Surō’s handcrafted jewellery draws on art movements, literary heroes and philosophical references. The Camus earrings, for example, are named after the 1942 novel The Outsider by French author Albert Camus, which follows a man rebelling against cultural structures.
The label was launched in 2017 by fashion photographer Hannah Roche and her fiancé L D Malone. Each Surō design has a backstory. The couple makes every piece by hand from a tiny workshop in the Southern Highlands in NSW. And some pieces take up to three weeks to complete.
“It’s definitely the story that informs our design process,” says Roche. “We really like to have a starting place. Malone has a background in philosophy and we just have so many conversations about it and our designs go from there. We’re currently talking about different art movements and historical references, and even the environment. We source our inspiration from a lot of different places and tie them together in our collections.”
Surō’s most recent collection, Lost, launched in May. It’s based on the concept of abstract spaces and looks at how they have been interpreted through the years. Many of the resulting pieces contain long, contorted faces reminiscent of Picasso figures (including the Salamano earrings and the Masson pendant). The gold pendants work well layered in different lengths around the neck, creating texture.
“When you first look at these pieces you might not see a face immediately. But there’s definitely that identity there,” says Roche. “We’ve described them as art objects; we want them to start a conversation. It’s kind of nice that people have their own interpretations of them.”
Most of Surō’s pieces are rendered in sterling silver, gold plating and solid gold. Roche and Malone use wax casting to mould each piece, which involves pouring molten metals into a wax mound that shapes the designs with intricate detail. All soldering and polishing is done by hand; each piece has an imperfect texture that can’t be replicated by machine.
Pearls are recycled from Roche’s personal collection, which adds another layer to the narrative. “I’ve been collecting pearls for many years,” she says. “It’s a bit special to use them in a piece and give them a new home.”
And how do ethics tie in to their work? “Our silver is all recycled, which is important to us. Everything that isn’t used is going back into new collections, so there’s no waste there. We use Australian suppliers. And we like to have people in Sydney that are doing things for us. We know where everything is coming from. We try to be as transparent as we can.”