Australian Financial Review
Rock’n’roll jewellery brand Heart of Bone salutes AC/DC
If you had asked Emma Addams who she would most like to collaborate with when she started her rock’n’roll jewellery brand Heart of Bone in 2014 with a five-month-old baby on her hip, AC/DC would not have sprung to mind.
Not that she isn’t a fan. “I’m a massive fan,” says the creative director and hustler in chief of the cult Melbourne brand. “AC/DC was the first concert I ever went to. I think I was maybe 13? I just would never have thought it would be a possibility.”
Turns out making the impossible possible is her “superpower”, she says – especially after the COVID-19-induced chaos of the past year. Perhaps the superpower extends to her name – which she changed from Abrahams to Addams after separating from her husband in a nod to the telegenic Addams family.
A Heart of Bone Salutes AC/DC collection will be launched globally on April 15. Comprising unisex rings, lightning-bolt studs and T-shirts and cashmere knits festooned with the AC/DC logo, the pieces are the first in a series of capsule collections being released every three months over the next 18.
Heart of Bone was approached in late 2019 about a possible project to celebrate the upcoming 40th anniversary of AC/DC’s seventh studio album, Back in Black. Released in 1980 months after the death of lead singer Bon Scott, with new lead singer Brian Johnson, it remains among the best-selling albums of all time with worldwide sales of about 50 million.
To capture the essence of the brand, the rings are carved with the grooves from an original vinyl press of the title track, captured in microscopic imagery by the University of Melbourne’s Bio 21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute.
“We’ve literally carved the riff from the opening into the jewellery,” says Addams.
Heart of Bone got its own leg-up thanks to musical stardom. Although it had steadily developed a following over the years, its star began to shine significantly brighter in early 2019 after long-time devotee Billie Eilish was photographed wearing its famous Bunny rings and sculptural pieces on magazine covers and in social media.
Then COVID-19 hit. With Melbourne’s strict lockdown laws, consultants and staff were banned from the office, live venues were closed, bands stopped touring and the promise of working on an AC/DC tribute range ebbed away.
But often in the darkest of times, the best ideas are formed. Addams couldn’t stop thinking about AC/DC and what the collection would look like. Then her brother, Lenny, who works with her in the business, proposed a new company of his own, Custom Creed, which would connect with the creative industry and brands to create merchandise and consumer experiences.
It would be a forum for fans to stay connected with the artists they loved but could no longer see in concert, and it would provide an income to help make up for the devastating financial losses artists faced when live music stopped.
The day AC/DC became Custom Creed’s first official partner, Addams began working on Heart of Bone’s tribute collection.
The tribute jewellery has been crafted in Australian fair-mined gold, sterling silver and stainless steel. The limited-edition organic cotton T-shirts feature the AC/DC logo, and some have lightning bolts in UV ink that turns blue in the sun.
In an ode to Bon Scott and Angus and Malcolm Young’s birthplace, the limited-edition knits are being made at the Chanel-owned Barrie cashmere factory in Scotland. Addams says there is already a waiting list for these, limited to 100 pieces each in six styles.
Addams is no wall flower and has propelled the brand forward since its inception. “I’m not scared of making contact and I’m not scared of being told no,” she says.
Mitch Schneider, David Bowie’s publicist, agreed to work on the AC/DC campaign after a 2½-hour conversation with her. “He’s amazing!” Addams declares. “He seems to understand how my brain works. It’s a game changer for us to have a dedicated American publicist as part of the team.”
There have been other high-profile fans – from the late Karl Lagerfeld (who wore his customised Heart of Bone skull ring back in 2017) to Katy Perry, Daphne Guinness, Courtney Love, Marc Jacobs, Rick Owens and Miley Cyrus. Australian designer Toni Maticevski collaborated with Addams on a range of jewellery for his Paris haute couture collection in 2019.
David Jones came on board and in early 2020, after a successful first season in one store, committed to carrying the line in three more.
Her excitement is palpable. As we speak, a film crew is capturing behind-the-scenes footage on the development of the collection for a documentary for Apple TV. Next on the cards is a possible project for KISS’s final tour.
“You know,” says Addams, reflecting on her rollercoaster year and the synergy with AC/DC, “Back in Black was recorded after Bon Scott’s death, in an electrical storm in the Bahamas – but then it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock’n’roll.”
Published by the Financial Review
April 16 2021