Luckily, earlier this year she found a way to combine both.

"I was with (equestrian rider) Samantha Bartlett trying to put on her stock pin and it kept breaking or bending," Kaye says.

So she went back to her family's century-old jewellery manufacturing business, Gilbert and Jones, in Hallam, on Melbourne's outskirts, and made new pins.

"People liked them and I thought I could make a huge range out of this because there's nothing out there," she says.

And so the Equestrian Jewellery Company (EJ & Co) was born.

It seems something Kaye was born to do.

Her grandfather began crafting jewellery in 1902, and her father was a pioneer of casting jewellery in Australia.

"He was the successful one. They called him the marcasite (gemstone) King," Kaye says.

The 62-year-old, who worked her whole life as a designer and sales executive in Gilbert and Jones, now brings these skills to her new company.

Her handmade collection includes bracelets, cufflinks, earrings and stock pins.

All are embellished with stirrups, horseshoes, whips and, of course, horses made in either stirling silver, rose, white or yellow gold, and can be made to order.

A nine-carat gold horse ring costs about $220, a dressage horse brooch about $180 and bracelets more than $1000.

While she designs the pieces, she has her son, Michael - a jeweller, valuer and diamond grader - and a team of five master craftsman create them.

"I see something that triggers an idea. We draw it by hand and then the jeweller makes a master pattern from it," Kaye says.

The piece is then replicated in a process known as investment casting.

A rubber mould is made of the master pattern, which is then compressed and filled with wax.

This is placed on a "tree or wax sprue" - the passage the liquid metal will pass through.

The tree is covered in plaster and placed in a furnace, during which time the wax drops out and liquid metal can be poured through it.

Kaye says it has been difficult to find the right people for the job.

"There's plenty of people who can make jewellery, but they don't know the sequence of a horse cantering or galloping, or two horses racing together," she says.

"You've got to know both jobs to create something authentic."

The authenticity of the equine images is important for the former equestrian competitor, who has been riding since she was eight.

Kaye was taught by her uncle to ride and loved it so much she joined a pony club. Competition has taken her to state championships and repeated wins at the Royal Melbourne Show.

She now supports dressage riders and still rides occasionally.

It is this combined equine and jewellery passion that has seen other horse-lovers appreciate the attention to detail.

Kaye has even received endorsement from Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg - a cousin of Danish royal Prince Frederik - who wears her jewellery in equestrian competition.

"She comes out (to Australia) and teaches horse riding. A friend of mine brought her out and introduced us," Kaye says.

EJ & Co also sponsors equestrian coach and competitor Samantha Bartlett.

Despite the high-profile clientele, there are no plans to expand beyond the Hallam showroom.

"We handmake it, so you can't make thousands. We wouldn't go overseas either. We just want to keep everyone buying Australian goods and getting the quality they deserve," Kaye says.

But with EJ & Co off to a flying start, she might not be able to stay small for long.

"I did a series for the races and I'm going to do one for the polo," she says.

"Whether you want it for the racegoers, equestrian riders, pony club people ... there's something there for everyone."

Source: www.weeklytimesnow.com.au