When I started out my career in the jewellery industry in the late ’90s it was a very different creature to what it is today. The word ‘brand’ was not uttered that much and there seemed to be more of a focus on design and craft quality. In my opinion, a more pleasant and authentic era but one must change with the times mustn’t one?
So there I was with a full head of hair, and under that a sponge like substance which was absorbing every bit of jewellery information available. 23, passionate and hungry! They say that your formative years are the most influential with regards your developing personality. Maybe the same applies to your career in that the initial influences when you start out in your profession become inspirations which are evident throughout. Three companies and designers are etched in my memory and their work still has a place in my rhodium plated heart:
When I looked closely at the work of Henrich and Denzel, I could not really believe what I was seeing. As a mere jewellery designer fledging, I did not know that this level of quality and precision was possible – it was perfect! To match this precision was a stunning simplicity and balance which all added up to creating pieces that were bloody marvellous! The designs, even though simple, were innovative and not too out-there for my conservative British taste so all-in-all this company were a huge inspiration to me and engrained within me to always strive for better quality.
A name familiar with many in the jewellery industry and consumers alike is Paul Spurgeon. It seemed that every jewellery retailer I approached was stocking this man – he was everywhere! On more than one occasion potential retailers would tell me that they loved my collection but wouldn’t do business with me as they had just invested in Paul! And good reason. This man has created some iconic designs – he has an incredible skill of keeping designs wearable and practical yet they posess a sculptural and timeless aspect – no mean feat as any jewellery designer will tell you. His focus on the setting of the gems is something which we both share and his approach to keep reinventing has no doubt spurred me on in my endeavours.
You may think that my famous three are a little German heavy when I mention my next inspiration but there is good reason. I was working in Manchester when I first clasped eyes on the Neissing’s Tension set ring. I was initially dubious of the strength of the setting but when I actually tried to physically twist a ring I understood that there were some strong German forces at work! As with Henrich and Densel the craft was flawless and the grace of the pieces was undeniable even if some of the pieces got a little heavy for the UK market. An interesting fact is that both Neissing and the late Stephen Kretchmer from the US claim to have invented the Tension Set idea. Kretchmer, who died in 2006, was a brilliant goldsmith and metalurgist even developing ‘levitating’ jewellery using a magnetised platinum alloy. As I have a fascination with innovating settings, the ingenuity of the tension ring was indeed a strong inspiration.
So there you have it – three very important jewellers that have helped me to carve my own path in the industry. There are no doubt many more but it is these that I would like to thank and ask that you keep doing what you are doing.