'Jewellery has the magic to empower and bring immense joy; for something so small that can be held in the palm of your hand, it can hold a world of emotions and memories. An object of art and craftsmanship, beauty and desire that can be worn on the body, close to our hearts.'
When I was in my first year at the Royal College of Art in London, I met a friend from footwear design whose family is in the gemstone and mining industry. Naturally, I asked curiously why she wasn’t on the gold-smithing and jewellery course, like I was. She simply said, if I had seen what she had seen, then I would not want to be a part of that industry, too. Like a seed planted in my head, I became curious with the centuries-old traditions and romanticism over the fine jewellery and gemstone industry. I have always been an eternal optimist. When I went on my honeymoon during my studies at the RCA in 2013, I made sure to visit a gemstone mine in Sri Lanka during our adventures. Seeing is believing - I was shocked and sadden to see the working conditions of the mine, the risks and the inequality of the excavation of such precious things - I did not see beauty nor romance, and it was at that moment I decided to explore alternative options and began my research into championing laboratory-grown and created gemstones paired with intrinsic, thoughtful design and meticulous artisan craftsmanship in my own fine jewellery collections.
When I founded my eponymous brand on graduation, it was my mission to offer a different perspective in the industry - I wanted to create equally beautiful and fabulous one-of-a-kind jewels using laboratory-grown and created gemstones without the conflict, humanitarian issues and untraceable provenance associated with mining. I find a potent synergy in the juxtaposition of precious and non-precious, natural and manmade materials, it is luxury with a touch of humbleness. I never think that it is a competition between the two genres, but rather offering a different perspective and option to the consumer, a more accessible and mindful alternative, and in shining light on the ethics and sustainability within our centuries-old industry it will also drive positive change by consumer-demand for more responsible practice from the very top - to ensure the well-being of miners, their communities and the land with better safety standards, fair pay, equal rights and land restoration. As a designer I choose to focus my work with lab-grown, created and recycled gemstones; I also admire the work of other designers who champion recycled materials, who work solely with reputable mines and support small scale artisanal miners directly.
As with all design discipline, I believe it is about learning from the past, to offer a different perspective in the present, and always with a dream for a better future. As Maya Angelou said, ‘’Do the best you can until you know better. And when you know better, do better.’'