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This is the second in our occasional series of outfit ideas to help inspire you to spruce up your wardrobe. This time we're focusing on a couple of Australian brands I love, which also both have a strong ethical bent (I'm a fan of that too!).

Outfit idea 1:

Our first outfit is great for casual occasions. It features a beautiful Lazybones cotton top paired with a tan coloured vegan crossbody bag from Urban Originals. Pair these with our sweet and simple leaves long necklace and matching hoop earrings and you'll look perfectly put together.

Clockwise from top left:

Outfit idea 2:

The second outfit is also a casual one, but will work beautifully when you want to feel a bit more dressed up. It features a soft pink cotton top by Lazybones, paired with a vibrant mustard wallet from Urban Originals with a lotus design. Add our big and bold mehndi mandala pendant on rose garnets to pick up on the pink and lotus designs. We recommend going with some super simple silver earrings (our large ball earrings will work a treat).

Clockwise from top left:

About the designers

Urban Originals makes 100% cruelty free (vegan) bags and accessories in fair trade conditions - and their products are both gorgeous and practical. Urban Originals products are designed in Australia and the brand is based in both Sydney and Los Angeles.

Lazybones is an Australian fashion label which takes a fresh, whimsical approach to designing clothing and homewares for modern, relaxed living. Their products are made in ethical conditions using organic cotton and other sustainable materials. They have a beautiful, feminine, old-fashioned feel.

Our own Simone Walsh Jewellery designs are primarily made with recycled precious metals and our designs are handmade or assembled in the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. We work with an ethically run workshop in Indonesia to produce some of our components.

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Have you wondered about which colour of metal you should wear based on your skin or eye colouring? Have you heard about 'rules' to follow when choosing but you're not sure how to use them? What do you think about wearing different coloured metals together?

Gold vs silver coloured jewellery has been a long-debated topic and there's plenty of confusion around different 'rules' for which to choose. So we're here to help you figure out which metal colours will work for you with the quick tips below.

Once you've got it worked out, you can go shopping for silver jewellery, gold jewellery or rose gold jewellery.

Gold or silver jewellery?
  • Which colour of metal to wear has been traditionally been determined by people's skin colouring: warmer colours meant gold metal, cooler colours meant silver metal.
  • These days that's not considered to be so important and you can break such 'style rules' as you please, but you might like to use it as a guide to get started.
  • People with blue veins on their wrists and who burn easily are usually considered to have cool skin colouring. People with green veins, olive or darker skin tones and who tan well are considered to have warm colouring.
  • Rose gold or copper colours tend to look good on most people and can add some unexpected colouring to your jewellery collection.
  • Another old style rule was that gold and silver should never be worn together. That's definitely no longer the case: you can mix your metals with enthusiasm!
  • We recommend taking the time to do some experimenting and work out what looks good when mixing metals.
  • As a starting point, pick a dominant colour and add highlights with another. You can try combining different colours of stacking and cocktail rings, layered necklaces and bangle stacks to see how they look.

Ultimately which colour of metal/s you choose to wear should be entirely up to personal preference and your sense of aesthetics. We're all about being yourself rather than being like everyone else, so our top tip is: go with what makes you feel happy!

Learn more about precious metals

Once you've got an idea of the colourings you like, you can find out more about the qualities, pros and cons of different types of precious metals to help you choose more carefully:

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We're starting a new blog series featuring outfit ideas combining Simone Walsh Jewellery with clothes, shoes and accessories by designers and brands that we love.

For our first outfit ideas we wanted to feature a couple of eco-friendly and sustainable brands because it's Fashion Revolution week (and because we generally think sustainable fashion is the way to go). Scroll down below the outfit ideas to learn more about the brands featured.

Outfit idea 1:

Our first outfit features bright pops of colour, with a focus on yellow. Thi is will be a great outfit for sunny days, but simply add leggings and a long sleeved top to bring a splash of colour to cooler days.

