I know. I don’t NEED any new bracelets. Nor do you. We’ve all layered and stacked our wrists until we can’t actually use them to open doors or type or clean the kitchen surfaces. But… in Ibizia last summer, I kept admiring Juicy Lucy’s wrist candy. Pretty gold chains with gems attached to each one. I tried not to over-lust (never a good look) but couldn’t help myself. I demanded to know where she had purchased them. Back in the UK, all I could remember was that the designer was called Claire. And I’ll blame Ibiza for the memory loss.
Fast forward to my birthday. I’m sat up in bed with the Smalls and Him. There’s a rustle and it appears He has been shopping. He looks proudly at me as he hands over a little box. (My mind flashes back to all those times I thought He might have been about to propose but wasn’t. Then a Small jumps on me and I’m reminded that those days are long, long ago.)
And there they are: my very own Juicy Lucy bracelets. How on earth did He manage this? Well, it turns out my friend is such a sharer that she fixed it all for Him.
The Claire behind this story is Claire van Holthe. Based in London but originally from Holland, she designs the most exquisite jewellery based around natural gems. And the stones are really her thing. After graduating from Sir John Cass College of Art, Claire worked for a gem dealer sourcing natural stones from around the world. Now, she could be described as a gem snob as she won’t work with anything less than those which are naturally perfect. Her designs are feminine and delicate without appearing showy or too fashion led.
Mini decided that she was interested to meet Claire so – over half-term – we interviewed her together in her home in South Kensington.
what age were you when your love of gems first emerged? I have always, always been completely fascinated with jewellery. I’ve been making jewellery as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories, aged two or three, is of a my mother’s diamante-encrusted clutch bag. I was obsessed with it. I would steal it and hide it in my room.
when and how do your design ideas come to you? For me it’s all about the stones. So, when I’ve been to a gem dealer or trade fair and found some new treasures, I lay them out for a few days and just look at them. It can sometimes be that I end up combining stones, or just set the stones on their own, because that individual stone is glorious enough on its own.
which other designers do you admire? My favourite jewellers are Hemmerle and Ram. Ram has got to be one of the most talented craftsmen working in london (maybe the world), hand making every piece. Simply stunning! Hemmerle is a larger scale jewellery house, but nevertheless their work is very fine and original. I find a lot of large jewellery companies make such impersonal, mass produced pieces. Hemmerle somehow avoids this.
who would you love to wear your jewellery? Anyone who loves jewellery and feels better because they are wearing my pieces.
where would you love to be stocked? My dream would be to be stocked on Net-A-Porter!! I love their website! It’s so slick, and stocks all the best designers. I would also love to be stocked in Browns as it’s a fashion institution. (Claire is already stocked here.)
where would we find you having a lazy Sunday? Weather depending, that would be pottering around the garden, or at a nursery, one of my favourite escapes in london is Clifton Nurseries in Maida Vale. It’s magical!
Mini and I wanted to know more about my bracelets(pictured below). Claire informed us that the rose quartz stone would resonate with my heart chakra as the stone of unconditional love. The Peruvian opal is very healing but also helps me to observe the world so that I might be well received by others. Rather charming, we thought. Oh and finally, the Peruvian opal also vibrates with the divic spirits, attracting elves and fairies into my garden!
For a closer look at Claire van Holthe’s designs, take a trip to The Cross (Holland Park), check out Claire’s Instagram and Facebook pages or join me in visiting her at the Seal The Deal Hand Sale, 20th Century Theatre 291 Westbourne Grove W11 21st – 23rd Nov. Or failing all of the above, contact Juicy Lucy and ask her to work her magic.