Vikki Freeman explains why she’s continuing her family’s legacy.
Jewellery designer-maker Vikki Freeman, daughter of jeweller Catherine Best, has been busy carving her own niche within her family’s business since graduating with a degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing in 2012. With an illustrious family legacy of jewellery design, including her mother being made a fellow of the Institute of Professional Goldsmiths in 2012, we spoke to 22-year-old Vikki about her own jewellery skills and her aspirations for the future.
Professional Jeweller: How does it feel following in your mum’s footsteps and becomming a jewellery deisgner?Vikki Freeman: It has been great to have someone to guide me along the way in what I want to do. I feel like I would have wanted to get into jewellery design regardless what my mum does, although I can’t really deny that that her career sparked my initial interest. It’s such a privilege to be able to work alongside my mum in a career that we both love.
My mum has definitely influenced my style, but I do think that you can really distinguish between our designs. I’ve got my first collection coming out in the new catalogue in November which I’m proud of. It’s quite a niche section of the brand, but you can still tell they are Catherine Best pieces.
PJ: Tell us about your Goldsmith’s Craft and Design Council Award.
VF: I designed a pendant that won the GIA Special Award in the 3D Finished Design Category in 2013 for my innovative use of the gemstones. The pendant was 18ct gold set with morganite. I was so shocked that I had won, but it has probably been the highlight of my career so far and has given me confidence that my designs are of a high standard and suitable for the business. The award itself included the opportunity to spend a week with the GIA where I learnt in much more detail about diamonds and coloured gemstones and their traits.
PJ: Where did you learn your making skills?
VF: At the age of 11 I knew what I wanted my career to be, so I would pick things up here and there if I was watching my mum work, but my main foundation of learning the trade was at university. I studied for a degree in Silversmithing, Goldsmithing and Jewelley at the University of Rochester where I learnt all about designing and making jewellery, but I do tend to stay on the design side of the business now.
Although I graduated from university in 2012 I still find that I’m learning more and more every day at my mum’s side which is really refreshing and means that I will always have something new to give to my designs.
PJ: What are your plans for the future?
VF: I’m so happy working for the family business and this is where I plan on staying. My dream is to keep on designing new and exciting pieces that people really enjoy. I love having my own niche section of the business where I get to create my own designs – so I guess it is a bit like having my own brand in a way, but under the Catherine Best umbrella which completely works, because despite the differences in our pieces, you can tell that our designs and inspirations come from the same place.
PJ: Who are your main inspirations?
VF: Although there were many jewellery designers that I looked up to whilst studying at university, the person that I look up to and am inspired by most is my mum.
Vikki’s first official collection for Catherine Best will be featured in the new 2015 catalogue, to be published in November.