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jewellery

Fashion

The Princess Diaries

30th September, 2020
Not your average day in the office. Wearing a beautiful Chaumet tiara and ring

In what can only be described as a surreal year, I had a definite pinch-me fashion moment recently. Having worked with the luxury jewellery house Chaumet in the past, most notably during 2018’s Melbourne Cup Carnival events, I was thrilled to work with them again this year. Not only do they produce exquisite jewellery, but it gave me the chance to play princess—if only for a brief moment.

Chaumet has a long history (since 1780 to be precise) of creating beautiful tiaras for monarchies and aristocratic families. In producing this shoot, I was given the opportunity to wear this stunning tiara from their Josephine collection. The elegant vine design, featuring diamonds is such a delicate aesthetic but has a boldness about it that makes it an undeniable statement piece—as you’d expect from a tiara!

One of the most interesting things about working with Chaumet is learning about the painstaking craftsmanship that goes into producing a single tiara. I learned that a tiara can take between 500-1500 hours of work to complete, which is around 2-6 months. This includes everything from preparing the setting, to polishing, re-cutting diamonds and finally, the final finishing touches that make a Chaumet tiara such a standout piece of jewellery. It certainly made the opportunity to shoot with this tiara even more special.

Playing princess for a day was truly a surreal moment and one that I’ll definitely be banking as a top fashion memory. Because there’s being given the opportunity to wear beautiful jewellery, but there’s something about a tiara that’s in a category unto itself. A definite little girl dream fulfilled!

Photography: Sophia Athas

This post was produced in collaboration with Chaumet

Fashion, Fashion & Beauty

Linden Cook Impression: The ultimate way to personalise jewellery

22nd January, 2020

Late last year I was invited by jewellery brand Linden Cook to their showroom to view their Impressions range and was lucky enough to be able to create my own special necklace on the day. Each piece in the range is one-of-a-kind as each delicate pendant features a fingerprint impression. Mine features Sophia and Grace’s fingerprints, but the four of us, including Luke and myself were all able to experience having a traditional wax cast taken of our fingerprints on the day.

The whole process is incredibly easy but results in such a personal, unique piece. You can choose from four different lengths (or request a custom length), the number of fingerprints pendants you want and also the type of metal used. Once you’ve purchased it on the site, you’re sent a kit to take the wax impression, send the completed cast back to Linden Cook who will then start crafting your necklace. As each piece is handmade, it takes around 4-6 weeks to receive the finished piece.

I’m quite sentimental when it comes to my jewellery and love the pieces I wear to mean something so I was thrilled be able to have this experience. It’s very special to have a beautiful piece that allows me to have the girls with me always. If you’ve got an important milestone coming up this would definitely be a memorable way to mark it.

[Top necklace] The beautiful finished product

Fashion, What I Wore

A touch of Paris at the races

14th November, 2018

Like most women I’ve always had a huge appreciation for beautiful jewellery. I’ve always admired the craftsmanship that goes into each piece and also the story that each design tells. So I was thrilled to be able to work with French jewellery house Chaumet for the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Founded in 1780, it quickly became the official jeweller for Empress Josephine. Its collections today are still handcrafted in Paris’ place Vendôme, with each piece having a sophisticated and timeless Parisian sensibility.

I wore Chaumet pieces for each of my looks for the key spring racing days and was spoilt for choice with Chaumet’s three unique universes to choose from. Each universe — Josephine, Liens and Jardins is a unique collection with a distinct aesthetic and personality. The Josephine universe echoes the history of the brand, with elegant pieces that are designed to make a statement. Jardins has a whimsical feel, incorporating a slightly more playful nature whilst Liens is about sentimental pieces that are designed to make special moments in life.

I am the first to admit I had a ball picking out pieces but without a doubt the one I was most excited about was wearing the Josephine Aigrette Imperiale tiara at Derby Day. Chaumet is known as the house of the tiara, having created over 2000 tiaras since its inception, so I was in expert hands. The first time I tried it on I definitely had my very own princess moment. Images don’t do the tiara justice — it really was exquisite. Made of 18-carat white gold and dotted with 212 brilliant cut diamonds, it added a touch of sparkle to my monochrome look and was a definite conversation piece throughout the day.

