designer interview

  • An Interview with Linn?a G?tstav of Renaissance Life Jewellery

    I asked Linn?a G?tstav, the founder and designer of our newest brand Renaissance Life jewellery a few questions about what inspires her and the story behind her company. Read on to find out the wonderful story behind her designs...

    Linnea Gotstav, Designer and Founder of Renaissance Life


    Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

    I was born in Sweden in the beginning of the eighties. I studied art and design at high school and thereafter marketing and communication at University. Travelling, meeting new people and nature have always been my passions and I have lived abroad several times; Oslo, Sydney, Los Angeles and London, where I launched my brand Renaissance Life in September 2009. At the moment it feels like I have two homes, Gothenburg and London.

    How did you become a jewellery designer? What inspires you?

    My interest in design and jewellery has been with me since an early age and my Grandmother was the one who introduced me to the world of jewellery and the mystery within. My Grandmother lived in the far north of Sweden and during the winter there was more than one metre of snow and sometimes as cold as 30 minus degrees, so we had to stay inside. In the warmth, we spent time together and I enjoyed listening to her stories. She had a wonderful jewellery box that had been passed on for generations; it looked like a Renaissance Book with delicate golden corners and as a child I was drawn to it like a bee to honey and I always wanted to have a closer look. When she was telling me about life, poetry and her values I could, through the half open lid, get a glimpse of beautiful brooches, gold pendants and pearl necklaces. At special occasions she also showed me the jewellery that all had a unique meaning to her and she remembered it all; who she got it from, when she got it, and what magic that happened when she was wearing the beautiful piece. When I realized that I couldn't find jewellery with the same mystic touch and stories as my Grandmother's, I wanted to create my label Renaissance Life and spread the magic, my Grandmother's words and Swedish soul to the rest of the world.

    The Secret Heart NecklaceWhat’s your favourite jewellery piece that you’ve designed so far?

    I have two favourites. The lucky wing necklace and the secret heart. I am doing a small version of the secret heart for the new collection that I am really excited about!

    How long does it take to design a collection? What’s the process?

    All Renaissance Life jewellery is born out of a story inspired by my Grandmother's values and her stories about the past, present and the future. My vision is to make jewellery with the same magical touch as my Grandmother's? jewellery, jewellery with feeling, jewellery that is able influence people and touch their soul. My designing process is very organic and the ideas comes to me naturally while living my life. Many of my creative visions come to me while dreaming at night. With the inspiration in mind I start creating the structure, the texture and shape. The first piece is usually made by hand in my studio and thereafter moulded and casted. As the pieces are handcrafted, a piece of jewellery can take from around 3 hours up to around 20 hours. I have done some bespoke pieces that have taken over 300 hours

    Who is a typical Renaissance Life customer?

    She is sensual, brave and powerful with an open-minded attitude to life. She loves travelling, music and knows what she likes. She is aware of the fashion scene but her style is her own and she wears it in a unique and distinctive way.

    What do you enjoy best about what you do?

    The freedom.

    What’s your favourite food?

    Pite? palt without meat as I am a veggie (Swedish speciality from the north of Sweden)

    Where's your favourite place in the world?

    The Freedom Horse Necklace


    I love travelling and really like Bali, San Fran and Paris, but nothing is better than the Swedish summer.

    What’s on the iPod?

    Melissa Horn, Patty Smith, Anna Ternheim, Radiohead and Damien Rice

    If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want with you?

    My boyfriend, a surf board and Lakrisal (my favourite Swedish liquorice candies).

    Thanks Linn?a!

    Shop Renaissance Life jewellery at

  • Preparing for Christmas

    Hello all! The blog's been sadly neglected for a few weeks as we've been so busy preparing for Christmas. Two new designers have arrived (more on this later), plus we've been reorganising the shop and? getting the website ready for the festive rush. There's still some work to be done, as we have a huge Butler & Wilson delivery due shortly and we're hoping to have our new Dogeared Create line arriving in a week or two (very excited about this).

    The two new designers that have just arrived are Bibi Bijoux from the Netherlands and The Earring Boutique which is created by the UK based designer Ashley Wells. Both designers incorporate the use of SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS crystals which are the finest crystals that Swarovski make. So expect some serious sparkle!

    Bibi Bijoux is a well-established brand that was founded in 1999 by two sisters. All items are still handcrafted in their own studio in the Netherlands. Always surprising and on-trend, the designs evolve from human hands rather than from a drawing board. The sisters get their inspiration by the smallest things - that could be anything from a lost charm to? an antique necklace. Down to the very last moment the items get reshaped and improved. What we love about this new brand is the quality of the pieces. They are well made, substantial and a pleasure to wear.

