Behind the Design | Jewellery Jo Loves
Join us as we recognise International Women’s Month, and let us share some of the fantastic female minds that have contributed their insight and creativity to NAJO's artistic journey. NAJO Founder Jo Tory, explains her inspiration for jewellery design and her favourite piece is from the new Aqua Collection.
NAJO How did your love affair with jewellery begin and what drew you to become a jewellery designer?
I come from a creative family. My mother always had some sort of art or craft on the go, including making silver jewellery, and I played with the components that surrounded me. So the love of design was with me from an early age. It was when I lived in Mexico and experienced the superb craftsmanship there that I knew this was my direction and inspired me to start Najo. That craftsmanship directed the Najo brand ethos. When I returned to live in Australia I wanted to elevate the perception of silver jewellery with well-made pieces of contemporary design. At that time there was nothing like that in the market
NAJO When creating a new collection, what is your creative process and where do you find your main source of inspiration?
I am constantly researching designs and elements of jewellery to clarify what may be in my mind. Shapes, finishes, stones and the technical aspects of a piece will direct how it turns out. I particularly love looking at ancient jewellery from the Greek, Roman or Byzantine era. Patterns and figurative details also play a part, as in our Totem Collection. I also love developing and expanding on designs that are already in the Najo collection as it maintains that consistency.
NAJO The new Aqua Collection has just launched. What can we look forward to seeing in the new collection?
I love all the fluid shapes in Aqua. The Najo collection in general has always had themes of water shapes running through it with raindrops, waves and ripples, so it was particularly lovely to showcase this with Aqua. There is a lovely series of earrings with jelly-like stone drops in watery, translucent colours.
NAJO Much of your design is inspired by the natural world, with this season being inspired by the flow and colour of the water. What is it about nature that fascinates you as a jewellery designer?
Nature is perfect so there is so much to inspire! I particularly love organic shapes, the soft curves and twists and asymmetry in the natural world. Those fluid shapes found in water are so soft, feminine and luscious, they really lend themselves to jewellery design.
NAJO Tell me about the evolution and range of your styles of NAJO’s jewellery?
The Danish jewellery designers have always influenced my work. That is, solid, well-crafted silver designs with clean, contemporary lines, oxidized patterning and trims – all of these elements are embraced in the NAJO collections, and our aesthetic has remained consistent. Quality is paramount and we continually strive to maintain that standard.
NAJO What sets NAJO apart from other Jewellery brands?
There is a classic simplicity to Najo designs that make them quite timeless. They are all imbued with the same aesthetic, which makes them recognizable.
Jo's Jewellery Pick's
"I love green, and so peridot is one of my favourite stones (along with emeralds and tourmalines!). The Cosmic Peridot ring has all the Najo elements: it is a bold design (12mm wide), a lovely organic shape, high polish silver with a seamless flush set faceted stone. It’s a winner!"
"The Mercury Chain Necklace has been on a black suede cord for many years in our collection. It is such a great shape that we decided to hang it on a long 80cm sterling silver snake chain to give it another dimension. The silver chain gives it a cascading effect that culminates in this gorgeous bold teardrop that conjures up the flow of water, it is a key design of the Aqua Collection."
"One of my favourite shapes that we use quite a lot in Najo designs is the teardrop. This bracelet is the smaller version of our classic Pool of Tears bracelet. Being that much finer it is so delicate and feminine, light and easy to wear. It is subtle, yet the shapes of the drops and the high polish make it an exquisite and graceful statement." Pair with the Pool of Tears Ring.
"I just love the Mode Yellow Huggie! I love it in both silver and in gold plate. It really is a timeless design and is of absolute simplicity. It is elegant, stylish and can be worn on any occasion. The huggie styles are great as they are super comfortable to wear and are the same both front and back, so they look very neat and complete."
Born in Australia, Jo Tory is proud to be one of the country’s pioneering female jewellery founders. She has been our Creative Director since NAJO’s formation, steering the company to be one of Australia’s most successful fine jewellery brands today. Jo also sits on the Jewellers Association of Australia’s Board of Directors, where she actively promotes the highest standards and ethics within the Australian jewellery industry.