How did it all begin?
Your childhood clearly gave you a love of history and collecting, at what point did you decide to embark on your jewellery journey?
My childhood surrounded by antiques fuelled my love of reimagining stories. I guess it was A-level Photography - that was the first hint of art before I started my foundation at Central St Martins. I initially embarked on my degree with the intention of becoming an art therapist. During my foundation, I tried my hand at a few different disciplines - from graphics to pottery - and then I found jewellery and I fell in love. I loved how you could make something so meaningful and narrative with something so small - a mini work of art.
University was a formative time for you. Did you discover your signature JdL look whilst while studying?
Absolutely! The first piece I made at CSM was a necklace about my late nanny with a folding image of her that when closed completely, made her whole. I’ve always thought that by wearing something in tribute to someone you love, you feel closer to them again.
I then moved on to tributing the lives of individuals that I would find in old photographs - who I didn’t know - but that’s what really excited me! Breathing new life into these brilliant characters in photographs that were otherwise forgotten about and taking on the responsibility of placing them in a new context. My work has now become more bespoke and tailored to my customers’ stories - we in fact call them The Storytellers.
Tell us about the main inspirations behind a JdL piece of jewellery?
Creating wearable stories that provide happiness and comfort, and that have the power to ignite memories for those wearing them - that’s what I set out to achieve with every piece I make. It is not lines, shapes or nature that inspire me, rather people and connections.
What led you down the path of opening your own boutique?
I wanted a space to welcome my customers, so that they felt safe and comfortable sharing their stories. This part of the jewellery process often means customers really opening up to me. I also love the little details of my surroundings. The spot in Kentish Town felt right from the start - in a former life it was a piano shop and I just loved that it had a magical history. My last workshop in Clerkenwell was such a special place - full of old photographs, ephemera, memories and it would really draw people in when I had an open studio. It’s also really important to me to focus on the craft at the heart of each JdL piece, so for that reason, my workshop and bench is at the back of the shop, so that customers can see where their piece is made and understand the process.
You have quite a celebrity following...
I’ve been honoured to have such fantastic, strong characters wear my jewellery. Helena Bonham Carter has been a loyal champion from the early days and continues to be. I particularly enjoy opportunities to create for film and TV, which is a real joy. Killing Eve was huge and the Little Women film opportunity turned into something special. I have a lot of costume designers that are customers so a lot of these opportunities come up very organically, where there is naturally a beautiful story to be told.
April is Earth month, how important is sustainability for you as a brand?
When I started, I consciously made the decision for myself and my team to make all our jewellery by hand. I’ve always valued the local aspect of my supply chain - everything is within a few miles of my studio in London. The connection I have with everyone that touches the jewellery is strong and always warm. What’s more, the jewellery itself is designed to be cherished forever - these aren’t throwaway, fashion-led trend pieces, instead they are timeless treasures that will remain with you and be passed on.
On sustainability, on a more planetary level, I think having a child made me more aware than ever of the damage we as a generation are inflicting on the planet. It is a simple step for me to keep the making local and the quality control high. And important details like castings made from recycled silver and gold - and my brand packaging - are a huge part of the overall pledge to keep everything related to my brand earth-kind.
Like Rebecca you juggle work and mum life, tell us how you manage the juggle.
Nursery school and a dedicated husband who supports me! If anything, being a mother has taught me to work more efficiently and savour our time with Nezzy (my son) and any time off I can carve out for myself.
Finally, we are so excited to be launching your collection at Last Night I Dreamt. What’s the main thing that drew you to our boutique?
I think Rebecca is very nurturing of her community and innately understands what they want to see and collect. As a fellow shopkeeper, I may learn a trick or two! The shop details are also so gorgeous and I can’t wait to visit soon and meet the team fully!