In the studio with jewellers Leoni & Vonk
We sat down with the Melbourne-based duo and talked inspiration, Australian-sourced raw materials and their new bespoke vintage brand.
We are both London born and bred but have quite different backgrounds. I [Nicky] studied History of Art and then worked at The Tate Gallery in London before moving to Melbourne, while Maria comes from a medical background. We had always been very creative and when we met in 2000, we immediately hit it off with a shared love of jewellery and the desire to reignite our creative aspirations. We both completed silversmithing courses and decided to come together to produce modern and timeless jewellery for women of all ages. The Leoni & Vonk brand developed over a period of time to reach the level of success it now enjoys.
Leoni & Vonk is all about good quality, well designed jewellery. Our aim is to produce interesting, on trend pieces that transcend age barriers. We also have a commitment to producing Australian-made products. In a struggling retail environment, we believe we are one of the few silver jewellery makers who source 80% of their raw products from Australia and hand-create each piece. This is our design/production ethos and one that we feel very strongly about.
Inspired by shape and texture
Each collection is inspired by a different theme or idea. These narratives are transformed into wearable pieces. The inspiration behind our latest collection is centered around the endless possibilities that shape and texture have to offer. The marbled white and pink howlite stone we use contrasts with the clean lines of the sterling silver and gold. We are also interested in taking current trends and presenting them in a way that will appeal to all age groups.
Our design ethic to create jewellery that is classic and at the same time contemporary runs throughout our work. Alongside this ethos is the wish to produce lovingly handmade, affordable jewellery rather than mass produced work. We hope to offer our customers special quality pieces that can be treasured.
We create all of our work in our studio in St Kilda, Melbourne.
Launching Leoni & Vonk Vintage
We always had a bespoke side to our work and this is what inspired the launch of Leoni & Vonk Vintage. We started collecting antique and vintage treasures and recreating them into jewellery that could be worn today. We quickly realised that this aspect of our jewellery was truly unique and deserved a place of its own – hence the birth of Leoni & Vonk Vintage. We now travel extensively, hunting out and collecting beautiful pieces of Victorian and Edwardian jewellery and collectables that we can then transform into stunning, modern, but classic pieces. Silver vesta cases, Edwardian photo lockets and old silver coins all have their own stories to tell. Nearly all the pieces have some wear to them which adds to their interest and uniqueness. Each piece is a one-off, giving the wearer a truly special piece of jewellery.
We believe that by using sterling silver and gold we respect the timeless beauty of these antiquities, recreating the elegance and sophistication of a bygone era. It’s our hope that – one day – they become family heirlooms that can be treasured all over again.
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