With the recent launch of our Spring collection, Primrose, we sat down with the collection designer, Sophie Lomax, to talk about the inspiration behind it.
When did you decide to go into jewellery design? Or what got you into it?
Aged five, I was given a book on friendship bracelets. Within weeks I had worked my way through the book, making all the designs and with an armful of bracelets, I realised that I would never be able to keep all the jewellery I made!
I soon progressed on to beaded jewellery – initially I gave these bracelets to friends and family as gifts, then went on to sell them at local craft fairs.
My passion for History of Art and iconography has played an integral part of my work as a designer and it wasn’t until I attended the University of Birmingham to study it that I came across jewellery as a ‘proper’ qualification. I thoroughly enjoyed studying History of Art, but really missed being creative so I began to look for art classes in Birmingham. It was then that I discovered the School of Jewellery (Birmingham City University) and after visiting their open day, I realised that it was a career in jewellery that would be my true calling.
I first studied a HND in Jewellery and Silversmithing, where I developed my hand techniques in both making and designing. I then went on to study Design For Industry which had an emphasis on CAD (computer aided design).
What is the most exciting part of designing a new collection?
Initially, the trend research and discovering my inspiration is very exciting, as this is the starting point for the whole collection and campaign. I like to take inspiration from my surroundings, but from unexpected sources so that my designs are unique. I make drawings while at exhibitions or out and about, that I then translate into CAD to manipulate and develop.
Prototyping the designs can be a very interesting part of the process, as we create a physical 3D model of a 2D design I will have spent hours working on. Quite often a couple of changes are then made before the final piece is created in metal and diamonds.
It is incredibly rewarding when the collection is launched and customers love the designs. Design is very subjective and I put a little bit of myself into each collection, so I feel very attached to each piece of jewellery.
What was your main inspiration behind this collection?
Floral motifs are due to be one of the main trends for 2019/2020 so I felt it was important for 77 Diamonds to offer a collection that aligns with this.
I looked at how flowers are used in weddings and, rather than taking inspiration from a type of flower, which would result in a very literal design, I took inspiration from dried petals used for confetti. I was drawn to the idea of petals falling in abstract shapes, which are soft and feminine while still having a modern aesthetic.
77 Diamonds is a London based brand, and while researching the inspiration for the collection, I would often sit in a cafe near my home, overlooking Primrose Hill – Primrose became the natural choice for the collection name.
The Rossetti pieces in the collection were inspired by floral motifs seen in Pre-Raphaelite work, by artists and designers such as William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The pieces are designed to be worn every day, on their own and also stacked with other rings, bracelets and necklaces.
Which is your favourite piece from the collection?
To me the ‘hero’ of the collection is the Primrose Cocktail ring. It is the centre of the collection, with the abstract petal inspiration being the most visible in this piece. The motifs from both the Primrose and Rossetti pieces are combined to create a modern but very wearable ring, that can be dressed up or down for any occasion.
Which pieces would you recommend for gifting?
For a bridal gift, I would recommend the Rossetti bracelet and pendant, the perfect memento of a special day.
The Primrose and Rossetti eternity rings look just as beautiful on their own as they do stacked up with other diamond ring designs making a perfect gift that can be worn everyday.
Do you have a most treasured piece of jewellery?
My first diamonds! My parents gave me a pair of diamond studs which I have worn nearly every day for the last 10 years. The timeless elegance of them means they sit perfectly alongside my other earrings in my ear.
I also have a bespoke gold and diamond Russian wedding ring I wear on my little finger that I was given for my 21st birthday. It is an incredibly sentimental piece as my mother and I designed it together. To me, bespoke jewellery makes the most sentimental pieces as a loved one has taken the time and initiative to create a one off piece of jewellery that captures your unique story.