Interview: Maria Lizunova of Lizunova Fine Jewels

Words by Amy Richardson
May 10, 2018

Crafting contemporary, design-led engagement rings and jewellery to treasure for a lifetime, Lizunova does away with trends, putting quality, originality and lasting beauty at the core of their ethos.

Far from a fleeting possession, an engagement ring has sentiment, represents lasting love and is passed from generation to generation. Each Lizunova piece is ethically handcrafted in Sydney, with the design process led by creative director Maria. Modern yet timeless, Maria’s considered creations are made to be the kind of heirloom that is worn daily, with a beauty that doesn’t fade over time.

We sat down with the woman behind the bijoux, creative director Maria Lizunova, to chat inspiration and the magic of a good gemstone.

unique handmade enagement rings / Sydney jeweller Lizunova

How would you describe your style and ethos when it comes to jewellery design?

The jewellery we create is not influenced by trends or fashion; my designs draw inspiration from the timeless – art, architecture, geometry and the natural beauty of gemstones. The ethos behind our design philosophy is to create pieces that you will love now as much as in 5, 15 or 30 years’ time – not something that’s super fashionable today but is out of date in a few years. I’m also a highly practical designer, and would hate for your ring to break because the band is too thin for example, or for your stone to chip or scratch, because it’s too soft to be worn every day in this type of setting. We have a minimum band thickness for our rings and set softer stones in protective settings that still show off their beauty to the fullest.

Fine jewellery is a considered purchase for most people, and as a jewellery designer, I respect this by creating pieces that you will love for years and years – if it gives you pleasure or makes you feel beautiful, it’s worth the investment. We work with different budgets – our bespoke rings start from $3,000 and we always give you options or how to achieve the best result without breaking the bank.

I was born and grew up in Russia, and from an early age I was immersed in its cultural heritage, the opulence of its palaces, jewels and art. This has undoubtedly left a mark on my design sensibility, but I abhor ostentation, and my background in graphic design has me balancing clean lines with luscious exuberance of gems, achieving a result that’s both luxurious and restrained at the same time. I’m really not interested in banging out the same jewellery as everyone else, because it might sell – instead I look for an unexpected edge, the balance between symmetry and asymmetry, luxury and minimalism.

pink pear cut ethical engagment ring pink pear cut ethical engagment ring

What are some of the more unusual materials or techniques you like to work with?

A few of the pieces we have created over the years were experimental and required close collaboration between myself, our jewellers and our setters – the great thing is that we all enjoy creating something different and have the drive to produce high quality pieces. We use both traditional and cutting edge techniques, with some pieces made entirely by hand and others translated from my hand drawn designs to CAD, cast from wax and hand finished. The great thing about being a jewellery designer today is the possibilities – for example, we can 3D print a design in wax for you to try on before we proceed with the finished piece so that you can get a really clear picture of the end result.

What are some current jewellery trends that you’re loving?

I love that there’s this great movement away from the generic engagement rings. These have really become a commodity and are bought mostly on price and often as a status symbol – which is rather incongruent for something that’s meant to represent your love and commitment. We’re seeing that people want something that’s more individual, unique to them, expresses their personality and their love story. I think that’s wonderful.

Do you have a particularly memorable engagement or wedding ring design that you loved working on?

Honestly, every engagement ring we make is special, and I remember every single customer. Trust and a connection with the customer are really important to me, because I want to make the best ring possible for them. I care deeply about how each ring is received. I had sleepless nights over the first engagement ring I ever created, worrying about whether they would love it. And they did and still do! It’s so rewarding becoming a tiny part of someone’s love story via the rings we make for them.

green tourmaline diamond engagement ring

What are some of your key influences and sources of inspiration?

I adore art and architecture. They inform my work subconsciously – I often draw something then realise where the inspiration came from. I never set out to create something that copies an existing style, for example Art Deco, which has informed quite a lot of my work. Modernist architecture and design really inspire me and you can see their influence in our collections too. Gemstones are another source of inspiration – they’re small miracles, gifts of Mother Earth that spent millions of years forming in her depths and that we now have the privilege of being able to wear. Our latest capsule collection of engagement rings was influenced by art, with designs drawing inspiration from the work of Sandro Botticelli, Tamara de Lempicka, Shakespeare, F Scott Fitzgerald and Ballets Russes.

What would be your dream project?

I’m interested in creating remarkable pieces and love working with customers who are unafraid to push the boundaries. They’re confident in their style and choices and open to new ideas – and they have a great sense of style! It’s really rewarding working on projects like that because the end result is a unique, inspired piece. I’m blessed to have created a few bespoke pieces like that over the years.

unique handmade enagement rings / Sydney jeweller Lizunova diamond solitaire ring


Engagement rings and jewellery Lizunova Fine Jewels |

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