Clockwise from top left:

Outfit idea 2:

The second outfit features beautiful cherry blossoms with soft pinks and darker greens to add some sweetness to any day. This is a great outfit for cooler weather given the handmade quilted jacket. Partner it with jeans or black trousers. Alternatively wear it with a black pencil skirt and leggings or tights.

Clockwise from top left:

About the designers

The outfits feature shoes by Rothys: they take single use plastics and recycle them into beautiful, machine washable shoes, available in a wide array of colours and a selection of different styles. I'm yet to get myself a pair of their gorgeous shoes, but they are high on my shopping list!

They also feature clothing by Seagrass Design: a gorgeous collection of bright, bold and colourful pieces by a Tasmania based design duo. Their pieces are handmade with ethically sourced fabrics.

Our own Simone Walsh Jewellery designs are primarily made with recycled precious metals and our designs are handmade or assembled in South Australia. We also work with an ethically run workshop in Indonesia to produce some of our components.

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Can you believe it's autumn already? As you prepare to transition your wardrobe into the cooler months we've got a simple and fun way to help you up your jewellery and general style game.

Style experiment:

Simply put on a very basic outfit and try it out in front of a mirror with various pieces of jewellery from your collection.

Try different combinations of jewellery you might not normally consider pairing up and add in different accessories like scarves, shoes, bags or watches.

Keep trialling different combinations and focus points. Think about different types of events or activities each combination will be suitable for. Take notes about what works to refer to later.

You’ll be amazed by ways you can vary the look of the most basic outfit. And once you're done with one outfit, throw on another one and start again.

Autumn stylings:

Warmer colours along with layering jewellery over clothing will always work well in autumn. Look for longer necklaces to wear over higher necklines or focus on rings, earrings and bracelets instead.

Take a look at our gold jewellery and gemstone jewellery collections for colourful inspiration.

Improving your jewellery collection:

Consider the types of jewellery that will extend and add interest and depth to your wardrobe and go shopping. Look for pieces that will last the test of time and add value and diversity to your collection for years to come.

Isn't it great to have an excuse to treat yourself to some sparkly things? You're welcome :)

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I'm always fascinated to see what is most popular with our lovely customers each Christmas, which is always our busiest time of year. And this year is no different.

There's usually a mix of old favourites and newer designs. Sometimes an older piece will be far more popular one Christmas than it was previously. And almost always our Christmas pudding coins are our biggest hit.

So here are our Top 10 best sellers of Christmas 2018 (so far!):

You'll find all of these unique jewellery designs in sterling silver, gold and gemstones (along with many others) in our Australian jewellery store. Soon you'll be running out of time to shop online this Christmas, so get cracking!

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Let's face it, these days many people often think that making a Christmas or plum pudding is just too difficult or too time consuming, while others think that a traditional pudding is a bit too rich and heavy.

Making a Christmas pudding from scratch sadly seems to be a dying art.

But I have a great solution for you: my family's Great Depression era Christmas pudding recipe is very quick and very easy to make. And unlike other recipes the pudding isn't overly rich or heavy. In fact, it's perfectly delicious.

So in the interests of making your Christmas dinner menu easier, tastier and more fun, I thought I'd share my family's easy plum pudding recipe on the blog.

If you enjoy this article, please share it with your friends.

About our Christmas pudding

This simple Christmas pudding recipe has been in my family for several generations. It originated during the Great Depression when people were poor and certain foods were scarce.

As a result it has some unusual ingredients: tea for flavouring instead of brandy or other alcohol and (oddly enough) it's egg free.

But it tells you something about how delicious it is that even in times of plenty we're still making the very same recipe year after year. My family prefers it to heavy traditional plum pudding recipes - it's always the main highlight of our Christmas dinner.

If you're interested, learn more about the history and traditions of Christmas pudding. You may learn some surprising things.

Vegan Christmas pudding - really?

Yes, this Christmas pudding recipe can easily be made vegan if you or any of your guests are that way inclined.

