Esther McFarlane grew up in Lausanne, Switzerland. Naturally artistic, Esther dreamed of becoming a jeweller and at the age of seventeen was accepted by Bucherer in Lucerne as their first female trainee. On completing her apprenticeship in 1984, Esther continued to work closely with chief designer Elisabeth Albertini for another two years. Whilst working with Mrs Albertini, several of Esther’s pieces were entered into professional design contests, notably winning an award from the Japan Pearl Exporters’ Association in 1985.
In October the following year, Esther secured a position as a jeweller for F. Friedman Jewellers in Johannesburg, South Africa. Not long after starting her new life in South Africa, Esther married her husband and started a company of her own called Bijou Esther.
In 1991 Esther and her husband immigrated to Perth, Western Australia. Later that year their daughter Kathleen was born followed just over a year later by Edward in January 1993. In an effort for the children to get to know their grandparents, the family spent several years in Switzerland (where Robert was born in 1996) and South Africa returning to Australia in early 1998. As the children attended school, Esther made jewellery for private clients combining the influences and techniques she had acquired during her travels to create unique custom pieces.
In 2006, the travel bug struck again and the McFarlane family immigrated to Northern Ireland to be reunited with their Irish roots. Determined to attend an American University, Kathleen juggled studying for her A Levels and the SATs at Methodist College Belfast to attend Webster University Geneva, Switzerland in August 2009. Graduating in May 2012 with honours in both of her degrees (a B,A. in Business Management and a B.S. in Business Administration). Kathleen logically combined her love of jewellery and her studies with Esther's talent to create "Love Is" in January 2013.
In 2009, Robert (the family’s youngest), was diagnosed with a very large cyst and brain tumour at the age of thirteen. After months of research and several difficult decisions later, the family moved to Switzerland to enable Robert to receive the best treatment available. Now three years and three major surgeries later, Robert is stable (with 95% of the cyst and tumour removed) and is working towards completing his International Baccalaureates (IBs) in Zug.
Throughout this difficult period, our family received a tremendous amount of support from our friends, family, teachers and the dedicated team of specialist doctors and physicians at Zurich children’s hospital. We are overwhelmed by all the good wishes we received and cannot thank everyone enough. Due to the severity of Robert’s condition in July 2011, Robert was unexpectedly granted a wish from Sternschnuppe.
Sternschnuppe is a Swiss based non-profit foundation which grants the wishes of seriously ill children in Switzerland. Reliant entirely upon donations and volunteers, this small organization is changing the lives and memories of these brave children one wish at a time. Robert has always liked Formula 1 and was keen to see a race in person. Determined to be well enough to make the Nürburgring race, this generously granted wish was a major turning point for Robert and the family as it was the first time everyone had been together and had ”time off” in a very long time. This unique experience has inspired us to donate part of our profits from the sale of our “Make a Wish Bracelets” to the Sternschnuppe foundation so that other families may have the same opportunity.
Make a wish…
E & K