The English jewellery designer on 25 years in business.
Jewellery designer Sarah Jordan Jewellery is celebrating its 25th year as a brand. Founder and designer Sarah Jordan, who was recently unveiled as a Tresor Paris Trendsetter in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers, speaks to us about her career to date and plans for the future.
Professional Jeweller: You run a very established jewellery business yet yoyu continue to enter design competitions – why is that?
Sarah Jordan: Entering and winning competitions gives me great momentum going forward, but importantly it means there is a connection and a relevance to the increasingly discerning jewellery market, additionally winning establishes confidence in the brand across the board.
PJ: You have recently finished building a new stodio in Wales. Tell us a bit more about this.
SJ: Last year we completed the build of our new 300m2 design studio and workshops. We designed this from the inside out so that each area functioned perfectly as intended. The sliding doors on the south face of the building open onto a stunning vista. From the office and workshop I have clear views over 20 miles of valleys without a single building in sight. Such freedom creates a fantastic place to work as the imagination is not cluttered by noise and is free to fly at will. Having the time and space to design is an essential luxury.
PJ: You are celebrating 25 years as a designer, how does this make you feel?
SJ: I feel proud that I have been able to make a creative contribution to an industry I’m still passionate about. As a brand, continuity and progression are important, as a designer it’s hard to believe how fast two and half decades have flown by, so much remains to be shared.
PJ: You are very involved in industry projects run by organisations such as the BJA, IJL and PGI. Why do you feel it is important to devote time to these activities, and do you have a favourite?
SJ: I am involved in several jewellery industry projects, such as the BJA National Committee and the IJL advisory board, and through these bodies I feel as if I am giving back to an industry that has been so kind to me. Being able to help new and up-and-coming designers is very rewarding. Recently it was great to see how young people took up the challenge of the BJA Queen’s Diamond Jubilee brooch competition, which I was involved in setting up. The diligence and design flair which they showed in their entries was commendable. As an established designer it is important to recognise and encourage young talent just finding its voice.
PJ: Your style is instantly recognisable, but have your designs changed over the years?
SJ: Over the years my designs have become more refined, influenced by new environments and the sympathetic interpretation of these in the use of the materials, for example the delicate use of platinum with coloured and white diamonds and the articulated sculptural silver collections. The way that the jewellery harmonises with the body has evolved this is particularly evident in the platinum bridal collections where the rings have a more sophisticated combination of cutting-edge design, top quality materials and comfort. The Sarah Jordan brand first became known for the signature silver collection but is now seen equally as being a leading influence in platinum jewellery design.
PJ: You recently took a break from the industry when your husband was ill. How does it feel to be back?
SH: The experiences of the last couple of years have given me a greater perspective. The fragile joy of life really is the most valuable treasure. The inspiration in my design comes from that. That’s what I try to share.
PJ: What is important to you in life?
SJ: The last few years have been challenging on both a personal and a professional level but I have drawn strength from new found depths that I didn’t know I had. When things are tough one evaluates what is truly important in life and to me that is creativity and friendship.
PJ: How would you describe your approach to work?
SJ: My approach to work is very organic. The business side concentrates on providing the best service to the customer and a clear communication of the brand. The creative side never really switches off, it’s a feeling of being tuned in seeing magic when it presents itself in the most unexpected places and being ready. It’s a continual process.
PJ: Do you ever just switch off and enjoy life outside of work?
SJ: Jewellery has been my life’s work and after 25 years in the business I feel that I have the balance right, being able to create meaningful designs, in a fabulous location surrounded by the people, and animals, that mean the most to me. I am blessed that my work is my passion, I also thoroughly enjoy music, dance and walking along the coast. I really do feel that at this point in my career I have the ideal work-life balance. Off the job I like good company, warm breezes and sand between my toes.
PJ: Do you still enjoy designing?
SJ: After 25 years I can still say that I enjoy creating jewellery as much now as I did 25 years ago and feel very lucky to work in such a fabulous industry.
PJ: What are your plans for your brand for the next year?
SJ: We plan to expand and develop the identity of the brand, within the industry and within the minds of the consumers. Buying jewellery is part of each persons emotional story and we aim to be part of it. A brand new website is about to be launched which has been developed over the past six months. The website is highly influenced by all that goes in to style the Sarah Jordan brand. We will have videos and full product range to order online, it is a key information tool in telling both retailers and the general public about Sarah Jordan.