While the original recipe has some butter in it, this can easily be swapped out for another oil if you or any of your guests are vegan. This results in a vegan Christmas plum pudding recipe, given the original recipe has no eggs.

Of course our recommended brandy custard is definitely not vegan: you're on your own in that regard!

Making Christmas pudding

Unlike other Christmas pudding recipes this one is best cooked on Christmas Day rather than weeks in advance.

To save time we often mix up the ingredients the day before and put it into a steaming bowl so then the pudding just needs to be cooked. That means it simply needs to be put on to cook while you're eating Christmas dinner and it should be ready in time for your dessert.

Alternatively you could instead cook it a day or two before, but I find it tastes best of all when cooked fresh on the day.

Serving Christmas pudding

How best to serve your delicious pudding?

You can serve the pudding with a sprig of holly on top and you can even pour brandy over it and set it flaming for some extra drama before serving it at the dining table - you might even get a round of applause as was traditional.

Otherwise you can keep it low key by plating it up in the kitchen and delivering steaming plates of plum pudding to each of your guests.

The Christmas pudding is perfect for pairing with indulgent brandy custard or brandy butter as the pudding itself won't overwhelm the rich flavours of these decadent sauces.

Don't forget the Christmas coins

It's a long-standing tradition to add silver Christmas coins, charms or tokens to Christmas pudding.

Why do people do this?

Well, whoever finds a Christmas coin in their slice of Christmas pudding is said to have good luck and wealth in the following year - and that can't be a bad thing.

However, only silver Christmas coins should be used rather than modern base metal currency. Also you should never serve plum pudding with coins in it to small children or without alerting your guests to their presence.

Putting coins in your plum pudding is a really lovely way to add some fun and special memories to your Christmas day. If you exchange the silver coins for real money you'll get them back to use them for years to come, making a perfect family heirloom.

Our sets of six Christmas coins are made from solid sterling silver and are large, easy to find and each one features a unique vintage Christmas card illustration - much better than the old silver threepences and sixpences.

Easy Christmas pudding recipe Christmas pudding ingredients:
  • 3 cups plain (all purpose) flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
  • 2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1½ cups dried mixed fruit
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 heaped cup sugar
  • 2 cups cold tea (strained or from teabags)
Method:

Mix all dry ingredients with two cups of cold tea and the melted butter.

For good luck and in keeping with an old Christmas tradition you can ask family members to each stir the pudding mixture and make a wish.

Once the ingredients are well mixed, pour them into a greased steamed pudding tin with a lid. Alternatively use calico fabric and tie it with string and place the calico bag into a large heat-resistant bowl and cover with foil. The mixture can also be cooked as two smaller puddings if preferred.

Fill a large saucepan half way with water. Place the pudding into the saucepan and put the saucepan onto the stovetop. Bring the water to the boil and then reduce it to a simmer to steam the Christmas pudding for 1½ hours.

Once the time is up test the pudding with a metal skewer - if it comes out without pudding stuck to it, it’s ready to eat.

Serve your Christmas pudding:

We recommend you press your Christmas coins into the pudding at this point or after slicing up the pudding. Aside from avoiding scorching the silver during cooking, this method is best if you have young children as guests: for safety their slices should not contain coins.

Serve slices of delicious hot pudding in bowls or on small plates. The Christmas pudding is best topped with dollops of brandy custard or brandy butter.

Serves 10-12 people. If there's any left it should keep in the fridge for around five days.

If you learn something from this article, do us a favour and share it with your friends.

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We’ve got a whole new range of jewellery at your disposal because – YAY; it’s our 25th anniversary! That’s 25 years of Simone designing the kind of adornments that will set off your ensemble and personality with style.

To celebrate we’ve decided to have a little fun and imagine what our Simone Walsh Jewellery pieces would be like if you met them at a Christmas soiree. See if you can spot one in the wild during the festive season. You may even spot one in the mirror.

