would never have believed you!

natural beauties

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Here's the end result of the two freeform stones from a few posts back....

A super stunning ombre shaded natural Australian sapphire, mined in Queensland, cut in Victoria

large freeform australian sapphire ring engagement.jpg
large freeform australian sapphire ring engagement.jpg

And a dainty but bright natural Ruby cut in Adelaide, set with a hint of warm 18ct yellow gold

ruby freeform white gold engagement ring.jpg
ruby freeform white gold engagement ring.jpg

sea gems

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For a good many years now I have been making beach glass jewellery, predominantly earrings. These are now my most popular selling item of all time.  The infatuation for sea glass in me runs deep, there is something so magical about it, and the hunt for it, that I'm forever scouring the beaches in search of that coloured gem.  

When I first started making jewellery with it, I used a precious personal collection that I had gathered during my time living in Mallorca.  After selling out of it, and living in Melbourne at the time, I realised I needed to outsource this precious discarded treasure.  Luckily I found and have continued to source it from a beach glass appreciation society based on the West coast of USA. This keeps the demand flowing, and luckily I have also managed a little hoard of my own searching from various parts of the world over the years.  Unfortunately the pristine beaches where I live now don't really work in my favour with beach glass but I'm not complaining either!

beach glass earrings mixed.jpg

The colours!  The colours get me every time.  They all have a provenance.  Many elements dictate the rarity of them, the area they wash up, the era they were made in, the type of use it had.  In fact the details of each colour are a truly fascinating insight into consumer history, oftentimes indicative of the trials and tribulations of the global effects of war, economical depression, and pop culture.   

golden glass er sml file.jpg

Here are some of the rarer colours, and the common possible origins of them:

Seafoam green - 1 in 50 pieces - possibly early 1900s, old Coca-Cola bottles 

Bright lime green - 1 in 50 pieces - beer and soda bottles

Amber - 1 in 25 pieces - beer bottles & medicinal jars

Pastel pink - 1 in 1000 pieces - US Depression era 1930s glassware

Cornflower blue - 1 in 500 pieces - pre 1900, Milk of Magnesia & Vicks Vapor rub bottles

Cobalt blue - 1 in 250 pieces - medicinal bottles, castor oil & ink bottles

There are even rarer colours such as red, yellow, turquoise and black.  If this information on colour really interests you, head over to this fantastic Guide to Origin & Rarity and read up.  

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If you have a special piece you've been lucky enough to find and treasure, maybe you'd like to have it made into a pendant or ring perhaps? 

The best part about these pieces?  No two are ever the same, yet I continue to be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to pair up two for a complimentary set of earrings.  Just odd enough to be asymmetrical, yet they work perfectly in unison. 

sea glass green er 1-2.jpg

freedom

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Well as the topical subject of marriage equality is again at the forefront of Australian news (this is really getting embarrassing now) freedom, freedom of choice, and just plain old human rights should be the obvious factor here; but no, we have a government which is hindering and holding back the rights of many beautiful people who just simply want to tie the knot and continue on their paths and daily activities just like the rest of "us".  

This whole pickle got me thinking about all the freeform cut gemstones I've had the pleasure of making into rings over the years, for many an occasion, but often for marriage.  

I ended up collaging 9 of them (trust me it was hard to choose) and just wanted to share the beautiful *rainbow* effect here in case you missed it on social.

freeform engagement wedding rings sapphire australia

There are two more gorgeous stones lined up to become rings, one is a stunningly large ombre effect Australian blue sapphire, and one is an electric pink ruby.

australian sapphire ruby gemstones

There is also this incredible Australian green sapphire which is waiting for its forever home, it could be yours!  

green sapphire .JPG

I'm back baby!

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Well after a short and rather lovely newborn cuddly time away from the bench, I'm happy to say I'm ready to start finding (or should I say scrounging and grasping for) time to make beautiful jewels once again.  

If you've been thinking of having a bespoke piece made, or even simply inquiring about the ins and outs of the process, now is the time to get in touch!  

You can also check out these blog posts here and here, which may give some insight into the lovely process of having something truly special handmade just for you or your lucky loved one. 

