Pippa Small, the London jeweler known for adorning her fine jewelry with diamonds and turquoise shells that are close to their natural, unpolished state, has joined the designers' march to the high street, but she's made sure her mass venture is...
SMALL CHANGE: Pippa Small, the London jeweler known for adorning her fine jewelry with diamonds and turquoise shells that are close to their natural, unpolished state, has joined the designers' march to the high street, but she's made sure her mass venture is ethically sound.
Small, who studied anthropology before she became a jeweler, has teamed with Made, a London-based fair trade accessories brand, to design a line of fair trade jewelry at a fraction of the price of her main collection.
The jeweler has worked with Made's producers in Kenya to design pieces such as a three-strand necklace of silver beads, a bangle made from a rainbow of colored beads and a Chega choker — a traditional beaded Maasai necklace handmade by a Maasai artisan. Prices for the line range from $30 for a beaded Chega bangle to $130 for a Makena silver necklace.
"I believe wholeheartedly in what Made is doing," said Small, who became aware of the brand after she found it was the only mass costume jewelry company that didn't use plastic. "This is a genuine and good project in my opinion."
Made was launched in 2006 by Cristina Cisilino, a former accessories buyer who wanted to help producers in Africa sell their jewelry for a fair price and pay them a fair wage. The company has also collaborated with jewelry designer Sam Ubhi and shoe designer Olivia Morris on a line of sandals. All the designers provide their expertise for free and a spokeswoman for the brand said Made was in talks to collaborate with more designers in the future.
"[It's] a challenge to design with particular materials in mind, and not just rely on the sparkle of gems and the brilliance of gold," Small said. "It takes more thought and care. It is a change to be focusing on a younger audience and in an ambience like Topshop, where it is more about immediate fashion and trends. In my own work, I am less influenced by the catwalk and fashion. So it was interesting to really study what was going on, what colors people were wearing, shapes and lengths."
THE SURREAL LIFE: Alexandra Jefford may soon have something in common with her husband: getting paid in U.S. dollars.The jeweler, whose screenwriter husband Hossein Amini's credits include "The Wings of the Dove," stopped by Los Angeles last month to introduce her 18-karat white and yellow gold pieces to a U.S. audience. The trip follows an exhibition of Jefford's work in November at the gallery White Cube in London, where she lives.
"After I had my baby, I thought I would go for it," said Jefford, a mother of three, including a one-year-old, of her decision to branch out to the U.S.
Her jewelry also will soon land at Kabiri, a London shop that has picked up 20 items. Heavily influenced by surrealist artists, the latest pieces are characterized by delicate, amorphous loops. Nature's influences are strong in earlier pieces, and an 18-karat white gold ring called "The Mexican" features a South Sea pearl, a pear-shaped fire opal, a white diamond and a leaf.
Jefford began designing jewelry in 2001. Partly because of exchange rates, she hasn't yet pinned down the U.S. prices of her pieces, which generally start at around $400.
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