Doing it differently down under: five jewellery brands you should investigate from Australia and New Zealand
In another life Alinka Barlow was an accountant at a big firm, crunching numbers to decide whether a business was viable. It's a background that proved useful when launching her jewellery brand Alinka in 2015.
For the Russian-born Barlow, who moved to Sydney 20 years ago to attend university, fell in love and stayed, jewellery was always her passion. Her brand is know for its cool, asymmetrical styles, use of black and white diamonds, and twists on classic pieces.
Barlow describes her aesthetic as "classically elegant with an edge". Her heritage and connection to family and home in Russia are evident in her creations, from the White Knight collection, which was inspired by the parquetry floor in the flat where she grew up in St Petersburg, to a ring named after her mother, Tonya, and her bestselling Dasha diamond ear cuff named for two of her dearest friends.
Her jewellery has been worn by celebrities including singers Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa, and model Miranda Kerr.
"I definitely think jewellery is very personal," she says.
She also thinks jewellery should be playful, versatile and worn every day. Alinka jewellery is intended to be mixed in with pieces you already own, she says.
On the day we meet, Barlow is just back from a spin class, to which she wore one of her other bestsellers, the Riviera necklace, her take on the classic diamond tennis necklace style.
"I think life is about you and it's about the living and I believe (that starts) today," she says of her philosophy behind her jewellery making. "I also believe that jewellery captures your energy … I think that's my Russian heritage."