For Melbourne Cup, Oaks Day and Stakes Day I was able to wear a few pieces from the various collections, and each definitely gave my outfits a special touch. What I liked most was that each design was unique and had a standout element whether it be an interesting shape or a gorgeous stone and all elevated my looks — as only a striking piece of jewellery can.

If you want to get up close and personal with these beautiful pieces you can head to Chaumet’s boutiques in Westfield Sydney and Chadstone Shopping Centre

Having a princess moment at Derby Day in the Josephine tiara

The incredible Josephine tiara in detail

 

Wearing the Hortensia Eden earrings and ring at Melbourne Cup

Adding a bit of sparkle to my look with the Jeux de Liens bracelets

Understated elegance at Oaks Day wearing the Josephine Aigrette earrings and rings

The insanely beautiful Josephine Aigrette ring and wedding band (if you’re getting married seriously consider it)

Elevating my look with a few Chaumet pieces at Stakes Day

This post was produced in collaboration with Chaumet

Fashion, Shop

Shell jewellery is majorly trending at the moment and it’s time to add it to your wardrobe

5th August, 2018

Want to add a seaside vibe to your next look? You’re in luck because shell jewellery is well and truly having a moment. The beach-inspired pieces have been spotted on many a blogger’s Instagram account and is trending across major retailers, with brands such as Isabel Marant and Rebecca de Ravenel all doing their own version of shell accessories. Whether you dip your toe into this trend with an understated pendant or want to make a statement with bold hoop earrings, the vibe is resort meets bohemian and is one great way to add a relaxed touch to any ensemble. Prepare to be inspired with a few Insta-outfits featuring shell pieces and get ready to shop my top picks below.

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Shop my shell jewellery picks below…

Fashion, What I Wore

What I Wore: Pandora Shine collection launch

29th March, 2018

Set in the beautiful The Calyx in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden was a golden hued haven for launch of the Pandora Shine collection. As I had the honour of hosting the event I wanted an outfit that echoed the theme of the day so it was truly special when I was able to wear this gold number by Bec and Bridge before it even hit stores.

I love the look of gold satin as it has such a beautiful drape and finish and has a glam touch that was perfect the occasion. The long sleeves juxtaposed with the thigh high split is in keeping with my longstanding fashion formula of choosing one part of the body to focus on when it comes to outfits. The split was a definite showstopper feature but the sleeves helped temper it and made it work for a day event.

When it came to my accessories I wanted to keep most of the look quite tonal so I stuck to all gold jewellery. I found it added to my outfit without taking away from the beautiful dress being the centrepiece. Simplicity is always key when working with such a statement dress so I thought my black Alaïa heels would be the perfect choice. They added a touch of colour without being too over the top. And I’ve always found that black and gold is a winning colour pairing and dialled up the glamour of my look in a subtle, yet striking way.

Credits: Dress, Bec and Bridge (not in store yet); Heels, Alaïa

Photography: Guy Davies and Jason James

Fashion, Shop

Minimalist necklaces to fall in love with

21st January, 2018

There’s a time and place for statement jewellery but sometimes an outfit calls for something simple and understated to wear everyday; a piece that will work back with your wardrobe seamlessly. Enter minimalist jewellery. This style has been a constant trend but the hero piece would definitely have to be a fine chain necklace with a teeny tiny pendant to match. It’s become a favourite of many a fashion blogger and celeb. It’s jewellery that is classic, not over the top and there’s something quite elegant about accessorising with such a delicate piece. 

The best bit about such dainty jewellery is its chameleonic nature- you can wear it to work one minute and a party the next without ever having to take it off. If you want to add a minimalist necklace to your collection, be sure to let your personality shine through for there are so many different pendants around, from a simple diamond to a heart that can reflect who you are. It just goes to show that big doesn’t always mean better.

