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Melbourne jewellery label Cleopatra’s Bling’s first flagship store is an ode to connection

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LESLIE VON BEHRENS

WORDS GITIKA GARG

Take a step inside a world of culture and craftsmanship.

When it comes to exquisitely crafted, conversation-provoking jewellery, for me, Melbourne label Cleopatra’s Bling is the first name that comes to mind. Handcrafted by skilled artisans from different corners of the globe, its pieces capture a curiosity for the ethereal and possess rich symbolism and history.

The label’s founder and designer, Olivia Cummings, draws on her love of travel, mosaicing together the cultural influences and ancient craftsmanship of the East and the West that she discovered on her adventures across Istanbul and Italy.  


To discover more local labels, head to our Fashion section. 


With a cult following online, lovers of the label can now experience the wanderlust felt in every piece in real life as the brand opens the doors to its first flagship store in Melbourne.

I stole a moment from Olivia to speak to her about everything we can expect from her new brick-and-mortar store, and what it’s meant for her brand and customers.

Hi Olivia! Tell me a bit about yourself and how you started your jewellery label Cleopatra’s Bling.

I grew up in Melbourne and when I was 18 I left for Paris. I was there working and studying doing my masters and thought I should be doing the logical career path. I was doing brand management and strategic planning at an agency there but obviously that’s not what I wanted to be doing because I was just making other brands successful. After that, I left and went to Istanbul and met artisans who taught me everything that turned into an accidental career change.

Honestly [Cleopatra’s Bling] just grew from there. I was in Istanbul for five years really just honing in on jewellery making and developing my aesthetic. I went to Naples for the last two years of my 13 years overseas and developed my fine line in Florence. It has been a big transition but an incredible journey. It has also been really fun because I approached the brand from the backend. I didn’t go into it with a fashion mentality at all, instead more from a desire to connect with artisans and traditional crafts people and then it all just fell into place from there. 

Tell me about your pieces and where you draw inspiration from.

I would say they are historic-maximalism. We like drawing on history. I am absolutely not a minimalist in any way so my brand reflects my life. I like bold pieces, colour and symbolism but we don’t do it in an empty way.

If a stone is engraved with something it is made by a traditional stone engraving from Istanbul so we try to be as authentic as we can and inject jewellery with colour and very high craftsmanship. We only work with a bunch of artisans across the world who specialise in a field. I make all the designs from wax myself. So yes, I would call it flamboyant maximalist designs.  

What has it been like opening up a physical flagship store? What has this journey been like?

It has been fun in that we can extend the ethos of the brand in a way that we can’t online. We can give people the whole experience of what it is like to be a part of the Cleopatra’s Bling universe. We like to connect with people and talk with them and the shop has facilitated that. 

How has this grown and expanded your brand?

Through giving people a really wholesome experience with the brand, it will grow organically. When you are online, it is great because you can reach a lot of people, however, you need to be able to convey why your product is great digitally. 

With a shop, my warm and friendly staff can pour them a cup of coffee. They don’t need to feel pressured to buy anything because we aren’t sales driven people. We can talk to them and they can see the pieces, so it has given us the opportunity to introduce the brand to people in an intimate way. 

What have been some of the challenges in bringing this together?

Yes because this was done during lockdown. It was more of a physical challenge than anything. We were all emotionally and spiritually ready for it, it was just that we had to wait for so long. And then, of course, going from an online store to a physical store, it’s a big organisation adjustment. 

What can people expect at this new physical store?

I would say a very accurate representation of what the brand stands for. A nice conversation, sharing of information, hospitality and genuine products that are made with really good intentions and high skills. 

Cleopatra’s Bling has kindly offered all FJ readers a 20 per cent discount off its demi-fine collections (gold-plated, vermeil and sterling silver). The discount code is CBLOVESFJ, and it’s applicable in-store and online. Want to have a quick browse online before heading to the store? Discover its range here. And if you’re in Melbourne you can visit Cleopatra’s Bling in person at 74 Johnston Street, Collingwood. 

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