These hands belong to one of our talented jewellers, Antonia, or Toto, as the Natalie Marie team fondly call her. Methodical in not only her approach to her craft, but also with her daily 'tea time' where she steps away from the bench to brew the perfect cup of green tea, Toto brings a bright energy to our studio everyday. Read more about Toto below...
Who do these hands belong to?These hands belong to Antonia Lewin – or as everyone calls me, Toto.
What is your role at Natalie Marie Jewellery and how long have you been on the team?
I am a jeweller at Natalie Marie Jewellery. I work on mainly the collection and the core pieces for the online store and showroom. I have been on the Natalie Marie team for just over six months.
When did you first come across Natalie Marie Jewellery?
I first came across Natalie Marie jewellery a few years ago while at University, I loved the fact that NMJ used so many different gemstones in their designs for bespoke and engagement rings. To me that shows they have inclusive values around sustainability, transparent supply chain and the handmade process. I remember coming into the showroom in Avalon when it just opened, I remember looking into the back at the workshop and thinking ‘Wow. One day I’m going to work there…’
Describe a typical day for you...
Wake up, coffee with Matteo, a little bit of movement or exercise, get ready for the day … then the road trip with colleague and friend Lucy, from Bondi to Avalon, or if I am staying in Palm Beach with my beautiful Mum, I write, draw or come to work early to get a few things done. Then I’ll start the working day, focusing on each piece of jewellery as it passes through my hands, remembering and thinking through every step and learning from each one. I’ll usually listen to an audiobook, podcasts or sometimes music during the day. I'll have lunch with my work fam, usually I bring a prepared lunch from home, otherwise I will pick something up from one of the local spots in Avalon. After work and the road trip home, I might go for a walk on the beach or visit one of my sisters, cook some dinner, watch a documentary or read, then skin care routine. And finally bed, eye mask, ear plugs and sleep.
What is your most treasured piece of jewellery?
My most treasured piece of jewellery changes from time to time. For the last 2 years it has been an ancient coin from Lampedusa, Italy, the Island where my partner Matteo is from. One side has a Tuna with the words ‘From Lampedusa’ in Ancient Greek and the other side, Zeus. Over 2000 years ago, this remote fishing island off the coast of Africa had its own currency, I think that is amazing. To me it is a symbol of family, perseverance, history and strength.
What is your favourite Natalie Marie piece?
At the moment I love the Pear with Faceted Halo with Australian Sapphire in yellow gold. To me, it’s edgy, simple and stunning.
Where would we find you on the weekend? How do you unwind?
You will find me at home in Bondi or hanging out with my friends or sisters and niece and nephews. I love to draw or read, always learning something new or exploring different ideas. I love going for walks or spending time in my garden.
Coffee or tea? How do you take it?
Both! Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. First an Espresso to wake up, then an almond cappuccino (sometimes chai with turmeric and ginger from The Hungry Ghost). Then I’ll have a genmai cha tea, a woody green tea brewed in my teapot during the workday.
Beach, city or mountains?
Beach 100% the ocean is my home.
What inspires you?
People, culture, nature and the joy of discovering something new.
If you could live anywhere else, apart from Sydney, where would it be?
I would love to live in Italy with my partner for a while. To spend time with his family, I would practice the language and absorb the Italian style.
What are you currently reading or listening to?
So, I always have to be listening to something because I work so much with my hands. I love audiobooks. ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert will be my 27th over the course of the year…. I don’t know how many podcasts I’ve listened to. I love listening to historical podcasts like ‘History on Fire’ by Daniele Bolelli or learning about the stories of artists, designers and successful entrepreneurs on ‘The Business of Hype’ by Jeff Staple
What kind of challenges do you like to set yourself in life?
I love to challenge myself. I love learning new skills and challenging my understanding of things, trying to see things from diverse perspectives or examining the way things are. When I was young my family called them “mini projects”. Which are still very much part of my life. I will decide one day I want to practice a skill or learn about something new so I try it or research it and do my best to grasp it over the next few days, weeks or in this case years. For me understanding jewellery is the biggest challenge. I studied design at UNSW Art and Design and I discovered jewellery to be something so personal and full of magic and wonder. Not to mention the practice of crafting to an elevated quality as a challenge in itself!
What is your favourite daily ritual?
Making the morning espresso when everything is quiet.
What are you most grateful for?
My Family. Especially my 4 siblings, Georgie, Holly, Annie and Charlie. They make me who I am. Looking out for me, challenging me, laughing with me, and growing up with me.
If you were not working at NMJ, what would you be doing?If I was not working at NMJ I would be a ceramic artist.
What is the best piece of advice you've been given?
You must always ask ‘Why is that so?’ – Dad
What is on your wish list right now?
What is your favourite gemstone?
I’m definitely having an emerald moment. It is my birth stone, and I am loving the colour green in all shades now more than ever.