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Award Winning Jewellery Designer tells the story behind her brand

Posted on July 04 2018

It was fascinating to interview Gemma Critchley, the extremely talented and creative founder of Cabinet. We are delighted to bring a curated selection of Cabinet jewellery to our stylish petite Jennifer Anne customers. Gemma and I have included pieces which we think will particularly suit the petite frame and go wonderfully with our petite fashion collection.

 

Jewellery Design Inspiration

Tell us about yourself and how you came to the idea of launching your own brand?

I started off as a designer/maker, creating very intricate and bespoke pieces and was invited to showcase my collection as part of a prestigious show that took place during London Jewellery Week. The collection was first showcased at an event called Treasure back in 2009, which was the year I started the brand and focused on beautifully hand crafted works of art, each piece was a one of a kind that demonstrated our atelier approach to design.

I love to create both delicate everyday pieces along with the more striking and intricate designs in our collections. We have a really diverse collection and I try not to be led by trends, to be honest I think that when it comes to jewellery it’s such a personal choice, that anything goes. I love that everyone wears jewellery differently and that it can be styled to suit the individual.

Craftsmanship has remained key and the brand has truly evolved and defined itself. Every season I feel that I learn and grow in my approach to creation. I was then invited to show the collection at London Fashion Week and next came the Paris shows and things just evolved.

I have developed from a business perspective alongside a creative one and being the founder of a creative business you are always learning, developing and growing. I think that for the brand it is important to stay true to our ethos and try not to conform to the pressures of a fast paced industry. We must all adapt from time to time but without losing our ideals along the way, which is why our collections are not seasonal. We create collections that are edited and evolve but you will always be able to spot something that has been there from the start.

Jewellery Rings Gold

How would you describe the aesthetics of the jewellery you design?

We design collections for free spirited individuals who have an appreciation for handmade jewellery and accessories, creating unique pieces that can be worn, defined and appreciated by its wearer however they choose.

How do you go about designing a new piece of jewellery? Where does your inspiration come from?

My family has travelled a great deal and for my earlier years I was overseas. Growing up in the West Indies “The Cayman Islands” where my parents lived for nearly 20 years. My father worked in marine biology, focusing on sea turtles. I grew up fascinated by botanicals and the continually changing pattern and colour of forms found in nature, always drawing upon this as an inspiration for new collections. For me it has always been vital that I look beyond the obvious of commercial potential to create pieces that evoke a journey and hold intrinsic value. Inspirations or concepts that go on to form the foundations of a collection, are truly organic and often a reflection of my experiences and life outside of the studio. In order to create and realise an idea you have to go through the motions of getting to this stage. I really enjoy curating and so much of the time in the studio is spent refining ideas and making sense of them. Having a vision for a collection is the key!

What do you most love about being a jewellery designer?

The freedom to be creative and design pieces that are not trend led. I have always been more interested in both jewellery and textiles that have stood the test of time.

Tell us a little bit about your studio - it sounds idyllic.

We are a small team and work in our beautiful new studio in Devon. It’s filled with all sorts of inspirations, as I am an avid collector of all sorts of curiouse objects, patterns and textures that I find inspiring. I still have total creative control and direction of our brand and like many artistic people, I rarely switch off. I share a studio with my husband Rich who is an industrial designer and runs his own successful consultancy, he shares my passion for design and has a great understanding for quality and production and is a great brainstormer when it comes to technical design challenges. The majority of my work takes place in the jewellery quarter in Birmingham where the production happens and I have worked with the same select group since we formed the company in 2009.

Interior jewellery designer studio

What is your favourite piece of Cabinet jewellery on Jennifer Anne and why?

I would say the faceted hoop earrings, they are really simple and so easy to wear yet they still have detail.

Cabinet Jewellery for Petite Women

What kind of woman wears your jewellery?

We design collections for free spirited individuals who have an appreciation for handmade jewellery and accessories, creating unique pieces that can be worn, defined and appreciated by its wearer however they choose.

Why is it important for you that your jewellery is designed and made in the UK?

From the beginning I decided that I wanted to work and develop a brand utilizing the amazing craftsmen we have on home soil and it was my absolute mission to make it happen. We take pride in the skilled trade’s people we work with, producing all of our gold and silversmith work in the UK, ensuring quality craftsmanship and execution of the designs completely hand made in England from start to finish.

Why is it do you think that women have such a fascination with jewellery? What do you think the modern woman is searching for today when she goes shopping for jewellery?

I guess that the jewellery you select is a reflection of your personal style and taste and as this is usually at the forefront of an outfit it’s got to work with your whole look. We hope that with our collections women feel that they can cross over from day to night effortlessly in the majority of our pieces.

Jewellery cases Cabinet

How did you feel when your jewellery was first featured in one of the top glossy magazines and how did it come about?

We have always done all our own PR and marketing and to be told that your pieces have been selected for a beautiful and inspiring shoot with a narrative is such a wonderful feeling.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about setting up their own jewellery brand?

Firstly I would say that dedication and perseverance is key and alongside this you have to be truly passionate about what you do. Not just from a commercial perspective, you have to want to create the best possible form of a piece.

I have always been a creative individual and have many artists, sculptors, painters and designers within my family, so I guess it’s in my blood. I studied at both the Bournemouth Institute of art and design and the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design specialising in surface pattern design. I initially started my career in styling and trend prediction working on a free-lance basis, designing printed and embellished fabrics along with designing and creating installations for retail spaces, both fashion and Jewellery based. It was then while helping to realise other people’s ideas that I decided that I wanted to pursue my own creative vision. As a designer you are always striving to create and with every project you undertake you learn and grow and for me it was time to create my own brand. We have gone from strength to strength creating unique collections for some big labels in the fashion world such as Paul Smith, Swarovski, HP France in Japan and Anthropologie are among some of the brands that we have designed for. We have won an award from the British Jewellery Association for statement jewellery, and in 2012, we were featured as one of Italian Vogue Talents’ - top 150 emerging designers. We are regularly invited to be showcased in Swarovski’s world jewellery facet tours and have had our bespoke creations featured in shows in Vegas, Paris, Japan and Germany. We have been featured in numerous publications, including Vogue, Tattler, Elle, In Style and more.

Cabinet Jewellery

Describe a typical working day

I am not sure that I have a typical working day, as I mentioned we are a small team so there is always something that was needed yesterday! One thing is for sure …. I take my best buddy Dayna our dog out for a walk.

Where do you like to go on holiday?

As you know I was born in the West Indies and I am completely inspired by all things tropical so I am really excited to finally be launching a beautiful collection in an amazing concept store that is currently under construction. It will sit within a stunning hotel on the island of Grand Cayman. I’m collaborating with an amazing British illustrator, who is going to be working on our branding and illustrations for the collection, so I’m going head out there and be inspired. I have a lifelong affinity for collecting, so my holidays usually incorporate some kind of adventure to explore flea markets, botanical gardens, or treasure hunting out in the wilds, searching for unusual patterns, interesting shapes, natural silhouette’s and unexpected treasures.

Thank you Gemma!

Jennifer

Founder of Jennifer Anne Petite

PS here is the link if you want to see the selection of Cabinet jewellery at Jennifer Anne 

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