Speaking of lucky, here's a super special commission finished just before my maternity leave.  It is an engagement and wedding ring set made to fit together, with the unusual combination of featuring a stunning Japanese Akoya black pearl, custom cut Australian parti sapphire (fossicked by the clients themselves!) and a scattering of Australian Argyle white diamonds.  All set in 18ct white gold, with a hint of pure fine Australian native gold (again fossicked by the clients).

There are some great progress shots of how this one came together on Facebook, check it out!

vintage & contemporary

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It's not everyday you get the request to make a very contemporary wedding ring to sit alongside a very vintage engagement ring.  What a challenge, one I was very excited about.

Her engagement ring required a fitted shaped wedding band due to the design of the setting holding the antique European cut diamond.  The engagement ring, purchased in an antique store in Buenos Aires, was made in the 1930s with a much older diamond in my absolute favourite old style cut. 

The brief from her was that she wanted to pair it with something of equal presence; very contemporary; loves blue; they got engaged on a mountain hike in South America so wanted to incorporate a mountain-like texture; and of course it had to still compliment her engagement ring! 

So the results are quite fantastic and I ended up loving everything about the combination.   She ended up choosing a gorgeous Australian blue sapphire feature stone, mined and cut in Australia in a freeform geometric shape. 

Her fiance chose a complimentary hand carved mountain texture in his wedding band.  Subtle and unique.

commissions closed for a brief stork delivery

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Well it's come the time to announce that I have now closed private commissions for a short period, while I bunker down to prepare for the arrival of my second child.  I will of course happily receive and respond to any inquiries during this period, but I will not be available to make anything custom (unless you've already ordered it!) from April 1st until mid-late June.  

I will still have pieces available from my beautiful stockists in Melbourne and here on the Sunshine Coast, check them out on the contacts page of my website. 

My online store will still be up and running an available to purchase from, but made to order items will take longer than expected.  I am an enthusiastic communicator though, so I'll be in touch with you if you decide to purchase a made to order item to give you some specific waiting times. 

I will keep you updated across my social media platforms when I am officially back on board!

And just to make this post pretty, here's recent custom ring that was a seriously gorgeous colour combination.  A stunning Australian parti sapphire in a custom emerald type cut, with another 3 round stones - an Australian Argyle champagne diamond, a Ceylon cornflower blue sapphire, and a grey-green Australian sapphire.  All set in 18ct white and yellow gold.

heirloom diamonds

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A special commission that was recently finished incorporated the use of some heirloom diamonds that had been reworked in various engagement rings through 3 generations.  There's just nothing to compare with the old cut diamonds, their brilliance and sparkle is in my opinion far more interesting than the standard modern brilliant cuts we see today.  There is something to be said about the "not quite perfect" faceting on an old cut gemstone, which gives the truly hand worked touch to something which is now, in the case of diamonds, all cut by laser and calibrated by a computer. 

I reused the heirloom diamonds in combination with an Australian Argyle champagne diamond in the customer's new engagement ring.  Then the white gold that was from the ring handed down was completely used up to make the wedding band and a sweet little fine stacking band.  The wedding band featured two soft twists and a scatter of 3 Argyle champagne diamonds, and the stacking ring held two little granules, completely using up all the scrap of the existing recycled ring. 

wedding rings

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Your wedding.  In most cases, you will spend a great deal of effort and time planning your special day.  There is just so much to think about! 

Now I've only had one wedding of my own, but I do get to spend a great deal of time talking with other couples about theirs, so I'd like to think I have some helpful tips to put forward on occasion.

Ponder this then; what is the one thing that is left behind after the big day itself, apart from your renewed sense of love for your partner of course... the rings.

Your wedding rings are the one tangible object that in the majority of cases you have with you day in and day out for the rest of your lives together.  So don't you think that they ought to be pretty special?  Oftentimes I hear about how couples have spent so much time invested in the planning of the big event, and the rings are almost an afterthought.  What a shame to have run out of time to have something truly amazing hand crafted, only to be rushed at the end having to buy a more generic wedding ring off the shelf from a chain store or the like. 