The bouquet necklace

The life of the party, the girl in the bouquet necklace likes her dresses bright and her cardigans covered in brooches.

That’s why this daisy, dahlia, lotus, chrysanthemum and cherry blossom piece is her go to – as well as being beautiful she can mix and match it with whatever strikes her at the time from our bouquet range earrings selection.

The daisy and opal necklace

Strong and feminine, our daisy & opal necklace wearing friend likes to be classic and in control. She projects elegance and this is reflected in her jewellery choices.

This piece is made in classic sterling silver, featuring a 14ct solid gold setting with a luminous opal gemstone. The stone is subtle yet flashy with hues of green, blue and red that change with the light. 

She's often seen accompanied by our opal and solid gold stud earrings or the flamboyant daisy and opal cocktail ring.

The solid gold dahlia earrings

This flashy lady likes her cars fast and jewellery gold, solid gold baby. That’s why these 14ct solid gold dahlia earrings (a high quality investment piece which will last a lifetime and beyond) are perfect for her. 

She’s all about limited edition pieces, just like these stud earrings, which have been made in honour of our 25th birthday.

Often seen around town with the matching 14ct solid gold dahlia necklace

The leaves and buds necklace

Our leaves and buds necklace is for the woman whose main priority is to stick out from the crowd.

The facetted rose garnet gemstone beads swing, with their sparkle catching the eye.

They can be worn with a range of ensembles from classic to casual and be matched with our leaves and buds earrings to ensure all eyes are on them as they sashay through the crowd.

The double tulip earrings and necklace

The double tulip earrings and matching tulip necklace combo in rose gold is an old favourite. She’ll be your best friend and will always show you off about town, but is also be there for you in quieter moments when you need a cheer up cocktail or a night in watching Buffy, away from the crowd.

Her petals look delicate in beautiful rose gold but they’re strong as all heck. She likes to smile at strangers and dance in the rain.

Keep your eyes peeled for these women of exquisite taste as you do the rounds at Christmas. You might make a new friend or decide which lovely, handcrafted piece to treat yourself with.

Visit the full new jewellery range and also check out our very handy Christmas gift guide.

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To celebrate the launch of our new 25th Anniversary jewellery range, we've picked our Top Ten new designs and we want you to tell us which is your favourite and why.

Enter now and you'll be in the running to win a $150 gift voucher or one of ten $20 gift vouchers to use in our Australian jewellery online store. What's not to love about that?

 

Ends 9 November 2018 at midnight AEST, after which the winners will be selected and contacted. Your email will be kept safe and you'll only be contacted in relation to your entry unless you opt in to our mailing list.

View the full 25th Anniversary jewellery range including these designs and many more right here.

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I'm truly thrilled to let you know that we've just launched our brand new range of Australian jewellery: celebrating 25 years of creating unique handmade jewellery in silver, gold and gemstones.

The new jewellery range features almost 50 new fresh and fun designs in sterling silver, yellow gold, rose gold and gemstones, including some old favourites reimagined and some limited edition designs.

Plus there are lots of pieces you can collect to mix, match and stack to your heart's content.

I'm sure you'll find plenty of pieces to fall in love with. Check out the new jewellery range.

Bouquet range

It also includes our brand new Bouquet Range: a suite of unique leaves and flowers designs which you can mix, match and stack in all sorts of combinations to show off your unique sense of style and work with any outfit and occasion.

The Bouquet designs will make a delightful and versatile addition to your jewellery collection. Best of all you can keep adding new necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets to your bouquet collection over time. What's not to love about that?

The flower jewellery designs also make truly gorgeous gifts for women, with each flower having different meanings so you can give something meaningful to someone special.

Shop the Bouquet Range.

Gold anniversary

I'm not entirely sure I'll make it to 50 years of designing and making jewellery, so I decided to take a shortcut and celebrate the 25th anniversary as my gold anniversary to make it extra special.

