Inside My Jewellery Box

Image: Ellis Mhairi Cameron

Ever wanted to take a peek inside a jeweller’s jewellery box? We spoke to five jewellers to find out what inspires them and which pieces they couldn’t live without. #imadeyourjewellery

Jewellery is historically not just an adornment but also an object that can hold great sentiment. They are much more likely to be passed down through generations than clothing or accessories. Many of us are the proud owners of various jewellery collections, each with it’s own story. And we think that the most enviable collections of all are owned by jewellery designers. We lifted the lid on their jewellery boxes, exploring the stories behind their favourite pieces and the inspirations for their collections.

Tarra Rosenbaum – Tarra’s use of natural materials when creating her pieces is inspired by her love of nature and ethical production. The pieces are hand created making them one of kind.

When I started my business in 2006, I was mixing and matching all my jewellery and almost every time I did, I lost or broke an heirloom piece. Now I just wear a few pieces from time to time. I just can’t bear to lose any more heirlooms. My jewellery box is filled with keepsakes from my Grandmothers accumulated jewellery as well as from my Mother who continued their tradition. I remember wearing a set of hand carved mother of pearl clips as a child, as well as a pave greyhound pin. They are lovely unique pieces that inspired me as a child and influence my designs.

My mother started my charm bracelet for me when I was young and I have been creating my own in an effort to keep this tradition alive. I believe this is why it is so important to find those pieces in your jewellery box that speak to you and make sure you wear them as much as possible or redesign them. My Aurora ring is made with my Grandmother’s diamond set in the center. I wear it every day and it keeps my late grandmother close to my heart and with me through my life.

I think the process of taking an heirloom piece and giving it new life for the next generation really touches my conservationist past and Jeweller present. When creating my ready to wear collections I am mindful of sustainability, clean sourcing, fair pay for workers and healthy working conditions. Most recently I’ve been using hand-carved recycled bone too. I adore the irony of my bone elephant charm as it speaks volumes to the slaughter of innocent elephants for their husks when there are so many other material options available.

Sophie Karg, By Pariah – having worked previously in Fashion PR, Sophie Karg created London based By Pariah in 2016. Specialising in bold, modern shapes, By Pariah is a favourite among discerning Fashionistas.

I mostly wear my own pieces and I tend to keep it simple with a gold hoop or our Double Crossing earring. When it comes to rings I prefer chunky, statement pieces. My Grandmother was a very elegant but also fierce and strong woman. Her uniform consisted of a plain cashmere jumper, her Cartier watch, her wedding band and a gold, sculptural ring. I inherited her watch and also a beautiful pearl and dust pink tourmaline necklace that my Grandfather gave her. It’s probably the most romantic piece I own and very different to anything I design myself. But it reminds me of her and also of home.

I’m a firm believer that fewer is better and I think this also appeals to our customer. They want to know what they are buying is designed and made to last. As well as knowing its origin and production is ethical. Most of the gold we use has been recycled and all stones are ethically sourced.

We have also just launched our first sustainable capsule collection with Artisan Fashion. ‘By Pariah x Artisan Fashion’ is the first of a range of capsule collections that champion different techniques and materials around the world which are 100% sustainable with a careful consideration for social impact. The collection is made of 100% recycled brass and beautifully crafted by hand creating a juxtaposition to the delicate shapes of our main collection but equally complementing one another.

Arabel LebrusanArabel creates ethical engagement rings and jewellery using traditional craft techniques like filigree.

I became a jewellery designer because of my passion for beautiful and emotional heirlooms. I have been very lucky that my Mum has passed down some of her vintage jewels to me. The most valuable pieces I wear on special occasions tend to be the inherited ones. I accessorise daily with my own filigree pieces; lots of statement bangles and chandelier earrings. When I need a bit of extra luck, I wear her diamond horseshoe. And if I want to feel powerful at an important meeting, I put on my gold Rolex with the blue dial – this one inherited from my Dad – which definitely wins respect and admiration.

But my but my most precious piece is my beloved Links Ring, which is also my wedding ring. It’s one of the first designs I ever created, made with 100% recycled gold using handmade filigree technique. It was my first sample, made by Lorenzo, my most trusted filigree artisan. It first became my commitment ring, then my engagement ring and not long ago, it also became my wedding ring. So, it is definitely charged with lots of beautiful feelings.

We produce our jewellery in Spain supporting traditional Spanish craftsmanship and locally in the UK. Customers come to us because we are 100% transparent about how we work, with whom we work and our sources –  we have a beautiful story to tell. We pride ourselves on using 100% recycled and fair-trade metals and gemstones.

Helena Lapin of Olivia Grace London For over 20 years, Helena has designed and created her fine jewellery in London’s Hatton Garden. Her incredible pieces are worn by discerning clients and celebrities alike.

The most precious piece of jewellery I own is a pink sapphire and oval diamond bracelet that I had made 11 years ago. It is so beautiful and feminine and a totally unique piece. It’s special to me as I bought it myself and that gives me a total sense of pride and independence. My pieces are made from solid gold that can be passed down through the generations, they won’t fall apart within a few months. I mainly wear my own collections but I love mixing my fine jewellery pieces with fashion jewellery from different designers. I also support other fine jewellers and am always looking for unique, one off pieces.

I inherited some beautiful heirloom pieces from my Grandmother and Mother. I love them because of the energy that the natural stones carry. I feel the energy of my Grandmother in my citrine cocktail ring, as she is no longer with us. This inspired my own citrine cocktail ring collection. My Nana was full of positivity and light and that is what this collection means to me. These rings will be passed down to my daughters and there will be a continuation of love and ancestry. 

My brand makes bespoke pieces locally in London to cut down our carbon footprint. We support local craftsmen and use recycled gold as well as upcycling old jewellery. The stones in my pieces are sourced from Namibia. I buy alluvial diamonds which are brought in through the sea and are not deep mined. I also use suppliers that have been certified with the Responsible Jewellery Council ( RJC). My customers appreciate that I am transparent in my dealings.

Ellis Mhairi Cameron inspired by her Scottish heritage, fine jeweller Ellis creates her pieces by hand in her London studio. The traditional techniques she uses give her pieces their signature rugged aesthetic.

I mainly wear my own work, as the reason I started making fine jewellery was that I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to wear. I do have pieces by a few other designers including; a bracelet from Pippa Small, rings by Fraser Hamilton and Lukas Caspar and a pin from Jewellery Blogger A Thousand Facets. She has been such an amazing support to me since I launched my fine jewellery brand in 2017. 

I also wear pieces by my friends Kay Konecna and Sundus Talpur. I studied for my MA with them both and we became such good friends – I love both of their work for such different reasons. Sundus’ textures and use of gemstones are amazing, while Kay’s intricate hand piercing is something which i feel is really unique.

For sentimental reasons, my late Great Aunt’s engagement ring is the most precious piece of jewellery I own. When she passed away she left it to me. She was such an important part of my life and having her ring makes me feel connected to her. I also have my Gran’s engagement ring and an enamelled pendant from my Mother’s side of the family.

Designing and making jewellery in as sustainable and ethical manner as possible is really important to me. My clients know I have a small range of reliable, independent suppliers and that means a lot to them. They are buying from an independent jeweller when they buy from me, so they like to know that I am also supporting small businesses and suppliers.

Disclaimer: The people and models in the images featured are not associated with The Vendeur and do not endorse it or the products shown. This post may contain affiliate links. Prices correct at time of publishing.