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.
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.
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.
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.
A fine jewellery brand with a refined, luxury aesthetic, yet an ethical backbone. Bravo, Hattie…
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…
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 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.”
Scroll down to read the rest of the interview…
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?
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?
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?
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?
Bedside table essentials?
My Aesop hand cream and my book
Favourite Paris places for coffee, clothes shopping, dinner?
Words and photography by Marissa Cox. Thank you Marissa!
White Bird is located at 38, rue du Mont-Thabor, in the centrally situated 1st arrondissement of Paris.