Sydney-based jeweller Holly Ryan has marked a decade of her eponymous jewellery line by opening her first showroom in a two-storey terrace on Elizabeth Street near Central Station. More than just a shoppable showroom, the appointment-only space also functions as Ryan’s workshop and a gallery for her minimalist, handcrafted jewellery and sculptures.
“It’s been a weird year,” Ryan tells Broadsheet. “I didn’t know when to open originally. It was supposed to be timed for Fashion Week, but then it was cancelled and for me that was kind of a blessing in disguise. I had more time to focus on getting this space perfect. It’s been an incredible experience and a really nice way to sum up 10 years of the business.”
In the bright new showroom, lush plants sourced from landscape designer Madi Creecy cascade from the walls and mantlepiece. The space has been furnished with vintage Le Corbusier chairs and a mid-century lounge, which Ryan bought from Vampt Vintage Design across the road and had reupholstered in pristine white fabric. “No red wine in here,” she says, laughing.
Ryan is also a sculptor (she’s represented by Woolloomooloo gallery Jerico Contemporary), and her Picasso-inspired stone faces provide an earthy contrast to the delicate pendants and keshi pearl earrings that dangle nearby.
Apart from what’s been sourced from vintage sellers, everything – from the display cabinets to the workbenches and order-packing stations – has been designed and built for the space by local carpenter Sam Creecy of SC Creative. All the materials have been upcycled or recycled, and the wash used to finish the wood is chemical-free.
This approach aligns with brand’s ethos: Ryan only uses recycled metals and ethically sourced stones, and all her pieces have been handmade in Australia since she founded the company as a 21-year-old.
Clients who visit the appointment-only space can browse and buy pieces from the collection, but they can also visit the workshop out the back and meet the makers. Ryan shows Broadsheet how every offcut, shaving and scrap of metal is collected in small bowls to be upcycled – it’s a close to zero-waste operation.
The business also has a recycling service, which allows clients who have purchased pieces that are no longer serving them (perhaps one earring has been lost) to trade the piece in for a store credit. Ryan will upcycle or recycle what they’ve returned, breathing new life into materials that might otherwise have ended up in landfill or storage.
“We’re doing things as responsibly as we can so as [to] not be overproducing in a world that over-consumes,” Ryan explains. “It’s about doing things in a circular way.”
She also recently decided to ditch the fashion industry’s season-based schedule.
“It makes a lot more sense for jewellery,” she explains. “Instead of producing two collections per year I’ll now be producing smaller, more considered offerings. After 10 years of working in what I think is a really outdated model, I think it really stifles creativity. This way I can release things when I’m ready to.”
Ryan’s first collection for her new, seasonless operation is a range of engagement and wedding rings. She’s delighted to be able to offer an intimate, meaningful service in a space that’s all her own, where she can get to know her clients and help them choose or create pieces that are tailored to them.
“Creating an experience is what this showroom is all about,” she says. “And creating timeless pieces which will someday become treasured heirlooms.”
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Holly Ryan Showroom
489 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills