When I was a little girl, I was “that” child, always going through her grandmother’s jewellery box…

...taking out all the pieces and trying them on, holding them up to the sun and watching them sparkle. I remember being particularly fascinated by my nanna Cis’s beautiful crystal broach and earrings. I dreamed of a magical world full of colour, elegance and beauty. I distinctly remember how beautiful I thought she was when she wore them, and how beautiful I felt when I would sneakily wear them myself.

I never intended to be a jeweller

~ Sonia McManus

Over the years jewellery became deeply symbolic to me as well as profoundly beautiful. In my teens and 20’s I would collect jewellery as I travelled; each piece told the story of a place and time and the people I was with. Whenever I wore that jewellery I was immediately transported back in time.

I never intended to be a jeweller. Although deeply passionate about creativity, I failed art exams at school and failed to gain entry to college to be an art teacher. I instead aligned myself with Mother Earth, specalised as an Engineering Geologist and spent several years working around the world. In 2001 I embarked upon a long pathway to gain my doctorate. I became a mother, and then the challenge of parenting alone – none of which left much time for creative endeavours.

Then, in 2010/2011 everything changed. Now living back in New Zealand, my city was rocked by a devastating series of deadly, devastating earthquakes. I lost my business, watched my friends leave and witnessed my whole community broken apart – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But in the years that followed the earthquakes I discovered a profound beauty in broken things! I began creating again. There was no plan or strategy. Just a deep need to create beautiful things; beautiful things happened to be jewellery!

The journey began, making beautiful and meaningful adornment from broken things – broken wood, recycled metals, bio-resins. I taught myself how to make what my mind imagined. I was blessed with many doubts, mistakes, cuts and bruises. And I discovered the gift of story telling, infusing powerful legends and wisdom of my ancestors into the pieces I made – specifically the stories of my Maori ancestors who have guided me on my pathway.

Now, I clearly see my purpose. The power of intention, the influence of story and meaning, and the impact of connection and beauty to change the whole world. My mantra of #believeinthebeauty guides me every single day. Pausing to see the beautiful imperfection of the world, in all it’s glory, is a gift. Seeing that same imperfection in one-another allows us to value diversity, unique experiences and feel connected. Being present to that same one-of-a-kind beauty that WE bring to the world. When we belive in the beauty of ourselves, appreciating our “faults” as unique gifts, then the entire world begins to change

OUR world changes.