25 March 2014

Who Made This - Dat Van


Why did you become a jeweller?
I was a cook and restaurateur for 15 years after some indecisive years studying graphic design and photography in the early 90's. I had missed being creative and was contemplating going back to studying but this time i wanted something that is more hands on. Making jewellery was a very new concept in my mind and the whole idea of creating something small and precious was very exciting to me.

How would you describe your men’s jewellery range at Lord Coconut and what was its inspiration?
My range at Lord Coconut is a varied one ranging from a "Giraffe" brooch to "Sakura" lapel pins and the "Pirate" ring wedding band. My aesthetic is generally pared back, simple with clean lines with a lot of influences from the Japanese culture but sometimes I like to have a little fun with my designs so hence the giraffe brooch.


How would you describe what is on your jewellery bench?
My jewellery bench tend to have various works going on at the same time such as wax carving and fine metal works.

When not making jewellery what do you love to do?
You will normally find me at Kinokuniya Books, MCA or the National Gallery of NSW.

Favourite restaurant
To this day Tetsuya remains the most memorable dining experience!

Favourite movie
Too many to mention but A Single Man for its beautiful styling and soundtrack.

Favourite travel destination
I will sound cliche but Japan and New York any day.

Favourite band
I do not have a favourite band but I do love world music.

Favourite book
Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami. I'm an enormous fan of this man.

Favourite art work
Bill Henson Untitled #125

Favourite building
Prada Building in Tokyo by Herzog and de Meuron.

See his full range of jewellery HERE

20 March 2014

Dear Father exhibition


Exhibition Opening: Tuesday 18th March 5.30 to 7.30pm

Exhibition continues in-store until 19th April

Summer is over and the coconuts are coming home to roost - in Melbourne, at least. And the man we all look up to, Lord Coconut, is again raising the bar, making filial love visible with the "Dear Father" exhibition.
Inspired by Lord Coconut’s first private gallery Down Under in 1887 which was filled with treasures, brought over by boat, from his adventures in Africa, Asia and various Pacific Islands, the “Dear Father” exhibition is an Internet era interpretation of his collecting ways and the love for his father.

At the modern day Lord Coconut's Emporium of Wonder, artists are exhibiting a piece of jewellery or small scale sculpture, inspired by a blank postcard (circa 1910) Lord Coconut collected from different countries during his travels.

The jewellers and artisans were then required to write a short message similar to what Lord Coconut may have written to his old man. The combination of the postcards, the messages and the subsequent inspired gifts, form the basis of this exhibition.

And while the "Dear Father' Exhibition is a modern homage to Lord Coconut’s globetrotting and artefact collecting ways, it also allows us mere mortals to bring homage to all the special men - and fathers - in our lives.

Exhibition pieces and their details:


Ali Alexander

Cufflinks from Moschio Angioino, Napoli, Italy
Sterling Silver and Amethyst

Dear Father,

I hope this reached you well. I am sending you the post card showing the Castle Nuovo, because we did not venture there. The talk here is all of the cholera and even though the authorities deny it every body is talking about it and our party has stayed away from area's like the ports where the castle is. That is also why our stay here was as short...in fact we stayed only long enough for the "Argentierre" terence contea to attach the amethysts to these cufflinks that had been given to me by aliA earlier. I trust you will appreciate the skulls and bones representing life in death. It has been too long and I hope to be returning soon.

Your faithful son.


Anastasia Grace Birbas

Ring from Musta Church, Malto
Oxidised Sterling Silver

Dear Father,

I miss you dearly.


Beth Croce

Ring from Constantin-Saule und Moselbrucke, Trier, Germany
Sterling Silver

Dear Father,

This ring was found at the site of the ancient Roman amphitheatre in Trier.... once given to a gladiator who fought there, it's said to have been fashioned from a sterling silver nail cast from the Shoe of Pegasus. Yes the famed winged horse of Zeus.

To me the pattern recalls the tall columnar cells of tissues as viewed with Galileo's wonderful compound microscope.

In any case I thought it a beautiful token that you might enjoy.

