It is summertime right now in Australia; a welcome transition from the frigid air, and snowy weather that looms over a large portion of the United States. We visit the country's third largest island, Kangaroo Island, mystified by its natural, untouched beauty. Australian is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Melissa McArthur.
Australia's jewelry origins date back to 1851, when gold was found in New South Wales. In the mid 19th century, jewelers such as Frederick Aronson of Aronson and Co., Thomas Willis of Willis and Sons, and John Flavelle of Flavelle Bros. Ltd. eagerly made their mark in the country's fledgling jewelry industry.
During the mid 19th and early 20th centuries, Australia was largely known for its gold jewelry; although in recent years jewelry featuring the renowned Australian opal has increased in popularity.
The implementation of unique gemstones became the signature of early Australian jewelry and McArthur's pieces hold to that tradition. Like Irish designer Trace Palmer, McArthur once worked in the hectic music industry, and she shares Palmer's keen interest in jewelry accessories.
Eleven years ago, the alumna of Central St. Martins College of Art and Design received a Bachelor of Arts degree, and established her company, Melissa McArthur Jewellery, in 2007. The similarities between Palmer and McArthur, however, end here as the Australia native shares a design aesthetic similar to jewelers of Central Europe.
McArthur's focus is on clean, understated structures offset with stunning gemstones she sources from India. She incorporates everything from diamonds, pearls, turquoise, and amethyst to several variations of quartz including green, pink, smoky, and lemon.
The overall designs, here again, are delicate with the focal point being smooth, or faceted, gemstones suspended by thin, almost imperceptible, gold chains and earring hooks.
I love the implementation of pastel, muted and dark colors, the iridescence of mother of pearl, and the luscious, single droplets or cluster of gemstones. Her jewelry is another sublime example of the completeness of simplicity and subtlety. The jewelry is elegant, and feminine with lots of fluid and striking color.
"A passion for design, a strong sense of style, and an appreciation for clean, modern jewelry: this is the type of woman I have in mind when I create," says the designer who is currently based in London.
Photo 1 (top right): Turquoise, Iolite, and Rose Quartz Earrings
Photo 2 (bottom left): Grey, White, and Gold Pearl Necklace with Rose Quartz