It has been a transformative year for jewellery designer Jessica Steele – and not just because of the pandemic.
After many years working as a jeweller for other people, Steele decided to make the jump and open her own business in Leeds. On the outskirts of the city centre there, you will find her appointment-only studio, where she makes fine jewels by hand.
Another big move for Steele in 2020 will be The Jewellery Cut Live. For the first time, shoppers will be able to peruse Jessica Steele jewellery in London, when she takes part in The Jewellery Cut’s boutique show in the city’s Mayfair. We took five minutes out to find out more about this designer on the rise.
Tell us about your brand.
“My brand is pretty much every aspect of my life and passion for jewellery rolled into one. I decided to create a luxury studio in Leeds with a workshop attached where people can step into my world of jewellery. Everything happens in one place, from designing to private consultations and jewellery workshops. It’s a dream come true for me.”
What inspires your designs?
“I am hugely influenced by the magic of nature and its importance in our lives. I also love to add secret symbolism and deeper meaning into my work, which is reflective of my experiences through life; a piece of my legacy that will remain here long after I have gone.”
What made you want to become a jewellery designer?
“I have always been a maker first. The designing part was not something I really used to engage in, other than in my head. I started putting pencil to paper when I started working for a retailer back in 2017. Since then, I have been addicted to the process of documenting my design process. Now the designs are just as important to me as the final piece.”
How are your jewels made?
“I use a range of traditional jewellery techniques. Most recently, I have discovered the art of lost-wax casting, which is always fun. You don’t feel too bad if a bit of wax gets melted, as opposed to gold. I also use computer-aided designs, which are then cast and set with stones. Some pieces I make myself, others are created using a small team of craftsmen and women.”
Tell us about your latest collection.
“My latest collection is based on insects. I have always been fascinated by them and they represent so much for me. The process of a chrysalis becoming a butterfly is exactly how I feel about the past 12 months of my life. It’s been such a short space of time with a vast amount of changes happening both personally and in business. It only felt right to honour how far I’ve come in this way.”
What are you working on now?
“I am currently in the process of growing my new business and designing my collection for The Jewellery Cut Live. I have started hosting workshops for people to learn to make their own jewellery and I’ve been overwhelmed by the creativity of my customers. Every day is different but there is always plenty going on.”
Why should people come out and visit you at The Jewellery Cut Live in October?
“I think people should visit because it’s been a tough year for us all so far. I think there’s nothing more amazing than people showing resilience in the face of adversity, and to be united with those who are as passionate about jewellery as I am – what’s not to love? It’s an opportunity for people to support independent designers and really find out the stories behind the pieces they create. I mean, who doesn’t want to stare at beautiful jewels all day?”
And what can they expect to see at your stand?
“Lots of colourful pieces with unique, unusual shaped gemstones and a self-confessed jewellery addict who’s so excited to talk about everything in this incredible industry.”
Meet Jessica Steele and her jewels at The Jewellery Cut Live in association with Fuli Gemstones on October 11th & 12th, 2020, at The Royal Institution in London’s Mayfair. Click here for tickets.