Gemstones Are The Opal Of Luke Eliasz’ Eye
by Stephanie Williams
What happens when street art and opals combine? Jeweller Luke Eliasz is there for it.
Where in Hobart do you live? I live on a gorgeous little historic street in Battery Point. I am continually grateful to live in a place where people greet you in passing.
What’s the best thing about Hobart? When people ask me what Hobart is like, I say ‘it’s like a big country town with a pulse’. I love that there is always something going on here. It’s artsy, musical and just generally oozes good vibes all year round.
And the worst? It can feel a little isolated sometimes, but that could also answer the question above, haha.
Tell us a little about your work? I make fine jewellery that is just a little bit different, I have a unique workflow that has been mostly self-taught over the years through trial and error and it has developed into something I am truly happy with. Another thing I love about my work is that I only use Australian gemstones that have been self-sourced or fossicked/mined by friends of mine. There is not one gemstone in my displays that I couldn’t tell you the first name of the person who found it. It’s all about small business supporting small business.
What’s your dream project to work on? A very tough question. My mind is always overflowing with ideas and things I would love to do. A goal I am working towards is to collaborate with street artists from around the world to create jewellery pieces based on large scale artworks or murals.
How did you become a jewellery maker? If you had told me 15 years ago that I would be running by, what all appearances, looks like a jewellery store, I would have said you were mad! I’ve always had a passion for rocks and colourful gemmies, and have been a hobby lapidarist since youth, but never had a passion for jewellery until maybe seven to eight years ago. My career actually started by glorious misfortune. I had a bad accident playing sport while on holiday overseas, and during my recovery time I picked up my hobby of cutting opals. I started selling them online and having other people make jewellery from the stones I cut, ultimately selling them to fund more rocks for me to cut! Long story short, I had my own ideas regarding the jewellery, so I learned how to do it myself. It wasn’t entirely me though. I have had so many amazingly generous people share advice and help me along the way, and passing it on, I always make myself available to others to share my knowledge if asked.
Where’s your favourite Hobart eatery? Ozus Coffee in Battery Point. Best coffee and toasted sandwiches in the city!
Your gallery space is filled with some pretty amazing art. How did you build this collection? I only started collecting art seriously a few years ago but since then it has become a fierce passion. If I see something I like, I will often reach out and see if an artist will do a trade with me. This has become a great way of networking and talking with other creatives from around the world about their workflow and what inspires them.
What is your favourite stone or gem to work with and to wear? Australian opal will always be my true passion, to work with and wear. The spectrum of colours and multitudes of patterns and shapes is endless and they are always surprising me even after all these years.
If I didn’t live in Hobart I’d live… Sometimes I think it would be fun to live in a big city like Melbourne, or Paris or London… but the truth is I love the quiet balance of our little Hobart and wouldn’t trade it for anywhere.
When there’s nothing to do, I… This question doesn’t compute, sorry. Boredom is an alien concept for me.
Favourite Hobart secret? The Smug One mural in North Hobart.
Where to next? I would like to get to the point where I can take more time off to travel the world and meet some of the artist contacts I’ve made over the years in person and take my art to the world at the same time.
Quote to live by? “You make your own luck” – Ernest Hemingway.
You can find Earthfire at 58 Hampton Rd, Battery Point.