Growing up, Stephanie Sieber, Edith’s granddaughter and the designer behind the brand, was heavily influenced by Burmese and Indian superstitions. This later led to a fascination for the symbolism and almost magical powers, bestowed upon jewellery.
When Stephanie’s mother was born “fat and fair” in India, everyone was so concerned that her beauty would attract evil spirits, that Edith arranged for a rupee to be blessed at the local temple to protect her. Stephanie’s mother still wears this rupee as a pendant today, which is also the inspiration behind the Precious Pendant.
And so Brave Edith’s jewellery designs are inspired by the vast array of Burma and India’s motifs for protection and good fortune. Almost all are natural motifs, either botanical or animal inspired. The lotus flower, representing the pinnacle of faith and enlightenment in both Buddhism and Hinduism was an immediate choice for jewellery design. Other inspiration includes the Burmese Padauk flower, which is associated with positive new beginnings and the peacock, which is the national bird of both Burma and India, who by virtue of its tail of many eyes is considered a watchful and compassionate guardian.
Choice of material is also another important design element based on both traditional associations and quality. In Burma and India, gold and silver are both deemed to improve wellbeing as well as convey wealth and status. Gold is believed to help with long life and happiness, while silver is noted for its healing properties. No doubt these beliefs are founded in the truth that both are known for their outstanding durability and hypoallergenic properties. It’s for both the sentiment behind these precious metals, as well as their superior qualities, that Brave Edith creates its jewellery from sterling silver and gold.
HANDCRAFTING IN BRAVE EDITH'S MELBOURNE STUDIO
The design process is an iterative and intuitive one. For Stephanie, it's literally "hands on" and ever changing.
However usually once a jewellery design area is conceived, it is explored through sketches (and scribbles) covering multiple variations. Complementary designs across earrings, necklaces and bracelets are then assembled into a collection. More detailed drawings are created either by hand or by computer – depending on the style of the design.
These are then refined further through a range of stages of prototyping, all done in Brave Edith's jewellery studio in Melbourne. As a first step, designs are often constructed with paper to help determine shape, dimensions and movement. At this stage, the designs may change considerably or one design may appear as the lead and create the foundation for the collection. For more complex pieces, copper prototypes may also be developed to further refine movement and weight.
For those designs that are successful, they are then finally handcrafted in sterling silver and road-tested for wearability. Sometimes with more unique designs, minor amendments to the construction are made as novel solutions can be found to make the jewellery easy to wear. The most interesting and comfortable designs are then selected to be made in small batches. It is crucial at this point that the final prototypes are finished to exacting standards and accompanied with detailed technical specifications as these pieces are the cornerstone for the final product.
MADE IN SMALL BATCHES IN INDIA AND THE FAR EAST
With the pivotal role that Burma and India had in Edith's life, it was only natural that Brave Edith designs be brought to life in India and the Far East.
With a history in jewellery making dating back 5,000 years, India is renowned for its excellence in craftsmanship. In fact, the history of jewellery and its artisans in India has often been quoted as the history of the country itself. For 2,000 years India was the sole exporter of gems; it was also the Indians who invented the diamond drill which they then taught to the Romans.
Similarly Burmese artisans have a strong tradition in metal crafting, with exquisite skills in fine detail. Around 800 years ago this extended to Thailand when Burmese refugees and Hindu metal workers made their way to Thailand, and the craft of silversmithing emerged.
It is through such time-honoured skills Brave Edith jewellery is made with outstanding attention to detail, using a mixture of fine handcrafting and industry leading technology. We also take great pride in only partnering with organisations who are in compliance with ethical and environmental quality standards as well as offering fair pay and extended work benefits.
Some additional pieces, such as the Precious Pendant are made in Brave Edith's Melbourne studio, which allows this piece to be personalised with engraving.