Shop my edit of minimalist necklaces…

Fashion, Shop

New jewellery brands to refresh your accessories collection

22nd December, 2017

A girl can never have too much jewellery, right? Lucky for us we’re thoroughly spoilt for choice when it comes to cool jewellery brands at the moment. Whether it’s delicate rings and necklaces or statement earrings that are guaranteed to be the centrepiece of any look a nice bit of sparkle is always a good idea. So whilst the iconic jewellery houses are always a great place to find something special, these days there’s something to be said for the smaller boutique labels which deliver a unique aesthetic and standout pieces you’re guaranteed to love. Here are seven to keep on your radar.

Reliquia Jewellery

The brand’s name is derived from the world relic and the Spanish word for family heirloom and it’s a fitting description for Reliquia’s range. Each sculptural piece has a strong art deco influence that shines through and you’re guaranteed to find something that makes a bold statement.

Katerina Makriyianni

Inspired by her native Crete, designer Katerina Makriyianni creates her entire collection by hand. Her signature look is all about working with a rainbow of vibrant colours and natural textures, with the fan design being a staple element of the brand.

Rebecca de Ravenel

I have a pair of ombre pink Rebecca de Ravenel earrings and love that they’re so striking. Each of the colourful embroidered drop earrings in the range are handmade in India and incorporates a sphere design element throughout.

Alighieri 

Inspired by Dante Alighieri’s ‘Divine Comedy’ each piece in the collection is inspired by one of the poets 100 poems. Think arresting gold pieces that almost feel like they’re each a mini sculpture. The detail, the shapes, the texture all equate to singular pieces that each have their own unique feel.

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Catbird

This NYC-based label is all about modern minimalist jewellery. Delicate rings and necklaces along with dainty studs and drop earrings makes for an understated way to accessorise any look.

Natasha Schweitzer Jewellery

This Australian brand is designed and handcrafted on home soil with its pieces being worn by the likes of Lara Worthington and Jessica Gomes. The design is quite sleek and streamlined with geometric influences throughout. Perfect for the girl who loves jewellery that’s a little different and is a talking point.

Jennifer Fisher Jewelry

Don’t miss the brand’s simple gold hoops—no doubt they’d quickly become a fashion staple in your wardrobe. Along with its classic pieces, this label also works with interesting shapes such as lightning bolts and stars for jewellery that feels fresh and contemporary.

Fashion, Shop

The simple accessory that’s so easy to incorporate into your look

28th October, 2017

One of my fave accessories is a gold medallion my dad had made for me out of an antique gold coin. I’ve had it for years and wear it all the time as I love its sentimental value, and on a more practical note, it goes with virtually everything I own. Its had many an outing whether it be to a big event for work or a day spent with my family and each time I find it adds a special touch to each look. I’ve also noticed that the gold medallion is popping up on my fave blogger ladies’ Insta feeds (see below for some of my picks) and its definitely giving me plenty of ideas on how to wear my own, whether it be to a dressy affair or when I’m doing off duty style.

I find the key to a flattering fit is to ensure that you don’t clutter the look too much by allowing the gold medallion to take centre stage. You can do this by either wearing it solo or pairing it with simple, minimalist pieces. As for what to wear it with, your options are plentiful. I’ve worn mine with everything from a shirt dress to a strapless jumpsuit but the key for me is to have a bit of décolletage on show to allow it to really pop. And as with most accessories there are plenty of options out there for this particular style, from the budget-friendly to investment piece territory, so you’re bound to find a piece that suits.

Scroll below for some blogger-inspired looks and  to shop my gold medallion picks…

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Fashion

Fashion Q&A: Nic Cerrone, founder Cerrone Jewellers

26th October, 2017

 

The Cerrone family

Established in 1972, Cerrone is one of Australia’s most esteemed jewellery houses with its pieces frequently seen in magazines, on red carpets and many a glamorous event. At the helm of the brand is founder, Nic Cerrone who unexpectedly discovered his passion for jewellery design whilst doing gardening maintenance for the man who would eventually become his teacher. The rest, as he says, “is history”. Here Nic chats to me about his most favourite design ever, his biggest career highlight and the celebrity he considers to be “the perfect customer”…

What is a day in the life of you?

