Meadowlark jewellery: All for love

Co-founder of the beloved New Zealand brand, Claire Hammon, gets to the heart of its latest collection.

Because Meadowlark has its own workshop, we can quickly bring our designs to life, and we usually start seeing samples within two weeks of beginning a new collection. We have six wonderful jewellers in house, and three of them work on various parts of the sampling process.
Each collection takes about three months from ideas to photographing and preparing for sale. It’s another six months before it’s launched online and in store, and by then, we’re already finishing up the next one. We’re in constant forward motion.
We love the boldest pieces — they’re always the starting point. Once we have our biggest and most fun ideas made up, we work on bringing the scale down to more wearable sizes for everyday. Quality is of the highest importance to us, so if something isn’t exactly right in every way — look, feel, from all angles and every tiny detail — we won’t put it through. We like our works to have substantial weight to them — it makes them strong so they can last a lifetime and beyond.

MAIN IMAGE The creation of a collection is experimental, says Claire, pictured in Meadowlark’s Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland studio. “We make almost every idea we have to see if it works in real life and not just in our heads. We always have too many ideas and need to edit them down, which means there are sometimes entire stories that never get released. The process is sort of intuitive — we edit all the way through until a collection feels right, right up to the last minute.” ABOVE A Lava Heart ring.

This year, we have Lava Hearts coming out in time for Valentine’s Day. The process for these involved trying to find a fluid way to make a sculptural, abstract heart. We started with drawings, but they weren’t translating to our sampling team quite right, so we used wax to hand-carve and mould the shape, and from there our jewellers worked on carving out the back of the heart, so it was more wearable. It’s a minimal shape but took many iterations to perfect.
There are smaller Lava Heart options that aren’t carved out, which are quite sweet and satisfying to touch. Their smoothness and weight suggest a sensualness that connects to being in love.

There’s so much I adore about what we make. Jewellery is often a gift from someone you love or bought to mark a big moment in life. Each piece holds a memory and meaning, which hugely appeals to the romantic in me. Our whole business is about love, respect and passion — they’re the reasons we do it.

Photography Olivia Renouf and Claire Hammon

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