On creating jewels for Fortnums, four-legged friends and cute couples.
Jessica de Lotz is a storyteller and jewellery is her medium. Tacked to the walls of her ephemera-strewn studio are trinkets, photographs and old wedding invitations, each representing another tale, another time.
Ask Jessica about them, and she will gleefully recount the stories behind each of her pieces, and the serendipitous moments brought about by her work, each creation adding another page to her book of tales.
Her jewellery in its very nature is designed around events, people and occasions. Her very first collection was inspired was Daisy Hooper, a woman whose handbag Jessica purchased and, digging inside, discovered a hoard of Daisy’s old letters, receipts and photographs. Months later her degree collection was born and today, Parker’s image appears on Jessica’s business cards.
Having run her own brand for five years now, the past 12 months have been some of Jessica’s busiest. She has become a British designer in demand, launching an exclusive collection for Fortnum & Mason (something Jessica says acted as a springboard for subsequent stockists and global awareness of her brand), and a range of bespoke pieces for The National Portrait Gallery shop, to coincide with their exhibition The Great War. She also joined forces with Houndworthy, a company that makes specialist dog products, from kennels to leads, however Jessica’s jewellery designs – a chance to wear your pooch embossed as a pendant – was strictly for the two-legged owners.
Ever-savvy to catch an opportunity, Jessica has used the past year to create even closer relationships with her customers. “I have seen the recession hit the jewellery industry and the spending power of consumers change,” she says. “Faced with this, I decided to nurture existing customers by developing my bespoke crest and monogram service called Jeweller for Life, and through this have embarked on various new collaborations.” She notes demand for her pieces in solid gold is also increasing, after many years of silver and gold vermeil designs leading her sales.
Looking ahead, Jessica hopes to expand her work with museums, describing them as the ideal windows in which to showcase her work. “I am always keen to open new gateways via collaboration. I’ll shortly be launching a very special collection based on a collaboration with Louise Androlia, a tarot card reader, life coach and holistic extraordinaire,” she reveals. “I want this collection to provide positive guidance and remind its wearer to embrace the present, as this is very much what Louise teaches. While it may seem contradictory to my usual nature and style of work, I think it’ll always also manage to evoke memories too.”
And memories are certainly what she makes. Telling the tale of her favourite anecdote from the past year, Jessica says: “Both the boyfriend and girlfriend of a couple, having secretly bought last-minute presents from me for one another, arrived at my studio to collect the pieces at exactly the same time. I like to think that this fortuitous story is stored within each of their pieces of jewellery now.”
To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.