where it all began
“What inspired you to become a jewellery designer?”
This is a question I have been asked many times. It was the moment that I first saw a contemporary jewellery exhibition at The School of Jewellery, in Birmingham when I was just 17 years old. I was visiting with Stourbridge College, where I was studying 3 dimensional design. I looked into one of the display cabinets and thought “I need to be doing this”. This pivotal moment set me on the road to becoming the jewellery designer that I am today.
I had always enjoyed drawing and making things as a child, inheriting this practical way with my hands from my father. Once I was able to start creating objects in metal and seeing the possibilities that were there; the textures that can be achieved, the
patterns and forms that can be created from a ‘blank canvas’ of metal, I then knew this was the creative course that my life would take.It was during my time spent working with established designer/makers whilst studying for my jewellery degree at Middlesex University, that I saw the possibilities for actually pursuing my passion as a business.
Shortly after graduating in 2000 (and some time spent at a makeshift bench in my parents' garage!) I launched Kate Smith Jewellery Design, with the business taking root in Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, where we are still based. While I am the designer and creative driving force of Kate Smith Jewellery Design I now also have a small team that work with me in my Birmingham workshop and studio.
I was invited to join the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths prestigious directory of leading jewellers, silversmiths and art medallists working in the UK, and with a coveted Goldsmith’s Award and commission for their Modern Jewellery Collection, my work has been exhibited both in the UK and internationally.
from inspiration to creation
My enjoyment of the outdoors and what nature holds has been the inspiration for the jewellery that I make for many years. It often originates from within the minutiae of grasses, branches and seed heads that seem to jump out at me and demand to be photographed when I'm minding my own business whilst out with my family! It’s these forms and patterns that I discover within nature that I then try to translate into wearable pieces of jewellery.
Working with precious metals in a way that allow these ideas to take shape can be both challenging and satisfying in equal measure! The right tool, plenty of cups of tea (a must) and some good ol' fashioned perseverance is required to turn an idea into reality.
Many techniques are used to create the jewellery, including acid etching, drilling, hammering and stone setting. Whether it is a unique diamond engagement ring, a bespoke commission, a sparkling gem set necklace, every day earrings, bracelets or men’s jewellery, I aim to imbue them all with understated and natural beauty.