“I launched my jewellery brand Stenmark at the end of 2011, sometimes it feels like I’ve been designing jewels for only a minute, sometimes it feels as though I’ve been doing this forever, because I feel it’s what I was always meant to do,” explains Stenmark founder and creative director Susie Stenmark.
Growing up in Australia, Susie never wavered on her love for fashion, jewellery and culture, citing Hollywood icons Elizabeth Taylor and Babe Paley as her inspirations. In her teenage years she co-hosted a children’s television show, before starting on a modelling career and running her own restaurant on Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
Later, she worked as a journalist, television presenter and as the features editor of Vogue Entertaining magazine, followed by 10 years as the head of communications for Chanel in Australia.
Susie says: “I learnt much about creating a luxury product, what true luxury and quality mean and why women want jewellery while working for Vogue and for Chanel. For jewellery to be desirable, it must feel contemporary, of its moment, so it must have a fashion element, while still remaining timeless.”
The Stenmark Woman
“Fine jewellery needs to elicit emotion, hold sentiment and create a mood for the wearer,” Susie muses. There is a boldness to her designs that can’t be overlooked; from ruby and diamond encrusted snowflakes to sunray, palm tree and basket weave styles. Each piece has a hint of vintage, like it could have been paraded by a 1950s socialite or worn to Studio 54 in the 1970s. Susie says: “I’m seeking a bold and glamorous design vocabulary, pieces with sensuous volume which have an impact. I don’t do delicate jewellery; if you are a certain kind of strong woman and you dress a certain way, delicate, small pieces don’t work. I describe my jewellery style as modern glamour and to me, colour is glamorous, so you’ll find coloured precious stones highlighted in my jewels, although that’s not to say I don’t like white diamonds too.”
Sunshine State Of Mind
Susie finds inspiration in geometry, architecture and ancient languages and relics; something which can be seen in her Antiquaire Imaginaire ring and matching cuff. But Susie truly excels when she’s inspired by the natural world, especially the sunshine of her native Sydney. Her large Sun Ray ring in 18kt yellow gold is one of her most popular designs, set with a yellow sapphire surrounded by sparkling white diamonds. Its larger size and depth means it has an almost three-dimensional look on the hand, like you’re carrying a little ray of light around with you on your journey. “I think it is a very appealing, happy ring,” Susie adds.
“The orange sapphires underscore my signature coloured gemstones and look amazing next to the lustrous gold and the jewel becomes invested with emotion and meaning with the Latin Motto.” Perhaps this is Susie’s way of sharing a little bit of Australia’s sunshine with each of us.
At The Heart of Stenmark
When asked to summarise herself as a designer, Susie points to one of her favourite pieces – the Latin Motto Disc Ring. This chunky, texturized golden amulet is bordered with Fanta orange sapphires and features the words in mimimis rebus voluptati, which means ‘find pleasure in small things’. “It’s a sweet maxim in which I sincerely believe, plus it’s meant to suggest that a ring is something small to find pleasure in, too. The orange sapphires underscore my signature coloured gemstones and look amazing next to the lustrous gold and the jewel becomes invested with emotion and meaning with the Latin Motto.” Perhaps this is Susie’s way of sharing a little bit of Australia’s sunshine with each of us.
See our top picks from Stenmark below.
Deliciosa Palm Tree Ring
The Deliciosa Palm Tree ring is handcrafted from 14kt white gold with baguette-cut white sapphires and brilliant-cut white diamonds.
Greek Key Earrings
Handcrafted from 18kt white gold with diamonds, pink sapphires and green tsavorite garnets, the Antiquaire Imaginaire Greek Key earrings are inspired by exotic lotus flowers entwined around fragments of an architectural ruin.
Greek Key Diamond Ring
The Antiquaire Imaginaire Greek Key ring uses the classic motif from antiquity to form a bold architectural piece with strong impact for today. Think '70s men's hipster ring, reimagined for a woman.