Yours Sincerely


Patricia Denis

Monkey Head from Rock of Linea, Gibraltar
Coconut Shell, Glass, Acrylic/Enamel Paint

Dear Father

I had a close encounter with the natives today. One of them stole my lunch! I don't begrudge him that because I have a soft spot for these furry fellows. It wouldn't be Gibraltar without them.

With Love


Helen Heap

Tie Pin from Rue de Coqueiros, S. Vicente, Cabo Verde
Sterling Silver, Copper and Fine Silver

Dear Father,

Paradise found! Little silver tie-pin for you. Neck-ties all the rage now, you know! Get your man to give it a polish every now and then, won't you? Damn hot here on St Vicente. Good rum. Need it. Off to cooler climes next.

Love to you all, especially Aunt Cissy.


Jessica Helen

Gents signet ring from Porte de la Mendoubia, Tanger, Morocco
Sterling Silver and 9ct Yellow Gold

Dear Father,

Sending you the warmest of wishes from Morocco. The most ornate part of Africa I have travelled thus far.

With Love


Janty Fry

Pendant from Victoria & Albert Inn, Netherhampton, Sailisbury, Wilts, England
$120 (SOLD)
Porcelain and Pewter

Dear Father,

Your family made me most welcome and send greetings. Small gift for Mother.

Fond Regards


Kim Jonsson

Sakura cufflinks from Monument of Iiko, Yokohama, Japan
Sterling Silver, 18ct Gold and Shibuichi (silver and copper alloy)

Dear Father,

I find myself in the bustling international trading port of Yokohama. It is spring and the sight of cherry blossoms in bloom is exquisite. There is an almost reverential attitude towards this flower they call 'sakura'. It symbolises the impermanence of life and elicits a sense of sweet melancholy. This awareness of the transient nature of all things serves to heighten ones appreciation of their beauty. I had half expected to see the legendary warrior class, the samurai, strolling the streets, but alas they are no more as it is now forbidden to carry swords in public. I was fortunate to see one of these magnificent swords which was decorated with the sakura motif. Surprisingly the Japanese well to do favour western attire and I came across these sakura cufflinks and instantly new I must have them for my dear father.

Your loving son
















Julie Kiefel

Neo-Edwardian Cufflinks (two pairs) from Temple Elephant, Ceylon
$594 pair
Found & Refitted Ornate Vintage Elements/Layers

Dear Father,

A quick note from the steps of the Holy Tooth Temple - Kandy, Ceylon. We've disembarked here from my rail tour of the Eastern parts of the Empire. It's simply quite marvellous how many animals feature in this balmy Ceylonese vista!

Bullock teams heave to & fro the station. Snake charmers conjure cobras from their baskets in the market place. Temple Elephants stand chained to stop them trample fields of unplucked tea. They do rock so, with stares blank ahead, but their majestic tusks ensure they'll hold a prestigious place in the upcoming procession...

A separate package to you has been dispatched. Contents should please Mother's love of kempt French cuffs.

Fondest regards, your son


Emily Schilg

Ring from The Park Rouken Glen, Scotland
Sterling Silver

Dear Father,

Today I find myself at The Park Rouken Glen, an exemplary model of fine Scottish countryside. The Crum family have owned the lands since 1852, and during his occupancy, created the most beautiful walled garden. I send you this ring momento that illustrates a birds eye representation of these statuesque gardens.

Your Loving Son


Felicity Smith

Belt Buckle from Puente Nuevo y Molinos, Ronda, Spain
$190 (SOLD)
Beef Bone, Leather and Brass

Dear Father,

In Ronda cavalry were trained for battle by fighting bulls. They now face the bulls on foot for sport in front of large crowds. Whether this is brave or foolhardy is not for me to say.

Warmest Regards

Kath O'Neill

Spoon from Buffalo Park, Banff, Canadian Rockies, Canada
Sterling Silver

Dear Father,

Here is all fishing, hunting and hot springs bathing. Star filled evenings; dining and sleeping in Swiss chalet luxury. A great many Europeans here - pity the poor, wretched Cree, Blackfoot and Kootenay Indians all but wiped out by the smallpox. Here is a small spoon used by clay-pipe smoking gentlemen for teh good measure of their tobacco - I suppose Mother will take it for making the tea. Much love, hope all are well.