    Bibi Bijoux Charm Wrap Bracelet in Khaki, ?139.95


    The Earring Boutique is a unique? jewellery brand which combines statement design with the quality and glamour of SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS crystals. Head Designer Ashley Wells, draws on her established European fashion career to create distinctively stylish collections. With a constant eye on the International catwalks as well as scouring the globe for the beautiful and unique, every design is a true statement piece. These beautiful 'Nazca'earrings certainly prove the point:

    The Earring Boutique Nazca Fan Earrings, ?80


    In other news, our shop is looking pretty amazing at the moment. We've just put the Christmas decorations up and had a reorganise so that the space works much better. Pop in to see us if you're in the Liverpool area. We're based in a gorgeous 18th century converted barn in the rural village of Little Crosby. It's just a couple of miles away from Crosby beach where you will find Antony Gormley's Another place. So if you're a bit further afield you could even make a day of it. Jewellery Shop in Liverpool

    If you've been on our website in the last week you'll also noticed that it's now ready for Christmas. We've extended our returns period so anything you've purchased from us after the 7th November can be returned at any time until Monday January 9th, 2012. It's something we do to take a bit of pressure away from you when choosing gifts, as you know that if the recipient changes their mind then you have plenty of time to return it back to us. Christmas shopping can sometimes be stressful, so it's our aim to make things as simple as possible for you.

    More soon,

  • An Interview with Alex Monroe

    Alex Monroe

    We tracked down the lovely Alex Monroe for a quick chat...

    Tell us about how you became a jewellery designer. By mistake! I was working as a groundsman in Suffolk and dreamt of becoming a fashion designer (I had to keep that secret from my work-mates!). So I tried to get in to a fashion course but failed miserably. The nearest thing (and a way to escape from Suffolk) was a jewellery course, which I immediately loved and I haven't stopped since!

    What’s your favourite jewellery piece that you’ve designed so far? Always the next one. I'm working on new collections right now so I'm only thinking about the new pieces. They get all my attention. But we just made a twiggy ring peppered with diamonds which I love. I love it all really, but if pressed I'd say the Vintage Bike, or the pear, I really like the pear, and the Bee of course. And those Peacock feathers... oh and what about the Watering can and the key and.... I'd better stop now.

    How long does it take to design a collection? What’s the process? Argh! It takes forever and it's really hard! I say that because I'm in the middle of doing it right now and I'm at a stage where everything is hard and I'm panicking. Ask me again in September at London Fashion Week and I'll say 'Oh it was sooo easy dwarling'. But that would be lying. I start with a concept, go out on research (usually at Chelsea Physic Garden or Kew or into the countryside), then I develop my sketches, do some finished drawings, make mock-ups, work these in to finished pieces, then cross my fingers that someone else likes it too!

    Who is a typical Alex Monroe customer? There's no such thing, except they're usually nice. More Marie-Claire than Dazed and Confused. But we sell to women from 16 to 90, and lots of nice blokes buying pressies too!

    What do you enjoy best about what you do? Interviews. Only joking! Making jewellery at the bench no doubt. I'm a maker. That's what I do best.

    The ever popular Bee necklace!


    And a few questions about you:

    What’s your favourite...

    Food? Japanese. And proper British. Plum Jam on crusty white. Or a big bowl of shrimps, bread and butter, and a pot of tea sitting outside.

    Place in the world? A secret place on the river in Suffolk.

    What’s growing on the allotment this year? You name it.... Loads of soft fruit. Just had the last broad bean. Salad, Cucumbers, Toms. Lots and lots.

    What’s on the iPod? At the moment a big pile of drawings and a sketch book. And some biscuits. Musically it's probably a bit embarrassing, I'll have a look.... Podcasts; the Archers, Desert Island Discs and the The Bike Show. Songs; A, Abdul Abulbul Amir. Z, Nothing so I'll skip to Y. Y, You ain't going nowhere from Sweetheart of the Rodeo (love it). In between; Eric Clapton, Messiaen, Don Ellis, Bowie and Belle and Sebastian. A real mix. You wouldn't want to put it on 'shuffle' in public! It's a proper Dad's ipod.

