Fairina Cheng Jewellery – A Leap Into Novel

Jeweller in Focus: Issue. 14
3rd Week,
March 2023
Fairina Cheng Jewellery
Fairina Cheng

Unconventional jewellery for rule breakers and story makers; Fairina Cheng is a jeweller and designer based in Sydney, who thrives on her connection to distinctive, story-worthy and ethically-made jewellery. Some jewellers have a calling from a very young age, and others, later on in life. Being the latter, her experiences led her towards a career creating bespoke jewellery that tells a unique and symbolic story.

Jewellery… A Happenstance?

Being surrounded by department store jewellery and mass consumerism, we’ve all felt the mundane nature of mass-produced jewellery. Our Jeweller in Focus, Fairina was no stranger to this feeling, with “one engagement ring look[ing] just like the next.” Initially, a corporate-driven member of society, she worked long and hard hours. Taking a silver jewellery-making course was one of the only ways in which “she could get off work on time at least one day a week.”

Fairina had never been drawn to traditional jewellery. In fact, she started developing an interest in body jewellery when she was 16 due to its uniqueness. The jewellery industry almost lost Fairina to clothes-making, which to her seemed a lot more practical. But the intrigue of moulding a piece of solid metal into such intricate shapes persuaded her to pursue a career in jewellery. She completed a two-year Jewellery and Object Design qualification at TAFE. Following it up she completed a three-year Jewellery Manufacturing course.

“I still remember the rush I felt the day I put in my resignation at my corporate job to go full time in my jewellery practice.”

Fairina Cheng Jewellery is unique and varies from simple and timeless to distinct and unconventional. She loves making pieces with coloured gemstones, especially sapphires, and designs them to have a story woven into them, like an inside joke or something symbolic to the couple.

Style and Philosophy

Most of the jewellery Fairina creates has a home before it’s even made. This means that she does not produce lots of extra stock or design seasonal collections. Instead, she creates one-off pieces that are intended to be treasured for life, an approach that is much more in tune with her business philosophy.

The most influential figures in her business are her customers. A lot of the designs and ideas that make their way into her jewellery come from their stories. Depending on what the customer is after: they might go down the route of ethically sourced, traceable, or sustainably mined and created gems, and/or recycle their existing stones and gold where possible.

She has also tried her hand at computer-aided design (CAD). In fact, one of her first collections was a geometric 3D-printed design she created while experimenting in a TAFE classroom.

However, the majority of what she creates is handmade or wax-carved, supported by some CAD designs to balance up the workload as a small one-person workshop.

“The pieces I love are the ones with stories that make their new owners’ eyes light up, fill their hearts and put big goofy grins on their faces.”

Overcoming Challenges

Being a one-person business is a task that a lot of sole traders experience and Fairina is no different. “From making to customer service to admin” she was “working every waking hour in the earlier parts of [her] business, and even then there was still more to do”. Sometimes it is difficult to seek help, but when she got pregnant, she knew it would be more important than ever to do so. Finding trade jewellers who understood her design style and were good communicators was a challenge. Still, she was able to overcome this by finding partners and suppliers that she absolutely loved working with.

Because she enjoys so many aspects of running a business, she found it difficult to give any of them up, but she is getting better at letting go!

Dreams, Desires and Hobbies

Some jewellers have dreams of creating international jewellery brands, while others seek a more personal connection. Fairina dreams of growing the business, while still being able to work closely with people around the world to create custom made, storytelling pieces. Fairina’s current focus is to put effective systems and processes in place, as well as grow a small and talented team, to allow her to explore fresh ideas and invest in developing new skills.

When asked about any other hobbies this was her exclamation: “I’ve recently gotten into making ice cream. Although I’m not sure if it’s the making of the ice cream or the eating of the ice cream that’s the real hobby!”


Not everyone is your customer. You get to decide who you do and don’t work with. That’s the benefit of being your own boss! It can sometimes feel difficult to say no to a project but saying no just opens up space for something else to come along. I can generally tell when someone approaches me who isn’t a right fit, whether it’s the project they’re after or their tone of voice. I can honestly say that I love my customers and want to be friends with most of them!

Published By
Punala J. Kiripitige

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