Nude Contemporary Jewellery Blog

 Showcasing The Best Of British Jewellery Designers

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» Listings for April 2013

  1. ...Cara Tonkin!

    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?VE-BR-02

    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.

    VO-RG-01-gold-web

    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?

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    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!

    View Vesper

    View Volute

  2. Jacqui has been attending jewellery class for almost 5 years, in that time she has developed as a jewellery designer/maker and has become an improtant member of the Nude Jewellery family!  Here she gives us an account of a challenging piece that she made in class...

    photo"I've been attending the evening jewellery class for around 5 years now and I'm always on the lookout for ideas and inspiration. I cant remember exactly where I found it, I think it was on a stall in a shopping centre, but as soon as I saw the large geode my first thought was that it would make an amazing centrepiece for a necklace. The following week while doing my weekly browsing in my favourite bead shop I came across small geodes that were already strung! It seemed like a marriage made in heaven as the colours were complementary to the main stone, it was fate that they should all go together in one necklace, my next project.

    One thing that I've learned from the class is that it's never as easy as you first think. Having an idephoto_1(1)a is great but putting together the structure of the necklace would prove to be a challenge. When I spoke to Nikki about the design it became apparent that the pre-strung geodes would not be sufficient to create the chain that the larger geode would suspend from, on their own they wouldn't be able to hold it. One of the strung geodes really stood out to me and we decided to have it cast in silver to see the effect. The next week when it came back from casting it looked better than I had imagined and it was then that the ideaphoto_3 for a mixed material chain was born, mixing the small geode stones and the silver ones. I placed an order for 20 to be cast in silver with the view to making a bracelet as well.

    It was then that the hard work really began! In order to attach the main geode to the chain section we would need a hole in the top of the Side Viewstone, but drilling a hole into a stone of that material would cause it to shatter. Nikki suggested making a silver setting for the geode to rest in, something that would look organic and almost as if it was a natural part of the stone. I had made settings before but not for such an elaborate piece. Designing, sawing and soldering the silver setting took a very long time! Not least because I had some time off from the project to have a baby.

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    Once I returned to class I had some difficult sections to tackle. I had to complete the chain part of the necklace and this wasnt easy. Most of the silver geodes could link together with the strung geodes but not all could follow the same format and I had to spend time linking them together by hand. Once the chain was completed it was a case of linking the two sections together; chain and set geode. We decided to use one of the cast silver geodes as the link and I then had to spend more time sawing, sandpapering and polishing.

    And then I was finished. I laboured on the piece for months and at times I felt like it would never come together but it has and I'm proud of my achievement

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    and no one can believe that I made it! Now I'm own the lookout for my next project..."

    If you are interested in attending jewellery classes at Nude Jewellery please contact us on 0207 629 8999 or view our website for further information