Nude Contemporary Jewellery Blog

Interview with.... Cara Tonkin

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Featuring two strong collections at Nude, Vesper and Volute, it's clear to see the cultural and historical aspects prevalent throughout Cara's work.  Growing up in Brighton she visitied antique markets and the treasure trove boutiques that Brighton is famous for, cultivating a love for historical objects and design.  A graduate of Central St Martin's Art School, her work exudes decadence and mysticism.

What's your background and what inspired you to become a jewellery designer?Vespre silver bracelet

I grew up in a very arty environment, both my mum and my dad paint and I was always encouraged to be creative. When i was young my mum always liked to get involved and teach me how to make things, she was probably the biggest influence on my becoming a jewellery designer. I decieded on jewellery as i wanted to learn a craft. The challenge of working with metal was massively appealing to me. There's just so much you can do with it as a material. I love that jewellery is precious and everlasting, it is used to express emotion and identity and often carries a great amount of sentimentality. It is wonderful making pieces which you know will be treasured for years to come.

I studied at Central St Martins where I achieved a First Class Honours Degree. Straight after my degree I found myself working as the Designer/Creative Director of a High Fashion Jewellery Brand and then in 2010 I decided to go my own way and set up my own brand.

Volute gold and smokey quartz ring

How would you describe your customers?

 I think my customers like jewellery which creates a statement but is also elegant and feminine. I design for women who are individual and confident in their own style and taste, who love fashion and appreciate craftsmanship, but don't feel a need to follow trends.

What is your favourite piece of jewellery? (either made or purchased)

I have just added a new colourway to my Vesper range and it has to be the gold dipped and oxidised silver 'Full Swing' bracelet. I adore black and gold as a colour combination, it's so opulent and romantic and the piece is incredibly tactile and really comes to life when worn.

Which celebrity would you love to wear your jewellery and why?

If i were picking a celebrity from the past it would have to be the iconic femme fatale, Marchesa Luisa Casati. She was Europe’s most notorious celebrity for the first three decades of the twentieth century, she wore live snakes as jewellery and was infamous for her evening strolls, naked beneath her furs whilest parading cheetas on diamond-studded leashes. Everywhere she went, she set trends and inspired. She adorned her self with the jewels of Lalique who is one of my most admired artists and directly inspired the famed ‘Panther’ design for Cartier. I also love Florence Welch's style, it's darkly romantic which i love, it would be fantastic to create a bespoke piece for her to wear on stage.

If you hadnt been successful as a designer what would your plan B have been?

Silver volute pendant

I would have trained to be a chef and opened up a rustic style
cafe/restauraunt. I really enjoy cooking for people and it's also a
great way of expressing creativity. I also love the idea of sourcing
all sorts of mis-matched furniture and tableware from markets and
antique shops.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I plan to bring out a bridal collection later in the year which will
launch alongside a new collection, I'm very excited to be working on new designs so watch this space!

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