I get energy from getting up at 5am to get to the gym. I’m in the Leichhardt office between 7am – 6pm where my desk overlooks our workshop. I can be in and out of the office with various commitments. After work I like to be home with my wife, Carmela and our dog, an Italian greyhound named Charli.

Nic at the Cerrone workshop in Leichhardt

Where did your career in jewellery design begin?

In Australia, I was doing the garden maintenance for a jeweller and used to watch him craft. I was very interested and asked him for an apprenticeship. He became my master and before long I had opened Cerrone up in the back of my mother’s terrace, the same location the Leichhardt boutique stands today. The rest is history.

Do you remember the first big break for Cerrone? 

When I finished my apprenticeship I travelled the world for six months. This gave me a lot of inspiration and once I came back, I crafted a new collection and it sold out.

Who has been your favourite celebrity client to date?

There are so many beautiful customers, and I love that we are now looking after their children and their children’s children. However Barbara Streisand was the perfect customer. She is very well educated on diamonds, especially pink diamonds. She loves her jewellery and appreciates unique pieces.

You have won over 50 national and international jewellery design awards. What award have you been most proud of? 

The De Beers Diamond International award in 1998.  It is considered the Oscars of the jewellery industry and I was proud to bring the recognition back to Australia. The Elizabethan Cuff I designed is still my wife’s favourite piece and women continue to ask to wear it to various events.

Cerrone’s Elizabethan Ruff design

Nic and model Kristy Hinze wearing the award-winning Elizabethan Ruff

How has the industry changed over the years? 

The industry has changed on an international scale with global techniques. Handmade jewellery is very rare these days and is a craft that continues to define Cerrone.

Cerrone is now a global brand with a presence across Sydney, the US, Middle East, India and Italy. Do you find there is a difference in taste across your clientele? 

Absolutely. Different style appeals to different cultures and various gems tend to be more popular in different countries. Cerrone is passionate about pushing the envelope with our creations and I like to challenge myself with new designs so we constantly produce a broad selection of hand crafted jewellery pieces.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date? 

Making the vessel, plate and ciborium for the Pope for World Youth Day 2008. I am Italian—it was a dream come true.

The vessel, plate and ciborium for World Youth Day

 What does timeless style mean to you? 

Where beauty meets balance and craftsmanship.

Where is your favourite travel destination? 

Italy, Milano is my favourite city in the world.

 What do you like to do in your time off? 

I have a property in the Southern Highlands that I like to retreat to with my family. It is the most peaceful place on earth!

Nic’s property in the Southern Highlands, NSW

What is your favourite piece from all your collections? 

The ‘Elizabethan Ruff’ I designed which won The De Beers Diamond International award 2008.

How do you ensure your craftsmanship remains world class? 

 I travel around the world frequently which helps keep me inspired while keeping note of different trends.

Where do you find inspiration? 

Through travel, mainly Europe through architecture and fashion.

How did you grow your business to the success it is today? 

Quality always and customer service is key.

Where is your favourite place to eat in Sydney?

Sokyo at The Star.

Where do you see the brand in the next five years?

Still as successful as ever, looking after our clients.

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Samantha Wills

30th October, 2016

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Samantha Wills and I catch up at The Apollo Restaurant, Potts Point

As a 21-year-old, Samantha Wills founded her own, self-titled jewellery company. Her pieces have since been worn by the likes of Taylor Swift and Eva Mendes and appeared in the 2010 movie Sex and the City 2. Wills has been chosen to be a face of marketing campaigns for Optus, Yellowglen, Mount Franklin and Nespresso. This year, she was nominated at the Australian of the Year Awards. Wills, 33, chatted to me about the best advice she has been given, what she misses most about Australia, and how she turned her hobby into a business with $10 million turnover annually.

What is a day in the life of you?

When I’m in New York, it’s very creative focused [and I’m] in design mode. When I’m in Sydney, it’s very much team- and media-focused.

