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Momoko Hatano: Shinju

Momoko Hatano: Shinju

The newest collection from cult Sydney based jewellery designer Momoko Hatano is inspired by the humble pearl: or 'shinju' as it's known in her native Japanese tongue.

"The fact that [pearls come] from a living creature, that each one is differently shaped and coloured depending on its mother, their form, lustre and texture are all really interesting to me," explains Momoko.

Encompassing solid gold and silver earrings coiled into seashell spirals, pearls hidden in tiny sterling silver rockpools and simple drop earrings that celebrate the vintage gems that took so much time and effort for the designer to source, it's a surreal and alluring collection of beautiful organic forms that catapults Momoko into the league of serious, heavy-weight Australian designers.

A COFA graduate, Momoko spent seven years at iconic Australian design house Dinosaur Designs, some of which as Head of Silver, before launching her own label. This is her fourth collection, and the first time she's explored a gem extensively throughout a collection. Up until now she's worked only with precious metals.

"In whatever work I do I'm always trying to create an aesthetic that is timeless with a twist," she explains.

Momoko makes every piece herself by hand in her Marrickville workshop and fiddly lost-wax casting, soldering, and pearl drilling aside, she says one of the hardest elements of this collection was finding the pearls to begin with.

"Sustainability is an important part of my business values and I believe upcycling is the most sustainable design practice. Using something that already exists is much better than using something that has been newly created, even if it's in a very conscious way."

Because vintage pearls are so hard to come by, Momoko is always on the hunt for them, wherever she goes. Most of the gems in this collection ended up coming from American vintage jewellery, bead or costume wholesalers, but she also had some good luck at antique shops on King Street in Sydney's Newtown.

Heavy on surrealism and seaside glimmer, the collection has been expertly captured by Isabella Moore and food and lifestyle stylist Jessica Johnson.

"We wanted to create a shoot with a sense of mystery and romance, because I think that's what pearls are to me."

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Shop the Shinju collection now.