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Pearls of Wisdom

Date: 01-12-2022


Nik Magyar 

As a young girl, Nik Magyar was fascinated with jewellery, not necessarily because of its beauty but because of the wonderment of how it was made. Her father encouraged the teenage Nik to pursue her interest, insisting she had what it took to be a really good jeweller. 

At age 15 Nik scoured Adelaide looking for a jeweller that was willing to take her for a week of work experience. “It was a hard task, but eventually a lovely duo at The Jam Factory decided to give me a go,” Nik reflects. 

This opportunity ignited Nik’s passion for jewellery-making and the next year she did work experience at the North Adelaide School of Arts with the late Don Ellis. Nik enthuses, “Don became one of my mentors and greatest teachers. When I was at the school, I watched all the other students and apprentices working away and every part of me wanted to be there to learn more.” 

"One thing that Don espoused that has always resonated with me, is that no idea is yours, all ideas belong to the world. It is amazing what can inspire you or bring on a new design."

At the end of Year 12, Nik applied for her long-awaited jewellery course. Upon finishing her Certificate in Visual Arts, she got a part-time job and slowly started building up her studio and clientele with terrific support from friends and family who asked for repairs and special pieces to be made. 

“I was at the end of my two year Diploma with Don, when one day he revealed that he had received a fax from someone asking him if he could recommend a suitable graduate for a job, as a jeweller, in the Cook Islands working with black pearls. And he wanted to recommend me for the position.” 

“Interestingly, I never really liked pearls. I thought they were overrated. But the opportunity sounded so intriguing. I also had no idea where the Cook Islands were!” 

Soon after her interview later Nik found out that she had landed the job and they wanted her to start straightaway. She finalised an exhibition, packed up her apartment and on 3 January 2000 Nik boarded a plane and flew to Rarotonga on a one-way ticket. 

Nik says “It was very exciting. I wasn’t sure how I was going to overcome my dislike for pearls, but I went with the flow.” 

“I settled into my new apartment, met my new workmates, and then the dreaded ‘pearls’ part came. Well, let’s just say I was left speechless after I saw my very first Cook Islands black pearl! It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen! It was instant love!” 

Nik went onto being fully trained in the field and also getting a pearl degree with the Gemological Institute of America. 

“Working with black pearls is extremely different, Nik says. “You need specialised drills, glue and all our pearls that we set must have a cup and a pin, which secures them to maximum sturdiness.” 

During her time in Rarotonga, Nik met the love of her life and in 2002 they opened their own Cook Islands black pearl jewellery store. Nik recalls, “Things were going really well until in 2005, five cyclones in five weeks wiped the islands bare. The tourism industry was decimated, and it was impossible to make a living doing what we loved.” 

The decision was made to return to Adelaide where they established a small studio and started a family.  Nik says, “An opportunity to move to Perth before our two boys started school was too good to resist and turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made, as our creations flourished, new designs came day by day. We really found our niche.” 

“Our designs have a special tropical, happy feel. We have an extensive hibiscus and frangipani range, totem gods, hooks and turtles. I work with each and every customer, one-on-one to create a unique piece for them. My husband and I are both very creative and love designing together.” 

“We have customers world-wide and knowing our pieces are being worn in other countries is very special,” Nik says proudly.

Connect with Nik:

Nik Magyar   Nik Magyar