Interview: Holly Ryan, Jeweller

After a decade in the jewellery business Australian jeweller Holly Ryan recently opened her first showroom in Sydney. The designer chats with us about the importance of sustainability to her jewellery design, and finding inspiration in nature and modern art.

Photo by Lucy Landini. Model: Nat Buchanan.

Australian jeweller Holly Ryan understood the importance of sustainability and preserving the natural environment from childhood. Today, she has applied the values instilled in her by her parents to her eponymous jewellery brand, for which her team of skilled artisans create fine jewellery, handcrafted locally, individual and unique each time.

Founded on principles of simplicity, sustainability and wearability, each jewellery piece is carefully considered from concept, the sourcing of material, through to production. Working with ethically sourced and recycled metals and precious stones, Holly fuses inspiration from modern architecture, art and design with a love of nature to create timeless wearable pieces that have minimum environmental impact and that you will treasure forever. She steers clear of trends and seasonal must-haves, and works instead to her own rhythm to deliver beautifully crafted pieces, including minimalist hoops, Picasso-inspired pendants and earrings, delicate necklaces drawing on modern sculpture, and strands of gleaming, irregular freshwater pearls that have a wabi sabi quality to them.

The studio also has a bespoke service so clients can personalise their pieces, and to encourage circularity they offer repairs and re-plating to help extend the lifecycle of your jewellery. And if you no longer love your piece —or you want to try something new—you can return it for recycling in exchange for store credit. "Jewellery is incredible, because the raw materials can be melted down and then repurposed into something new," Holly explains. The brand is run as a zero-waste operation, and offcuts, shaving and scraps of metal are saved and upcycled into new pieces.

Given the influence of modern art on her design process— and the sculptural quality of her pieces— perhaps it's unsurprising to learn that Holly is also a sculptor herself, represented by Woolloomooloo-based gallery, Jerico Contemporary. Her minimalist sculptures adorn the bright new showroom, sitting beside lush, green plants and framed black and white photos, and create a playful aesthetic dialogue with the jewellery on display.

Having founded her brand a decade ago as a 21 year old, the shop opening marks a milestone in the designer's career and life, and true to her sustainable principles, she has incorporated vintage pieces and recycled materials into the studio design, to create a space as understated, considered and refined as her jewellery. After all, as the designer points out, you have to "practice what you preach."

"I take constant inspiration from the raw beauty of the natural world."