Designer Spotlight: Lauren Rowden
A brief story of what you do and why you do it:
All designs are my own and each piece is completely handmade from start to finish by me – I love the traditional approach to jewellery design. I aspire to be a fine jeweller, but while I'm still getting to grips with those ropes, I am busy putting contemporary twists on classic designs, using mixed metals and bright and beautiful stones.
How did you get into jewelry design?
After leaving high school I had no idea what I wanted to do, but had basically studied a foundation in Art & Design so knew that whatever it was, it had to be hands-on and creative. I got a job instead of going to university, and fell into the hands of Graham Whitehead, an inspirational man in his 70s who himself had trained and worked in Hatton Garden, London, since the 1950s. He taught me almost everything I know, from stones and their elements to how to create jump rings, to stone settings. He became a true influence on my life and when I left his jewellery shop I knew that I'd found the thing I wanted to do forever and set up a bench at home.
What makes your collection unique?
I'm compelled towards minimalist designs that can be worn all day everyday, but that could also be kept hidden in a box and to add a wow on a special occasion. Using mixed metals and semi precious stones, my permanent collections are full of unique and intriguing elements, nothing like you see on the high street, but still desirable; they're completely timeless and could be worn for generations to come.
What are your inspirations?
Graham Whitehead will forever inspire me; his own designs, his anecdotes and his love of the trade will never falter within my own love of jewellery. On a day to day basis I take inspiration from everything around me; jewellery I might see someone wearing on the underground, the shape of a particular leaf or puddle, a word that someone says that jumps out at me from conversation. My head is constantly on a whirl and I feel that my designs evolve most when I am not consciously thinking about them.
How are you making a difference in your life?
After using my home studio for a number of years alongside a full time job, at the beginning of 2014 I decided to go for it and almost completely reinvented my life. I moved to London, got a studio right in the hub of the jewellery world, and grasped almost every opportunity that came my way. Now, a number of months on, I realize I may have jumped a little too far and too hard, but I'm able to pull the reigns on things that haven't worked out, and progress further with the things that have!
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
I think I'm really lucky that I found what I it was that I wanted to do at a very young age, and to have someone so knowledgeable and with so much experience behind them, to pass on to me. Being able to then further my training in Florence, Italy, was like a dream come true – an experience I'll never forget, making friends I'll never forget, and a city that I'll always always long to move back to!
What's the biggest struggle in running your jewelry business like a business? OR What is your biggest success in running your business like a business?
Believing in yourself and your work is incredibly hard when you are starting out. It took about five galleries to approach me about my work before I truly believed that stockists genuinely wanted my work. Sometimes I still can't believe that the things I love to make will make someone happy when they get home and open the box. I am overwhelmed by the current success of my brand just because those first few people saw and believed in me.
I'm based in London and have had my own jewellery brand for about 18 months, ever since I completed training in contemporary jewellery at Alchimia in Florence, Italy. I work part time in a jewellery gallery to pay the bills and have a studio in central London where I create everything from scratch!