Exploring Central Otago
Central Otago – affectionately known as ‘Central’ – is home to welcoming rural outposts where you can enjoy the famous southern hospitality in ...
For Vikki George at Roccabella, jewellery is about stories and memories. She tells Cityscape about some of the most special jewellery in the store.
“If you’re looking to buy a round brilliant cut, the diamond I would recommend to my family and best friends is Hearts On Fire,” Vikki says. “It is simply the best cut diamond for sparkle, it’s not just a brand name, it’s a reassurance of the quality.”
Hearts On Fire started in Boston in the 1990s and set about perfecting the cut of round brilliant diamonds using heart and arrow facets. It soon earned a reputation for selling the world's most perfectly cut diamond. Roccabella partnered with Hearts On Fire in 2006, and as one of the top sellers in the world, Vikki travelled to Boston to meet the designers. “I know Hearts On Fire intimately,” she says. “They’re cut with such precision, which makes them visually more beautiful. They just sparkle more than other diamonds, it doesn’t matter the size. I call them ‘ten-table diamonds’ because you can see them from ten tables away.”
Vikki loves that Hearts On Fire come in a whole range of sizes and prices, all with top-quality diamonds. “You can’t go out and buy a small Lamborghini, but with Hearts On Fire you can have that prestige and quality on any budget. I love that we can offer this kind of luxury at all price points.”
Roccabella’s story with Italian jewellers Gioielliamo goes back to the pre-earthquake days. Vikki imports jewellery from the family company’s head jeweller, Filippo. Back in the early days of Roccabella, Vikki’s mother Margaret dealt with Filippo’s father. “It’s a great dynamic between the two countries,” Vikki says. “We talk on WhatsApp about what is on trend in Italy and what Gioielliamo items are popular in Christchurch.” Gioielliamo comes from Arezzo, a traditional goldsmithing town where many age-old family businesses have been squeezed out of the market by mass-produced jewellery. “We try and support and protect that history of artistic, ethical and authentic manufacturing,” Vikki says. Most Gioielliamo pieces are 18 carat gold, and many feature coloured stones – including exquisite chocolate-coloured diamonds – and all the pieces have a certain Italian charm. “Italian jewellery just has a little special something,” Vikki says.
Vikki hit it off immediately with Selin Kent when first contacting the New York jeweller. Roccabella’s story of recovery resonated with Selin, who is originally from Istanbul and no stranger to devastating quakes. Her speciality is stunning jewellery made from ethically sourced metals and gems.
Lena, the designer behind the contemporary Tel Aviv jewellery brand Minimaliti is also a friend of Roccabella. Unfortunately, her shipments haven’t been able to go out because of Covid-related restrictions and delays, but Vikki loves her designs and with persistence, the two jewellers managed to get a new shipment of Minimaliti pieces into Roccabella at the end of November. “We’re the ultimate in keeping hope alive,” Vikki says. The Minimaliti range is unique and modern, made mostly from rubber and silver, and remarkably cost-effective for its quality and beauty.
the non citizens is specially special to Vikki because, well, it’s her own range. Vikki designed each item herself, and the demi-couture pieces are ready to take home as-is, or you can customise your own with a special stone or metal that suits your look.
The name of the range comes from Vikki’s experience of the world. “I was born in Tokyo,” she says. “I don’t have my own citizenship, I am only a New Zealand citizen because of my parents. I believe the world should be open to everybody and we should be citizens of the world. My jewellery imparts a little bit of that empowerment – you can be anything and do anything.”
This French perfumery is all about connection, and Vikki loves Lola James Harper’s philosophy. “It’s all about how you set your mind and mood to the scent you wear,” she says. Each of the scents – whether it be an eau de toilette or a scented candle – is designed to convey joy, love, a positive outlook, or a new mindset.
Get your hands (or ears, or neck) on these exceptional items, or talk bespoke jewellery design with Vikki at Roccabella in Cashel Street.