Thursday, October 29, 2009

SAMANTHA WILLS

Metallic Gold Filigree Empress Ring
The hot, summer season will soon be underway in the Northern Territory of Australia so we make a point to stay in our rental car and suck up the AC. We are here to view one of the world's most sublime natural rock formations, Uluru (a/k/a Ayers Rock).

Known as a land-based type of iceberg the magnificent sandstone formation stands over 1,000 feet and looks like a red, burning ember. Australia is also the home of featured jewelry designer Samantha Wills.

Many things inspire Wills: from slightly worn photos of her parents to the glossy, cosmopolitan images of fashion magazines to special moments with girlfriends.   Each experience is captured in some form through Wills' eclectic, beautiful jewelry.

Behind Wills' statuesque frame and flowing blond hair is a fiercely creative soul. Not one to idle her time away, Wills excelled at visual arts in high school, which led to making jewelry as a hobby.

Still in her late teens and brimming with ambitious interests, she attended Sydney's National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), and the radio broadcast school Max Rowley Media Academy. Upon completing her studies, she accepted a position with Australia's Star FM radio station as radio personality, "Sami on the Street."

With her long, lean natural beauty, some felt Wills was better suited for modeling. Accordingly, Australian surf company Billabong signed her on as a model and the job opened up enormous opportunities for travel. With everything going on, Wills continued to make jewelry and at age 21, she decided to go full steam to set a foundation for a company.

The endeavor began modestly; each weekend she sold her handmade pieces at a market stall in Bondi Beach, Sydney. By 2004, a friend of Wills, who was involved with Australian Fashion Week, offered her a showroom wall. Eager to make sales, and gain some publicity for her jewelry, she accepted.

To her surprise, Wills wrote up a total of $17,000 worth of orders for her pieces. Today her company's headquarters is located in a two-story showroom in Alexandria, Sydney. Her collections are varied with vintage elements, Grecian symbolism, and 1970s flair. She accents designs with pewter, Czech, and Swarovski crystals, enamel, jade, and ceramic.

Pieces range from the simplistic elegance of items like her Songbird Coral Pendant to the more elaborate Empress Ring that features a beautiful, amber-colored stone set against the backdrop of a Victorian-inspired, gold filigree design.
Enchanted Cuff Bracelet

Her jewelry's structure and arrangement is compelling reflecting any mood from light and easy to bold and independent. To me Wills' bronze Cleopatra Cuff evokes raw power while her multi-strand necklaces evoke the roaring 20s.

"My mother, her stylishness, the feel of an earlier time contributed to my design approach," she says.

"I am really proud that my jewelry is not only true to my design ideas, but reaches back into my parent's history bringing the two together."

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