Designing with graphic opals: jewellery for a new generation

I'm a strong believer in championing Australian gem stones and have long adored Australian opals. When Beaver Gallery invited me to develop a special body of work for its ‘C O V E T: Contemporary jewellery 2019’ show, in Canberra, it was the perfect opportunity for me to indulge in a little 'opal play'.

I really love to travel out to the areas where Australian gems are mined, building relationships with the people who are as enchanted with the gems as I am. Lightning Ridge is one of those places and I'm proud to use their spectacular opals in the neckpieces and brooches I've developed for Beaver Gallery. I also hope these new jewellery pieces will inspire a whole new generation to fall in love with this magical, rainbow-hued gem.

These jewels are an extension of my ongoing series using Australian Lightning Ridge opal. Where most opals are cut into cabochon free forms, I prefer to custom cut mine into precise geometric shapes – the circle, square and triangle.

I love the graphic quality of oxidised silver in these works, it makes for a very bold piece, and really elevates the opals’ complex swirl of colours. Black opals from Lightning Ridge are considered the world's finest. They have very strong colour play, accentuated by the black (as opposed to white or crystal) body. What makes them really special is that they occur naturally in a small area and are truly a rare and precious gem to covet and treasure. 

I hope you love these new Australian-designed jewellery pieces. And, if you're in Canberra, visit C O V E T at Beaver Gallery, running June 20-July 7, 2019.

Browse Melanie's collection of opal jewels online.

I'm a strong believer in championing Australian gem stones and have long adored Australian opals. When Beaver Gallery invited me to develop a special body of work for its ‘C O V E T: Contemporary jewellery 2019’ show, in Canberra, it was the perfect opportunity for me to indulge in a little 'opal play'.

I really love to travel out to the areas where Australian gems are mined, building relationships with the people who are as enchanted with the gems as I am. Lightning Ridge is one of those places and I'm proud to use their spectacular opals in the neckpieces and brooches I've developed for Beaver Gallery. I also hope these new jewellery pieces will inspire a whole new generation to fall in love with this magical, rainbow-hued gem.

These jewels are an extension of my ongoing series using Australian Lightning Ridge opal. Where most opals are cut into cabochon free forms, I prefer to custom cut mine into precise geometric shapes – the circle, square and triangle.

I love the graphic quality of oxidised silver in these works, it makes for a very bold piece, and really elevates the opals’ complex swirl of colours. Black opals from Lightning Ridge are considered the world's finest. They have very strong colour play, accentuated by the black (as opposed to white or crystal) body. What makes them really special is that they occur naturally in a small area and are truly a rare and precious gem to covet and treasure. 

I hope you love these new Australian-designed jewellery pieces. And, if you're in Canberra, visit C O V E T at Beaver Gallery, running June 20-July 7, 2019.

Browse Melanie's collection of opal jewels online.