The first thing that struck me about Nude Jewellery was the beautifully unique and enchanting pieces glistening from within the windowfront amongst a charming Parisian style courtyard. The contemporary white walled and glass boutique is an absolute treasure trove of stunningly inspiring jewellery collections from talented designers across the world. Twinkling within immaculately uniformed display cases, every piece is handmade, heartfelt and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
The second thing that struck me about Nude Jewellery were the two wonderful ladies, Nikki and Clara who greeted me. Owner and award-winning designer Nikki Galloway and her team of experts hand craft bespoke jewellery in store for every occasion, with contemporary jewellery collections and an eye for modern style, unusual designs and statement pieces. Admiring the carefully selected collections, we fell deep into conversation about the history, inspiration and origin of each piece. Not only are they stunning to look at, but when you understand the design process, hand-carving, use of fine metals and rare stones, the setting and finish involved you suddenly realise what a monumental journey it is from drawing board to display cabinet, with each handmade piece being truly unique.
And the ladies hospitality was second to none with a welcome drink in the form of a delicious chocolate liqueur and a miniature cakes and sweet stand as I nibbled, chattered and clicked away with my camera. It is clear that jewellery and design are a passion at Nude Jewellery, as it’s that priceless realisation that work is not actually a chore, but in fact a love. It fascinated me to look through their design book at one-off commissioned pieces they’d made, showing original hand drawings, computer aided design and photographs of the final piece of jewellery; from a musically themed cuff to mark a child’s birthday, to the bespoke resetting of a jewel in an asymmetrical ring and a necklace leaving little change from a cool £30,000. To think of the love, care, craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into each piece is incredible, each creating and capturing life-long treasured memories and family heirlooms to pass from generation to generation.
I was incredibly fortunate to have been invited along to meet some of the designers with their collections on display, and it was the most fascinating and enjoyable evening as I heard about their inspiration, ideas and processes involved in making each collection. Nude Jewellery have an influx of designers wanting to showcase their collections at the London Mayfair boutique, but only the finest pieces make the cut, as owner Nikki certainly has a keen eye for breath-taking designs and talked feverishly about her latest pieces arriving shortly from Greece in time for Christmas.
There is no mistaking Christmas as the perfect time of year to seek out a special gift for a loved one, and what could be more fitting than a bespoke piece of jewellery. Many of Nikki’s customers return time and time again, testament to the boutique, as they pop through the door to cheerily say hello and scope out the latest beautiful arrivals. I find myself fascinated by the unique and organic nature of the necklaces which twinkle beneath the lights before me. And I had to ask how the pieces are sized, as surely rings vary and a bespoke collection can’t be made in a one size fits all. Nikki explained that some rings are able to be resized, with it being easier to make them larger than smaller, as this can effect the shape of the jewel setting, in which case an entirely new ring would have to be made. As each piece the designers make is unique it’s often easier to make them to order, creating each one to the specific size required when necessary. So let me introduce you to the ladies behind the designs:
Agnieszka Maksymiuk – Architectural Collection
This incredible hand carved jewellery is created in milliput and cast in silver, inspired by the relationship between city and nature, and the impact of two different worlds: one exists outside – on the top and the second one inside – underneath. Paintings are draw by hand and sublimated onto metal creating the most unusual yet heartfelt finish, both a marriage and contrast at the same time. At every angle you see and feel something new, from varying finishes, detailing and textures, to landmarks, skylines and earthen stones. Each piece is a work of art taking inspiration, and sourcing rare stones, from across the world. My favourite piece is the Looking Into London ring as the exterior is a modest matte silver, with exceptional detailing of London’s most famous landmarks carved within and reflected within the highly polished silver dome. It is both artistic and meaningful, capturing the spirit of England’s finest city and the jewel of our nation.
Faye Marie – Hope Collection
Hope is an expression of what is to come rather than what has been. Whilst your future can be influenced by the past it is not controlled or dictated by it. Fate suggests the future is uncontrollable where hope implies a degree of planning and expectation of what the future may become. Faye Marie’s latest collection embodies the idea that we should all hope to aspire to greater heights of accomplishment and happiness. Drawing on her past influences of expressing such feelings through animals and mythical creatures, this year’s collection is based upon pterippus- the flying horse- Pegasus which in mythology represents the hope of aspiring to improve all aspects of life and love. Elements of Pegasus are adopted, reformed and fused into an array of cutting edge shapes and fashion colours to create a stunning collection of high quality pieces designed to inspire hope in us all. My favourite piece here is the gold necklace with a topaz stone as it is very powerful and confident to behold. The mixture of geometric and floral shapes work perfectly, providing width and dominance to such a beautiful stone.
Mabel Hasell Collection
Award-winning emerging designer Mabel Hasell draws her inspiration from the colours and cuts of gemstones. Her jewellery puts a modern twist on stone setting, she creates the pieces in wax and through the process of lost wax casting, the gems move and cluster together in the molten metal. They appear in unexpected positions, imprints of the gems remain where they were originally placed and their movements become integrated in the final design. This creates jagged but striking designs that embrace the vibrant gemstones even more so than just setting them traditionally. My favourite piece here is the silver vertical ring, as the almost conical shape reminds me of a beautiful fir cone unfurling to reveal its splendour, only this one is filled with exquisite jewels and glistens from every angle. The structure is so natural and honest, capturing the rarity of nature and uniqueness of creation.
Dovile B – Phobia Of Darkness Collection
The Phobia Of Darkness collection is based on the common fear of nyctophobia, not fear of dark itself but of what possible or imaginary dangers are concealed within darkness. The oxidised silver-plated bronze cast hands reflect the feeling and emotion of a persons imagination whilst in the dark, creating and distorting the perception of what takes place. My favourite piece here is the necklace of two hands unfolding with fingers hooked into the chain. The openness of the index finger is both inviting yet curious and it stirs the imagination as to what beckons from within the darkness. The dark metallic finish and angular texture captures what is a very everyday hand gesture and cleverly consumes you with imagination.
I have discovered an entirely different world from the highstreet jewellers selling mass produced one-size-suits-all to the public, and realise how unique and stunning pieces can be made from an emotion, feeling or dream. To have such great meaning, purpose and attention to detail is second to none, and you certainly won’t find another like it. True craftsmanship is something to be cherished and I’m already imagining the possibilities of designing a bespoke piece of jewellery for my children’s special birthdays; to lovingly capture their interests and uniqueness forever within a piece of jewellery that is as beautiful and unique as themselves. How fantastic.