Our Hello Vendor profiles give you the chance to take a peek behind the scenes and get to know these incredible talents. First featured in Issue 17, Jewellery Designer Cushla Whiting shares her experiences in the industry. A family business based in Melbourne, Cushla Whiting combines years of gemstone and diamond expertise with the ability to create beautiful, unique pieces of fine jewellery. Keen to learn more about these amazing jewels and the folks who make them? Keep reading below?
How did jewellery become the family business? I grew up around diamonds with my dad, a Gemologist, in New Zealand. One of my summer jobs was spent picking up small diamonds from the floor of my dad’s office and we often visited diamond bourses on family holidays in Antwerp, India and Tel Aviv. Through these experiences I have come to have a great appreciation for beautifully cut diamonds.
What role do each of you play in the business? I (Cushla) am the designer and manage the production of all of the jewellery with our master jewellers and stone setters. My brother Hamish is our Gemologist. He spends a lot of time searching the world for unique, rare and beautiful gemstones. My sister Anna is the glue holding the various day-to- day aspects of the business together.
Where do you source your materials? Hamish spends a lot of time sourcing unique and ethical gems and diamonds from around the globe, including countries such as Sri Lanka, Colombia, America, Madagascar and Africa. All of our products are then made locally in Melbourne.
Do you offer a bespoke service? Yes. This is becoming increasingly important to our business, as more people are looking for jewellery that is unique to them. The process is very collaborative and the end piece of jewellery is always a reflection of both the wearer and myself as designer. I think we attract people that are looking for something different, but also for something that is going to withstand the test of time.
Do couples need to make an appointment to visit your showroom? Yes, but it is a very informal meeting. We always get feedback from our customers that the appointments are really fun and informative.
Why do you find it’s so important to produce your jewellery locally? Jewellery making is a very specialised and highly skilled trade which has a strong history in Melbourne. It is very important to try and keep this industry alive and pass down the skills to new young jewellers. If all jewellers were to mass produce things off-shore, this very unique industry would not survive.
What makes you unique as a jewellery designer? This is always a bit of a difficult question to answer myself, but customers tell me that I have a knack at interpreting what people want when they have no idea themselves! The comments I always get is that £it is so different, but so me, which is always my aim.
Fave part of the job? It’s always exciting when you come up with a completely new design for a customer and then seeing it come to life. The look on the customer’s face when they open the ring box is always very satisfying and emotional for me.