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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

A fine jewellery brand with a refined, luxury aesthetic, yet an ethical backbone. Bravo, Hattie…

www.hattierickards.com

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Engagement Ring Inspiration: Solange Azagury-Partridge

Engagement Ring Inspiration from the best independent designers – this week: the mighty Solange Azagury-Partridge. A truly 3D experience, the Cup Ring is available with a diamond, sapphire, ruby or emerald centre stone, atop a sparkling pedestal of matching stones.

For more information visit www.solange.co.uk. For more engagement ring inspiration check out our engagement ring gallery, featuring bespoke and unique designs from the best of London’s independent jewellery designers.

Read more posts about Solange Azagury Partridge’s jewellery design here…

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Hidden Gems: White bird Jewellery Boutique, Paris

Last week we asked our lovely friend Marissa from the Paris-based blog Rue Rodier to visit this hidden gem of a boutique in Paris – a wonderland of delicate, dainty jewellery. She took some beautiful photos and also interviewed the owner, Stephanie, below:

White Bird Jewellery Boutique, Paris

 

WHITE bIRD is tucked just behind Rue de Rivoli, only a few minutes from the Jardin de Tuileries in the 1st arrondissement, in an ideal location for locals, as well as tourists wandering just off the tourist track. I headed over there on a particularly warm September day to photograph and chat to the owner, Stéphanie - purveyor of fine, pretty jewels…


Stéphanie opened WHITE bIRD a few years ago after the plug was pulled on an exciting project to launch a fine jewellery collection at Chloe because of the economic crisis. After putting a year of hard work into the project, only to see it cancelled, Stéphanie decided the timing was right to go solo – and it was the push she needed to set up on her own. She always wanted to work with luxury products and has spent most of her working life in jewellery or watches, starting at Cartier: “I had no special jewellery training. I just did some business studies, but I knew one thing when I was young – I lived with my parents in Bordeaux and I knew that I wanted to live in Paris. I also knew that I wanted to work with fashion or in the luxury industry.” She later worked for Chaumet, and it was during her time there, whilst travelling to the US that she started exploring other jewellery designers. “I went to Barney’s when they’d just opened their little department of fine jewellery. It was just a tiny room in the beginning and they only had one or two brands. But every year it’s grown and grown, and it’s now a huge floor where they have a fantastic range of designers. One of the designers was Cathy Waterman and I loved her designs. So I started to think about what I wanted to do for myself. I didn’t want to work for brands anymore, so I decided that in France, there was a real need for a space to showcase new designers.”

So she opened WHITE bIRD, which is very different to most high end jewellery shops – she wanted to create a space that was cool and cosy, a place where kids could come, and where husbands could happily sit on a couch answering emails while their wives perused the designs. She’s done just that – it’s warm, welcoming, cosy and beautifully designed to show off the pretty jewels, without being too stiff or strict; it doesn’t have the stuffy air of a place like Cartier, where you feel afraid to go in.

Scroll down to read the rest of the interview…

Lito Jewellery at White Bird

Earliest fashion or jewellery moment? 

The first collection I directed at Dinh Van with a freelance designer. Jewellery is a small piece of art that involves a lot of emotion from the designer to the wearer. It’s on your skin. It’s like perfume, it’s very sensual and personal.

Describe a typical working day…

When I’m in Paris, I take my youngest daughter to school, sometimes have a coffee with other parents, walk to the office which is half in the shop, half in a small office nearby and work non stop until 7pm, usually without lunch. I often meet and chat with some customers of the shop, which are delicious breaks 

What do you do to relax? 

Read and garden at our seaside house.

What piece of advice would you give someone who wants to launch their own jewellery brand or boutique?

Have faith in what your doing, don’t let people discourage you and when there are tough days always think: “tomorrow will be a better day”.

Who are your clients? 

People that come here are looking for something more personal – they are investing more of themselves into the piece, rather than buying it because it’s a particular brand.

What was the inspiration behind the boutique’s interior style? 

I wanted natural and rough materials to contrast with the jewellery, which is precious and delicate. I wanted people to feel relaxed, finding a cool sofa was key and authentic 50’s furniture to make it a bit like a home.

Where did you source the furniture? 

Vintage markets and online

Interior styles that have inspired you?  

English homes, the Isabel Marant shop in Le Marais, Astier de Villatte, APC in Soho New York, the decorator Ilse Crawford.

How would you describe your personal style? 

Unsophisticated..

Last good book you read? 

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – it’s quite dark, but I love historical books – this one takes place in Iceland in the 19th century.

What’s in your magazine pile at home? 

ELLE and the rest is online.

Evening drink of choice?  

Champagne and Chablis white wine.

 

Bedside table essentials?  

My Aesop hand cream and my book

Favourite Paris places for coffee, clothes shopping, dinner? 

Le Telegraphe coffee shop, Toraya for lunch, Septime restaurant, Acne, Pierre Hardy, Journal Standard (Palais Royal) and Stouls for leather clothes.

Words and photography by Marissa Cox. Thank you Marissa!

White Bird stocks some of The Cut’s favourite jewellery designers: Polly Wales, Brooke Gregson, Noor Fares, Nito, Natasha Collis, Jacqueline Rabun, Sophie Bille Brahe and Sia Taylor.

White Bird is located at 38, rue du Mont-Thabor, in the centrally situated 1st arrondissement of Paris.

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