The rapid increase in population and wealth during the Australian Gold Rush in the early 1850s created the conditions for the production of the first significant Australian silver pieces. Fashionable jewellers were unable to keep up with the demand pieces with imports from England taking up to a year to reach them.
Silversmith like Ernest Leviny, Christian Ludwig Quist, William Edwards, Julius Schombergk and William Edwards produced pieces inspired by the unique Australian flora and fauna, such as tree ferns, kangaroos and emus. Their most unique contribution was the silver-mounted emu egg. The first of these appeared in about 1857 and by 1860 they were quite common.