Now I'm pretty lucky though I have to say, that the lovely couples I work with come to me to have something very special made, and appreciate the importance of having their rings hand made just for them.  Here a just a few of the wedding rings I've had the pleasure of making, each suited to the personalities of their owners, and made to last a lifetime.

future heirloom

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A wedding is the perfect occasion to have a bespoke piece of jewellery made, aside from your wedding rings of course, which can potentially become a future heirloom.  You can almost picture the thread of women, handed down through the generations, that could wear the very same piece for their own weddings.

This bracelet has the potential to do just that. 

Crafted in some incredible materials, this piece commands contemporary elegance.  Something which will not date in it's classic features, yet still maintains an air of modernity.  The best of both worlds.

9ct white gold featuring 18ct yellow gold accents.  The central circular component features an Australian Argyle champagne diamond, a steel blue Australian sapphire, and a smokey grey sapphire.  Set down one side of the bracelet is 25 Argyle diamonds, in ombre shading graduating from white to dark cognac. 

toi et moi

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"Toi et moi", meaning "you and me" in French, refers to an antique style of engagement ring where two large stones are featured prominently in the design.  I've long considered the balance of two a significant design aesthetic of mine, however I usually combine very different shapes or sizes so I could never really call it a true 'toi et moi'... until this one.

Featuring a freeform cut Australian parti sapphire, and a much more uncommon stone known as Andalusite, which originates from Andalucia in Spain where it was first discovered.  Combined, they are so rich and earthy in their tones, which suited this Spanish guapa to a tee, and was perfect to symbolise her marriage to her Australian man.  Set in 18ct white and yellow golds. 

darwin storm

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In the words of the receiver of this bespoke ring "the colours are like an afternoon storm in Darwin, my absolute favourite".

This beauty was made in secret for the new owner, commissioned by her very thoughtful partner.  Consisting of a white South Sea pearl, a deep grey Akoya pearl, and highlighted with the smokey undertones of grey & dusty pink Australian sapphires, and cognac diamonds.  The cool white gold set off this stunning array of subtle colours.  It was an absolute pleasure to make.

 

 

classic white

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Here's one that was certainly a shift away from my usual contemporary designs.  This engagement ring is an absolute classic, and made with some of the finest diamonds around.  Featuring just over 1 carat total in near colourless Australian Argyle round brilliant cut diamonds, it is probably the sparkliest ring I've made yet!

In these images you can follow the progress as it was made.  Don't be fooled, hand making traditional jewellery is not for the faint-hearted!  The precision involved means there's no room for error, everything has to be calculated, measured and executed exactly.  I hope you enjoy seeing some of the process.

 

 

new online!

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New items have hit the online store and are available right now!

Even more exciting are the plans underway for a shiny new, fresh & coastal inspired lookbook being photographed later this month.  It will feature all of these new items and so much more, we can't wait to show you.

In the meantime head over to the store for the full descriptions and prices of these fresh pieces...

Bell necklaces with semi precious stone & recycled glass

Bell necklaces with semi precious stone & recycled glass

the sunrise choker, made with Portuguese cork & a sterling silver magnetic clasp

the sunrise choker, made with Portuguese cork & a sterling silver magnetic clasp

hand stamped disc studs in sterling silver

hand stamped wrist cuff in solid sterling silver

hand stamped wrist cuff in solid sterling silver

long distance commissions

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Have you been thinking of commissioning a bespoke piece, but you don't live anywhere near Noosa?  We are so fortunate to live in this technological era where a global access to anything you want is practically at your fingertips.   Getting something hand made from a distance is not as difficult or as risky as you might think.

Establishing my jewellery business and gold smithing education roots in Melbourne, I was so lucky to have developed such crucial ties and relationships to really what is considered the epicentre of manufacturing jewellery in Australia.  Initially I assumed that the majority of my private commission jobs would come from personal interaction with local Melbournites.  Granted, a significant portion of my clients were local, however I was surprised at just how many people were from interstate and were willing to be guided by correspondence to commission a special piece of jewellery. 

Making the big decision to uproot and move to the sunnier shores of Noosa Qld was certainly made easier with the comforting fact that these special, supportive, and trusting types of people would still be around, and these long distance commissions would only continue to grow. 