How did it all start for you?

I started the company when I was 21 – 12 years ago. Now we have offices in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Paris, Korea and Japan, and it started just as a hobby on my dining room table. I started selling down at Bondi Beach market and launched at Australian Fashion Week, very opportunistically, in 2004 with $17,000 of orders. As a 23-year-old, I threw everything I had, got myself into $80,000 of debt and refused to give up.

Did you always dream of becoming a jewellery designer?

I think when I was younger, I definitely always thought I’d have my own business in some capacity and it was always going to be creative. For me, jewellery wasn’t the be all and end all. It was more something that I could hand make myself without formal training, and so it kind of naturally evolved that way.

You’ve had many celebrities wear your designs. Who are some of your favourites that really stand out in your mind?

Definitely Taylor Swift is a huge favourite in American Vogue. Eva Mendes has to be a favourite. She made our signature Bohemian Bardot Ring [into] a global signature. Ever since she wore it [in 2008], it has been our bestselling item. And to have it appear on Sex and the City was pretty surreal as well.

How did the Sex and the City collaboration come about?

We were presenting to media in Los Angeles and … you hope that the right people come past. Patricia Field, the style assistant for the film, came past. They made some notes and then called some pieces in … You can assume those samples will be gone for a year or you won’t get them back because they go into the wardrobe department. About a year later, I had certainly forgotten about it, and we received a card with an illustration of the four girls on the front and it said, “One hand in the air for the big city, thanks for making us look so pretty. Love, Patricia” … I literally had to wait to go to the premiere of the film to see our products up on the big screen.

How did appearing in Sex and the City impact on your brand?

It kind of like evolves the story I think and adds credibility at an international level.

You are the face of Optus’ Small Business Campaign. How did that come about?

It was quite surreal. I think when you get a phone call like, “We’ve signed Mark Wahlberg on to do a campaign and would like you to sign on to the same campaign?”, I was kind of like, “Do you guys have the right number?”

Did you really think that?

Yes, it clicked to me that you really don’t know who is watching your journey and the team at Optus had done a lot of research on the last 12 years of my career and really felt that my story of an underdog from small town Port Macquarie to New York City would really resonate with small- to medium-sized business owners.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Working in fashion, people expect you to have attitude … [so] I think if you can be a nice person and treat everyone like they’re someone, it really goes a long way.

What would you tell your 19-year-old self? 

I think about myself when I was starting the business and the anxiety and the fear and the 20-hour work days … I would try and tell myself that if you look up every once in a while, everything is going to be OK, but I don’t think she will listen.

What would you say has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face? 

There are always challenges as your business grows or you become “procedure successful” – the challenges just differ. In the early days, being $80,000 in debt, as a 24-year-old is incredibly daunting. As the business grows, it’s people issues. You’re only as good as the people around you, so you’re continually managing people as well as the business.

What would your advice to someone starting out in the jewellery industry?

My overarching advice is you don’t want to be that person at the party, three years from now, being like, “Oh yeah, I was always going to do that”. Just start, even as insignificant as the action might seem, do something towards what you’re wanting to do.

Is New York home now?

It feels like home at the moment. I’ve got a great network over here and home is where you build your network. I say New York is my city, Sydney is my town.

What do you miss most about Australia?

Definitely the beaches. I think I was so spoilt growing up in Port Macquarie with these beautiful coastlines and then, in my 20s, in Sydney. When I come back to Australia now I know I look like a tourist because I’m taking a thousand photos of the ocean. I’m in it everyday. It just gives you a whole new level of appreciation for how beautiful our country is.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on a lot of external projects outside of the brand, which is really exciting for a personal career perspective… [It has been] stimulating and inspiring to kind of step outside the business, but still have it as the backbone and, I guess, the foundation of everything that I touch.

BITESIZE

WE WENT TO The Apollo Restaurant, Potts Point

WE ATE Walnuts filo pastry coffee cream dessert

WE DRANK Champagne and mineral water

SAMANTHA WORE Misha Collection jumpsuit