Richard Wren

Richard Wren

In October 2013, a very special art exhibition was launched in a Carlton gallery. The exhibition was significant because it was the last show by local jeweller, Richard Wren, who had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer some months before. “I may not be here, but my art will be,” said Richard and, with help from a wonderful Wintringham worker, declared that he would stage a final exhibition and donate the money from sales to charity. “It’s too late for me but I want to leave something behind for other people who have nothing and need help,” he stated. “This is my way of paying back 60 years of being on this earth. It will make me happy; I won’t die in vain.”

Born in England, Richard immigrated to Australia as a child and demonstrated an artistic flair early on. “I always liked working with stones,” he said. “It is tedious, but also rewarding.”He dropped out of RMIT art school because his work was in such high demand and opened a shop in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs. There he built a reputation for creating beautiful pieces using precious and semi-precious stones.

But life took a turn for the worse in the 1980s when Richard and his wife lost their unborn baby and later divorced. Not long after, he closed his shop.

Depression set in and he ended up living on the streets. “The divorce shocked the living daylights out of me,” he said.

Richard Wren jewellery 

He was down but not out. He got help in various guises and, for twelve happy years lived in an inner-city apartment managed by Wintringham.

Richard Wren is gone now, but he was right. His beautiful jewellery lives on, reminding people that, for all its sorrows, life offers some absolute pearls.