Grounded in the Earth, held in the heart. featured image

Grounded in the Earth, held in the heart.

As Natalie Marie Jewellery turns nine this year, we reflect on the journey so far and remind ourselves of our humble beginnings. Started on a small kitchen bench and evolving through several makeshift workshops before finally establishing our own studio and showroom, our collective purpose has always remained true:

to create tangible tokens of sentiment, handmade consciously, with a focus on superior craftsmanship and high-quality materials. Our intention is to create modern heirlooms to be cherished for generations.

As we immerse ourselves in nostalgia, we are excited to present a collection that holds true to this ethos and feels somewhat like a homecoming. What has unfolded in the past two years has forced us to slow down and take in our immediate surroundings; to appreciate moments with loved ones, a smile from a stranger, the sun on our skin. In the face of uncertainty we so often find refuge and solace in nature; a winters dip in the ocean or a well-trodden path on a daily walk.

It has been the narrowing of our world that has given us the breathing space to find inspiration in our surroundings -  closer to home. In essence, this collection pays homage to the Australian landscape and all that it encompasses. It is a celebration of our land, the wisdom of nature and the intimate relationship between the earth and the heart. This collection is a consciously created ode to the beauty that surrounds us and acts as an empowering reminder to slow down, be mindful, and honour each other and this continent that we are lucky to call home.

Australian sapphires are the hero of this One of a Kind collection. Varying from deep, classic blues to mysterious, playful parti-sapphires, we showcase and celebrate the diversity and innate beauty of these unique stones. Having partnered with one of Australia’s most exclusive and reputable sapphire supplier’s, we are proud to provide full traceability back to each stone’s exact origin, tracking its journey from the mine, to the cutting room, to the jewellery studio. Each stone has been hand-selected by our team for its distinctive beauty, and each ring hand crafted by our jewellers to emphasise its individual qualities.

This collection speaks its own language, with each piece telling its own detailed story. It celebrates a culture of artisans; from the family run mines to the skilled stone cutters to our very own jewellers. It’s a show of appreciation for slow craftsmanship, a reminder to consume mindfully, tread lightly and honour what the Earth has to offer.

 

From mine, to cutter to you.

This collection is born out of our partnership with an equally passionate and dedicated merchant in the Australian Sapphire industry. With over 40 years’ experience within the industry, our partners and their intimate relationships with family run sapphire mines provide an unequivocal level of transparency, that we are proud to share with our clients. For this collection we have a used both blue and parti sapphires, with each individual sapphire clearly traceable back to the producing mine, located in Ruby, Central Queensland.

 

What is a sapphire?

Sapphires are classed as a precious gemstone and from the corundum mineral, which is a crystallised form of aluminium oxide. Thought to have formed up to 200 million years ago, they are brought closer to the surface by volcanic processes and can often been found underground at the floor of ancient riverbeds, anywhere from 1 to 90 foot below the surface.

 

How hard is a sapphire?

Sapphires are a very hard stone, scoring a 9 out of 10 on the MOHs scale of mineral hardness (a diamond is a 10).

 

How are they mined?

1. Each sapphire has been mined using small machinery and handheld mining methods. The Rubyvale mines are restricted and heavy machinery is prohibited, which allows for a sustainable approach and careful management of the material and land.

2. Once a pile of rough material has been dug up, it is then moved to be sorted
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3. A trommel is then used to separate and capture particles that are too fine or too large to be sapphires 
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4. The medium sized 'stones' are dropped through a secondary sorting machine called a pulsator, which uses water to sort the sapphires from stones. Sapphires are heavy so they remain where they are during this step while the lighter rocks continue to move along for removal.


5. It's important to note that any discarded soil is returned to level out and fill up digging sites, helping to close the loop on earth regeneration. In addition, the mines have an onsite dam where all water for the machines is pumped from and it is recycled back into the dam to minimise waste
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6. At the end of this sorting process, the medium sized rocks are then hand checked for sapphires. Sapphires are collected before being washed and left to dry, to later be separated into colours for grading.


7. Once meticulously sorted by size and colour graded, each sapphire is sent to the cutting stage.

8. Skilled stone cutters will assess the material to decide how best to emphasise the unique qualities of the stone and achieve the best final outcome in terms of size optimisation and shape.


9. For this collection, the NMJ design team allowed the nuances of the material to dictate the cuts and sizes, designing the pieces around the final stones.

 

Our made-to-order ethos was founded on the basis of only making what is required, therefore minimising waste and maximising meaning. Our craft is grounded in the honouring of each stone or piece of material, sourcing mindfully and creating consciously. To reduce distance travelled for each material we are focusing on using recycled and Australian sourced materials, to reduce the carbon footprint associated with additional transport and extraction. 

It’s our commitment to this slow craft approach that also allows us to deliver a superior level of craftsmanship, while also creating pieces which are truly personal.

 

Discover the collection here.

  

Director: @nouncollective

BTS Footage: Ian Bone

Photographer: Ana Suntay-Tañedo