Fashion trends change rapidly these days, but if there’s one way to consistently make an outfit your own, it’s with jewellery. The treasured pieces we adorn ourselves with everyday are the ones that make us feel like ourselves, even when we aren’t wearing a stitch.
Your own collection probably says a lot - a mix of family heirlooms, sentimental gifts that mark milestones, bling that reminds you of a special party or a market stall you visited overseas.
Here in Aotearoa we are blessed to have an impressive pool of rising and renowned jewellers from all different backgrounds - some self taught, some formally trained, these talented makers have honed their craft with a unique style that has caught our eye. Because when you know the hands that made your jewellery, it makes it all the more special. Whether you're looking for a gift or your next investment piece, here's our ever-expanding list of local jewellers worth having on your radar.
Playful and punk, Auckland-based jeweller Flora Bird specialises in hand-made chains and textural silver rings and earrings, often with pops of neon enamel. Leaving visible fingerprints on her finished pieces to celebrate the process of making, Flora offers unique everyday pieces like her petal sleepers and barbed wire studs (as seen on musician Riiki Reid) but excels in the OTT - think stacked chokers draped with chain that can be worn multiple ways - as seen on Princess Chelsea.
Another jeweller with a distinctly punk spirit, Tairāwhiti-born artist Johnny Dimery has a “slight obsession with impractical, minor-injury-causing jewellery” - he even made a deadly scorpion for Orville Peck when the singer was touring Aotearoa last year.
Working from their studio/shop New Rose in Te Whanganui-A-Tara, Johnny expertly casts intricate, often delicate pieces out of precious metals resembling thorned roses, spinning blades and “the gene splicing pest who changed the way we see Jeff Goldblum forever”.
Where to shop: mutatiion.com, New Rose, 3 Wilson Street Newtown, Wellington (open Saturdays).
Courtney Marama (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura and Ngāti Ranginui)
A formally trained goldsmith and gem cutter, Courtney Marama specialises in bespoke designs hand-crafted in precious metals and set using only New Zealand gemstones (mainly West Coast Pounamu, Coromandel Carnelian and Canterbury Agate), uniquely cut and carved by herself.
Courtney's exquisite one-off designs are inspired by the geometric forms found in her Māori culture and papatuanuku and the precious minerals that come from deep in the earth.
Where to shop: courtneymarama.com
Camille Paloma Walton
If you haven’t come across Camille Paloma Walton’s striking and sparkly pieces yet, prepare to be charmed. Born and raised in Pōneke, the Kapiti Coast based jeweller draws inspiration from traditional forms, using a combination of metals and semi-precious stones. Camille’s sweet hand-carved hearts, daisies, and rings stacked with candy-coloured gemstones always make us swoon.
You know we can’t go past a bow… Tāmaki Makaurau-based jeweller Shannen Young makes whimsical, nostalgic pieces from the shared studio/showroom The Keep on Karangahape Road.
Working with sterling silver and solid gold for durability and longevity, Shannen has an intuitive approach to design, letting the inspiration for her pieces reveal itself during the process. Shannen has even experimented with charms for the hair and ‘angel kiss’ shoe charms - to adorn your favourite sneakers (!). A pair of her textural statement earrings would be an amazing investment for the party season.
Also working from The Keep, jeweller Wilbur Hsu makes meaningful and intricate pieces inspired by exploring their own Taiwanese and Chinese lineage. “When I was born I was gifted a few pieces of jewellery, often made from red string, jade or gold or a combination of all. I have drawn inspiration from these heirlooms to translate into the pieces I make now. The red silk I use is a symbol of joy, happiness and good fortune, while the jade is a healing and protective stone.”
Wilbur’s touch is distinctively personal — whether forged in fine metals, silk cloth or vintage beads. Their baby bracelets adorned with nine charms (gifted by an aunt in the mid 90s in China) were the catalyst to their collection, ‘JIÛ 九’.
Formally trained as a goldsmith, jeweller Tashjian Emia has been in the trade for nearly five years. She aims to bring this learned knowledge into a more playful, candid context that captures spontaneity.
"For me jewellery has always felt like poetry: it's something we don't need, but if we connect with a piece, we love it so deeply. A lot of what I do is made to order, so I use this approach depending on the wearer," she says. Tashji's jewellery is nostalgic, flirtatious, whimsical and spirited (just like her wedding we wrote about earlier this year!).
Shop: @tashji__ via DM, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for customs.
"Amulets of love and strength" is how jeweller Katelyn Nelson describes her brand Quim. Known for her modern, minimal designs with an unexpected edge (think shapes reminiscent of 90s tribal tattoos and Elvish amulets), local fans of Quim include cool people like Benee, JessB and former Ensemble cover star Kama Aliska Scretching (pictured).
Based in Tāmaki Makaurau, former architecture student Annabella brings a love for materiality to her craft, applying skills for large scale building to her jewellery designs.
Genderless and timeless, her work plays with the duality between structured and organic forms - we particularly love the collection inspired by the star anise (pictured). Working mostly with silver and gold, Annabella also makes beautiful chains and textured rings set with colourful round gemstones - perfect for everyday stacking.
Where to shop: @annabella_sbel via DM
The talented Maeve Woodhouse is the Tāmaki Makaurau-based design director behind fine jewellery label Hera Saabi - which stands for feminine strength, considered design and supporting local creative communities.
Starting her jewellery training in Melbourne Australia, Maeve worked under a master goldsmith William Griffiths while studying the craft at The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. We adore their intricate, playful and finely sculpted pieces - receiving anything from Hera Sabi would be incredibly special.
Where to shop: herasaabi.com