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6 Australian creatives share their most sentimental pieces of jewellery

PHOTOGRAPHY BY NADEEMY BETROS FOR DOCG

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

The meaning behind our most treasured trinkets.

During a recent visit with my grandmother, she reached across the weatherbeaten wood table and grabbed my mum’s bare hands. “Lynne,” she said, a look of grave concern crossing her face. “Why aren’t you wearing any of my jewellery?”

For my grandma, jewellery – or lack thereof – is a signifier of the strength of our familial bonds. It’s a way in which she can immortalise her fading memories in a physical form, and swap generational stories between fingers, earlobes and wrists. She taught me, and the women who came before me, that jewellery can hold intrinsic sentimental value.


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My experience is in no way unique. Most of us have a piece in our jewellery collection that holds special meaning – whether it be a marker of achievement, a homage to a loved one or a symbol of imagination and talent. Below, six Australian creatives share the meaning behind their most sentimental pieces of jewellery.

Sarah McLean, Marketing Coordinator at PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival

When I think about my approach to jewellery, the phrase ‘less is more’ comes to mind. I own only a few pieces, but those I do have are very special. Most have been created by friends and each has a unique intricacy that reminds me of its creator.

My most sentimental piece is a pair of Celine earrings I received for my 21st birthday. I mostly wear them on special occasions as they’re rather heavy but if I could wear them every day, I would. Perhaps it was the giant pearl at the end that drew me in, or my desire to appear more sophisticated and elegant at 21. I still sometimes feel that way when I slip them on, knowing they’re a pair I’ll never part with.

@_sarahmclean

Rachael Sarra, designer and artist

These two pieces were designed and handmade by Ebony Birks, a proud descendant of Kamilaroi and Dunghutti people. The top ring is my mum’s and the bottom ring is mine. I had them made for us to represent the special bond and link that we have and to say thank you for all the love, help and support that Mum selflessly gives to everyone – especially me.

Not only is this ring sentimental to me because of the link to my mother, but Ebony is also a really close friend. The love and time that she puts into every piece are inspiring. It blows my mind that her hands made these. I certainly wouldn’t have the finesse or concentration to create something so delicate.

@sar.ra__

Jake Cheeseman, founder of Jake Cheeseman Jewellery

One of my favourite, most sentimental pieces of jewellery I own is an opal ring I made for myself. Originally in a pendant, the opal had fallen out and was passed down from my grandmother to my mum. After my grandmother passed, it was gifted to me. The opal itself is very unique. It’s quite light in colour, and the blue/green colours remind me of the ocean back home in Byron Bay.

@jake.cheeseman

Charlotte Gregg, founder of Postel

My most sentimental piece of jewellery is the earrings I made for [my brand], Postel. I’d just experienced a loss when I started designing and through the process of making them, I found a lot of joy. Now they always remind me of strength and happiness.

@chargregg

DocG, Creative Director of DocG Studios

The Forever Now, Forever Pendant is my first venture into jewellery. It encapsulates all the cuteness of love; that unconditional love for one’s friends and family. This piece isn’t sentimental yet, but I hope whoever receives this pendant finds that sense of sentiment. I hope it reminds them of whoever it is in their life that makes them feel loved, forever.

@docg_

Cong Yu, founder of Cong Yu Jewellery

When I was little, there was a padded elephant tapestry from Thailand hanging in my home. My grandma was an elegant lady with a chubby body. In summer, she loved walking barefoot on the floor in her exotic kaftans. Combined with the countless shiny ornaments embroidered on the elephant, that became the most glamorous and vivid memory of my childhood.

It occupied a little girl’s imagination of the faraway land and shaped my understanding of beauty. I created the Yan Necklace in memory of my grandma Hanyan and the geographic features of my homeland Jiangnan, a river delta region with a prosperous culture formed through the confrontation between land and river.

@congyuau

For more on the value of sentimental jewellery, head here.

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