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  • Writer's pictureShelley Pisani

Custom Jewellery for Central Queensland

I had the pleasure of meeting Carolyn Stevenson last year in Rockhampton. She is an exquisite jeweller and active participant in the CQ Shopfront process.

How did you get started in your art practice?

My interest in jewellery manufacture started when I was 18 years old while I was working as a Retail Assistant in a local jewellery store who had a Manufacturing Jeweller onsite, he would show me what he was making and I regularly stopped by to see what he was up to during the day.

I worked in retail jewellery for 3 years total and then completed a Basic Silversmith Course at Rockhampton TAFE 2006 before starting and completing an Apprenticeship in Rockhampton.

During  my Apprenticeship I attended Block Training at Southbank Institute of Technology, Brisbane in 2007 and 2008. I received a Certificate III in Jewellery Manufacture and Certificate of Completion - Apprenticeship in Jewellery from Training & Employment Recognition Council in May 2010. In 2011 I had a purpose built workshop fitted out.

I have attended additional training - Hand Engraving Course in Sydney and Stone Setting Course, Brisbane, Sand Casting with Rough Sapphires, Rockhampton. I am now currently doing Online Training with Jewellery Training Solutions.

What are the key inspirations behind your work?

I believe Jewellery is a form of Art. Much of my time and effort is put into handcrafting

quality, durable, well thought out jewellery pieces - rather than a rushed piece of lower quality. I try to foresee any possible problems and make the piece so that problem is no longer a possibility. For example, I now pin all my bales for pendants which means I drill and solder a wire into the bale (where chain runs though) then drill into the pendant and solder the wire in, which means more solder contact - 3  solder contacts instead of 1 - eliminating the possibility of the bale ripping off the pendant due to a bad solder joint. 

I enjoy hand fabricating pieces from scratch and designing unique pieces especially for clients, being given a brief by the client of items they like, their favourite stones/shapes, birthstone, metal types, initials, favourite flowers, star sign and stone setting preferences etc. Then designing around those details, making the piece as individual as they are.  I prefer to use unique cuts of stones that are not commonly used, ensuring clients have never seen anything like it before elsewhere.

I love sapphires especially Australian and parti ones. I enjoy making feminine floral filigree pieces with soft pastel stones or pearls. I feel I benefit from entering competitions because i can design and make whatever i like (within the competition guidelines).

I also enjoy making Gents Jewellery. I think this is an overlooked area of custom jewellery. Sometimes I use wax to hand carve an original piece then have it cast and the I have the ability to replicate the piece. I like using a mix of two-tone pieces, inlaying metal of a different colour and setting stones in my gents pieces. 

I am also member of the Gold and Silversmiths Guild of Australia. Guild members’ names and maker's marks are permanently recorded on fine silver touch plates. We abide by a set of standards of material and our work is identified as genuinely Made in Australia. I like that there will be a record of my makers mark stamp existing long after I am gone, and valuers will be able to tell people where the jewellery originated from and who made it (by my makers mark), if they are looking into its past. 

What is the business model and products that you are aiming to develop through participating in the CQ Shopfront project?

  • To sell directly to clients from my website

  • To Choose a range of my designed pieces (cast, repeatable pieces of a lower price point) 

  • Increased turnover

  • Have Brisbane stockist see my work at the launch show that was mentioned ( artisan ) 

  • Increase Australian themed pieces set with Australian Stones (not just sapphires) 

What dreams do you have for the future of your practice?

  • To be top of mind when customers are searching for engagement, wedding and eternity rings.

  • For my unique one off designs to be sought after, and purchased directly from my website. 

  • To be regarded as one of Central Queensland’s leading and in demand Custom Manufacturing  Jewellers.

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