Polkadot Jewellery Gallery catches up with Devon-based maker Alexandra Aurum.
What initially appealed to you about making jewellery and how did you learn your craft?
I feel most at ease when I can build something with my hands. I enjoy the challenge of working through design ideas and construction of pieces at the workbench, stone setting is one of my favourite tasks. After I achieved a First Hons in Jewellery and Silversmithing in 2008 this is when I decided I wanted to push myself and create a business selling unique fine jewellery.
Your style is very distinctive, with texture, fusion and form the reoccurring themes – how has your developed since you became a maker?
I have two collections Wire and Edge inspired by natural shapes I have encountered in the environment and often referring to gemmology as a reference to inspire my work. The Wire collection has a textural flow of running lines which are fused together while the Edge collection displays an angular textural edge on the metal which mirrors the facets of the stones I set. Rings feature heavily throughout both collections, often boulder settings are platforms for setting stones and building texture within a piece. My work can be personalised and adapted over time; I often add in extra stones to celebrate memorable moments or sentiment in the wearer’s life.
What are your favourite metals and stones to work with and why?
Gold fascinates me, the richness of its yellow colour which does not tarnish over time is beautiful and a joy to work with. I love setting diamonds but have a soft spot for deep blue tanzanites and green emeralds; they are stunning.
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 am currently working on my Edge Boulder Collection making bracelets and earrings to match my rings, this collection will launch in the summer.
What are your views on recycling old jewellery into something more contemporary?
I enjoy working with clients and creating individual pieces. It is one way which we can limit the impact on the environment is by repurposing family heirlooms into jewellery that reflects the client's personality, history and style. Recycling the metal and precious stones from an inherited piece is a perfect way to update and hold onto sentimental jewellery while treasuring the earth precious resources.
Tell us about how your work – What time of the day are you most creative, do you listen to music while you’re making?
I usually get my soldering done in the morning followed by stone setting later on in the day after the pieces have polished. Music or a documentary 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.