Get to know SGS Jewellery's whimsical world of wearable gems

by Platform One

Enamoured by the floral and butterfly motifs across SGS Jewellery's work, we spoke to Stephanie Symington - maker and artist - to find out more about her practise.

Learn about Stephanie's studio must-haves, sustainable gemstones and magical movie influences.

I understand your background as an artist is in sculpture – can you tell us about your progression into jewellery making and what is a key technical or creative practise you have carried over?

After graduating from school, I found myself somewhat uncertain about my career path. Initially, I had envisioned becoming an artist. However, I lacked clarity regarding the specifics of what I wanted to pursue. During my time at uni, I explored various mediums such as drawing, painting, installations and small sculptures. It was during an elective course where I delved into basic jewellery making techniques like soldering and crafting rings from wire. In my Honours year, I began creating sculptures from sterling silver and bronze. It was then that my affinity for jewellery grew, leading me to establish SGS a few years later.


Are there any fairytales, or fantasy or animated films that capture some of the essence of SGS?

Oh, so many! For me personally, it’s a lot of Ghibli. I couldn’t just choose one Ghibli movie, so I’d have to say Arrietty because of my obsession with all things tiny, and all of the gorgeous floral references in it. One of my other all-time favourites is My Neighbour Totoro. I’m just so enamoured with the landscapes and the magical creatures in this movie.

I have lots of other old, magical movie influences like; The Secret Garden, The NeverEnding Story etc.


What are three must-haves in your studio to help with your daily creative process?

1. Background noise – I need a podcast or tv-show playing in the background. I can’t concentrate without that.

2.Good lighting. On each of my work benches I need strong lamps, these are really important to help my eyes out with all the tiny things I’m working on. This is in addition to decent LED globes in my ceiling lights

3. I suppose all of my tools. I have so many tools I’ve collected and built up over the years, each one for a slightly different purpose, all aiding me with countless different jobs.


Tell us about your precious materials...

In my studio, my primary focus lies in utilising recycled metals as part of my commitment to sustainable practices. Although sourced from recycled materials, these metals undergo refinement, ensuring they maintain their preciousness and uphold excellent quality standards. My preferred mediums include sterling silver, as well as yellow, white, and rose gold. When I’m working with gold, I’ll usually work with 9ct, 14ct or 18ct. I consciously refrain from working with alternative or plated metals due to my insistence on working exclusively with materials of superior quality. Despite potential demand, I prioritise longevity and durability, confident that the materials I select will endure over time.

In addition to metals, I incorporate a diverse selection of gemstones into my work, including natural, synthetic, and lab-grown varieties. I particularly enjoy working with vibrant and colourful gems such as pink sapphires and rhodolite garnets. Whenever feasible, I prioritise sourcing Australian gemstones that have been locally cut, supporting both sustainability and local craftsmanship. However, in cases where natural stones may be less environmentally sustainable or financially viable, lab-grown and synthetic alternatives offer a compelling solution.



What's one thing you've learned about your craft from creating bespoke/custom pieces and what's one custom piece that excited you recently?

Previously, I harboured notions of perfectionism, envisioning myself as a skilled jeweller only when I adhered to rigid standards. Over time, I've embraced the organic nature of my craft and learned to rely more on intuition.

Recently, I crafted a bespoke butterfly ring adorned with two light and two dark pink sapphires set in 9ct yellow gold. Butterflies hold special significance for me, reflected in their frequent appearance within my logo and work. This particular creation stands out as one of my personal favourites.


Where's a place in nature that inspires you?

Being immersed in nature never fails to inspire me. It never really matters too much where it is, there is so much beautiful parkland in Melbourne, my partner & I love to drive out to new spots and go for walks so I don’t necessarily have one favourite spot.


Say I have a gorgeous SGS piece I want to wear forever… what's your best care tip for long-lasting jewellery?

Maintenance of most SGS pieces is straightforward. The easiest care tip is to clean your pieces with warm soapy water and a polishing cloth when needed. Additionally, exercise caution with softer or delicate gemstones such as opals or pearls by removing them before activities like showering or swimming.



Obsessed with SGS and want more...