Claire has been at the bench for five years, but jewellery has been in her soul her whole life. Her story shows that inspiration can come from something as aimless as doodling and as deep as a memory in your heart.
I’m a second-generation jeweller. I was lucky enough to learn my trade from my Dad before he sadly passed away last year. I was his biggest fan—the talent, love, and passion he had for jewellery definitely came through to me. Dad taught me the importance of ‘well-made’. When I was 18, he made me a record player ring covered in black and white diamonds. The record spun around on a rivet. Moving jewellery is incredible and I love that the wearer can feel they have a part in the piece, just like the movement of my Awards piece—the pendant on the chain.
Jewellery is 100% an art form. Creativity, love, and passion go into the making and wearing of jewellery. I wear jewellery as a form of art and to express myself as an individual. I love chunky, heavy, and unusual jewellery. Asymmetrical has always interested me in all ways of creativity, so this tends to show in the jewellery I design and have always worn right from a teenager.
Dad told me when I was an apprentice that I should make something for the JAA. Annoyingly, life got in the way. He told me how important it is to push yourself and to put yourself out there for everyone to see. So, this year was my year.
My boss, Andrew, and I were looking at stones we had in stock to get inspiration. I love ancient jewellery and mythology like the Aztecs and Egyptians, so my mind always tends to go on that path. This drawing came from me doodling on a sketch pad using the stone that Andrew was actually going to use. He looked at my sketch and said, “Do that! You should do that.”
The piece itself changed a little along the way when making it—as you know metal doesn’t work as easy as drawing an image. Having the piece 3D was something I really wanted to concentrate on, so that’s when having the tapered bars sit back and forward on the piece came together. When the piece was completed I had to think of a name. The V shape was shouting out at me—Venus, Venus, Venus! So, Hesperus was born. In Greek mythology, he is the evening star, a son of the dawn goddess.
Entering the awards has shown me that I’m a far better jeweller than I thought. It’s funny, maybe it’s just me, but I always think I’m just ok. This experience and getting my name out there in the jewellery world has given me confidence to grow as a jeweller and has got the creative juices flowing. It’s taught me to push myself even further. When I was nominated for the jeweller of the year award I was blown away. Never did I think those words would be before my name. The next day I was already thinking about what can I make next year to blow the judges away again.
I’ve always thought it’s important to have an open mind and be progressive so I hope my jewellery making career is full of lots of different styles and that I can learn from a wide range of different jewellers. I’d like to say a massive thank you to my boss Andrew and the team at Diamond Jewellery Manufacturers, where I’ve been working for the two years, for all their advice, direction and support. And thanks to my Dad for pushing me to be confident in my work and for being that little voice in my head saying, “Do it.”