Matthew Ely grew up in a little town west of Sydney. His family owned a well–established jewellery business in Penrith, where he grew up within his father’s boutique surrounded by precious stones.
At the age of 12, Matthew wrote an application to his parents asking for a position within the store. Advancing quickly to sales assistant, this role fostered his interest and passion for the jewellery trade. His father made him trial other trades – such as engineering – before letting him settle on the jewellery profession. It was the interaction with clients in the family boutique rather than the materials that first developed his initial love for design. Within his first year of TAFE, Matthew won World Skills in New South Wales and came 3rd in Australia. Hence, the school recognised him as a young talent and his passion for the industry and jewellery design was born.
After graduating from TAFE Enmore, Matthew received a scholarship to London with the Australian Overseas Foundation and, after a few weeks, found a job in a manufacturing workshop, Jacobs Jewellery. He worked alongside three gentlemen, some of the best in the industry, who became his mentors. London allowed Matthew to master his jewellery skills in an advanced technical manner. Although the focus was on technique, he also developed his skills by designing luxury pieces.
Returning to Australia was an immense turning point in the young designer’s career. The family business grew significantly offering Matthew new opportunities. The idea to transcend from small and rustic to grand and luxe saw Matthew pursue his long-held dream to establish himself among the top jewellers in Australia.
Matthew quickly accumulated his own following of clients with an appreciation for handcrafted bespoke luxury design. Matthew also knew he needed to create a space to truly offer his high-end clientele the personal consultancy required and hence drew up a business plan. Combining family approval and industry support, Matthew commenced building his new workshop and boutique in attractive Woollahra, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.
In August 2017 Matthew Ely, only 28 years old, will open the doors to a new haven for bespoke fine jewellery. Although this marks a fresh chapter for the young designer, he still works closely with his father travelling the world to source diamonds, particular stones and precious metal from the gemstone fairs at Hong Kong to the Antwerp diamond markets.
“I have set my standards very high,” says Matthew, “and I have dreams of making some of the most beautiful jewellery in the world. Since arriving back in Australia I have literally hit the ground running.”
The architecture of the store will challenge the most pressing issue in the jewellery industry – establishing trust. The space will be open, safe and transparent while inviting clients to participate in the design and creative process of bespoke jewellery.
“I want to educate my clients on the complex world of gems and diamonds, and how they travel through the world to end up in their personal pieces of fine jewellery,” adds Matthew. “My new boutique is designed to evoke the kind of trust you need to have in jewellery to understand your heirlooms.”
We thank Platinum Media & Communications and Matthew Ely for sharing this content with the JAA.
Retraction: In last month’s member profile, we used the word “jeweller” to describe Mary O’Reilly. To avoid confusion with readers, we realise we should have used the word “retailer,” as Mary does not hand-make her jewellery herself.