MichaelJohn Jewellery: Pura Vida launch

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I first met Mike, the designer behind MichaelJohn Jewellery, through a giveaway that Wallace Chapman ran on his streetstyle blog.  To be honest I just liked the jewellery so I entered on a whim, but when I won it and Mike got into touch to arrange delivery, I took the opportunity to ask Mike a couple of questions in an interview of sorts that I posted on Style Collective.

Since then we’ve kept in touch and I borrowed a bunch of his pieces during NZ Fashion Week, some of which he then proceeded to give to me (thanks!), and I still wear the grenade necklace which I won from the giveaway all the time.

Last month I went to the launch for Mike’s latest collection: “Pura Vida”.  Actually I dropped by his studio a couple of days before to say hi and to check out the pieces in advance, but writing about that would be ruining the surprise wouldn’t it?

Michaeljohn Jewellery Invite

The launch was held at sitka in Newmarket – a streetwear/lifestyle store of sorts hailing from Canada with a strong emphasis on corporate responsibility and environmental awareness. Walking into the store it feels like you’ve just walked into a wooden shack or a rustic chalet – everything from the walls to the counters were made brick and panel timber.


(More than fashionably) late and already somewhat boozed from an office Christmas party (the twilight races at Ellerslie – FYI for those of you who haven’t been it’s like the casino for white people), I was greeted by Mike wearing a sharp-looking blazer by Anthea and in jandals – a look that only Mike could ever pull off.


Launches drum up publicity and showcases collections, but it also provides the designer with an opportunity to tell a bit of the ‘back-story’ behind the immediate collection and brand. Mike’s a straight up surfer dude with a beach tan and a pretty zen approach to jewellery and life generally, and this came across at the launch, from the setting to the chill crowd (and the jandals of course) to the acoustic set from singer-songwriter Edward Waaka (have a listen below).

His collections are strongly thematic, and the jewellery directly reflects the initial inspiration –  in the case of his previous collection “Gleaming the Void” he played off ideas of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in referencing objects or symbols which have moralistic connotations to them.


On the other hand, “Pura Vida”, which translated from Spanish means “pure life” draws inspiration from nature and other symbols of purity. Whether intentional or not, there are strong aesthetic resemblances to art nouveau in the organic twisting of plant stems, and the collection on the whole tends to a more delicate, feminine look. That said I’d definitely wear this (sans the earrings):


The collection itself was displayed in glass cases lined with black sand (in hindsight it seems fitting for a surfer) which meant I couldn’t get up front and close, so I’ve taken the liberty to use some lookbook photos instead.


Well done to the team at MichaelJohn Jewellery on their first launch – look forward to seeing many more. The jewellery is currently stocked at Superette and Walker & Hall if you want to check out.

IMAG0066The MichaelJohn Jewellery team (Left to right): Mike Piercey, Kura Smith and Gregory Judd

– Chris.

Author: Chris Park

One half of the Park Brothers. Purveyor of banter, curator of misc. Manage comms for @BuoyandMine. Read More

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