20 years of Karen Walker jewellery in 20 images

We celebrate two decades of Karen Walker Jewellery with a scroll through the archives

The centre of the Karen Walker universe and likely the most recognisable motif in the New Zealand jewellery market, Runaway Girl’s bindle-carrying, ponytail-swinging silhouette has traversed every category from tiny studs to statement necklaces and signet rings in a range of metals, even adorned with diamonds and, most recently, pearls.

But while Runaway Girl’s main character status remains unchallenged, we’re also here to shout-out the supporting actors, and the showstopping campaigns that have made Karen Waker Jewellery the gift you buy yourself for 20 years.

Here, Karen Walker herself speaks to some of the most memorable moments in the brand’s jewellery journey.



“At the time of our debut 2003 campaign and collection, in our local market, it was a novel concept: bringing precious jewellery into everyday life, paired with vintage sweatshirts, morning coffees, and classic 501s. Captured with an early digital camera, this debut challenged not only the norm of saving fine jewellery for rare, special occasions but also championed the idea of self-gifting. Since then, we’re so proud that KW Jewellery has been chosen by many to celebrate their own journeys, still worn with love and joy each and every day.”


“This series, styled by Katie Lockhart in 2009 embraced the unexpected, featuring Lladró figurines, then regarded as relics of a bygone era, to challenge and subvert traditional notions of cool. By adorning these porcelain pieces with unconventional pieces like gold robots, the collection playfully disrupted the norms of fine jewellery. It was no longer about saving precious jewellery for special occasions; it was about enjoying your favourite pieces, every single day.”


“The Magic Hands series, captured by Ari Seth Cohen (Advanced Style) in Los Angeles in 2016, spotlighted hands telling stories of incredibly vibrant lives. Hands can be every bit as expressive as faces. These Magic Hands speak of a life well-lived and they absolutely have their own stories to tell. The hands come courtesy of pianist, fashion designer, yoga fanatic and former star of the Ballets Russes 93 year-old Phyllis Sues and infamous party girl, stylist, 1960s Broadway hoofer (including half a decade as a Shark in West Side Story) and great-grandmother, 78 year-old Roberta Haze.”


“This series from last year captures the playful spirit that’s been our handwriting since day one. It’s a reminder that precious jewels are for the joy of the everyday – cruising on a teeny skateboard or bubbles blown on a whim. It’s about the fun of the moment, the charm of the everyday, and the delight of not taking it all too seriously.”


“For over two decades our Runaway Girl’s been following her own path, seeking out adventure and marching to her own tune. This year, we asked our community, models, friends, and team what Runaway Girl means to them, and their first experiences with her was. It was fascinating to hear about everyone’s unique journeys, all with a common thread that they think of her as more than a piece of jewellery – she’s a symbol of curiosity, strength, and purpose.”