It all came together…
Exactly, but it all came together, because it is all my passions. You have to really persevere, because it is rarely instant success.
No, it is always hard work.
It really is. It is about perseverance and being true to yourself. Knowing my strengths though, I’ve learned what sets me apart from other designers. Because it is so competitive, you constantly have to remind yourself who you are as a brand, what your strengths are. Even though, starting out, I used to do my own jewellery, my own link chains, my own metalsmithing, that was my biggest weakness. My strength is designing really. I think it comes from my design and art history background. Therefore, I work with people who are as passionate as me. In London, I found metal smiths who are really passionate about the actual making, and when you bring all of these great minds together; craftsmanship and design, it is the perfect band and you got all the parts working together, and we all have our own passions. I work with the best enamellers and engravers. That’s what keeps me going; you inspire each other. That’s where I am at right now. I am focusing more on really honouring traditional techniques, because it is a dying art, and even though it is much more labour intensive with all the craftsmanship that goes into making my jewellery, it is worth it. It is not easy, but the consumers who like my jewellery, they see the details and they understand the pricing.
But that is what sets it apart, right? All the details, all the hard work that goes into it, the handcrafting…
I’ve always loved gemstones and I’ve always honoured crystals and stones. I didn’t get it back then, but then I turned a corner, and it’s amazing. When you learn more about how long it takes for a gemstone to even want to be made from the earth, it is not easy. Millions of years. The boulder opals, I work with, they literally were formed millions of years ago. It is also kind of a perfect storm, how they were made; when minerals get trapped in the mantel in the earth, and water gets stuck in there, and it slowly evaporates. When you learn more about it, you really start honouring the stones you work with. That’s what it is about for me, honouring the stones and working with craftspeople who have that same ethos.
The meaning attached to each stone, and all the work that goes into it, I think you can feel when there’s so much meaning put into the making of it. The wearer will feel that meaning too.
For me, it has always been about the process, and the energy that everyone puts into a piece of jewellery. It is definitely felt by the wearer, and I have clients who come back to me and tell me that there’s something special about a piece, and when they wear it, they feel grounded. That means a lot to me.
You’ve described the gemstones and your relationship with gemstones, but can you describe how you choose your stones and sources?
I do have a design background, so when I first started, I thought it should come from a design process that I learned in school. I did a collection based on Luis Barragán, who was a Mexican architect, and Nouveau Indian. I did all these drawings, and you dissect it, and you are really strict about the colours that you work with, because of Luis Barragán’s use of colour. I incorporated Mexican muralists, and I tried to be really strict, because in design school, you have to focus on one idea, and then stretch it. But then I realised that sometimes it is good to have your concept, but then be a bit loose. Sometimes, you will go looking for a specific stone, and because Luis Barragán worked with these vibrant colours, I was very interested in just working with fire opal, and raw diamonds, because of his work with stones. Then sometimes, I would find stones that were so unique and special that sometimes I would just have to be a bit loose. I will go to a gem show, and I will come across a stone that can inspire a whole new design. It is important to be fluid.