Fans of the Australian fashion designer Dion Lee will recognise the artistic creations of the jewellery label Sarah & Sebastian, Lee’s fellow countrymen from Down Under. Of all their collaborations, the most memorable is undoubtedly the facial headpiece that Sarah & Sebastian devised to outline each model’s profile with a gilded edge for Lee’s Spring/Summer 2016 season.
The Sydney-based duo’s own designs are just as impactful. It’s newest collection, entitled Oil, poetically explores the opposing attributes of oil and water, with each delicate piece encapsulating the buoyancy and fluidity of these polarising elements. Weightless circles, suspended pendants and floating hoop earrings – rendered as simple lines in 14 carat gold – go against the traditional ideas of adornment, while still catching and seducing the eye with its delicate minimalism.
‘The idea for each collection has started with a work of art or a photograph,’ muses Sarah Gittoes, who founded the label with her partner Robert Sebastian Grynkofki in 2011. ‘We find these seeds of inspiration throughout our travel or research. The process normally begins with a clear aesthetic concept, which we then deconstruct into shapes and lines. From this point, we continue to develop the concept through sketching, creating mood boards, hand-making samples and then pulling these samples apart and remaking them. It’s very important to us to design jewellery that has the right balance of visual appeal and wearability, while also being hand-produced with quality materials.’
Stones, like diamonds, Australian sapphires and amethysts, are used sparingly, and always in support of the metal forms rather than taking over. This portrait of simplicity can also be daring, as Sarah & Sebastian has most recently proved with a series of facial pieces that affix onto the mouth or outline the lips. ‘The pieces we create lean toward the sculptural and conceptual as opposed to conventional jewellery styles,’ explains Gittoes of this direction. ‘I personally don’t have any facial piercings though I am fascinated by the concept of body adornment in any regard.’
As with all their works, each Sarah & Sebastian jewellery piece is made-to-order to ensure that the highest quality is maintained across the board. In addition to the sustainability factor of working with local Australian producers and recycled precious metals, this practice enables Gittoes and Grynkofki and their in-house team of jewellers to oversee each creation from its infancy to a perfect finish.