Sydney based fine jeweller Melissa Harris is a name synonymous with elegant, unique and creative jewellery, with style stars including Cate Blanchett, Zoe Kravitz, and Poppy Delevingne among her many fans. We speak to her about her creative process, bespoke creations, and who she wants to collaborate with in the future.
You’ve been in the industry for 30 years, what started your love for crafting jewellery?
Doing anything successfully for 30 years is only possible if you have passion for what you do. I am driven to create pieces that are original, so having a point of difference has always been important. I also could not have done it without the unwavering support of my partner, Mark.
Your pieces are incredibly beautiful, and unique; what inspires your design aesthetic?
Nature – particularly trees, sometimes architecture. We also get ideas from interiors magazines.
You’ve said that your pieces are inspired by the materials you create with, how does your creative process work?
It all starts with the person we are making it for – whether it’s a muse or a bespoke piece for a client – what are they like? It’s a feeling. When we are working with gemstones firstly it’s the colour that inspires that often draws from nature – earth, sea, sky. Then it’s about proportion. Mythology, symbology or poetry often aid in the process. Sometimes sketching first or just manipulating the metal is how it develops.
Do you have a favourite gem to work with?
At the moment I’m loving green sapphires, champagne diamonds and black spinel. I also enjoy working with the less common diamond cuts, like a rose cut.
You’ve had many style icons and influential people wear your pieces, is there someone you would love to create for still on your wish list?
Yes – Rose Byrne, Diane Keaton and Sia.
You also offer a bespoke ring service; what part of the collaborative process is your favourite?
I really enjoy the process which I find meditative and I love making something that people will get a lifetime of pleasure from. I also enjoy not adding to the world of disposable products. I love that there are no rules anymore when it comes to designing engagement rings. I think more and more women embrace the idea of original and unique designs. There is so much to explore with rustic diamonds, coloured gemstones, like cognac diamonds and green sapphires for those to want alternative engagement ring ideas beyond white gold solitaire diamond rings.
Finally, what is coming up next for you and your brand?
We have a few exciting projects lined up for this year. Some collaborations that we’re working on and also new collections in the works – we’d love to give you all the goss but it’s secret squirrel at the moment so keep an eye on our Instagram where all will be revealed…