Meet our Friday Muse Georgia Wyrill, founder and creative director of Saint Valentine

16 May 2024
By Fashion Quarterly

From selling her creations at local markets to owning multiple jewellery boutiques across Sydney, a hustle attitude is ingrained in Georgia Wyrill’s DNA.

If you’ve ever taken a stroll down Bondi’s iconic shopping strip on Gould Street, chances are you’ve wandered past Saint Valentine. Founded in 2016 by Georgia Wyrill, the Sydney-based jewellery label has garnered a loyal following for its timeless, contemporary adornments crafted using quality materials. Before getting into jewellery, Wyrill cut her teeth in the fashion scene — securing a first-class honours in Fashion Design from RMIT in Melbourne which then led her to Sydney. Finding more sentimental value in jewellery and seeing a gap in the local market, Saint Valentine’s inception came as a natural progression for the creative. Though the brand now has two boutiques in Sydney and multiple stockists across Australia and overseas, Wyrill spent years selling her creations at the Bondi Markets before things actually took off. Since opening her Bondi store in 2020 she hasn’t looked back once, and as she tells FQ below — there’s only more to come. 

In conversation with Georgia Wyrill:

Tell us a bit about you, your background, and your career to date.

I am the founder and director of Saint Valentine jewellery and am based in Sydney, Australia. I am from Melbourne originally and studied Fashion Design at RMIT before moving to Sydney to work in fashion in production. I [then] side-stepped into jewellery, and have always wanted to have my own business. I began the brand in 2016 online and at Bondi Markets and it has grown a lot in the last eight years. We now have two retail stores in Sydney, a strong online business and are stocked in David Jones, The Iconic, Superette, Dissh, Nude Lucy and other stores around Australia and New Zealand. 

Your background is in fashion. What prompted you to get into jewellery and start your own label?

I found that myself and others have a more sentimental attachment to jewellery over clothing and tend to wear the same pieces every day for a long period of time which felt more meaningful.

How has your brand aesthetic evolved over time?

It definitely keeps changing and I love seeing the Saint Valentine aesthetic becoming more honed and defined. The aesthetic has become a combination of modernity and femininity, and we try to carry these elements through everything we do. I design based on what is selling best, store and customer feedback and pieces that we know will resonate with our customer, as well as balancing this with what I am interested in and pushing the brand forward.

What does an average day look like for you?

I am in our Alexandria studio with my partner, dog and our team of twelve and try to stick to 9-5 hours but often have a bit to do on nights and weekends. I’m usually in meetings most of the day as I am still across all areas of the business, working on product development, production, graphics, marketing, retail and online trade, HR, finances and everything else running a business entails. I try to segment my week based on these different areas and work from home Friday so I can have some space and creativity.

What does Saint Valentine seek to do differently to other jewellery brands?

We design all pieces in house and do multiple samples to ensure every detail is just right, rather than choosing off catalogues from suppliers which a lot of brands do. We also put quality first and wear test all pieces extensively to ensure longevity. We offer a recycling program so customers can return old Saint Valentine pieces for 50% credit to use towards their next purchase and we hand make a lot of pieces in our Sydney studio, as keeping some production onshore is important to us.

Saint Valentine's latest 'Miro' collection.

What do you personally look for when buying jewellery?

A piece has to speak to you. Jewellery is a love affair, whereas clothing is very different as it serves a purpose and needs to suit your body. I design pieces I would like to wear and also love vintage jewellery which always feels special and holds a story and rarity. I have skin sensitivity so I only wear sterling silver or solid gold, and if I am buying a plated piece I ensure it is gold vermeil so the plating will not wear quickly.

Where would you like to see your brand in 5 years’ time?

I would love to have a bigger team, more retail stores including some interstate, be a household name in Australia, and have more international presence.

What’s next for you? Personally and professionally?

I am currently trying to step more into a Creative Director role and pass on the operations side of things to others so I can focus on growing and pushing the design and aesthetics of the brand. Personally, my partner and I are hoping to start a family soon, so we are focussed on that journey currently. We will also try to fit in a visit to Italy later in the year visiting the Venice Biennale which I’m very excited about. 

Quickfire questions:

Current season homeware purchase… I just got an air fryer which I’m loving and also this amazing mirror/ art piece

My favourite place to travel to… Anywhere tropical or in Europe. Paris has a special place in my heart.

My guilty pleasure is… Reality TV shows like Below Deck.

My style icon is… Bianca Jagger.

The item at the top of my wish list… Miro earrings.

Three items I would take to a desert island… Books, sunscreen and fishing equipment.

If I could have dinner with any three people on earth, dead or alive, I would choose… My late mother, India Mahdavi, Karl Lagerfeld.

This season I’m saving on… Clothing — trying to purchase more consciously.

Imagery: supplied.

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