Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Within Australia’s Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park lies the striking visual of dome-shaped, crimson rock formations known as the Olgas (or the Kata Tjuta). The captivating scenery is best viewed during spring or fall through alternately easy and challenging guided, walking trails. Australia is also home to featured jewelry designer John Miller.

An actor, singer/songwriter and jewelry designer, Miller undoubtedly has an active creative life.

Throughout the course of his jewelry making career—his first love it seems—Miller has allowed for time to touch base with each aspiration.

From the tender age of seven, Miller knew he had a predilection for mingling metal and gemstones as he had “always been collecting rocks and tools, bits of wire and metal things. My current workshop is a lot like my bedroom use to be: messy and full of little projects in various stages of construction and deconstruction.”

In 1973, upon completing drawing and sculpture studies at the Claremont School of Art in Perth, the eager artist accepted a job buffing silver in a workshop called Beaut Sausages. “It was the seventies and silver jewelry was hot. People bought everything I made, often before I finished it.”

The enthusiastic designer bounced around the Australia continent building a retail store in Darwin, and later buying gemstones and a setting up a workshop in Broome where he became the first Australian jeweler to hand fabricate bijouterie with renowned Broome pearls.

By 1996, Miller relocated to Yallingup, Australia where he established his present workshop, Jewel of the Capes.

Miller’s gorgeous designer jewelry of hand cultivated 22- and 18-karat gold, and sterling silver possesses a striking allure in its play of textures, and hand engraved semblances of butterflies, stingrays, geckoes, gum nuts, eucalyptus leaves, octopi, and the frightful images of long-toothed dragon and fang fish.

His engraved rings and engraved bracelets are primal and tribal taking one back thousands of years to a time when pictographs and petroglyphs were the form of communication.

One of his gold cuff bracelets beautifully captures a full scene replete with kangaroos running along a landscape of trees and birds flying overhead. It is incredible craftsmanship all done by hand, and the slight oxidation of his sterling silver cuff bracelets makes the embossed textures pop that much more.

There are also sinuous gold bangle bracelets created with subtle waves and dips in their circling lengths. Miller’s understated yet stunning gemstone rings with settings of pink or blue sapphires, yellow and white diamonds, Burmese rubies, Australian opals, and chrysoprase are timeless staples.

His Supernova Gold Ring is a prime example of Miller’s skill at creating rich organic forms that seem to take on a life of its own.

“Ancient and tribal metalwork is always a source of inspiration. I love silver and I love gold and my tool and pattern making is quite sophisticated now.

The Egyptians, Incas, Celts and Mayans had a very sophisticated sense of aesthetic and traditional techniques.

Pieces from Roman times are beyond “fashion style” and that style is what I constantly pursue.

It is about the artistic journey and making jewelry that will last forever . . . or at least a very long time.”
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Gold Supernova Ring with Diamond
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Bracelets
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Rings with Australian Opals
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