When Brisbane-based jewellery designer Bianca Mavrick was little, she loved playing dress-ups with her nonna’s ’80s costume jewellery. “She had a box of broken pieces she’d surrender to me and I would repair them or reassemble the pieces into new jewellery,” she says.
Mavrick went on to study industrial design at QUT, but took night classes to learn gold and silversmithing techniques such as lost-wax casting. “I was more excited about these classes than my industrial design subjects [so] I eventually went on to study a fine arts degree where I could major in jewellery and small objects at Queensland College of Art [QCA],” she says.
Her eponymous label launched in 2013 with contemporary jewellery and small sculptures for exhibitions, and Mavrick would often sell one-off pieces in gallery stores. Over time, stores began placing wholesale orders, which led to more co-hesive seasonal collections that she could produce in small production runs. “My label became known for artful statement earrings – colourful, abstracted motif designs made from enamel metals, sterling silver and hand-poured marbled res-ins,” she says.
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Her latest collection, Light Catcher, takes the form of costume jewellery with a sense of everyday wearability. “I love energetic, offbeat and unexpected colour palettes,” she says. It’s made from Italian cellulose acetate (a non-petroleum-based bioplastic made from cellulose fibre) – the same material used to make glasses frames.
“Before I designed this collection, I had experienced a period of feeling burnt out,” she says. “I was looking to find joy in designing jewellery again … so design-ing a collection focused on colour, light and optimism was definitely timely and cathartic.”
The Chain Link necklaces ($150) and brace-lets ($60) catch and bend light through the glossy, trans-lucent links. They have an industrial, functional feel, with minimalist design achieved through the clever hook clasp feature. (The clasp is designed to hook onto every link to make the pieces customisable.) Pair them with a simple white tee and jeans, or try styling them in playful ways with prints to create a bolder look.
The Splice Colour Chain ($180) is a two-tone 90-centimetre version that can be wrapped twice around the neck or once around the waist as a belt with a shirt dress. Colour-coated carabiner clips ($20) in a range of shades – including mint green and lilac – add a sense of utility to the necklaces. “I’m calling it: statement necklaces are coming back after it being all about earrings for so long,” Mavrick says, laughing.
Design and production mostly happen in Mavrick’s Brisbane studio. She also works with Brisbane manufacturers who put colour coatings on the metal com-ponents. The cellulose acetate components are produced by a small family-run factory in Italy.
Mavrick’s process came full circle in early 2020 (pre-Covid) when her nonna would come into the studio to help with production. “I still really enjoy hand-crafting the jewellery, and by doing this in-house we can produce small batches as demand requires. This means I’m able to control our production and stock levels to minimise waste, and there’s no excess or dead stock at the end of each season.”