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Iluka is headlined by a necklace containing one of the longest-known strands of Keshi pearls, which took more than 13 years to source.
Iluka is headlined by a necklace containing one of the longest-known strands of Keshi pearls, which took more than 13 years to source.

A pearl and pink diamond collection 17 years in the making

NSW-based artisan Matthew Ely has released a new pearl jewellery piece – Iluka -  that has taken nearly two decades to assemble.

The necklace contains one of the longest-known strands of Keshi pearls, which took more than 13 years to source.

Accompanying the necklace is a pendant, described as a tribute to the Australian ocean and wildlife, and a lotus flower brooch containing a cluster of Argyle pink diamonds, white diamonds, and hand-carved quartz petals.

This collection has been a remarkable labour of love for Ely, taking more than 700 hours to assemble by hand.



“While a round South Sea pearl is a natural miracle, a Keshi is significantly rarer. These baroque gems are completely solid and made of pure nacre. They’re often referred to as ‘nature’s happy accidents’”
Matthew Ely, Matthew Ely Jewellery

“While a round South Sea pearl is a natural miracle, a Keshi is significantly rarer. These baroque gems are completely solid and made of pure nacre. They’re often referred to as ‘nature’s happy accidents’,” he told Jeweller.

“Keshis will generally be 2-8mm on average. Each of the pearls in Iluka is at least double that size. To source even one of those is remarkable. But 42? Each one has the perfect matching colour, shape and tone for a strand. That’s a once in a lifetime.”

He added: “I have always loved working with pearls and was looking for my next ‘showstopper’ piece. This collection simply blew me away. Opportunities like this just don’t come around.”

The Keshi pearl strand and individual Keshi in the diamond ‘lotus’ brooch were sourced from off the coast of Broome.

Once the gemstones were sourced, the piece took four years to complete. Iluka is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘near the sea’.

“I needed to do the Keshis justice; to create something that was fitting to how incredibly rare these pearls are,” Ely added.

“This strand is one of a kind; there won’t be anything else that comes close. I’ve always loved to push the boundaries of what it’s possible to make.”

The piece is available for private viewings at the Matthew Ely Jewellery boutique in Woollahra, NSW.

 

UP CLOSE WITH 'ILUKA' 

Once the gemstones were sourced, the collection took four years to complete. Iluka is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘near the sea’.
Once the gemstones were sourced, the collection took four years to complete. Iluka is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘near the sea’.

This collection has been a remarkable labour of love for Ely, taking more than 700 hours to assemble by hand.
This collection has been a remarkable labour of love for Ely, taking more than 700 hours to assemble by hand.


Matthew Ely: “I have always loved working with pearls and was looking for my next ‘showstopper’ piece. This collection simply blew me away. Opportunities like this just don’t come around.”
Matthew Ely: “I have always loved working with pearls and was looking for my next ‘showstopper’ piece. This collection simply blew me away. Opportunities like this just don’t come around.”

The Keshi pearl strand and individual Keshi in the diamond ‘lotus’ brooch were sourced from off the coast of Broome.
The Keshi pearl strand and individual Keshi in the diamond ‘lotus’ brooch were sourced from off the coast of Broome.

The collection is available for private viewings at the Matthew Ely Jewellery boutique in Woollahra, NSW.
The collection is available for private viewings at the Matthew Ely Jewellery boutique in Woollahra, NSW.

Accompanying the necklace is a pendant, described as a tribute to the Australian ocean and wildlife, and a lotus flower brooch containing a cluster of Argyle pink diamonds, white diamonds, and hand-carved quartz petals.
Accompanying the necklace is a pendant, described as a tribute to the Australian ocean and wildlife, and a lotus flower brooch containing a cluster of Argyle pink diamonds, white diamonds, and hand-carved quartz petals.

 

More reading
The Pink Diamond Love Affair - The Creators & Consumers
My Bench: Matthew Ely
Kentucky Fried Jewellery: Unlikely partnership raises money for good cause
Ground-breaking: Biomedical project may reshape Australian pearl industry
Pearls are a man’s best friend
Post pandemic pearls

 











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