World class brands usually have a story to tell – and the story behind Curtis Australia is an especially fascinating one. Led by Master Jeweller Glenn Curtis, our successful luxury brand has attracted attention right round the world. It's also a story of a very real and consuming passion for his beloved craft and Glenn's unbridled enthusiasm for creating beautiful things.
Curtis luxury pens, jewellery and watches have won internationally recognised awards for craftsmanship and design. A coveted 'Best of the Best' from the Robb Report was closely followed by a 'Metal Mastery' Award from Pen World.
Glenn Curtis is a designer with an underlying ethos that form should follow function. Where Curtis strays from the conventional is that his ideas are often generated from experiences rather than just observation. Take his 'Myst' collection – inspired by boyhood early morning trips to a nearby reed fringed lake.
Watching the morning mist slowly lifting to allow sunlight to filter through reeds at the waters edge was an almost ethereal experience, translating into yellow gold over brilliant diamond designs to evoke a memorable moment perfectly.
Another startling diamond necklet entitled 'Flight of Fantasy' reveals a softer, more organic direction to Glenn's work, embracing the form of the wearer's shoulders and neckline while drawing the eye inevitably to the notable pear shaped champagne diamond at its heart.
Keenly interested in and starting to make jewellery as a small boy, Glenn Curtis remembers taking early pieces to show his grandfather. Glenn went on to inherit his grandfather's precious tools, many of which are still favoured over their modern equivalents today. In fact, Curtis can trace a heritage across five generations of craftsmanship, when early settlers made high quality leather goods.
Others have really appreciated the uncompromising stance Curtis takes on designing and creating work of the highest quality.
Organisations needing high end bespoke gifts have also engaged with Curtis, appreciating the lengths Glenn and the Curtis team go to at every stage of the commission. When the Parliament of Australia held the inaugural Prime Minister's Literary Awards they chose a custom designed sterling silver Curtis pen to give to the winning authors. These include Germaine Greer and Clive James, and are a tangible and lasting reminder of their remarkable success. Leading world class company Rio Tinto has also commissioned Curtis to showcase their uniquely Australian diamonds in stunning pieces of finely crafted, distinctive jewellery.
Global brands such as Donna Karan have shared prestigious A-list events in world centres with Curtis Australia. The Natural Color Diamond Association have also partnered Curtis at world class jewellery events, displaying uniquely designed and crafted diamond set Curtis pieces.
Glenn was the only expert from outside the US to be invited to judge the Rio Tinto Global Jewellery Design Awards, an accomplishment he modestly describes as being reflective not of himself, but of the status of Australian jewellery as a whole.
There aren't many luxe brands that are wholly integrated and this is key to the Curtis philosophy.
Designing, prototyping and hand crafting everything in house from one purpose built location is unusual in the luxury brand arena. To create beautiful gem set solid gold watches, detailed story telling pens and fine diamond jewellery from the one location allows Curtis to take a holistic approach to everything they do, and is the vision of this talented individual.
Another interesting strand to Glenn's work is how much he references nature, in particular Australian landscapes and themes. The 'Colours of Australia' pen with champagne and white Australian diamonds beautifully reflects Glenn Curtis' sense of grounding with Australia, and also highlights his passion for the environment.
This concern for nature has led to Glenn being instrumental in helping return environmental flows to Australia’s iconic Snowy River, and has inspired him to help in other ways too.
The 'Wildlife Warriors' pen was a major philanthropic Curtis venture that helped the late Steve Irwin's charity of the same name raise considerable funds at a glittering New York gala event. This astonishingly detailed and sculptured pen was hand crafted from solid gold and set with a myriad array of dazzling gems, with some of the most threatened species carved to the surface.
Another recent philanthropic project is the Taronga Zoo Conservation Society Pen which highlights the endangered status of five of Australia's best known animals. The tiny Corroboree frog that grips the very top of this solid yellow gold pen has black diamonds hand set to his back, perfectly mimicking his distinctive camouflage. Modelled by Curtis himself, this tactile masterpiece demonstrates another of his many talents - of which New York Times best selling author Bradley Trevor Greive AM was moved to say:
'The Curtis Taronga Centenary Pen is a rare object of singular beauty and noble purpose to be enjoyed and treasured'
This beautifully imagined pen embraces many of the aspects for which Glenn is known, - a sense of form married to a real understanding and respect for a craft that has endured for thousands of years.
Today Curtis puts those time honoured techniques to work across several precious disciplines.
It's fair to say that the jeweller's influence shines right through the brand, illuminating their watch and pen collections too.