The Georgian town of Woodstock is a famous Oxfordshire tourist hotspot, home to Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World heritage site that was once the family pile of the 12th Duke of Marlborough and the birthplace of Winston Churchill. It is also where you will find Libby Rak Jewellery, a boutique filled with precious jewels made by hand in a workshop that is visible when you step inside the store.
Founder and goldsmith Libby Rak first started studying jewellery making at the age of just 14. She was taken under the wing of local Oxford jeweller Julia Beusch, who taught and mentored the teenage magpie after Rak took a Saturday job in Beusch’s shop.
Now, for the first time, Libby Rak Jewellery is coming to London, taking part in The Jewellery Cut Live in association with Fuli Gemstones in 2021. Ahead of this landmark moment, we put some questions to Rak to find out more about this exciting contemporary designer.
Tell us about your brand.
“We are a contemporary jewellers based in the busy Cotswold town Woodstock. We work in all precious metals, and both precious and semi-precious gemstones, working using traditional techniques. We offer a bespoke and remodelling service, which has become increasingly popular, especially with engagement and bridal jewellery. I specialise in remodelling jewellery.”
What inspires your designs?
“I am inspired by the stunning gemstones I source from various gemstone dealers. I meticulously go through bundles of stones and choose the ones I think are special. I enjoy framing the stones and showing them off to their full potential, occasionally adding some added sparkle with diamonds or interesting shapes. I am also fascinated by gemstones and the natural colours that come from the ground. I find it incredible, so the majority of my jewellery is based around gemstones.”
What made you want to become a jewellery designer?
“When I was 14, I started working for a local jeweller on Saturdays. She immersed me in the jewellery world and I fell in love with it. Halfway through studying my A levels, I realised how much I love making jewellery and decided to pursue a career as a jeweller instead of an engineer. I love the process you have to go through to get to the end piece. How this lump of metal can go from being a dark black and gold blob to something stunning and sparkly is amazing.”
How are your jewels are made?
“I was trained using traditional techniques by a German jeweller, Julia Beusch, which has influenced my work greatly. I work in precious metals and gemstones from my open workshop in the back of my gallery in Woodstock, and everything is made from sheet and wire from scratch, or from melted-down recycled jewellery. Everything is made by myself or my colleague Maisie, only outsourcing for stone setting.”
Tell us about your latest collection.
“I am continuously working on new pieces as and when I receive new stones. Currently, my two favourite ideas are my chunky gold and gemstone rings with added diamond detailing, and my pearl and gemstone chain necklaces. I have been focusing on how to take a simple ring or necklace and add a little something like pearls or diamonds to elevate the piece and make it more special and unique to the wearer.”
What are you working on now?
“This year, I have been working on an engagement ring collection as my engagement market has increased significantly in the last year. Though all of my engagement rings are bespoke and made to order, it is important for my customers to find new inspiration.”
Why should people come out and visit you at The Jewellery Cut Live in 2021?
“This will be the first time I have exhibited my work in London.”
And what can they expect to see at your stand?
“I will be bringing pieces from all of my favourite collections, so it will be like visiting my gallery. From chunky gold and diamond rings, to dainty pearl chain necklaces, to my favourite Unique Cube and Bluebell collections. You will be able to see my full work and see exactly who Libby Rak Jewellery is.”
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