Vanessa Nock has never been a slave to the trends. In fact, she prefers to set them. The jeweller has collaborated on a $35,000 bikini and her earrings are in the home of some of Hollywood’s most loved A-listers, including Australia’s own Margot Robbie.
Born with an innate attention to detail and knowing that she was a creative, the allure of the Year 10 manual arts elective was too good an opportunity for her to pass up in high school.
Undeterred by the fact she was the only girl in the class, Ms Nock loved the freedom of creating with her hands and employed the skills she’d honed as the only female sibling with two brothers.
Her Bundaberg high school also offered a welding class, which Ms Nock didn’t hesitate to sign up for. She excelled, adding another skill to her impressive list at a young age. Comfortable ‘on the tools,’ she was once again the only young woman in the class, but it ignited a passion for a lifelong career as a bespoke designer jeweller.
“Being strong in knowing what brought me my happiness and my joy meant I didn’t ever worry about judgement from others,” Ms Nock says. “I suppose I’m lucky in that respect.
“The senior school welding course really was my introduction, on a larger scale, to how you can solder metals together to create anything you can imagine. Moving that skill into jewellery meant just working in a more refined manner.”
Ms Nock completed a visual arts course, which taught her the fine arts of gold and silver smithing through a major in jewellery design in nearby Hervey Bay the year after school.
She then started an apprenticeship under Bill Proctor in Bundaberg, going on to work for some of the most prolific jewellers in north-eastern Australia.
After seven years honing her skills and experimenting with her unique style, she moved to the Sunshine Coast and worked with Underwood Jewellers for 13 years.
Ms Nock caused a splash when she decided to venture out on her own and forge a new path as the owner of Uniqueness Designer Jeweller just over
a year ago.
Her first, and most unusual, piece was the result of a collaboration with Veve Swimwear’s Vanessa Bryce – a bikini that featured statement natural opals.
The stunning $35,000 masterpiece definitely turned heads and had the dual purpose of raising awareness for mental health.
“I was blown away when I met Vanessa,” Ms Nock says. “Not only did we share the same name and same birth month of October, which has opal as the birthstone, but she presented me with her vision and I instantly got it.
“There was so much meaning behind it and I’d never worked with fashion before so it was unusual and unique, so definitely up my alley.
“The bikini attracted so much attention, so we were pleased to see the awareness raised. It is still for sale and it would be awesome to see it find a home someday. Vanessa and I have even spoken about the possibility of entering it into awards or incorporating it into a gown.”
While fulfilling her love of creating bespoke pieces, 10 of Ms Nock’s signature earrings – the Sunshine Swirls – were making it into the hands of 2020 Academy Award nominees including Scarlett Johansson, Charlize Theron, Laura Dern, Renee Zellweger and Margot Robbie.
Each pair was made by hand with a different natural stone. Vanessa chose rose quartz, black onyx, citrine, chalcedony, agate, fluorite, blue howlite and black spinel.
Her Sunshine Swirls were sent to Los Angeles as part of an Oscar gifting box, curated by Twenty2Luxury Celebrity Gifting. The boxes were put together by Sunshine Coast businesswoman Janine Hall, who approached Ms Nock to contribute to the boxes, after they sat together at a workshop.
“Janine commented on my shoes then we got to talking. She was putting together the gift bags and asked me if I would be interested,” Ms Nock says.
“I am a little excited that my creations have made their way to Hollywood and I am looking forward to seeing if the actresses wear them out once they start attending events again.”
Many of her social media followers have ordered their own Sunshine Swirls to add a bit of Hollywood glam to their wardrobe. This is Ms Nock’s only signature range, as her passion lies firmly with designing and crafting one-off pieces for her clients.
“People always ask me how I come up with my designs and I find inspiration in all things. It could be a window frame or a mirror that has an unusual shape. I am always drawn to unusual details,” she says.
Being a small business owner was never her dream, but Ms Nock says she is a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.
“Jewellery is very personal. It takes a lot of trust in someone to achieve your expectations. I listen to what is desired and even if someone is not exactly sure, I can help find the answers within,” she says.
“Bringing someone’s dream to reality is a beautiful gift to share.”
Her latest innovation is the creation of Ring Reveals, where couples work with her on the design and creation of their partner’s wedding and engagement rings and then enjoy an intimate picnic together and reveal their rings to one another.
“It’s all about the experience and making it unforgettable for people. These memories stay with people forever and whenever you look at a piece of jewellery that has been specially made, you will be transported back to the moment when you first fell in love with it,” she says.