Jewellery designer Kyle Hopkins was a NexGem in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012. (ITP)

Jeweller on ditching uni, finding his own path and 4am inspiration.

Kyle Hopkins is a rising star in the jewellery industry who ditched his studies at Central Saint Martins to focus on his own brand of conceptual, sculptural jewellery with a dark sense of humour. Earlier this year we named him as an IJL NexGem in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012 in association with the CMJ, and now he talks to us about finding his own path, selling out at Kabiri and designing at 4am.  

PJ: What is the best time of day to design?
KH: I think that I work best in the early hours of the morning, specifically around 4am. That is when good things happen and I am really focused. So reaching for that moment when you feel inspired and excited about something is great.


PJ: How did you find your way into jewellery?
KH: My neighbour back home in Seattle was a jeweller and she starting training me from the age of seven. Since then I always knew it was what I wanted to do. Initially I moved to London to attend St Martins, but then the brand got a little bit of acknowledgment and leaving to focus on the company was the right thing to do.

PJ: This time last year you were the bestselling brand at Kabiri over Christmas, despite still being at Central St Martins at the time. How did that feel?
KH: It was really humbling and amazing. I was really happy because it really concreted the decision to leave school and go by myself.

PJ: While you were still studying, you were releasing commercial collections, what drove you to set up a brand in such a professional way when still a student?
KH: I got bored at university and felt restless in the environment, so I decided it was the best decision to start my own brand and see what happened. At the end of the day, owing my own brand and designing and releasing my own collections was what I wanted to do.

PJ: Do you separate your work life and your personal life?
KH: There doesn’t appear to be a clear-cut distinction between my work self and my home self. I am most relaxed when keeping busy, so even when I am at home and away from the studio I am constantly thinking about what needs done and what is next for the company. Jewellery is what I do, it is both my career and my passion, which is very fortunate and I know I am very lucky to be experiencing that.

PJ: We are kissing goodbye to 2012 in a couple of weeks. What will you look back on at the bells as your best moments of the year?
KH: Personal highlight of the year has to be being asked to do a project with Nick Knight at SHOWstudio. Professional highlights of this year have been showing at Tranoi and getting my first Vogue cover.

PJ: What are your plans for your brand over the next year?
KH: I plan on staying true to the company’s ethos of attempting to get more concept driven jewellery out there and accepted, as opposed to season aesthetic jewellery.

PJ: Motto for life?
KH: Make rad shit and stay legit.