Jewellery Collection celebrates origins

24 October 2021
Jewellery Collection celebrates origins

The Southland Charity Hospital Jewellery Collection is a collaboration between Fabuleux Vous, Country Jewel, and the Southland Charity Hospital. We love this range so much. We are incredibly grateful to be able to work with Helen Thompson-Carter, owner of Fabuleux Vous, and Kerry Phillips, owner of Country Jewel; who have both been instrumental in making this project happen.

This jewellery represents so much for the Hospital and celebrates its history by honouring Blair’s journey. It is also special because it allows people to show their ongoing support for the Hospital. The idea behind the Collection is to take people’s connection to the Hospital to a whole new level. “Every time someone wears that lapel pin or that charm…[or sees] that keyring, that reminds them of the goodness and the pure essence of the whole project, and what Blair started out to do, and that selfless family. I just think it’s mind-blowing,” Helen says.

“Jewellery is one of the only things that is passed from generation to generation…every piece tells a story and every piece should inspire a new story.”

Helen Thompson-Carter, Fabuleux Vous.

How the Collection began…

We love the story behind our Collection as much as the jewellery itself.  It’s a story of serendipity, kindness, beauty, and inspiration.  When talking to Kerry and Helen about the jewellery it is immediately obvious how passionate they both are about it and what creating the Collection has meant to them.

Helen followed Blair and Melissa’s story from an early stage. She says it resonated with her; she loved the concept of people being able to die with pride and dignity. Last year, Helen was inspired to do something to thank Melissa for everything and celebrate her wonderful work.  She personalised a Sterling Silver bracelet from her Always Collection; engraving it with Blair’s name and dates, then adding a charm of two hearts to symbolise ‘your heart and mine’.  She initially packaged it and sent it to Kerry. As it happened, Helen was going to be in Winton at the same time as Melissa, so Kerry arranged for them to meet.

Around the same time, Melissa had also been talking to Kerry about creating a jewellery line or keyrings for the Hospital.  Kerry thought Helen would be the perfect fit for this. One of the things Kerry loves most about Helen’s collections is that they are gifts with special meanings.

During their meeting at Country Jewel Melissa, Kerry, and Helen talked about the possibility of a jewellery line.  Helen was immediately on board with the idea.  She says, “I’m not really the creative type, but it’s amazing what happens sometimes.”  After running through some ideas, Helen set herself up in the back of the shop to do some sketches and says “within an hour we’d pulled together this really beautiful collection.”

The Southland Charity Hospital Collection

The Collection has been entirely funded by Fabuleux Vous, which Helen feels blessed to have been able to do.  “The gift of giving is huge and I think that’s my most treasured thing is to be in a position and have the ability to gift, and to gift something that means so much,” she says.

A rugby ball and rugby jersey are among the first pieces in this collection, symbolising where the Hospital has come from. They also feature the red, black and white colours of Blair’s much loved Midlands Rugby Club. The white lily also holds special meaning for Melissa as that’s what Blair always chose when he bought her flowers.  The full range includes lapel pins, charms, rope bracelets and key rings.  Kerry says being able to supply a wide variety like this means it fits the bill across the board. There are pieces to suit different styles from dressy through to casual and something for both males and females.

The fine jewellery pieces (the lapel pins and charms) are Sterling Silver and are produced in Thailand.  Helen prefers Thailand’s suppliers as the quality and precision of the jewellery from there is significantly better.  She gives the example of the rugby jersey charm. This is an exact replica of Blair’s jersey, complete with the number five and everything. 

The rope bracelets and keyrings are made using marine rope with laser engraved Stainless Steel emblems and are produced in Romania.  Designed for everyday use, their hardy materials mean they can even be worn while swimming or showering. 

Each piece comes with its own little pouch that has a Southland Charity Hospital logo on it. This is beautifully packaged in a little box along with a candle.  Helen explains the importance of the candle, saying it adds to the whole experience of receiving jewellery from this collection.  “Light is hope and the idea is that you get a parcel and when you open it, it looks fabulous, but it also smells fabulous as well,” she says.

Favourite pieces from the Collection?

When asked about her favourite piece of the Collection Kerry says we all love the jersey. It has such special meaning. However, she also loves the lily lapel pin, which she describes as both lovely and timeless. 

Likewise, Helen also loves the lily.  It is one of her favourite flowers, but she also loves what the lily charm represents.  “It just ticks all the boxes for me.  It’s about Blair’s inspiration, it’s about Blair and Melissa and the Vining family’s commitment to making the world a better place, it’s about hope, and it’s about that emotional connection that brings the Hospital and people together to form that community.”

Where to from here?