P.S. Buffalo are very impressive beasts - their coats fetch high prices.


Jo Anderson

Fishing Lures from Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England

Dear Father,

I am well now, I had fallen of my horse in the forest near Alnwick Castle, as I came too, there was a man, looking at me, he talked to my whilst he was seeing if I had any broken bones, is name is Alan Percy, he is a duke, can you believe that. As it is I broke my left leg. He rode away to get help, he came back and took me to his Castle. Father, his wife got the Doctor and he was very kind. I have out done my stay here. I am well now. I have become very good friends with this man named Alan, while we sat around while my broken leg healed, we made these fishing flys, we would sit in the afternoons and sip Brandy and talk the hours away. I'm sending these fishing flys to you father, as a gift, I have missed you and our family. How is mother, I know she worries.

Your loving son.

15 March 2014

Melbourne in Autumn Visitor Guide - March 2014

I couldn't work out why people started coming in looking for bow ties until one of them told me about this nice little mention in the Melbourne in Autumn Official Visitor Guide.......thanks!

04 March 2014

Who Made This - Kath O'Neill

Kath O'Neill

See her full range HERE

Why did you become a jeweller?

I became a jeweller because I loved drawing, but found I wanted more than the two dimensional, so when I started designing and then making, turning an idea - which is realised in a drawing and then materialises into an object you can hold in your hands - was very intriguing and led to a never ending process of learning and challenge.  Sometimes in the process of making, you actually achieve something more interesting, of greater subtlety and more nuanced than you could express in a drawing, so that's also exciting.

How would you describe your men’s  jewellery range at Lord Coconut and what was its inspiration?
My range at Lord Coconut is definitely inspired by architecture, large scale industrial equipment, railway components etc. Having an affinity with the masculinity inherent in these particular areas, although viewed through a feminine sensibility  - perhaps this softens them a little or allows an organic element to come through in the pieces.  Certainly texture and light play a part in the designs, so they have sensual properties; precious metal can be quite a seductive material.

How would you describe what is on your jewellery bench?
A hodge podge of orders being filled, little ideas which are half formed, a scattering of tools - very organised chaos in a way.

When not making jewellery what do you love to do?
I love experiencing live music - classical, opera, rock - it's all good; reading, movies, the beach and travelling. Love to camp.

Favourite restaurant
Melbourne is not a town you can possibly have a favourite restaurant in!
Favourite movie
Too hard, too many but I do love "Arsenic and Old Lace" at the moment.

Favourite travel destination
Any where you need a passport and a complete change of season clothing from your start point.  Italy?

Favourite band
I am loving Tom Waits at the minute, and Fever Ray.

Favourite book
I always re-read anything by PG Wodehouse, and also "To Kill A Mockingbird".

Favourite art work
Everything by the Tjapaltjarri brothers.

Favourite building
Any building which gives the street a face, a presence; where the front is so intriguing, the entrance so inviting, you feel compelled to enter it and explore.

Polka Dot Bride - 4.3.2014

Thanks Polka Dot Bride for the great article.

You can view the original article HERE

What Would They Know
I must admit I am fascinated by the stunning men’s jewellery to be found at Lord Coconut. The wealth of Australian talent in jewellery design, the innovative designs, the quirky and the humorous – all add up to one exciting concept. Just as appealing to me is that Mark at Lord Coconut has understood the male psyche in establishing a store which reflects the aesthetic of the original Lord Coconut, with not a hint of pink or glitter anywhere. Mark also encourages creativity with the many exhibitions he has on offer in 2014. So whether it is to buy a special piece online or in store, or to visit the exhibitions, prepare to be astounded at this ‘Emporium of Wonder’.

When did you commence your business, Lord Coconut?
Lord Coconut the store first opened its doors on 5th April 2011 although there is a long family history in retailing going back to 1891 when Lord Coconut himself opened his first private gallery, his ‘Emporium of Wonder’.