It's really so easy to initiate the process.  A simple email or phone call will do.  The chain of emails that then follow are filled to the brim with ideas, pictures, sketches, ball park quotes, alternatives, and lots of technical information ('cos that's super important to me ;) and all of this is of course completely obligation free.  There is nothing to pay until the final design and final quotes are all agreed upon. 

I have heard from some people that this type of process has been somewhat more beneficial to them than talking to someone in store and being bombarded with information overload.  The option to be able to read and re-read the information and digest it in the privacy of your own abode can be really helpful in determining what it is that you really want. 

If you have any questions about the process, don't be shy, ask away!

Here are some of the more recent commissions that were all done by correspondence

pear shaped aquamarine and diamond engagement ring in 9ct white gold

pear shaped aquamarine and diamond engagement ring in 9ct white gold

australian sapphire and champagne diamond engagement ring in 18ct yellow gold

australian sapphire and champagne diamond engagement ring in 18ct yellow gold

ruby lilypad ring in oxidised sterling silver

ruby lilypad ring in oxidised sterling silver

green sapphire art deco style ring in 9ct rose & white gold

green sapphire art deco style ring in 9ct rose & white gold

grey freshwater pearl and cognac diamond ring in sterling silver & 18ct yellow gold

grey freshwater pearl and cognac diamond ring in sterling silver & 18ct yellow gold

 

 

argyle goodness

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Recently I had the opportunity to work with some of Australia's iconic Argyle diamonds.  Famous for their fancy colours, notably the pink, these just happened to be in my favourite diamond colour of all, the champagne & cognac variety. 

My client wanted a clear conscience when she embarked on the journey to have engagement rings made for herself and her partner.  After all the initial discussions and design talk, the decision was to go with the Argyle diamonds, of course for their spectacular colour and quality, but primarily for their ethical standards when it comes to both the mining & cutting practices.  In fact, the entire ethos of this particular Argyle diamond company is this:

source - ethical.traceable.responsible

Together with the ethical, Australian based, small business, & sustainability practices of a manufacturing jeweller such as myself, and you have an end product that you can truly feel good about. 

Here are the results, two very striking designs that subtly compliment one another, and also compliment the personalities of each woman.

Princess cut champagne Argyle diamond in 18ct white & yellow gold

Princess cut champagne Argyle diamond in 18ct white & yellow gold

Radiant cut cognac Argyle diamond in 18ct white & yellow gold

Radiant cut cognac Argyle diamond in 18ct white & yellow gold

an epic ring

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Ok friends, this is probably one of the most epic rings I've made to date.  This piece was born out of a few key elements - it was to be designed for a dear friend of mine as a surprise engagement ring.  Knowing her so well, I was pretty confident that it had to be bold, rich in colour, completely and utterly unique, and in general have lots going on.  Only she could pull off wearing this miniature sculpture on her hand.

So off to the sketchbook I went, and working closely with my main gem man Paul Fenselau, together he and I came up with this incredible selection of Australian green, teal & parti sapphires to combine into the spread that you see in the finished piece.  With the addition of some champagne diamonds to tie in that cool/warm contrast, and hand constructed in entirely 18ct yellow gold, the final piece developed along the lines of my initial sketch but also in a somewhat organic make-it-up-as-you-go-along fashion.  Pretty much my ideal way to work.

What a pleasure it is to create these treasures. 

 

 

stacks with a story

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I consider it a privilege to create something for someone which can hold so much meaning for them.  In the case of this latest commission, a surprise 30th birthday present for his beautiful wife, the incorporation of the three birthstones for husband, wife & son, seemed the obvious yet perfectly simple solution to create this special ring set.

One ring is comprised of the recipient's birthstone- diamond (lucky girl!), and her husband's birthstone - garnet, though in this case we decided to go for the rarer colour type called Demantoid Garnet, a shade of olivey-limey green which has fire like a diamond when it sparkles.

The second ring is set with an amethyst, the birthstone of their son.  The beauty of fine stacking rings such as these is that they are fun to wear as you can swap them over to create different placements, and also this particular set allows for the addition of more should their family continue to grow!

sterling silver & 18ct yellow gold with champagne diamond, demantoid garnet & amethyst

sterling silver & 18ct yellow gold with champagne diamond, demantoid garnet & amethyst