Behind the Designs: Jewellery Designer Hattie Rickards

Organic inspiration and 18ct Fairtrade gold rings from the ‘Revealed’ Collection

Continuing our ‘Behind the Designs’ series, where we interview prominent jewellery designers about their design processes and inspirations, we visited Hattie Rickards in her London home to rifle through her sketchbooks and photograph some of the beautiful pieces from her collections.

The kinetic ‘Rubix’ ring in 18ct gold from the ‘Geo’ collection, and a selection of Enamel rings.

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Hattie Rickards set up her jewellery brand in 2010 after gaining experience working for high-profile jewellers such as Solange Azagury Partridge and Kara Ross. Her aesthetic is clear and well defined – bold, graphic silhouettes are paired with a punchy colour palette and a love of kinetics – elements twist and spin using hidden mechanisms and extremely impressive craftsmanship, resulting in playful yet sophisticated pieces.

A ring from the ‘Revealed’ Collection in 18ct gold, amethyst and hematite.

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Hattie is single-minded when it comes to research and inspiration – she purposely avoids following the work of her contemporaries and trends or fashion do not interest her – she prefers to remain instinctive about her style and direction. A large proportion of the business is comprised of bespoke commissions, where a close relationship is established with the client in order to discern what they are after. A comprehensive, revealing process; one which Hattie is passionate about and extremely motivated by.

Pages from Hattie’s sketchbook
Pages from Hattie’s sketchbook
Pages from Hattie’s sketchbook

It is obvious from speaking to Hattie that this intimacy she develops with her clients is a huge driving factor for her when it comes to designing bespoke engagement rings or commissions, the challenge of pulling and extracting ideas from someone who doesn’t always know what they actually want is a process she finds very exciting. She is clearly a very intuitive designer, and the pleasure derived from seeing the client’s reaction after she presents the finished piece is something she thrives on.

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Reworking and redesigning existing antique pieces

As part of the bespoke design side of her business Hattie also reworks existing, often vintage pieces of jewellery. This is a fantastic way of recycling materials, using existing stones and metal from a piece that might otherwise have been unworn or hidden away, kept only for sentimental reasons. Breathing new life into old jewellery is one of Hattie’s skills and also aligns to her ethical values and sensibilities when it comes to gemstones and gold, a murky industry with little transparency.

Hattie’s aesthetic has evolved since the launch of her business, and from more organic, naturalistic beginnings it is now bolder with colour, and more graphic, but nature still plays a large part. These succulent plants were used instead of flowers at her wedding earlier this year, but represent her love of symmetry in nature, with repetition and clean lines a dominant feature in her designs.

Succulents from Hattie's wedding earlier this year.

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Organic inspirations

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With the rising demand for bespoke engagement rings, Hattie now devotes a lot of her time to this facet of jewellery design – surprise proposals are the most exciting commissions to work on, and getting to know a wife through their husband is something she relishes. Developing personal relationships through working on family commissions and engagement rings clearly gives her the most pleasure as a jewellery designer, and the painstaking process of working with her team of craftsmen, suppliers and makers is hugely important.

A bespoke diamond, emerald and sapphire engagement ring with original computer designs and hand sketches

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This intimacy which is clearly so inspiring to Hattie is probably most visible in her range of fingerprint pieces (example shown below). Fingerprints of children or loved ones are taken and incorporated into a design; a pendant, cufflinks, a ring, resulting in a permanent and beautifully sentimental piece of jewellery that somehow manages not to appear too laden with schmaltz.

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The Hattie Rickards brand also encompasses this feeling – jewellery designed with obvious care and meaning, resonating down to the core ethics of the company (a fact which is not rammed down your throat at every opportunity but underpins the company in its own quiet way) – yet this sentimentality is never overbearing. The clean, graphic style and bold use of colour is a refreshing change to the typical ‘ethical’ offering in the jewellery world, and this is what makes the company unique.
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A fine jewellery brand with a refined, luxury aesthetic, yet an ethical backbone. Bravo, Hattie…

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