So here I am at the age of 35, returning to University having given up a successful career and stable income to study for my MA in Jewellery and Related Products at BCU. Having worked as an Auctioneer, Valuer and Specialist at one of the UK’s leading auction houses, my focus for the past 10 years has been antique silver, often encompassing coins and medals; a marvellous but continual cycle of valuing, researching, documenting, cataloguing, condition reporting and auctioneering.
My job had started to feel stale and I knew something needed to change. Being positioned in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, I started to build up commission work, sourcing diamonds and gemstones, and often repurposing friends and families unwanted jewellery into engagement and wedding rings.
A favourite piece, pictured below, an engagement ring made for a dear friend. I sourced a 1 carat D colour oval diamond, flanked by emeralds and set in platinum and 18ct gold. The finish needed to be perfect so I took the stones along with my ideas for the design to Andy Phillips, a leading Goldsmith and Diamond Mounter, based in the heart of the Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
Although it still took another couple of years to pluck up the courage to leave work, it sparked something in me – a need to be creative again. Having originally graduated in 2005 from Loughborough University with a BA in 3D Design, Silversmithing & Jewellery, I began to wonder what form my work would now take, having personally grown, but more importantly, how would I embody the technical and historical knowledge I have gained in the antiques world and how would this inform and shape my work as contemporary jewellery?