Natalie Fitch is the Director and Designer of her namesake brand Natalie Marie Jewellery. This holiday season we visit her Avalon, NSW home to chat about family traditions and her top tips for hosting Christmas.
Tis’ the season to celebrate with family and friends. Can you share with us how you will be spending Christmas this year?
This year we will be hosting Dan’s side of the family at our home. The day usually starts off with an early morning of present opening for very excited kids (mainly Dan), followed by fresh prawns and champagne on the beach at lunchtime with swims and a game of beach cricket. We then all head home for the afternoon to cook up a traditional Turkey roast with all the trimmings. Dinner is usually followed by card games and drinks on the deck until we all give in to our full bellies and wine hazes.
My family are all back in the UK, where we plan to spend next Christmas.
What memories do you have of the holiday season as a child?
Growing up in England, my memories of childhood Christmasses are very different to the ones I know now. For me, holiday memories are defined by magical frosty mornings, layering up to brave the outside for testing out new bikes/roller skates and dark afternoons in front of the fire playing with new toys and watching Christmas movies.
Natalie wears the Column Dress in Vintage White and Daniel wears the Casual Long Sleeve Shirt in Seafoam
As a family of four (including pup, Buddy!) what family traditions do you celebrate each year?
We have started every Christmas morning for the last few years with an early swim up at Palm beach, Buddy included. It’s a beautiful way to quietly start the day before the chaos kicks in.
When it comes to hosting Christmas for your extended family—what are your top tips?
Delegate and prepare! I am fairly new to hosting big family occasions like Christmas, and it can be really daunting. I don’t pretend to be good at everything, so instead of stressing out over every tiny detail, I share out tasks to whoever is best at them. My father in law cooks the turkey on the BBQ (this is novel to me being English!), and I always get my mother in law to make the gravy. Last year I prepared all of the vegetables on Christmas eve, (thanks Jamie Oliver), so they were all lined up and ready to throw in the oven on Christmas day, meaning I could actually enjoy the day and relax a little more.
This holiday season, we are stocking your beautiful pieces in-store and online. How would you recommend those wishing to gift a piece of jewellery navigate the range?
When it comes to gifting, I always think the more personal the better, so finding something that really resonates with that individuals style and taste or connects with them on some level is the key. The herkimer pieces form a really beautiful gifting story, they have the elevation of a stone piece, but with a softer, less formal structure.
Born out of a passion for beautiful objects, a natural appreciation for the handcrafted, and a desire to create—your delicate designs have made a global impact (Ahem, Meghan Markle). What led you to jewellery making as a career?
I have always been a maker, even from a young age I have been driven to create with my hands. Even so, I didn’t know I wanted to make jewellery before I chose my degree in Visual Arts, majoring in Jewellery at Sydney University. I had just moved to Australia from England in 2007, having spent the two years prior travelling. I kept finding myself landing back in Sydney, so I decided to make the move to call it home. At that time I was at a crossroads in both my life and studies, tossing up whether to go down a creative or more academic route with my degree. I am so glad I chose my heart’s path, guided by my now husband who encouraged me to take a risk and follow my gut.
Willa wears the Logo Kids Tee in Seafoam
Combining the timelessness of precious metals and the luminescence of semi-precious stones your pieces are stunning and uniquely contemporary. Can you talk a little about the materials you work with and how they are sourced?
As a manufacturer and retailer of fine jewellery, it is of the utmost importance to us to create responsibly, source mindfully and ensure that all of our pieces are produced with a focus on sustainability and ethical practice. We are in a great position to control this, hand manufacturing all of our pieces in our Sydney studio. We are in the unique position of having complete control and transparency across our whole supply chain, from sourcing and production to setting, finishing and packaging.
We use a combination of recycled and new materials, with 100% of the silver we used being recycled, 70% of the gold that we use recycled Australian gold and 30% of the gold that we use newly mined. Of that newly mined material - 86% is confirmed as Australian mined, the remaining 14% being blended. This blended portion is generally made up of our clasps, earring backs, findings etc. We are continuously driving the percentage of recycled gold in our pieces up closer to the 100% mark. Due to the complex nature of materials and relevant behavioural properties, coupled with our specific designs, it is not yet feasible for us to use entirely recycled gold across all pieces. That being said, we are continuously driving the proportion of recycled materials higher, and are really satisfied with the large majority of our mined gold being confirmed as within Australia.
Our collection gemstones are custom cut for NMJ, meaning they are not only exclusive to us but are sourced and cut in line with our high standards. All of the gemstones we use throughout our work are sourced through our trusted network of local suppliers who are committed to sustainable environmental practices.
What do you think makes your collections unique in the industry?
The Natalie Marie aesthetic is unique, combining a minimal style with traditional details and embellishments. Our pieces are defined by their craftsmanship, translating traditional metalsmithing techniques into modern forms. We cross the bridge between fine and everyday jewellery, creating modern heirlooms that are simultaneously precious and accessible. Our seasonal collections are a natural evolution of our own design vision, rather than following current trends. Pairing this with our use of ethically sourced, custom-cut stones and local materials, our pieces speak their own distinctive language.
We would love to know more about your creative process. Can you describe an average day in the studio?
My work days have changed a lot since I became a mum two years ago. I am no longer the first one in each morning and the last one out! I now have to structure my time more carefully to allow time for all of the different facets of my role in the company. A significant portion of my time is still taken up working on bespoke projects with our clients. This involves consultations, quoting, sourcing, designing and lots of emails. One day a week is dedicated to designing, where Em (my co-designer) and I design our three seasonal collections and plan, cost and creatively manage the execution of these. We also dedicate time to the development of new bridal pieces and one of a kind designs. I also work closely with the marketing and creative teams, staying involved in all of the different projects that are constantly unfolding. It's safe to say that my processes are not as fluid as they once were, and require more structure and routine, but it’s so important to me to still be involved in each aspect of the business, and engaged with all of our team members in the day to day processes.
When it comes to your personal jewellery collection what are your everyday essentials?
My everyday essentials, aside from my engagement and wedding rings, include a vintage sapphire and diamond pinky ring, a family signet, a Concave Cuff Ring stacked back with a petite sapphire and diamond stacker, as well as my Oval Bangle which never leaves my wrist, and five fine necklaces which I never take off (yes - they get tangled every day!), my favourite being the Six Oval Necklace.