Hannah Roche and her husband LD Malone spent a year learning to craft fine jewellery at one of Australia’s oldest craft institutions, the Sturt School in New South Wales, so they could each make the other’s wedding ring. In the process, they fell in love with jewellery making, going on to launch Released From Love last year, on their first wedding anniversary.
From their Paddington home studio in Sydney, the couple design jewellery people can wear every day, using recycled solid sterling silver and 23-carat gold vermeil (gilded silver). “We love working with gold vermeil [rather than] gold plating because the layer of gold is much thicker, which means it will last longer,” Roche tells Broadsheet, adding that it also keeps the price down.
They then use local goldsmiths and silversmiths to create the pieces with modern practices, such as 3D-printing for mould making, as well as more traditional methods like soldering, hand polishing and lost-wax casting.
Roche says one of her favourite lines in the current collection is the cast pearls series. “Instead of using the pearls themselves, we [cast] recycled precious metals [in their shape] as a statement against unethical pearl farming, which is rampant within the fast-fashion industry.” The duo is also working on a horseshoe series, to rally against the mistreatment of thoroughbred horses in Australia.
Prior to launching Released From Love in 2019, Roche studied fashion theory and business at Queensland’s University of Technology, as well as photography. She freelanced as a fashion photographer for Vogue and fashion retailers Bassike and Net-a-Porter in Sydney, London and Paris. Malone was an academic and consultant working in philosophy and business management.
“Our personal styles and aesthetic tastes are so different,” Roche says. “For example, [Malone] takes more influence from punk and noise music and cultural philosophical concepts, while I’m drawn to both classic and modern fashion aesthetics that emphasise materiality, tailoring, composition, texture and utilitarianism.”
But both like to take traditional jewellery styles and make them contemporary (see this coin necklace), or even consider a philosophical concept and see if they can create a piece from it.
Once their ideas have been sketched, the designs are carved, sculpted in wax, and cast in recycled materials. All soldering and polishing is done by hand in the pair’s studio.
“I’ll then wear the piece for several weeks and refine any elements that need further work, or if there’s something I don’t like ergonomically, we’ll fix it. Otherwise the piece will go into production,” she says.