    Thanks Alex! AO x

  • Les N?r?ides - A Behind the Scenes Video Interview

    Fans of Les N?r?ides jewellery might enjoy watching this behind the scenes interview with Sophie Couret-Delegue Sales Manager, and Pier-Paolo Amaddeo Art Director. You'll find out what the name 'Les Nereides' means, where the creators get their inspiration for the amazing jewellery they create and interestingly why the family behind the brand all have a tattoo of the number 18...

    The video's in French with English subtitles.

  • The Story Behind the Dogeared 'Stand up to Cancer' Necklace

    The Dogeared Stand up to Cancer necklace is very special. Profits from the sale of each necklace go to Stand Up To Cancer's groundbreaking efforts to do the work, find the cure, and put an end to cancer. Here's an interview taken from the SU2C blog with Merlin Clarke, co-founder of Dogeared telling us the story behind the necklace.

    How did Dogeared get started?

    It started 20 years ago on our dining room table. My wife Marcia was between jobs and began designing jewellery. We brought it to the Rose Bowl swap meet to see if we could sell some of her creations, and we did! My wife was inspired by the fact that something she created was so appreciated by our customers so she started designing more.

    Several twists and turns later, we went from selling a few necklaces to selling thousands in stores worldwide.

    What makes Dogeared different?

    At our core we are all about sending messages of love, kindness, and inspiration into the world. All of our products are handmade in the U.S. and we try to use recyclable material for our jewellery whenever possible.

    How did Dogeared get involved with SU2C?

    We do a lot of work with non-profits, and when SU2C approached us about working together we thought it was a great fit. It's a collaboration we are really proud of.

    Do you have a personal connection to cancer?

    Unfortunately, I have more than one. I lost my best friend to cancer when I was 20. A few years later I also lost my dad to the disease. In addition, I have several friends and co-workers that have been touched by cancer as well.

    What inspired the design for the SU2C arrow necklace?

    We wanted to design products that made a strong connection to SU2C's mission and that people would love to wear. The arrow necklace, one of our first SU2C designs, symbolizes standing up and making a difference in the fight against cancer. It is simple, modern, and powerful. It's a piece of jewelry that carries a story behind it, which I really like.

    What is unique about purchasing the necklace?

    There are so many ways to contribute to a good cause, but there is something unique about always being able to wear something that's meaningful, like the arrow necklace.

    Does knowing your brand is contributing cancer research, make your job more fulfilling?

    If I look back 20 years ago to when we were started at the Rose Bowl I never thought we'd be the company we are now. As we've evolved, I get most excited about the social impact we've been able to have. Our jewellery is a means of expression that allows us to make a difference and continue to give back.

    Can you tell us about any personal experiences you've had as a result of working with SU2C?

    It's been amazing to be a part of this community of doers. We were able to attend the SU2C show in 2010 and it was great to see so many people wearing the arrow that we designed, and to be part of something that big. Most importantly I think it is amazing to be a part of this community of people coming together to make a difference in the fight against cancer. The whole experience with SU2C has given us a lot of pride and turned out to be great partnership for us.

  • An Interview with Jacey Withers

    Our Jacey Withers jewellery collection is here! We caught up with Jacey to ask him a few questions...

    Jacey Withers

    What was it that made you become a jewellery designer?

    I wanted to show how a piece of jewellery can communicate a person's individual personality.

    What inspires you when you create new pieces?

    Old Films, mythology, the supernatural and the magic of the animal kingdom.

    Who is a typical customer? What’s their style?

    Someone who is unique, amaginative. Hopefully with an unusual flair.

    What do you predict to be big jewellery trends for AW10?

    Tribal, shamanistic and Wild.

    What’s been your proudest moment?

    When I arrived at London Fashion Week to my stand to find a queue of buyers waiting for me.

    What’s your favourite film?

    So many. Can't pick one. I do like Return To Oz.


    Lobster cooked well.

    Where’s your favourite place in the world?


    If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?

    My cutlass necklace! My iTunes library and snorkel to find my Lobsters for dinner!

  • An Interview with Nicola Gewirtz

    We caught up with Nicola Gewirtz, creator and designer of Lola Rose jewellery to ask her a few questions...

    Nicola GewirtzWhat was it that made you become a jewellery designer?

    I had a job as a PA (not a very good one though) and was looking for a new career. A friend bought me a bracelet for my birthday, I loved it but thought I could make something better myself, so I bought some semi precious beads and cord and started stringing it all together! That was 10 years ago now.

    What inspires you when you create new pieces?

