There is nothing more special than opening up a little box on Christmas Day, to find a beautiful handmade piece of jewellery. At the Made in Bristol Gift Fair this year we are lucky to have many talented and local jewellery designers, so finding that perfect gift shall be easy. Victoria Jarman designs gold and silver jewellery with ethical credentials, using fair trade or recycled gold and silver and ethically sourced gem stones. We chatted to Victoria recently to find out more...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work?
My name is Victoria Jarman. I live and work in Corsham, Wiltshire making gold and silver ethical and eco-friendly jewellery. Mining for silver and gold can be incredibly destructive to the environment and miners of precious metals and gemstones are not always treated fairly so I strive to create something beautiful using recycled or Fairtrade gold and silver, and ethically sourced gems. I especially love working on bespoke projects with individuals to create something unique and that has its own story to tell.
How do you prepare in the months running up to the Gift Fair?
This year has been slightly different as I have just had a baby! So my planning process this year started much earlier than normal, right at the start of the summer. I therefore spent July and August creating a range of pieces for the Made in Bristol Gift Fair - some are old favourites, such as my Odin’s Ravens cufflinks, others are pieces that will make lovely gifts for someone special and I will also have a few new designs with me. The Gift Fair is also an excellent opportunity for me to showcase my bespoke work so I will also have a few photos of my custom pieces on display for anyone looking to commission me for a one-off piece, such as an engagement ring or wedding bands, when I return from maternity leave.
Do you have any tips to someone who is just starting out?
Well I’m definitely not an expert as I change what I do all the time! But on the whole I try to have a range of work with me from pieces that I’m confident will sell to a few pieces that are more unusual. I also have jewellery with me at different price points as someone may be looking for a small gift now but may come back at a later date for a larger custom piece. The only other things I can think of are to keep your display clean and simple so your work stands out and to invest in a card reader.
What special little touch do you offer your customers?
All of my pieces are customisable which could simply be making a ring to order in a specific size, or taking one of my designs but making it with a different stone or metal. I can also stamp a name, date or short message on many of my pieces - this is very popular on my personalised cufflinks, especially for wedding presents. I gift wrap all my jewellery in recycled gift boxes tied with ribbon and I also like to include a little booklet with a few tips on caring for your new piece of jewellery as well as any background information that might be relevant to a specific piece, the origins of the gemstone for example.
What handmade item is high on your Christmas wish list?
Hmm, I’ve secretly coveted a handmade wooden watch for years but have never got round to dropping oh-so-subtle hints to family...maybe this year. Can anyone recommend a local maker?!
What is your favourite part of Christmas?
My husband normally has a couple of weeks off work over Christmas and New Year so I think just enjoying that time together and actually seeing each other in daylight is nice at this time of year!
Which UK artist/maker’s Facebook page do you find most inspiring and why?
I follow lots of ethical jewellers of which Ute Decker immediately springs to mind as an inspiration - I aim to do my bit to help raise awareness on the effort that goes into a piece of jewellery long before it gets to me.
What is your favourite family Christmas tradition?
If you’d asked the 10 year old me, it would definitely have been Christmas evening playing card games and eating lots of crisps and chocolate! But as this year we now have our own little family I guess we will be creating some new family traditions of our own. I’m not sure what they’ll be yet, but hopefully they’ll include a glass or two of mulled wine...
Finally, if you could re-design a Christmas decoration, what would it be and why?
I’m not sure! I love a good tacky Christmas tree with lots of clashing baubles and tinsel...maybe I could make a bauble in gold with lots of diamonds, but it might be a teensy bit pricey to hang on a Christmas tree so somehow doubt it would be a big seller.
Thank you Victoria, your jewellery is just lovely. Yes, mulled wine is one of our favourite things about the Christmas season.
You can discover Victoria's pieces on her stall in the Middle Level of the Colston Hall Foyer this coming Sunday (7th December.)
Made in Bristol Gift Fair
Saturday 29th November 2014
Sunday 7th December 2014
10am - 4pm
10am - 4pm
Saturday 13th December 2014
10am - 3pm