When planning the collaboration with Olivia Annabelle, where did you look for inspiration?
It was a perfect opportunity to look again at the great paintings of Queen Elizabeth I dressed in all her majestic finery, and to wider examples of Tudor jewellery to get a feel for the shapes and motifs which were popular. I also loved revisiting the costumes and styling of Cate Blanchett in the two films about Elizabeth. But I also wanted to bring a sense of timelessness to the collection and I wanted to reflect how our fascination with symbolic and statement jewellery has endured through the centuries. That’s why it was important for me to use costume jewellery pieces from right across the 20th century – from the 1900s to the 1990s.
What is your favourite piece from the collection?
I absolutely loved putting the Gloriana Halo Crown together, starting with the Edwardian paste moon-shaped dress ornament and the Art Deco era paste star brooch, both which I already had in my stash of vintage treasures, and then sourcing the other pieces of vintage jewellery to echo the rich royal blue hue that runs through the Olivia Annabelle print. But I think my absolute favourite is the OA Eye, created from an oval early 20th century paste dress buckle. The design came to me in a flash of inspiration. I had all the little component pieces here in the studio and everything came together in such perfect harmony!
What led you to become a jewellery designer?
That’s interesting and quite difficult to pinpoint as it happened almost accidentally. I have always enjoyed creative activities, but I took a more academic route at university, studying history, obtaining a PhD and becoming a researcher and university lecturer. When on maternity leave with my third daughter I decided that I wanted to explore more creative avenues and focused on how I might use my passion for vintage costume jewellery and treasure hunting at antiques markets and boot sales in this endeavour. Prompted by my cousin’s success as a wedding cake designer, I began to look at the growing opportunities in the area of bridal fashion and could see an increasing demand for distinctive and meaningful accessories for weddings and special occasions. So, I began designing jewelled headpieces for brides, using reworked vintage jewellery elements. Over time, my range has grown to include earrings, necklaces and bracelets - though headwear remains at the heart of my collections.