Esteemed London-based fine jewellery designer Julia Lloyd George is known for her strong, simple and highly practical designs that are both beautiful and tactile. In this quickfire Q&A, she reveals her biggest inspirations, the toughest part of her job and what she’d buy if her lottery numbers came up…
How many years have you worked in the jewellery sector and how did you get into the industry?
43 years. I started at Sir John Cass School of Art, then in Hatton garden with Baxter and Webb manufacturing for jewellers at the bench and Theo Fennell also doing diamond mounting. I started my own business in 1985.
What’s the first thing you do when you get into work in the morning?
I check clients’ bespoke work and jobs that are being worked on that day, and which clients are visiting to pick up jobs or view designs/ stone layouts.
What do you most enjoy about working in the industry?
Handing over a finished piece to a client and seeing the joy that it gives them. Receiving the words of appreciation in a letter or email is so rewarding and worth all the hard work that goes into a job.
What’s your most memorable moment in the industry to date?
When Garrard asked me to design collections for them under my own name in 1986.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Ignore advice and never give up! At 16 I was told I wouldn’t be able to get into jewellery as I did not have science O Levels. Undeterred I carried on, and here I am 43 years later!
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
The stones themselves. I love rare gems but even the hardest stones can break and fall out of settings, so that is always a difficult part. They can be hard to source, but that is a nicer problem!
Which other company or brand (inside or outside the industry) do you most admire and why?
Buccellati. I visited Federico Buccellati in Rome in 1985, he showed me his workshop and the special pieces that he had made for his own collection. I so admired his craftsmanship and design that I have never seen before.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Swimming, preferably in the sea, being by nature and animals.
Tell us something about yourself that none of your colleagues know?
That I love wild swimming and climbing Munroes, and my daughter says I am dangerous riding a bicycle!
If you could invite any three people to a dinner party, who would they be?
Picasso, Olivia de Havilland and David Lloyd George.
What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
Going to get my new cockerel Malcolm during lockdown and watching his antics with my cousin.
If you won the lottery, what one luxury item or experience would you buy?
A house by the sea.