What is the idea behind the store?
On top of the long family connection with running retail stores, Melbourne is known as one of the eminent contemporary jewellery communities in the world. Upon further research, it was established that although there were many stores within Melbourne catering for female clientele, they only held a limited range of jewellery for men. With an increased interest in the urban dandy and the rise of the steam punk aesthetic, it became clear that there was an opportunity to open a dedicated jewellery store for men.  The Australian contemporary jewellery community has embraced the Lord Coconut concept with open arms to such an extent that we cannot stock all jewellers who approach us to show their work.

All our jewellery stock is handcrafted within Australia by local artisans, jewellers and designers.
lapel pins lord coconutRS What Would They Know? Mark Boldiston of Lord Coconut 
Deer/Moose lapel pins by My Friend Romeo (image by Mark Boldiston)

What is the idea behind the fit out of the store? And where can we find you?
The store fit-out is a modern interpretation of what Lord Coconut’s Emporium of Wonder may have looked like in 1891. It became clear when researching the contemporary jewellery industry and men’s buying habits that the store would need to look inviting to men and be interesting in its own right to ensure male shoppers were comfortable entering the store and spending time looking through the range of over 400 jewellery pieces. We knew we had the right look when within the first few days of opening we had two brothers come in, one a fashion designer and the other a mechanic and hunter. They both commented how comfortable they felt in the store and each indicated different aspects of the store which they liked best that, when combined, hit the nail on the head in what we were trying to achieve visually and stock wise with the store.

We can found at Level 4, Carlow House, 289 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, 3000.
coco 363 no comp 3MBresized What Would They Know? Mark Boldiston of Lord Coconut 

You also sell online. What sets your online store apart? Can you send items anywhere in the world? 
Our online store is an important part of our business as not only do we sell online, the store acts as an online catalogue where over 80% of our customers who come into the store have looked through our range of jewellery online first.

For online purchase, we ship within Australia via Express Post for free.
We ship standard post anywhere in the world for a flat $15.

Since you’ve set up Lord Coconut, have you seen a trend in more men becoming aware of, and buying, jewellery items?
There has been a distinct change in the mix of what we sell since the store has opened. The majority of sales when we first started were cufflinks which are often seen as a safe jewellery purchase. Over time the number and variety of rings sold has increased incredibly and now outsell cufflinks.

The majority of customers who purchase a ring from our store are purchasing their first ring (often after being given a pair of our cufflinks). This change is often a result of the positive feedback they have received about the little bit of art on their shirt sleeves. It gives them confidence that purchasing a ring will now be seen as a safer option than first thought and gives them the confidence they may have been lacking earlier when it comes to choosing and wearing a ring.
Re SizedAA architecturalmens wedding ring in sterling silver by kath oneill smaller What Would They Know? Mark Boldiston of Lord Coconut 
Architectural ring by Kath O’Neil (image by Travis Fryer) 

And what demographic do you most appeal to?
We cater for a large demographic, both straight and gay, male and female from the mid-twenties right up to the mid-sixties. It would be easier from a marketing perspective to have a more defined demographic but alas we cater to a broad spectrum of the community. Surprisingly, perhaps, we sell about 20% of our products to women for themselves as the designs are attractive to both sexes. However, men can be confident that everything in the store has been designed and created with them in mind.

Do men tend to buy jewellery for themselves, because they see it as an essential part of their outfit, or are they more likely to be given the items as a gift from partners who want to update their look?
Ring sales tend to be men purchasing for themselves, cufflink purchases are usually women purchasing them for a gift whilst our necklaces, bracelet, lapel pins and tie bars are purchased by both men and women, for themselves or as a gift.

What items do men tend to buy more of – your best sellers for example?
The anatomical range of cufflinks by Beth Croce (hearts, teeth, lungs, livers etc) are a consistent seller along with the re-purposed watch movement cufflinks by Janty Fry.

When it comes to wedding rings, the Boston ring by Ali Alexander is always in the top two. This ring has a level of tactileness to it that is reminiscent of your grandfathers’ wedding ring. It’s designed to look a bit bruised and battered with a finish that requires it to be touched.

