Welcome to How It’s Made. Where we go behind-the-scenes with your favourite brands to find out how their most popular products are produced. For our next instalment, we visited one of our favourite jewellery designers, ManiaMania, to discover how its beautiful and intricate jewellery designs are created.
In 2009, the fashion industry changed for the better. Fashion stylist Tamila Purvis and art director Melanie Kamsler (who previously worked together at RUSSH Magazine) joined forces to launch ManiaMania—a jewellery label that’s now synonymous with mystical, one-of-a-kind design. The label launched as costume jewellery—using mainly crystals and sculptured in silver and brass, but has now evolved to include ManiaMania FINE, using opals, diamonds and 14K yellow and white gold.
To celebrate our love for the label, we sat down with the designers to discover everything you need to know about the world of ManiaMania (including how one of the signature ceremonial engagement rings is created). Keep scrolling to discover why you need to own a piece of jewellery this special.
Who What Wear Australia: Tell us about how your jewellery label launched.
Melanie Kamsler: Tamila (pictured on right) and I were working as a creative team together at RUSSH Magazine in its early years and had always wanted to work on a project together outside of that. We had a psychic-like creative synergy, and were both by serendipity drawn to making jewellery at the same point in time, so it came very naturally. Plus, we shared love of crystals and esoteric ideas, which we combined with our editorial background to create the brand vision.
WWW: When your label launched, it immediately gained a cult following. What do you think it is about the designs that resonated with so many people?
MK: We like to make pieces that are symbolic to us and for the wearer. We create each piece with intention, down to the name and the symbolism of the form, so even though it is just an object of adornment it also has a story and soul to it. I think people connect to that.
WWW: Where’s your studio? Are your pieces designed and made in-house?
MK: Our head offices are in Sydney and we have another studio in New York, which is more focussed on the Fine Jewellery production. Each piece is especially made by hand. Design happens cross-continentally between Sydney and New York!
WWW: What’s your best-selling piece?
MK: From our Fine jewellery range the 14K Opal rings are definitely having a moment. They retail for $2,000 to $4,000—these pieces are increasingly popular for engagements and bridal.
WWW: You’ve just introduced diamonds into your mainline. Do you see the brand turning into more of a destination for fine jewellery?
MK: Yes, this part of the brand has been gaining a lot of momentum and interest, with many people wanting to find a ring that is not a standard solitaire, vintage inspired, and a piece with more soul and unique elements that makes it feel one-of-a-kind. We can also cater to people with more limited budgets who want something special, as we offer various stone options to fit various price points, by using a semi-precious centre stone instead of a large diamond. Beautiful, unique pieces do not have to break the budget.
WWW: What do you think will be the next big trend in jewellery?
MK: Bespoke and customised pieces are really becoming important and coveted. We have just started to offer a bespoke service with our Fine Jewellery collection, where you can select your own stones and make adjustments to our core line of styles in order to customise the piece and make it more meaningful to you.
WWW: Where do you source your stones and metals?
MK: We source the stones for our Fine Collection in New York's jewellery district, from dealers who are aligned with ethical and conflict-free stone sourcing, and are members of or approved by trusted Gemmological organisations such as GIA and AGTA. The stones are sourced from all over the world and they are cut in our lapidary in house to fit each piece. We also offer energy clearing on our stones.
WWW: Where do you search for inspiration?
MK: Anything can trigger the inspiration for a collection or piece —a film from the ’60s or ’70s, the crystal mineral exhibits at local museums, an artist we love, forms in nature, architecture or sculpture, or the lyric in a song. We combine things to make a new hybrid idea and then visualise the muse, the girl who embodies that vision to be wearing it and that can start a whole wave of ideas. Other times the muse comes first and the process is reversed. Either way it’s very collaborative and organic.
WWW: How important is Instagram and social media for your label? Does it help direct designs/re-makes?
MK: Instagram is our main tool to communicate to our customer. It drives conversation with followers and also people who share the visions and ethos of our brand, as well as those who just love the jewellery. We like to re-post fans images and create a dialogue with everyone, and form a ManiaMania community. We have also recently started to add more editorial content to our website which we are continuing to build, so it's a good way to introduce our following to new content and articles which will sit alongside our e-commerce boutique. We definitely read into what images gain the most likes and comments, and lately there has been a lot of attention on the Fine gold Jewellery which confirms the direction we are heading.
WWW: Talk us through the process of start to finish of creating a ceremonial engagement ring.
MM: We have very close communication with the customers on these pieces and they are all made to order. We start with either an appointment in person in our showroom or over emails with images and videos of the pieces so they can make their decision about their purchase. From there the order comes to our office in New York and we will prepare the casting and start to source the stones for that particular piece. For the centre stones, we usually need to send stones to the lapidary to be cut to fit the settings, which can take up to a week, and then once we have the stones, the pieces are set by hand by experienced artisans. We then polish the piece and have it finished with black rhodium accents to highlight the stones and give an antique look.