Jewellery designer Dana Drutis is utterly engaging. When I first met her at The Jewellery Cut Live, she was only too keen to take her own necklace off to show me how it worked.
Holding the white gold pendant to my eye and tipping it towards the light, I was treated to a dazzling display of colour. It was, she explained, a working kaleidoscope that used tumbling gemstones to create the images I was seeing.
Subsequent launches from Drutis Jewellery, a brand that London-based Dana runs with her mother (and some help from her younger sister), have been no less engaging. One of the latest additions is the Soloman ring, a design that holds opal pebbles within rails of gold – when worn on the finger, the opals slide in motion with your hand.
With this new name on the fine jewellery scene now signed up not just to visit the next The Jewellery Cut Live in association with Fuli Gemstones but to exhibit, I was curious to find out more, so I sat down for five minutes with Dana Drutis.
Tell us about your brand.
“We are Elena and Dana, a mother-and-daughter duo of Drutis Jewellery, a high-end fine jewellery brand with a twist. What I mean by that is that every design is a little or a lot more than what meets the eye initially; be it a design feature, an engineering or practical solution or a kinetic feature, or a hidden meaning – there is always more. Some of our designs are whimsical and dreamy, others are smart and versatile, but we aim to create modern luxury you can wear both on a daily basis and for occasion – treasures with meaning.”
What inspires you?
“I think we are inspired by each other, by our family values and heirlooms we hold dear as a family, as well as our lives and lifestyles. My mother has a collection of kaleidoscopes that the family has been expanding over the years. When we wanted to add a jewellery kaleidoscope to the mix, we decided to create it. Once the Pandora’s box of ideas was open, we didn’t want to stop. Now we sometimes have to stop ourselves from creating more pieces too quickly. I think being a multi-age family team – my sister is a teenager, I’m in my late 20s and my mother is in her early 50s – we filter our ideas through several prisms, hopefully creating pieces that are multi-generational, to be mixed and matched as well as passed on.”
What made you want to become a jewellery designer?
“We actually came into the world of jewellery completely from the outside of it. I graduated with a business management degree and then went into the corporate world. Jewellery has always been a passion of ours from a consumer perspective, and we played designer before we set up the jewellery business. My mother has a collection of beautiful antiques and I have grown up exploring and appreciating her pieces. I still mix Drutis Jewellery pieces with some timeless antiques, bridging the gap between the past and the present. As I grew up, I developed my own style and way of expressing myself through jewellery. I liked quirky, unusual and curious jewellery and would always stack and wear a lot. My mother to this day jokingly calls me a Christmas Tree. With time, I have developed a balanced taste that lies somewhere between unique statement pieces and timeless classics. For us, jewellery design is the most exciting and scary journey at the same time. We come up with ideas, we try them out, we get our head from out the clouds and adjust them to be more realistic. We test them again, and adjust again and again, and it either works or it doesn’t, but the process of learning and making ideas come to life is fascinating.”
How are your jewels made?
“We have a multi-dimensional small team across the UK and Ukraine, consisting of independent jewellers and CAD designers. They help us develop our ideas into reality and avoid some bumps along the way. It’s like a little dysfunctional family, but we are very lucky to have surrounded ourselves with people who get excited by our ideas and want to get stuck into them. One day I am hoping we will have a much bigger team behind us and many more meaningful quirky jewellery designs.”
Tell us about your latest collection.
“We actually have two main collections at the moment, quite different between themselves but still with hidden meaning and each contains modern fine jewellery you can wear day and night. The Dream collection incorporates design and engineering features that create unique kinetic jewellery pieces with a lot of hidden meaning, magnetism and opportunity for personalisation. This includes the Kaleidoscopes and Solomon’s ring, a kinetic – almost meditation – ring, which we have added over lockdown. The Smart collection encompasses the message of modern, versatile and practical jewellery that is at the same time luxurious. A clever opening mechanism allows you to switch and change up your jewellery in an instant – a real modern luxury. We have added a bunch of new charms to the Smart collection for the earrings and the pendant over the lockdown and are working on several more as we speak.”
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