CITIZEN FUNK recently caught up with London based creative jewellery designer Steph Davies, who crafts wearable pieces whether it’s bones, crab claws, or even feathers, to a girl’s best friend, which is suppose to be diamonds in most cases. It’s evident from viewing her collection and spending time around her, Steph’s huge love affair with nature and lost objects, is truly reflected. Plenty of pride is gained from turning something not regarded as jewellery, into a item of desire. Steph’s collection of pieces are well-crafted, unique and affordable. We at CITIZEN FUNK predict a huge year for this young entrepreneur.
Photography By: Migle Ka
What inspired you to start crafting your own jewellery?
I have always had designs in my head for pieces of jewellery that I have wanted to buy, but I could never find exactly what I wanted – so figured I’d start to create the pieces myself. Having always been quite crafty, I have a foundation in Art & Design and a BA in Fashion Design & Promotion – so learning a new creative skill was an exciting opportunity. I enrolled onto a jewellery course at Central Saint Martins – this gave me the basic knowledge and confidence.
Jeweller Karl Karter then offered to train me up a day a week whilst working in a full time fashion-marketing role. Here I was given the freedom to experiment, but with the support of a trained and experienced jeweller. Following this, I created my first collection, which was exhibited in Hatton Garden.
What do you enjoy most about doing it?
I love to see people wearing my pieces and appreciating them – especially because I only ever started out making pieces for myself. I had never even considered that others would want to purchase pieces.
How long does it usually take you to craft a piece?
It really does depend on what piece I’m making, if I’m working on the blue sapphire ring, then I’ll work with a setter to set the sapphire, or if I’m working on a crab claw pendant then I will work with a caster. This means the process is slightly taken out of my hands, which usually increases the amount of time it takes.
Each piece may take more time than it probably needs to, but its very important for me to work with the right people and have as much time as I need until each piece is exactly how I want it. I’d rather each piece be made by hand, to be unique and for me to know exactly who has been involved in that journey.
What is your favorite part about conceptualizing a new piece?
One of my favorite things to do in general is to sit my workbench with some good music, getting lost in books for inspiration or experimenting making new pieces with no pressure to deliver anything. I also love to have a story, or a meaning behind each piece. For example, Diamond Day was inspired by a statistic that less than one per cent of women will ever own a diamond of one karat or more. My reaction was to create something a little more quirky and affordable and accessible than a diamond – but that was still inspired by the stones form.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Anything and everything. Traveling, exhibitions, sifting through pieces at a market, books, exploring or heading home to the beach and country. If I set out to find inspiration, I rarely find it!
My favorite piece of inspiration came from my father who lives in my hometown in West Wales. I was on the phone to him one morning telling him that I wanted to make a crab claw pendant, a few days later – a set of crab claws arrived in the post. My father had headed to my favorite beach, and had been crabbing to catch me a few crab claws. I cast my favorite claw, once I clean, file and anneal the claws, I oxidise them and use sand paper to take away the excess – highlighting the tiny details such as the crab teeth. I have a large appreciation for the story and it is also one of my favorite pieces, I have even inserted a rough diamond into my personal claw.
Another inspiration includes a trip to India – a country of symbolic colours – that influenced me to design and make the blue sapphire, and green emerald ring. I’ve also picked up random stones in the Nevada desert, clock hands from an antique market in Paris, and coral from Bali – these are all pieces that I have something in mind for, I am just yet to execute them.
How would you define your style?
My pieces are organic, raw and sometimes industrial – with an influence of nature, it’s a recurrent theme throughout my designs – bringing a piece of the country into the city.
What would you say is your favorite era of Jewellery?
Probably the Art Deco period – 1920’s – 1930’s, it was was all so glamorous. Jewellery was the complete opposite of the work I produce, harsh geometric and symmetrical long pendants and incredible cocktail rings. It’s also opposite in terms of that this movement was an attempt to combine mass production with Art & Design – mass production is something that I intend to stay away from, I prefer to make a small number of extremely well made pieces.
What can we expect from you this year?
More making, more designing, more passion and creating creative content to communicate the story behind each piece – hopefully through moving image.
Where can our readers find out more about your work?
I have recently launched my new website – stephdavies.com, or you can follow me through Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. Social media is important for me, it gives me direct access to my customer and they have direct access and insight into myself, the designer. I don’t want to be a faceless brand, I want to have conversations about my jewellery with people who either want aspire to purchase or have purchased a piece – I want to hear their story, and learn from the feedback, and I also want people to learn about the industry, the jewellery making process and where I get my inspiration from – which I document on Tumblr. When you purchase mass produced pieces, this is taken away, the designer is no longer accessible or unique.
Before you go, what are your dreams for the future?
Live in a beach house somewhere hot, listen to music, drink rum, travel often, and grow a successful business, to keep creating jewellery and to be surrounded by a good circle of friends and family. Happy Days.
You can get in touch with Steph through: