Meadowlark started as side hustle. Husband-and-wife duo Greg Fromont and Claire Hammon had been dating for a year before they decided to launch a jewellery business together in Auckland in 2006. At first it was a creative outlet for them, but as it grew it came to fill an important gap in the market: atypical fine jewellery and engagement rings for men and women.

“The first collection was mostly studs and necklaces and not a single ring,” says Hammon, whose team makes everything by hand in their Auckland atelier. “It’s changed a lot [since then]. We make a lot more rings, and we wouldn’t have ever dreamed of the ceremonial styles in 2006.”

“Greg proposed in 2007 with the first engagement ring he had ever made, and we became a little obsessed with diamonds. Back then, there just weren’t alternative or fashion-inspired options for wedding rings or dresses, so we started working on our Ceremonial range pretty soon after.”

Now they’re onto their third Ceremonial collection of bridal jewellery, and the label is stocked on Net-a-Porter and can be found in boutiques worldwide.

The changing tastes of the designers can be traced through the different styles of rings they’ve released. While the Ceremonial 1 drop was heavy with ethically sourced dark stones – including Thai garnets and midnight sapphires set in weighty bands – the Ceremonial 3 collection includes pieces with black diamonds, skull-decorated bands with blush-hued morganite and fine halos of white diamond. There are also plain bands that stack.

“[Meadowlark] used to have a darker vibe, which we have lightened up. A lot of the styles [in Ceremonial 3] are much more minimal, but there are some bigger statement rings. It is very pretty, and has some floral inspiration from our previous Liberty collection,” says Hammon.

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How much business do engagement rings account for? “The Ceremonial side of the business has been huge. We’ve had customers fly over from other countries just to see it. And we really do have amazing bridal clients; unique individuals looking for something with some elements of tradition but [who want] to make it their own.”

A full bespoke service is also available where you can work with the designers to customise one-off pieces, from an engagement ring to an everyday accessory.

With a “very ’90s commitment to authenticity” the Venus range, which launched just in time for Valentine’s Day, is heavy with pearls. And like in Ceremonial 3, smaller everyday pieces including fan-shaped Vita stud earrings are mixed with bolder statement pieces, such as the pearl-encrusted Romeo hoop earrings.

“We stumbled across baroque pearls, which themselves were the main inspiration behind many of the pieces,” says Hammon. “We didn’t have pearls on our radar at all because many years ago we had a huge disaster with a pearl ring we made for a friend and we swore never to work with them again, but now we are obsessed.”

The couple is currently working on a capsule collection of petite styles, poised for release just before Christmas, and a bolder range scheduled to drop in August. Despite their growing success, Hammon and Fromont are just as determined as ever to avoid bricks-and-mortar retail; they prefer for their products to be stocked in exclusive fashion outlets, such as Net-a-Porter and David Jones, and at their online store and the small showroom they run from their New Zealand office.

“It’s not an easy business to be in, but it is rewarding because we feel each piece is a tiny artwork,” says Hammon. “And we still can’t believe people want to buy our work.”

This article first appeared on Broadsheet on April 17, 2018. Items may have changed since publication.