    Travel, museums and galleries but most of all my customers who give me amazing feedback. I want to make jewellery that makes women feel good about themselves.

    What’s your favourite item of Lola Rose jewellery?

    My tumble bracelets (Alfie and Cassidy) as these are the first items I designed and are still going strong.

    What pieces do you wear yourself?

    I’m not super organsised so tend to throw something on that I pick up quickly from the dressing table when rushing out of the house. I do always have a Lola Rose ring on and practically live in one of our gorgeous scarves.

    Who is a typical customer?

    Lola Rose customers tend to be stylish, independent women who like to have fun and experiment with bold, colourful pieces of jewellery.

    Sonia Ring in Dark Teal Quartzite


    What’s been your proudest moment?

    On a non work note it has to be the birth of my gorgeous son Freddie!

    What’s your favourite film?

    Lion King ? makes me cry every time!



    Where’s your favourite place in the world?

    In the bathroom at bathtime with Freddie!

    If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?

    A really good moisturizer, family photos and some string so if I got bored I could continue to make jewellery with shells I’ve found on the beach!

  • An Interview with Fiona Paxton

    With? countless features in the glossies and Kate Moss and Cheryl Cole recently being spotted wearing her jewellery, Fiona Paxton is the lady of the moment. We ask her a few questions about what makes her tick.

    Fiona PaxtonWhat was it that made you become a jewellery designer?

    I had been working as a textile designer for 15 years and I wanted a new challenge. Jewellery was something I wanted to wear and I guess I was designing for myself as I rarely saw jewellery that I wanted to wear.

    How do you get your inspiration?

    I am inspired by materials usually and techniques of making things. I love buying lots of different beads and putting them together. Obviously pattern still plays an important role in the collection and each season I tend to have a story or inspiration that I look at.

    We’re always staggered by your talent with each new season. What’s been your favourite piece so far?

    I actually have a lot of favourites, I guess the pieces I wear are my favourites; the Sylvie is a favourite along with Ginger from this season, the Zetter cuff and the silver Surat.

    What do you predict to be big jewellery trends for AW10?

    Chainmail is going to be popular as it is really easy to wear along with the multichain necklaces but I think big stones will also prove popular for Christmas.

    What’s been your proudest moment?

    In the two short years I have been in business I have had quite a few, so I am lucky. Moving into our new studio was quite a major achievement for me as we had all been working in my loft at home since the beginning.

    Seeing my pieces in Liberty when they opened the new jewellery hall and being shortlisted for the UK fashion export awards are definitely important moments that I will remember.

    Sylvie Necklace in Silver

    My favourite film is also my favourite book.It is "Like Chocolate for Water", a Mexican film. I always weep buckets when I watch it


    Dark chocolate of course.

    Where’s your favourite place in the world?

    On a beautiful sunny summers day I love the Orchard in Grantchester just near Cambridge. It is Rupert Brooks' old house and it is a tea shop in a slightly overgrown orchard. You sit beneath the trees in deckchairs sipping tea and eating scones. When you walk through the trees it comes out in a lovely meadow that leads down to the River Cam where you can have Champagne picnics and watch the punts go by. A perfect dreamy summer day.

    If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?

    I would have to take a sketchbook and pencil as I have to draw or doodle everyday, some chocolate of course and a good book. Sounds great, when can I go?

  • An Interview with Marcia Maizel-Clarke, Founder of Dogeared

    Dogeared is one of our favourite brands! We've been selling Dogeared jewellery for over 5 years and it's become a firm favourite with our customers too. The company was founded back in 1991 out of Marcia Maizel-Clarke's wish to create jewellery that makes a happy and positive statement. We caught up with Marcia, owner and founder of Dogeared, to ask her a few questions....

    What’s the story of Dogeared ? how did you come up with the name and how did it all start? What was it that inspired you to become a jewellery designer?

    marcia_dogearedI picked the name Dogeared out of the thesaurus. I’m serious! It was 1991, and I had started selling my jewellery at the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena- and eventually a big department store wanted to start carrying it. So I realized? we needed a name! My best friend and I got out the thesaurus- opening random pages and saying words out loud to see how they sounded. Dogeared sounded different, and I liked it. Over the years the name has begun to fit more and more? When you dogear a page, it’s because you want to remember. Dogeared jewellery is the same way. It’s something that speaks to you, that you choose, and everyone chooses for different reasons.

