Precious Elements: Ele and Lorraine Misko
Growing up on a farm in regional Victoria, Ele Misko was an avid rock collector. Her mother Lorraine encouraged Ele’s early passion with a special book on gemstones. The rest, as they say, is history. This is the story of Melbourne jewellery maker Ele Misko, her mum, and their shared love for Earth’s most precious elements.
“Growing up on a farm, my brother and I would go out exploring every day,” says Ele, recalling the imaginary gold mines where they fossicked for Fool’s Gold. “One day we went to a farmers market and I did a lucky dip; I got this bag of gemstones. I was obsessed with them, then mum bought me a book on gemstones and I memorised the properties of every single gem."
Asked in primary school, ‘What do you want to be?’, Ele’s instant response was, ‘A geologist or an artist’. “In high school she wanted to be an entrepreneur,” recalls Lorraine.
Both mother and daughter have a love for the land, and a passion for discovery and adventure. Lorraine spent the 1970s travelling around the world, living in countries like Canada, and traveling to Cuba for work.
Ele, too, caught the travel bug, adventuring through Europe and the US, living in Paris, Berlin and New York. “I had every job you could imagine,” she laughs. Skilled across a multitude of disciplines (her studies straddle sculpture, painting, cinema, graphic design and photography), Ele finally landed on jewellery design.
Having cultivated a jewellery making practice that remains closely connected to nature and its most nurturing elements, Ele teamed up with her siblings to design a special pendant for Lorraine.
“It’s quite simple,” says Lorraine of the gently twisting rose gold loop which holds a pearl at its centre. Tiny rubies glimmer at its ends. “The setting really highlights the stones, which stand out on their own – that takes real skill.”
Of the pieces she makes and wears herself, Ele says: “I like to think about the whole piece as an object: what does it look like from every angle, is it cohesive as a whole?
“I’m constantly taking photos, drawing inspiration from lots of areas – materials, colour palettes. I might focus on a certain element, like movement, and explore how I can show both sides of a gem… things that defy conventional ways of designing.”