From her studio in Melbourne’s iconic Nicholas Building, Suzi Zutic crafts exquisite, one-of-a-kind engagement and wedding rings that are truly worthy of the occasion.
Inspired by current aesthetics, Suzi’s work draws on historic trends and techniques to deliver a timeless fusion of old world and new. Each piece is highly considered and intimately created – a miniature monument unique to its wearer.
Beyond the classic white diamond, Suzi also works with less conventional precious stones to create bespoke and personal pieces. A passionate gemologist, she finds beauty in the imperfect, championing the mystique of lower-clarity ‘icy’ diamonds, such as those featured in her stunning Arctic series (pictured below).
We caught up with Suzi to get a little more insight into her processes and inspirations, and the journey that brought her to jewellery design.
Tell us a little about your background and the path that brought you to jewellery design.
Early on I studied Architectural Drafting and then Interior Design. I found working on such a large scale challenging and craved more hands-on interaction with my materials. After attending a graduate show of RMIT Gold & Silvermithing students, I fell in love with the intimacy of jewellery and the close connection the maker has with his or her output. I realised that I could apply my design skills to a smaller medium and so I decided to become a jeweller.
How would you describe your style and ethos?
History is a great source of inspiration for me both from a stylistic and broader cultural perspective. At the same time I believe that design, regardless of the discipline, needs to reflect something of the present. So my work is a kind of meeting of old and the new worlds. Apart from that, fine craftsmanship is of paramount importance to me and also the quality of the precious metals and stones. This results in work that I hope is somewhat unusual and sumptuous.
We’ve noticed that many of our brides are moving away from traditional engagement rings in favour of more unique and personal designs. Does this ring true for you? If so, how has this impacted your craft?
My practice is predominantly bespoke and caters for clients that are looking for something unique and special. For me, it’s always been like that and I simply couldn’t imagine working in any other way. An engagement or wedding is an incredibly personal and intimate occasion which deserves to be marked with a ring that has been thoughtfully designed and exquisitely crafted.
What are some of the more unusual stones and materials you like to work with?
For its classic beauty and incredible workability, yellow gold is my favourite precious metal. I don’t think you will find a jeweller that will disagree with that. As a gemologist, I love gemstones, especially the more unusual ones. The gorgeous, classic white diamond and intense hue of fine, coloured gemstone such as a ruby or emerald are hard to overlook.
Having said that, I have noticed that many clients are searching for something a little different or perhaps not so traditional. In response to this, I’ve created a new range of diamond engagement rings that feature icy, rosecut diamonds. Once upon a time, these diamonds were considered inferior due to their heavily included interiors. But recently, many people have realised that these inclusions have a unique attraction of their own – creating a slightly icy translucence – which is quite beautiful and mysterious. There seems to be a real change in attitude and people are now appreciating these diamonds for their own unique and imperfect beauty.
Do you have a studio or showroom where couples can see your pieces?
Yes, I am very lucky to have a fabulous studio space in the historic Nicholas Building in Melbourne CBD. This is where I design and create my collections. Clients can make an appointment to view an in-house collection of gemstones and discuss what they may have in mind. The view of St Paul’s Cathedral is quite something too and worth popping in for on its own!
We love a gutsy groom who knows his bride well enough to commission her perfect engagement ring. Do you have many grooms coming to you in secret? Any tips for these brave boys (or girls)?
So many men are taking the lead and initiating the design and purchasing of engagement rings! It does take a certain amount of confidence but more and more men are taking the leap, which is really great. So many brides to be have expressed that receiving a bespoke ring designed by their partner adds to the sentiment and makes the ring that bit more special.
Heard any amazing proposal stories? Do tell!
There is one that stays with me probably because I’m a bit old fashioned. The proposal was via an old fashioned love letter that was mailed to the bride to be. Very simple but incredibly sweet.
Who are some other wedding creatives you find inspirational?
Melbourne boasts so many incredibly talented wedding creatives so this is a really hard one to narrow down but one of my fellow contemporaries, Jennifer Martin, creates the most staggeringly beautiful, hand-worked repoussé pieces.
Camilla Gough is also another amazing artist and self-taught jeweller who originally trained as a sculptor. Her work is truly breathtaking.
There are also so many incredible florists at the moment such as Pomp & Splendour, who create the most beautiful and unusual arrangements. The list is so long!
What would be your dream project?
I’m quite lucky and I’m sort of living my dream project right now in terms of being able to do what I love! But I’ve not had a solo exhibition yet and it’s well overdue. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to have collected some amazing gemstones and I’d love to be able to work with some of these in my first solo show.