The other popular wedding ring is the Flange ring by David Parker. This ring is made with an external band of titanium with an inner sleeve of gold. It’s a perfect mix of the modernity of titanium and the tradition of gold may be one of the most technically proficient jewelers in Melbourne.

sparros cropped edited 1RS What Would They Know? Mark Boldiston of Lord Coconut 
Swallow cufflinks by Metal Couture (image by Travis Fryer)

You have some really quirky items for sale – for example tooth cufflinks, and brain cufflinks. Do guys tend to go for the quirky to add a bit of a twist, rather than plainer timeless designs?
When it comes to weddings, men tend to purchase the plainer timeless designs whilst away from their wedding, guys tend to go a little bit more quirky such as the Ship ring by Metal Couture. It always amazes me that you can never tell which guy will go for which piece of jewellery. Looks will always be deceiving.

What other items do you stock (other than men’s jewellery items)?
We also stock an amazing range of masculine jewellery boxes by Innocente which are made out of Huon Pine and powder coated steel. A perfect place to store any man’s growing collection of jewellery.
Due to the look and feel of the store, we also sell a great selection of natural history inspired contemporary art along with the majority of decorative items used throughout the store.

ResizedAA with love mens wedding ring in sterling silver by ginkoh jewellery smaller What Would They Know? Mark Boldiston of Lord Coconut 
With Love wedding rings by Ginkoh Jewellery (image by Travis Fryer)

Can you give us some gift suggestions for the groom and/or fathers of the wedding party?
Apart from the obvious choice of cufflinks, tie bars are making a big comeback and the deco range of sterling silver tie slides by Kath O’Neill at $99 each make an ideal gift.

We are also starting to sell more of our nickel or brass money clips by Ginkoh Jewellery. These make an ideal gift and the groomsmen can carry some cash in their jacket pockets with a wallet ruining the fall of the suit.

What items of jewellery would you suggest that men purchase for their wedding outfit, to look sharp and co-ordinated?
To look extra sharp on the wedding day a set of cufflinks and a tie bar, sitting high on the chest as the Europeans do, are the must haves. To take your look to the next level, a signet ring on the right pinky finger will make you look a million dollars. As for the co-ordinated concept, the fashion is to mix and match a lot more so it does not look so staged.

You regularly hold exhibitions. Can you describe what you have in store for 2014?
We run a number of jewellery and jewellery inspired exhibitions throughout the year. These include:

-       DEAR FATHER – is based upon the concept that Lord Coconut has gone off travelling the world circa 1900. At each country visited, he sent home to his father a small gift and a postcard. Participating jewellers and artisans will be given a blank postcard of that era and are required to write home to Lord Coconut’s father and include a small gift which they have made which represents the country visited.
-       BINARY – a celebration of all things computers (main frames, desk tops, laptops, smart phones, tablets and the like, even the odd gaming console thrown in) with this exhibition of works created by local jewellers, designers and artisans.

-       ART OF THE CUFF – a collection of French cuffs which have been painted on, modified, deconstructed, sculpted and embroidered on by a selection of over 50 local artists, jewelers and designers.

-       THE MELBOURNE CUFFLINK – The 2nd annual Melbourne Cufflink exhibition and acquisitive student prize to the value of $500 whereby local jewellery students from RMIT, Box Hill Institute and NMIT are encouraged to produce and enter a pair of cufflinks into the exhibition.

RS cicada magnified cropped thumb What Would They Know? Mark Boldiston of Lord Coconut 
Cicada cufflinks by Katzinka Tschierschky (image by Travis Fryer)

In your downtime, what do you like to do that is ‘so Melbourne’?
Not sure if it is ‘so Melbourne’ but the fact that I can walk to my preferred cinema it’s got to be movies, movies and more movies. They’ve gotta be art house, you’ve got to see them at The Kino or as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival and they’ve got to make you feel something. Good, bad or ugly, a worthwhile movie has to leave you feeling something when you walk out towards the light at the end of the film.

Thank you Mark for telling us about Lord Coconut. Isn’t the jewellery stunning? To find out more about Lord Coconut please visit the website.

All the pieces shown above are available from Lord Coconut.
Headshot by Travis Fryer.