Our Collection has been very well-received over the past couple of months.  Kerry says she has had great feedback from customers who have said it’s a lovely idea because it’s so meaningful. In the first month alone Fabuleux Vous donated close to $600 to the Hospital.    

As we look ahead, we’re excited for the build-up to Christmas and can’t wait to showcase the jewellery at The Southern Artisan Christmas Fête next month.

Helen adds that creating this collection has been an incredible journey so far, but the journey has just begun.  She hopes to bring new pieces into the collection and hopes to expand her collaboration with the Southland Charity Hospital in other ways.

The Southland Charity Hospital Jewellery Collection is available online through the Fabuleux Vous website or in store at Country Jewel in Winton.

For each piece of jewellery sold the Southland Charity Hospital receives a donation.
  • $20 donation for rope bracelets and Sterling Silver charm bracelets
  • $10 donation for charms and lapel pins
  • $5 donation for keyrings

Check out the full collection here.


Kerry Phillips and Country Jewel

Kerry has been at the helm of Country Jewel since purchasing the business in 2002.  Country Jewel offers high-end, quality products, in diamonds, gold and silver across a wide range of price-points, along with well-known branded jewellery such as the Stolen Girlfriends Club and Karen Walker.  Country Jewel is frequently complimented on stocking jewellery with a difference that you won’t find in other shops, which is something they strive to deliver to customers.

Kerry has known Blair and Melissa for a long time as they were Winton locals and a big part of the Winton community.  Blair’s diagnosis hit the whole community hard and they rallied around the Vining family.  Kerry says Blair’s legacy and the Charity Hospital Project is huge and she really believes in it; “we all support it, we’re all behind them.”

When talking to Helen about the Southland Charity Hospital’s Jewellery Collection she was quick to note that it wouldn’t have been possible without Kerry’s support and without her bringing Melissa and Helen together.

Helen couldn’t speak highly enough of Kerry, saying she loves working with her.  “She’s absolutely adorable and one of life’s really beautiful people, [plus] she runs a really beautiful store, Country Jewel.”


Helen Thompson-Carter and Fabuleux Vous

Fabuleux Vous literally means fabulous you, which is the perfect way to describe the spirit of Helen’s brand.  They are a boutique company based in Auckland and sell jewellery through their 300 retail partners throughout New Zealand.  Fabuleux Vous design their jewellery in-house and have it produced specifically for them.  Helen says they have never deviated from this strategy, which is something she is very proud of. They sell high-end pieces and have a reputation for selling top-quality, durable, unique jewellery that has an inspirational story behind it.

Fabuleux Vous was launched in 2014 after what Helen describes as a colourful career spanning a variety of industries from nursing, health, insurance, and cleaning to electronics, transport and building.  Before starting Fabuleux Vous Helen had worked in the jewellery industry but left, thinking she was done with it.  She was enticed back though and spent three months travelling around Australia and New Zealand researching the market before launching her brand in 2014 with its signature collection, Declaration

This collection was inspired by Helen’s own health journey. After suffering a heart attack in her late 30s she considers herself extremely lucky to be alive.  Although Declaration represents the story of this journey, Helen says it’s been designed in such a way that it could apply to anyone and is created especially for people who need something to hold on to that gives them hope.  Declaration has grown over time with a new piece added every year. 

Helen describes the Declaration collection as “the epitome of what we strive to do in the jewellery space, it’s not just about beautiful kick-ass jewellery, we’ve got plenty of that, but it’s about that emotional connection and bringing people, times, places, and important dates together.” She adds that the meaning behind a piece of jewellery is personal so it’s about creating something that can represent or create that meaning for people.

Fabuleux Vous: Creating collections for charities

Another one of Fabuleux Vous’ popular collections is Always.  Helen felt she needed to do something for Hospice, an organisation she’s been passionate about since her nursing days when she specialised in terminal care. She created this collection for Hospice and designed it with the idea of building connections to Hospice and creating a sense of community. 

When a customer buys a piece from the Always collection they can choose which branch of Hospice will receive a donation from their purchase. This means customers are not only creating that connection, but they can also thank their local Hospice in some way for what they’ve done for them and the work that they continue to do.  This collaboration has allowed Fabuleux Vous to raise and donate thousands for Hospice’s across the country and has provided a great model for the Southland Charity Hospital’s collection.

Helen recalls Melissa saying how incredible it’s been to see people come out of the woodwork to support the Hospital, but at the same time it was a bit odd so many people from outside Otago and Southland had got involved. To which Helen said it wasn’t odd as everyone has their own reasons for being involved. As for Helen, she says she’s passionate about it because she believes in the Southland Charity Hospital project and wants people to have access to the healthcare they need.

The Southland Charity Hospital Jewellery Collection is available online through the Fabuleux Vous website or in store at Country Jewel in Winton.

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