Jeweller in Focus: Issue. 6
3rd Week, February
Maria K Jewellery
Based in Sydney Australia, Maria K Jewellery is a flourishing business that has emerged in recent times. Over the last five years, they have created and designed some amazing jewellery pieces which have been recognised both by their customers, and the jewellery industry as a whole. With a mix of highly contemporary stylistic pieces, and more traditional ‘go-to’ designs, With past experience in the international jewellery scheme, Maria’s business is a sight to behold as they continue powering forward in the Australian jewellery market.
We will seek to explore the beautiful jewellery of this business, as well as the mindset, goals, and reflective thoughts moving forward of the delightful Maria K.
A Jewellery Designer with Ambition
Ever since she was a child, Maria has always been expressing herself “with various forms of art”. Whether it be music, dance, painting, photography, or whatever else allowed her to express her emotions. This led to her pursuing an education in Gemmology and Jewellery Design from the world-renown Gemmological Institute of America (GIA). Maria, always wanting to be a part of the design process, also “pursued CAD” and decided to take on her third programme at the GIA: “The Diploma of Jewellery Design and Technology”.
CAD design has allowed her to gain a lot of knowledge, in understanding the jewellery she works with. Now, after four years and with over six thousand hours of experience, CAD has become “her main bread and butter”. CAD services are a major selling point of her products in the US, Canada, and Australia. Maria founded her first business ‘Gems to Jewels’ which is a wholesale distributor and importer of gemstones and is now branching out to a more retail-based scheme.
Future plans for Maria K Jewellery are the development of her website. This will be used as a platform to convey her products and services to retail customers in a more accessible manner. Further pushing forward her business, and letting it launch!
Jewellery – Bold and Intricate
Maria’s jewellery designs are both innovative and beautiful. They utilise a combination of modern stylistic techniques, in conjunction with traditional gemstone pairings which elevate the beauty of the piece as a whole. Maria often achieves this through the use of “coloured stones and accenting coloured gemstones with diamonds”. The harmony of colours that emerges from the mixtures of light and dark bring a brilliance that is rarely achieved. After all, this is what “drove Maria into the industry”.
Her pieces freely explore her appreciation for diamonds, coloured stones, and the synchronised beauty of each. Whether it be a new conceptual and intricate, or a more traditional yet ever so elegant design. Coloured stones, much like the “underrated spinel” are Maria’s “main obsession”. She hopes to implement more in upcoming jewellery collections, all of which display her signature bold and intricate designs. The combination of bold and intricate add a certain “umph” that simply can’t be obtained otherwise.
Maria enjoys making every single one of her designs, whether it be a “custom design with simple straight lines and one coloured gemstone or intricate pieces with lots of detail and complexity”. In more recent times, however, Maria expertly designed the “Sea Urchin on the Rockpools” ring. This ring was entered into the recently held JAA Jewellery Design Competition 2021-22 and was awarded the ‘People’s Choice Award’! A fantastic achievement. The reason Maria enjoyed creating this ring was that the “execution of the piece for the first time is exactly what she envisioned it to be”. She was ecstatic when it was completed and was completely overjoyed.
An Ever-changing Industry
The Jewellery industry is extremely fluid in the way that it changes. This was especially true for Maria’s experience when returning to Australia to work within the jewellery industry. At first, there was “quite a bit of resistance” felt on the Australian market. In order to overcome this, she persisted and displayed a large amount of resilience. This was especially the case when facing challenges like the pandemic, where border closures hindered her wholesale business. During this period, her CAD services are what kept her keeping ahead, and working forward in the industry. “The jewellery industry is beautiful because there are so many niches and fields one can get into”. Maria enjoys each and every one of them, but her success and focus on CAD has allowed her to master it, and brings her the most enjoyment of all.
Within the past 5 years, there have been many changes that have occurred within the industry. The price of coloured gemstones has risen. And most notably, a huge focus has been shifted onto “precision cut and ‘designer’ gemstones”. The emergence of cutters who make their own creative and fancy fantasy cuts, the machines which have developed, and new “cool intricate designs” are taking the market by storm. A possible marker for the future! Maria also noticed that the collaboration between artists and the emergence of “polyartists” have started getting recognition in this time. It is at an extremely high standard, and it is something to look forward to for the future as well.
The GIA Influence
We asked Maria to comment a bit about her work with the GIA, and how it compares to other gemmology courses and schools. This is what she had to say:
“I am not able to compare the courses which I have undertaken at GIA with other gemmology schools. However, the benefits that I believe which have been gained as per my beliefs are:
- “The deep industry connections developed into friendships whilst studying on-site at the GIA Carlsbad campus in California”
- “Learning from industry’s best instructors and learning their tricks”
- “Being exposed to many high profile industry leaders – be it mine owners, field gemologists, jewellery designers”
- “Developing long-life connections with these individuals who love to share their knowledge about the industry and who I can reach out to for advice at any moment which is crucial when starting out in a new field as we are all alone .”
A Message to Future Jewellers
The jewellery industry will provide a wide variety of challenges. The “Most challenging would be working on your own and having to rely solely on own judgement, expertise and previously gained knowledge for anything the day may throw at you – be it making a good deal on a new parcel of stones, knowing how to design various pieces to be sturdy, practical whilst beautiful, being creative and simultaneously making “correct” business decisions. It’s ongoing and has not changed.” However, once you surpass these challenges, there are many benefits that ensue.
The Gem industry has “matured me as a person, but perhaps it was time to! I am so proud to be learning something new every day through this industry. Learning to be resilient, not giving up and just throwing myself in the deep end. Sometimes being naïve has helped and taught some lessons too (but this could have happened in any other industry too) I guess the main reflection is how far I have become as a designer through practice, and also through experience. There is a concept to jewellery design and particularly rings. There is a structure to rings, which I have noticed gradually – my first ring designs now that I reflect back onto them are very amateur and I guess I could have only come to see that with experience.”