Discovering the story behind a brand can take your experience of purchasing a special item to a whole other level. If you’ve been struggling to find the right wedding band or that engagement ring that looks like it’s been made for you, then panic not. Stop screwing up the table plan in frustration and read the following, because Ormolu London’s Gemma Lewis can make all of your wedding band/engagement ring dreams come true…
*Sponsored by Ormolu London*
#1 Tell us a little about the history of Ormolu London? Where did the brand begin…
“Ormolu London started as a small bespoke collection of pieces and commissions for friends and family. I was still finding my niche back then, honing my style and direction for the company. It was when I was researching vintage and antique jewellery that I spotted this stunning French locket ring tucked away at the V&A jewellery display that I stumbled on the idea for a secret message ring concept. Much of the personalised pieces I saw were a gimmick, something to be worn once but not in 30 years’ time. It was important to create something personal yet timeless. I launched with my first secret message ring collection three years ago and the popularity grew from there. I’m now looking to expand our jewellery lines with the first Future Heirlooms collection inspired by delicate vintage jewels.”
#2 Who is the Ormolu London woman? Describe her to us…
“She’s confident, fun and feminine. Her look is laid back luxury, effortless and timeless. She has a romantic vision for her wedding but with alternative touches. Sentimental but not overly traditional, she’d rather create her own traditions.”
#3 What type of materials does the brand use, and where are they sourced from? What can brides-to-be always rely on Ormolu London for?
“I only ever use semi precious and precious gemstones hand set in precious metals. I very rarely use plating in my designs as I want the jewellery to look as good five years on as it did the day it was received. We create with a conscience, only using stones that are exclusively of natural origin and have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict in compliance with United Nations resolutions.
Expect timeless designs infused with a modern twist, skilfully handcrafted and made to order. Selecting jewellery is a personal experience and I want my brides to have fun customising their designs. A bit like playing the designer to their own pieces. For clients who want a truly one-on-one experience our bespoke services are intimate and fun where we work in collaboration to translate your vision into the dream jewellery you’ve always wanted. Personal, exceptional, cherished.”
#4 If Ormolu London could have a particular celebrity or person to be the face of the brand, who would it be? Who embodies the label in their style and personality?
“I’d have to say Kiera Knightly or Emma Stone – confident and feminine with a contemporary edge, treading the line between classic and modern.”
#5 Tell us about the design process for a new piece or collection. Where does it begin? Where does the inspiration for a new line often emerge from?
“I’m quite fluid with where I take inspiration but I’m often drawn to a particular era and try to embody that time, adding a touch of my own contemporary eye. Architecture and photography is probably my favourite place to start my creative juices flowing. I find one image that sparks an idea and I usually run with it, sketching out ideas and creating moodboards until I narrow down the ideas to a more cohesive collection of say 6-12 pieces. With a bespoke client the inspiration comes from their experiences and vision, I merely translate their ideas into a reality. We start by chatting and discussing their ideas, I’ll then sketch out ideas until the client is happy with the direction of the design. We then create a CAD or three dimensional image of the piece to show our clients before we then cast and finish the final piece. There’s lots of little stages in-between of course but my favourite part is seeing the smile on my clients faces when they open the box. Such a privilege to be part of my bride and groom’s special day.”
#6 Are you inspired by trends?
“I like to stay clear of arbitrarily copying trends and prefer to create something I’m truly inspired by. I may take a nod from popular colours and stones, but no specific trend. My jewellery isn’t throw away – I like to create jewellery with longevity, something to cherish for many decades to come not just one season.”
#7 Tell us a little more about the new bridesmaid collection you’re working on… what will brides/bridesmaids love about it?
“It’s a fun, feminine collection full of sentimental pieces to mark the big day and give the bride the opportunity to say thank you to her bride tribe. Pieces will be delicate, featuring aquamarines, pink tourmalines and sapphires set in precious metals in rings, bracelets and necklaces. Lots of personal touches and secret meanings. They can either be customised to reflect each bridesmaid’s individual style or unified with one colour stone, metal and engraving.”
#8 From your experience, when it comes to brides searching for their engagement ring or wedding band, where should they start? What should they be thinking about?
“For the bride who isn’t sure where to start I ask what jewellery they love to wear, what makes them feel special. Is there a metal type you prefer? A style or era you’d like to emulate? Its also important to think about where you’ll be wearing your ring. Do you feel comfortable wearing a big flashy rock or would you feel more confident with a subtler design? If you work with your hands, its often best you don’t have a high set stone as this may catch and cause damage. These little details can make a big difference. Bespoke commissions are a great way to get exactly what you want down to the last detail. When working with bespoke clients I like to add in personal touches unique to the couple such as birth stones, repurposing a diamond from a relative’s old piece of jewellery or engraving a specially designed monogram of the couples initials. This is so much more than buying a piece of jewellery, its an heirloom to hand down the generations.”
#9 Where would you like to see the label in 10 years time?
“I’d like to keep developing new concepts for other intriguing jewellery and exciting jewellery gifts and I’d love to think we’d have stand alone stores where couples can enjoy a full bespoke experience no matter what they’re looking for. Wherever we are in 10 years I hope to preserve the passion and creativity we have now, keeping the brand as personal as possible.”
#10 Talk us through a regular work day, what do you get up to?
“I wear a lot of hats on a regular day and no two days are the same in a week. It keeps me on my toes! My week starts on a Sunday afternoon or evening where I plan the days ahead and schedule the social media channels. I’m an early bird and usually get up around 6.30am for my much needed cuppa (always tea first thing, never coffee) and play with our miniature wire-haired sausage, Ronnie. I usually spend the first few hours replying to requests and customer queries and prepping pieces ready for hallmarking. I check the website is functioning properly and update any bits and pieces. I’ll check on bespoke orders, update bespoke clients and complete any new order forms. Lots of scheduling to do! I often spend the afternoon researching and sketching or speaking to influencers and wedding affiliates for collaborations. We’re currently planning a guest blogger wedding series starting in September to give some insights and advice for our brides-to-be which is going to be really exciting! If I have any spare time I’ll set up an area in the studio and take some shots of the jewellery for our social media channels. I try to finish around 7pm and take Ronnie for a walk, cook dinner and spend time with my better half but in truth my mind is constantly working. I love what I do!”
#11 Name a celebrity wedding you loved…
“Kiera Knightly and James Righton’s wedding was simple but oh so chic. I loved that for all her celebrity status she chose a low key affair in France surrounded by their closest family and friends. The image snapped of her skipping out of the church in her Chanel dress, full of happiness just shows you don’t have to have an extravagant wedding to capture a great moment.”
#12 If you could create a piece of jewellery for any celebrity (dead or alive) who would it be?
“Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – everything about her style in that movie I want to emulate. I thought she was the absolute coolest growing up, right down to her tussled ear plugs. Only she could pull those off and look chic!”
#13 Have you ever had any really unusual requests? If so, what?
“Nothing truly unusual springs to mind, but I wouldn’t be put off by anything!”
THE QUICK FIRE ROUND
#1 Summer or Winter? Winter
#2 Heels or flats? Flats
#3 Pet hate? Whispering when in company.
#4 Alcoholic beverage of choice? Champagne.
#5 Pearls or diamonds? Diamonds, always!
#6 Love Island or The Kardashians? Can I say neither – I love The Real House Wives of Beverly Hills though. Those ladies have some serious lifestyles!
#7 Coffee or tea? Tea in the morning, coffee after dinner.
#8 Favourite destination? Paris.
#9 Early rise or lie in? Early Rise.
#10 Chic in Chanel or dressed down in ripped denim? Ripped denim with a Chanel jacket, mix it up!