With a Master's degree in Practice Planning, creating jewellery was never the original plan for Curlicue NZ owner, Suzie Horne.
Born and raised in New Zealand, excluding three years spent in Indonesia as a toddler, she has always had a love of crafting things, often making homemade gifts for friends and family as a child, and sewing her own clothes as a teenager.
An Epsom Girls Grammar alumni, she completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Auckland and followed it up with a Master's degree. She spent nearly a decade working as an Ecologist and Environmental Planner, both in New Zealand and overseas.
Following the birth of her first child in 2008, Horne found returning to work in the middle of the financial crisis offered very little flexibility and made the decision to leave behind her corporate job and become a stay-at-home mum. Less than a year later, she was diagnosed with severe endometriosis and eventually chronic pain syndrome which meant she was unable to return to the corporate world. Having a bit of extra time allowed her to experiment with creativity and eventually led her to create Curlicue NZ.
It was her husband, Doug, who encouraged her to begin making jewellery in 2010 through the gift of a one-on-one jewellery-making tutorial. Following the tutorial, Horne began making jewellery both for herself and as gifts for others. She honed her craft and explored new techniques by watching YouTube videos and following along.
After multiple friends suggested she should start selling her unique handmade pieces, she started researching different options for business names. Spirals featured heavily in her early work, but the word “spiral” was everywhere. A curlicue is a flourish with spirals on both ends, Horne felt the word fit perfectly with her designs, and Curlicue NZ was born.
Horne is the sole employee of Curlicue NZ and is involved in every aspect of the business, from website design to modelling for social media posts.
The majority of Curlicue NZ designs are handcrafted from recycled Sterling Silver or Copper Wire. Hand-polished Kauri Gum, Paua Shell, Freshwater Cultured Pearls, and other semi-precious stones also feature throughout collections.
Horne aims to produce high-quality pieces that are kind to the environment, describing her crafting aesthetic as sustainable elegance.
“My jewellery aesthetic is intricate, delightfully detailed, and environmentally aware.”
She finds her inspiration comes from nature when creating new designs and learning to work with Kauri Gum has tied together her love for both nature and jewellery together. Working with the gum requires patience and a careful hand as it is prone to chipping and fracturing during the polishing process.
Her dedication to the environment goes beyond simply making an effort to be eco-friendly. Not only does Curlicue NZ use sustainably sourced, recycled Sterling Silver, man-made crystals, and freshwater pearls to minimise the impact on the environment. Curlicue NZ also donates 10 percent of its profit to NZ Forest & Bird to help protect New Zealand’s native species.
Looking to the future, Horne hopes to integrate metalsmithing into her repertoire and continue up-cycling materials to reduce the environmental impact of making jewellery. As a celebration of Curlicue’s first decade in business, Horne has produced a limited edition pair of Mother of Pearl and Eco Silver Teardrop Earrings.