Zoë & Morgan

In Issue 33 of Together Journal, we learn more about Zoë & Morgan’s newest collection, Siempre Aroha, and what is at the heart of the beloved jewellery brand.

Anna Valerie Sibbald passed away this year, unafraid, unburdened, at home with her family. She was a Buddhist who lived by the teaching, “practice every possible tenderness”. She would farewell family by saying, “I love you siempre [always]”. She was masterful at mixing and layering jewellery so that people would stop her in the street with compliments, a pounamu necklace herone constant.

She is survived by three children — Zoë, Ruth and Morgan, who together run jewellery brand, Zoë & Morgan — and is now immortalised in a beautiful new collection which “represents the depth of our admiration for our Mum”, called Siempre Aroha.

In their City Works Depot store in Auckland, Zoë and Ruth carefully draw piece after beautiful piece from a cabinet, Zoë pointing out the expertise and patience required to hand-make them.

Siempre Aroha is a collection of beautiful keepsakes, drenched in love. In the hefty proportions of heart-shaped earrings, in the complexity of textures, and in the magnificent sparkle of protective gemstones like white zircon, green amethyst and aquamarine, you can sense emotion and care.

There are thoughtful details, so subtle you have to look for them – fine lines radiating from a heart, shaped to reflect the love that always flowed from their mother. For Morgan, these designs are about the lesson of his mother’s unshakable positivity.

“Mum was an amazing example of the power of love,” he says. “She was always able to keep her mind and heart in a positive place, even when she was going through great suffering. I really respect and admire that, and was grateful to bear witness.“

‘Forever love’ is one of the things I learned from my mum: it means always aim for the best outcome. Always do the best you can. Always love.”

“Since we took this collection live,” Zoë says, “I’ve had an onslaught of personal messages from people saying how touched they are by it – that it made them think of a sister they’d lost, for instance, and how tight those bonds are.”

Zoë & Morgan was launched in 2005, after the siblings’ Argentinian father Douglas had passed away, leaving behind the tools he’d used in his own jewellery workshop, Moonbird.

The brand instantly drew global attention for its intricate and playful designs – lightning bolts, skulls and geometry – and well-travelled design references.

When Together Journal interviewed Zoë and Ruth five years ago, they had young families and were finding ingenious ways to shape their working lives around travel and family, gathering together to holiday, design jewellery and photograph it in farflung destinations. (Ruth lives in London, Zoë in Auckland and Morgan in Bali.)

When we met again last month, they were just as tight as a family, just as warm and open, but more reflective.

As they discussed the ongoing evolution of their brand — which will turn 20 in 2025 – they talked about the values that have come to define them, both as a family and as a brand: their mother’s sense of community and love of bringing people together; their parents’ appreciation of beauty; the urge to be constantly hand-making something; the way their father questioned everything.

They have decided to reflect this consolidated legacy by adopting their father’s Moonbird maker’s mark – a crescent moon with a bird flying through it, now stamped on every Zoë & Morgan piece.

“It means so much, and it stands for so much,” Zoë says. “In a way, the whole business was a love letter to dad. Moonbird felt sacred; it was very much his thing. He had a strong ethos, not just in terms of the way he made jewellery, but the way he lived.

“He was gentle,” Ruth recalls. “There was a subtlety to him. He demonstrated what people today would know as the power of magnetism.”

“When we started, we didn’t envisage that we were gonna be like an ‘international brand’,” Zoë says. “We just wanted to be creative and make something beautiful to keep.

“But we’ve come to a stage where we’re taking everything from our history and our past and stepping into something new. Instead of looking out into the world for inspiration, we’ve looked inside: what does family mean? What do we want to share? It feels almost like a new business.”

One thing you notice about Siempre Aroha is all the big earring styles, their bold dimensions and the way they hero hearts. (These would be utterly perfect for a wedding look, or to connect brides, bridesmaids and mothers of the bride.)

“We know small earrings sell really well,” Zoë says. “Our data analytics says just make more beautiful small earrings. But we just said **** it, we want to make big ones for a change. Mum could be rebellious. She understood the rules, but felt they just didn’t apply to her. I guess that rebelliousness has passed through in our genes.”

“Our parents were constantly evolving —themselves, their thought patterns, questioning their belief systems. It’s been interesting to see how similar the three of us are,” Ruth says.

Explore more by visiting zoeandmorgan.com and @zoeandmorgan.