As such the new range also features some very special and high quality limited edition pieces made in solid 14ct gold: both yellow gold and rose gold designs.

Check our the yellow gold dahlia pendant and matching dahlia gold stud earrings, along with the rose gold chrysanthemum stud earrings and chrysanthemum rose gold pendant necklace.

These gold jewellery pieces in particular will make truly special gifts for women. They'll last a lifetime and beyond.

Read more about gold jewellery in general and different types of gold jewellery, including why solid gold is best of all.

25 years of jewellery making

It's hard to believe it's been 25 years since I first started designing and making jewellery. It's been a lot of fun - and a lot of hard work too.

It's helped me and my family create a business we love. We're eternally grateful for the support of our lovely customers and everyone else who has supported Simone Walsh Jewellery online the way.

Learn more about my jewellery making history.

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It feels a tad indulgent to be writing up a 'history of me', but after 25 years of designing and making jewellery, I think a rundown of how we got to where we are is probably a good idea.

One of my oldest and dearest friends recently came across a letter I wrote to her when we were still in high school. In it I was expressing frustration with school and said that what I really wanted to do was live in the country and make jewellery. I can't remember writing this - or even having those thoughts when I was a teenager. Yet all these years later, here I am ... living in the country and making jewellery. So how did I get here?

It was way back in 1993 that I spotted a piece of jewellery in a store in Melbourne which really intrigued me in terms of its construction. It was an eye-catching necklace which was ‘chunky, clunky’ and brightly coloured as things were at the time. It had been handmade from wire wrapped around discs of coloured glass.

When I got home I kept thinking about how it was made: for some reason it felt like a puzzle that I wanted to solve for myself. Eventually I found myself some cheap wire, pliers and old marbles and started experimenting with ways to put the materials together and turn them into something wearable.

Soon enough I became hooked on the idea of making contemporary jewellery and was very keen to learn more.

Making a start

Initially I made very simple pieces using wire wrapping, beads and manufactured components. I made mostly for my own enjoyment, but also started selling pieces at markets in Adelaide, Australia, primarily to help fund more materials.

At the time I was working in the music industry, but I didn't feel very happy or fulfilled creatively so I was already considering a new direction. After making very simple jewellery for a year or so I made a decision to pursue this work more seriously and to devote some time to learning how to make '‘real’ jewellery'.

Getting an education
The first piece of metalwork jewellery I designed and made: a fish pendant in sterling silver and anodised titanium (1994).

I resigned from my job and started full time study in 1994, when I began a Visual Arts diploma with a Jewellery Major at a technical college in Adelaide.

During my first year of study I learned an incredible amount in terms of the core technical jewellery making skills that I continue to use to this day.

At the end of that year I was proud to be presented with The Most Outstanding Jewellery Student award at my college. The award was a big confidence boost and it helped me feel as though this sort of work was well suited me.

At around this time I established my first wholesale relationship with a retail store: Urban Cow Studio, which was a relatively new store for handmade and indie design products in Adelaide. All these years later my jewellery continues to be sold there.

Living in Europe

After another period of full time study the following year, I decided to pack up and go travelling while I was still young enough to make the most of the opportunity. I went travelling around Europe and ended up living in London for a couple of years.

While there I was only able to do a very small amount of jewellery making with a few basic tools, but I was able to soak up a lot of ideas and inspiration.

Eventually I returned to Australia with the intention of continuing my studies.

More education

When I returned to Australia, I moved to Sydney so that I could study full time at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. There I completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts with a Jewellery and Metal major, graduating in 2000.

While there I was able to put my established technical skills to work (and learn new ones) while developing creatively.


The Hand that Feeds cutlery in sterling silver (2000).

The artworks I made as part of my studies were more conceptual in nature and there were only a few wearable pieces of jewellery. You can find some examples of them here. I also exhibited artworks around Australia during this time - even winning an art prize in Sydney for the cutlery pictured here.

However, during this time I also continued designing and making wearable production jewellery which I sold through a small number of retail outlets around Australia.

