15 minutes with…Alexandra Aurum
Posted on June 09 2016
In the first of a new series, we catch up with Devon-based maker Alexandra Aurum.
What initially appealed to you about making jewellery and how did you learn your craft?
I really love making and enjoy a 3D design challenge. I feel most at ease when I can build something with my hands; it keeps me happy and busy.
Your style is very distinctive, with texture, fusion and form the reoccurring themes – how has your developed since you became a maker?
My work increasingly displays an angular, textured edge, particularly apparent in my Maori collection. The metal facettes mirror those of the stones I set.
Where do you find the inspiration for your collections and do you put a lot of yourself into your work?
My collections have grown with me and my style. I focus on reoccurring ideas and progress the techniques I use to suit each design. During a recent visit to New Zealand, I took a great deal of inspiration from the landscapes there. I found the contrast of hard angles against soft, natural curves eye catching; it’s given me a lot to work from.
What are your favourite metals and stones to work with and why?
18ct yellow gold is just beautiful to work with and to look at. I love setting diamonds but definitely have a soft spot for deep blue tanzanites and green emeralds; they are stunning.
How well loved is your sketch book?
It has the occasional day trip - I took it for a walk on Dartmoor the other day.
Are all of your pieces one-offs?
Yes - I enjoy designing, making and seeing the finished outcome of each piece. The ability to stone set has opened up options for me, along with technical challenges.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on silver stack rings with 18ct yellow gold platform settings which feature in both my Maori and Wire collections. The platforms interlock so you can change the combinations of each ring stack to create something different.
What are your views on recycling old jewellery into something more contemporary?
Old mine diamonds with a simpler cut have a certain charm to them. They are rarely perfectly round and can be a challenge to set but this makes for a satisfying result. Recycling jewellery and setting stones into new heirlooms is a great way to keep family jewels updated.
Tell us about how your work – what’s your studio like, what time of the day are you most creative, do you listen to music while you’re making?
I’m very lucky that I can create new jewellery in my own space. I usually get my soldering done in the morning followed by stone setting later on in the day. Music really helps me relax and concentrate on my work as I’m not a great fan of silence.
Alexandra Aurum is one of out in-house jewellers – meet her in person in our Exeter gallery and buy her work in both our Exeter and Taunton shops and online here.