Vetro e Metallo
Brass and copper jewellery hammer local markets
“Every piece that people buy, we give them a lifetime guarantee because we know the quality is going to stand up and it won’t break,” says Wendy Lees, owner and designer of Vetro e Metallo. It means “glass and metal’ in Italian. Every ingredient is chosen by hand securing the quality of the material.
Quality is key for the brass and copper jeweller with every piece designed from the ground up, every link soldered. “For us, everything is about quality,” says Wendy. “We wouldn’t ever buy anything unless we’ve seen it.”
Starting out as a glassworks in Wollonggong, V&M transformed into a handcrafted jewelry business in within ten years, making the most of upcycled, salvaged metals. The decision came from wanting to make all of the elements in-house rather than sticking to beads of sterling silver. Wendy found that working with copper created a more earthy appeal by crafting a product that’s more unique.
Crafting a steady stream of quality products requires regularly collecting metals by the kilo. Their Braidwood-based showroom often sees regulars who deliver metals or coins, and discuss designs on top of purchasing jewelry. Some customers have given them coins and received jewelry in return.
Imagine a heavy metal cylinder crushing materials against a thicker cylindrical base, with the life-sized machine whirring and wheezing during the whole process. The hydraulic press is only one of many that’s described as “very industrial” machinery and tools. Although anvils and hammers are used to shape the product, it’s really the width and the weight that dictate the design for the simple reason that if it’s too heavy, then it can’t be worn as jewellery.
The classics are always saleable and it’s what makes them unique, yet Wendy says she’s always on the lookouts for new designs. Inspiration can come from virtually anywhere. It might come from nature with colours of the environment or from models on an international catwalk.
Big Feature Earrings are a result of making models’ fashion wearable, says Wendy. Think big hoops surprisingly light enough to dangle on the ears.
Another range to keep an eye out for is “cinetico” which is Italian for kinetic. The line is designed by playing with shapes and chains in an effort to capture motion.
Vetro e Metallo has now become one of the many loyal stalls that can be found in the Old Bus Depot Markets (OBDM). While on the lookout for artisan markets, Wendy was immediately welcomed and hasn’t really missed a Sunday since.
Six years strong, Wendy aims for V&M to be in more outlets and have a wider distribution. Their website was completely revised and relaunched in late 2017. The goal is to let customers purchase any V&M product online.
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