    Designing jewellery evolved for me out of a desire to create something meaningful and share it. I like to make things with my hands- I believe the thought and intention I put into something stays within it. That’s why everything is handmade in our California studio. I love the process- designing the castings that become our charms, watching jewels come together with words and turn into a Dogeared piece. It means a lot to me that so many people appreciate that and want to be a part of it.

    What’s your all-time favourite piece of Dogeared jewellery and why?

    not_to_worry_beadsThat’s so hard! I’ve had so many favourites? Some of our limited editions styles have been my favourites, like the collectors hearts we design for One Voice. I think those are really special. I don’t just design for myself, there are a lot of creative points of view that go into Dogeared jewellery. Right now I’m really happy with our 100 Good Wishes line of necklaces, cuffs, and bracelets. And I wear my Not to Worry Beads stretchy bracelets practically every day!

    But if I had to choose one thing, it would be our original Karma necklace. It’s so simple in aesthetic and meaning? Anyone can connect with it. It’s a great daily reminder to be mindful of our actions and the energy we put out into the world.

    Who is a typical Dogeared customer?

    She’s a lot of things? She is young, or young at heart. She’s a daughter, a sister and a friend- she might be a Mom. She is happy, vibrant, and conscious. She cares deeply about the planet and the people in it? Her insight and awareness inform her jewellery choices. She experiments with different looks and has her own unique style. She is creative, she finds beauty in everything, and she is a free spirit. She lives by the motto, ?live, love, laugh.?

    Are there any exciting developments for Dogeared that you can tell us about?

    sex_and_the_city_jewelleryHow much time do you have? We have so much going on at Dogeared right now... We recently dove into the world of licensing- creating a line for Sex and the City. That’s something new for us? And it’s an authentic alignment with who Dogeared is, which is so important. That was a lot of fun to design.

    We also just launched Dogeared Bridal, a whole line of wedding jewels and gifts. The collection is really beautiful, with pearls, diamonds, new designs, and words that celebrate friends, family, and love? Dogeared has already been a part of so many weddings, it seemed natural to develop a line focused on brides, bridesmaids, flower girls? And capture the experience of being a bride or being part of a wedding. I’m so happy with the results? We created something beautiful for every member of the wedding party.

    And now that we’re done with those, we’re designing our August 2010 Dogeared collection!

    What’s been your proudest moment?

    I’ve had so many? My proudest personal moment was becoming a mother. But I’m proud everyday for a lot of reasons! I see my kids growing up and becoming amazing people. I see my team at Dogeared working together, creating, producing, promoting, selling; and giving life to Dogeared.

    I’m proud when I see Dogeared making a positive impact on individuals. That’s what I feel our purpose is. People write me letters about wishes coming true, or important moments and milestones in their lives being connected to their Dogeared jewellery. Sharing our good fortune with the community makes me very proud. One Voice is a non-profit group I’ve been working with since before Dogeared was born, and we donate a lot of time and money to them. They help local families living in poverty, and seeing the difference they make in people’s lives is truly inspiring. It makes me incredibly proud to know that Dogeared is part of that. I am more grateful and proud of who Dogeared is every day?

    What’s your favourite film?

    Breakfast at Tiffany'sIt’s impossible to pick a favourite film! I love, love, love the movies? And the popcorn! I like different films for different reasons. But one of my top ten is definitely Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It doesn’t really get any more iconic than that. It’s a classic that so many women love? A simple love story with intriguing characters, great style, and fabulous jewellery!

    What's your favourite food?

    Arugula! You call it rocket in the UK. I put in on everything. It’s so peppery and vibrant? I think everything tastes better with a giant pile of arugula on top of it. And if I’m feeling particularly inspired, I’ll get a huge bag of it at the farmer’s market and make arugula and walnut pesto. Then I’ll put that on everything I eat for a few days!

    Where’s your favourite place in the world?

    That’s easy. California! I’ve lived here most of my life? And I would never want to live anywhere else. I’ve travelled quite a bit and I love other places, too; but I’ve never felt as connected as I do here. There’s so much to experience and so much natural beauty? Seeing the ocean every day is a reason to smile and a reminder to be grateful. And the history and diversity of the people living here makes California life truly unique. There’s an air of acceptance and freedom that I don’t think everyone gets to experience. We can be who we are in California? I love that!

    If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?

    If I could choose any three things in the world, of course I would bring my husband, my son, and my daughter. But if it could only be objects, I would choose lavender essential oil (it heals everything!), a really good book, and something to send a distress signal so I could be rescued and go home! Maybe a small satellite?

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