What does LUKA stand for, and who is behind the label?
Luka stands for luscious and luxuriously handcrafted statement jewellery made from exotic and sustainable semi-precious beads collected from all over the world. Our one-off designs are sumptuous and evocative quality pieces that will only ever exist as unique models without Doppelgänger! We believe that every woman should have her very own jewellery that says something about herself, and not be a retail clone! We are a two-person husband and wife team based near Byron Bay and work closely with small-batch suppliers and artisans to source materials from all over the world, allowing for wide experimentation with materials and techniques. We use irresistible agates, amethyst, turquoise, jade, lava, pearls, emeralds, opals and many other distinctive and sumptuous materials to create a vibrant and individual look with every single piece.
Ecology meets Creativity
Established in 2010 in Lennox Head, my partner and I bring very different ideas and skills to our creative partnership. I am a marine biologist and chemist with over 20 years of research experience. I hold a PhD in coral ecology and chemistry, a Masters in Marine Toxicology, Honors in Organic Chemistry and thus it is not surprising that I get a lot of my inspiration from the ocean. As a commercial diver and dive master I have spent 1000s of hours under water (with my camera!) and often when I come back from a dive or snorkel I will walk straight into my studio to sketch some design ideas. You may wonder how I came to Design from Science? It is really quite simple – I have been a business partner in Andreas’ award-winning design and multimedia companies from 1995-2007 which has shaped my acute sense, understanding and love for good design. After working on designs for other people for over a decade, it feels great to take my marine design inspiration and turn it into bold and eclectic jewellery!
Exotic semi-precious stones are the backbone of all pieces
I am positively colour-hungry for semi-precious stones, such as agates, turquoise, onyx, carnelian, lapis lazuli, unakite, but I also work with raw precious stones such as opals, emeralds and sapphires. Spines of sea-urchins, pearls, fossilized crinoids, back bones of tiny sharks (found on a beach!) may find their way into our pieces just as the calcified remains of single cell foraminifera. Owing to the fact that I am a passionate coral reef biologist, we only use sustainably sourced materials and will never use corals – no matter how much the designer in me can appreciate the look and feel of corals. I have extensively written about how unsustainable the use of corals in jewellery making is (www.squidoo.com/dont-buy-unsustainable-red-coral-bead-jewellery-) and our label LUKA, just like Tiffany’s in Paris, has signed the pledge of the ‘Too precious to wear campaign’ www.tooprecioustowear.org. Every purchase we do is a conscientious decision and all our clients should know that by buying our jewellery, which is free of corals and other unsustainable materials, they are definitely doing the right thing!
Global collection of beads
My research and travels have allowed me to collect the most wonderful exotic beads and findings during the last 30 years, from Greece, Slovenia, Dubai, Oman, USA, Indonesia, Kurdistan, Tunisia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Madeira, UK, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Solomon Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cuba and many more places. These have now found a new life in our pieces. I love the idea of a ‘global narrative’ that each of our unique statement pieces represents. Travelling to new places and sourcing small batches of unusual materials from (online-) artisans or toothless old ladies on markets remains one of my greatest thrills and ensures that our designs stay fresh and experimental.
Design and Art Direction
With over 20 years of industry experience in the design industry in Germany, France and Australia, Andreas brings to the partnership an impressive design track record and an unashamedly strong commitment to quality graphic design and photography (those German genes coming though?). After being the CEO of his own companies and working for large companies as a graphic designer for 20 years, he started to work with me on LUKA in 2010 but also returned to his own creative roots as a freelance designer again (www.coolplanetdesign.com.au). His peers think that his work can be very good, and thus the web and interface designs for which he was directly responsible or through his art direction have been awarded a number of prestigious industry awards.
Craftsmanship and quality control
All our necklaces are created with the strongest and toughest stringing materials available to date in order to ensure the longevity of our pieces. Being a scientist by training, I have carried out rigorous testing with various core wires and materialsm, and given the correct treatment our pieces can last many years. Every piece is hand-crafted by us in our studio near Byron Bay and not outsourced to be cheaply strung overseas. However, if a piece shows a manufacturing problem within 6 months of purchasing, we will repair it free of charge.