Chongqing-born, Sydney-raised jeweller and geologist Violet Guo describes how her love of antiquity inspires her brand, Centauri Lucy.
When did you become passionate about jewellery? "It started with my fascination with antiques. I love studying the craftsmanship in antique jewellery and understanding how it was made with limited technology [compared with now]. For me, the beauty lies in the complicated details. With gems, the fact that the creation of a stone requires a particular climatic temperature and natural chemistry created by the Earth over centuries is amazing - such a romantic notion. It is because of this that I studied gemstones, got certified by the International Gemological Institute and became a gemologist."
How did your childhood influence your career? "I was born in Chongqing, to a family of scholars. My grandfather collected antique Chinese calligraphy and paintings. So perhaps art is in my blood. When I went to Sydney for school as a young child, I felt hungry to know more about Western art history."
Do you have a favourite gemstone? "Emerald is one of the most ancient gems to have been found or recorded. When I am designing for myself, I often use them."
What eras influence your work? "Choosing one era is very difficult! If I must pick, then Renaissance must be top of the list. My Heritage collection shows how baroque, art nouveau and art deco styles have influenced me greatly. Without the Renaissance, would those three styles even exist?"
You sell in Greater China and Australia. How do customers in these markets differ? "Our customers in Australia focus mainly on the design and will often request custom-made pieces. Craftsmanship is extremely important them. For our Chinese clients, the focus is on the gemstone, and its value. Our Chinese customers also want designs that are wearable, everyday pieces whereas Australians like statement pieces that are unique."
What is the most precious item in your jewellery box? "One that soon won't be in there. It's a five-carat ruby ring that was commissioned by my father as a gift for my mother for their upcoming wedding anniversary. I was very touched when he asked me to make it. We shared a lot of meaningful moments during the design progress."