After I completed my degree I continued making jewellery part time while living and working in Sydney, never feeling sure if I would ever be able to make a full time living doing what I loved.

Selling jewellery online

In 2006 I decided to experiment with selling jewellery online. At the time I really wasn't convinced that jewellery could be sold successfully online. I was sure that people would need to see it, feel it and try it on in person. However, within a very short time of launching a trial shop on a new online venue called Etsy, I realised I was wrong: my designs started selling almost as soon as I started listing them.

After being featured on a few key indie design and handmade blogs, my sales took off to the point that they became a major part of my income. This allowed me to change to part time employment while running an often more than full time business.


Some of the earliest jewellery designs I sold on Etsy back in 2006.

At this point the majority of my customers were in the United States. Australians still weren't confident about shopping online, but Americans were big online shoppers and at the time many were eager to buy unique and especially handmade goods.

Gaining my independence

Within a couple of years I became very disillusioned with Etsy and the way it was being run. I also generally disliked that my own business was so heavily dependent upon another business that could pull the plug on me at any time. 

I decided to set up my own independent online jewellery store at simonewalsh.com. It was a good move and this has been the primary venue for selling my jewellery ever since.

By then Australians were shopping online in far greater numbers and I started to establish a good local customer base. Which was lucky, because not long after launching the new online store, the GFC hit. The economic impact in Australia wasn't so bad, but it was devastating in the USA and customers there mostly stopped shopping.

After a few years of selling online I finally took the plunge to become creatively self-employed in 2009 - and I haven't looked back.

Growing pains

By 2014 I had moved back to the Adelaide area to be closer to family. I still live here in a rural part of the Adelaide hills, where I also have an office and jewellery studio.

Back in January 2014 I wrote a blog post about the need for change in my business. It was, quite frankly, killing me. 

At the busy end of the year I'd find myself working 100+ hours a week, my hands were falling apart and I felt like a wreck by the time Christmas rolled around and it would take me months to pull myself back together. 

I was still personally making every single piece of jewellery I sold: I couldn't possibly work any harder and yet my finances were still stretched. My business was successful, but it simply wasn't sustainable.

An old friend had recently come to visit me and we'd spent the entirety of New Year's Eve drinking wine and talking about this dilemma. He applied his business acumen to the problem to come up with suggestions for resolving it. This conversation led me to the realisation that change had to happen.

Growing!

Mehndi mandala jewellery designs in sterling silver from our 2017 jewellery range.

By the next year I had visited and established a relationship with an ethically run jewellery workshop in Indonesia that could make high quality components using my designs in far greater numbers than I could by myself.

I continue to partner with this workshop and they continue to produce beautiful pieces for Simone Walsh Jewellery, most of which we hand finish and assemble in house (while I still continue to entirely handmake a number of jewellery designs). This has allowed the business to grow - without killing me in the process, which I think is probably a good thing!

By the following year that old friend - Colin - had become my husband (true story) and he has played an extensive role in the business ever since. We recently turned Simone Walsh Jewellery into a partnership so that his role in the business is now an official one.

In 2017 we launched a brand new online jewelry store in the USA, going back to where my designs first found a market online.

The end (so far)

So here I am, a whole 25 years after spotting the necklace which first made me curious, still designing and making jewellery, but rather than being just a passing interest our jewellery business now consumes most of my time.

I'm not sure I'll make it another 25 years, so I've decided to make this one my Gold Anniversary. Stay tuned for some brand new gold designs to celebrate.

A heartfelt thank you

I definitely wouldn't have made it to 25 years without the friends, family, teachers, retailers, market organisers and others who have helped me along the way: thank you to all of you.

And - most importantly - a huge thank you to every customer Simone Walsh Jewellery has ever had, wherever you might be in the world and however long ago our paths crossed. Without you and all of the rest of our lovely customers (who embrace shopping small, handmade and/or local), our business would be impossible.

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