Thursday, June 24, 2010


Get ready to enjoy the feats of skilled surfers that populate Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia. Featured in the final scene of the Keanu Reeves' film Point Break, Bells Beach has been the location of the Rip Curl Pro Surf and Music Festival for nearly fifty years. Australia is also home to featured jewelry designer Nicole Raab.

Before bringing her life-long passion for jewelry making to fruition through her company, Indi's Charm, the mother of five worked as a Community Development Coordinator at various community centers.

When her then husband-to-be chose to commission a jeweler to create her engagement ring, Raab's own creative stirrings were reignited.

During her fifth pregnancy, she decided to quit her job, and actively pursue constructing handmade jewelry.

"I loved to make jewelry from a very young age. I have always been fascinated by it," Raab recalls.

"I love the way it can make you feel. I love the way jewelry makes a statement about a person. Jewelry brings out a woman's femininity."

The self-taught designer takes a tactile and spiritual approach to her creation process, and the beauty of nature is central to her aesthetic.

"I can get inspired anywhere, really. Honestly, I can be shopping and someone can walk pass wearing something or carrying something in their hand and an idea pops into my head.

I stop to write down my ideas while my family shakes their heads waiting for me. It's crazy. My head is always buzzing with ideas. But I have to say that nature is my biggest influence.

I have spent many years in the mountains of Victoria's Dandenong Ranges. Many of my pieces are inspired by the non-conformists of the mountains, as well as the unique twists that capture the souls of those who live there."

Amalgamating such materials as Swarovski crystals, Balinese silver, leather, freshwater pearls, lampwork beads, copper, old belt buckles, semi-precious stones, and shells, Raab builds varied and differentiated items.

Her elegant and sophisticated neckpieces highlight styles that seem to be variations of African, East Indian, and Turkish aesthetics.

For the most part, these designs are simple yet opulent with either a metal chain or silk cord suspending a vibrant gemstone drop, multiple beads, or a commanding metal medallion.

Aside from pendants, earrings, and bracelets, she also configures beautiful key chains, handbag jewelry, and bookmarks sprinkled with luscious drops of semi-precious stones. I love that she has matched delicate stones with functional items while also punctuating femininity.

I love the idea of having a few aquamarine gemstones dangling right next to my car ignition key. In case you are in a morning rush and arrive to work sans a pair of earrings or necklace, you still have a little bling with you.

"I don't pre-plan or draw sketches. When I make something, I like it to be the first time it has been created. I like the creation process to be pure, and raw.

I have a tattoo of the holy trinity on my hand, and I never make a piece without a simple prayer first. It is a bit like a ritual, if you must."

Ultimately, once a piece is finalized, Raab thoroughly enjoys seeing the visceral response of a potential wearer. "I love for my jewelry to start a conversation. When I see a woman look at a piece from my collection, and she can't walk away without it, I know that piece has spoken to her. That is very important.

For me, I believe every woman has the right to own and wear an individual piece of art in the form of jewelry, without the high cost.

I've been known to sell a piece cheaper than the listed price because the piece spoke to someone. It's not about the money. It's about the love a wearer has for it, and the love of creating it."

For Raab's latest collections, be sure to view her FaceBook page.
Photo 1 (top right): Medallion Pendant
Photo 2 (center): Keychain with Semi-Precious Gemstones

Photo 3 (bottom left): Silver Tone Medallion Bracelet
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