Spring 2016 – Nordic style and new inspiration

As you may have noticed it has been over a year since my last blog post, and what a year! It’s been a bit of a turning point in my life and the life of Argent. Health issues have prompted a rethink, and after a difficult year I have found my direction again, in other words….  I’ve got my ‘mojo’ back! I’m focusing on trying to simplify my life both at home and at work. I’m in the process of restyling my home with a brand new kitchen/diner, it seems like this way of thinking has influenced my jewellery choices for this season too. The new collections we have coming in are Scandinavian and very much reflect the simplicity of Nordic style, from the very beginning my own favourite style of jewellery has been one which conveys simple lines and timeless elegance, it seems like I’ve come full circle.

Whilst visiting the Jewellery Spring Fair at Birmingham NEC in February I discovered the Drakenberg Sjolin brand which was established in Sweden in 2009, it was the first time they had exhibited in the UK. Their brand identity is “pure and mindful jewellery inspired by the nordic light and darkness, seasons of spring and autumn and the constant movement in nature” which really resonates with my thinking at the moment. The silver pieces have an elegant simplicity that reflects the strength yet fragility of nature.

d&s 2d&sds3

Just arrived in store is another Scandinavian brand, byBiehl from Denmark, created by Charlotte Biehl and inspired by her wish for high quality, simple, stylish and personal jewellery. I was drawn to this range for it’s comfort and simplicity, it is very wearable and easy to personalise. The main collection consists of uniquely designed ‘pods’ for bracelets and necklaces which can be put together to create a simple yet sophisticated look. Each piece is stamped with their signature forget-me-not flower and hand made in Denmark.

bb2bb3bb1

I’m loving the Trollbeads ‘Uplifting’ spring collection too, the calm and gentle colours are perfect for the season. I love the way Trollbeads have inlaid subtle but contrasting cubic zirconia into the glass beads, my favourite is ’healing heart’, lavender stones suspended in pale green glass, I also love the the ‘meditation’ bead, the faceted outer compliments the green glass and gold sparkle to give it an energising effect, the whole collection has a feel of balance and contemplation. Talking of which I’m getting back into the swing of my body balance classes, I think we are all constantly striving for balance in our lives and Spring is the perfect time to address this.

tb4tb2tb1

 

 

 

 

 

As well as the brand new ranges coming from Scandinavia I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the latest collection from Chlobo, ‘Luna Soul’, as the name suggests, the inspiration for this range is the moon and stars. The bracelets are beautifully sparkly, reflecting the night sky with a combination of silver and pink aventurine and rose gold with labradorite, I can’t wait to add some of this celestial collection to my bracelet stack.

IMG_0060Cdlpx8rXIAA7y_t

Hidden Depths

World Tour Beads

 

This July saw the arrival of Trollbeads exciting new selection of World Tour beads and what better way to mark the occasion than to celebrate with our customers by offering sweet treats and champagne, giving out goody bags and holding a raffle with the opportunity of winning a £50 voucher to spend in store! Not surprisingly the event was a hit and both we and our customers thoroughly enjoyed ourselves that Sunday afternoon.

Autumn / Winter 2012

But just when you thought that Trollbeads might have packed their schedule to the brim manufacturing over 50 beads from our International neighbours as well as designing their new autumn collection, they then decide to coincide this with the arrival of their new range of Universal Unique Malwai beads!
As a family run business one wonders how on earth they manage to fit it all in, they really never cease to amaze!  Nonetheless this new collection is just as special as everything else Troll brings to its followers, if not (dare I say it) even more so in the amount of spirit founder Lise Aagaard has put into establishing the project.

Malawi Universal Uniques

Lise Aagaard and the Malawi team

This is a development that gives a well-built sense of optimism to a challenged group of around a dozen young people from Malawi who between them have varying issues in their personal life, whether these be in relation to their own health or loss of family to AIDS. Speaking of the project the Trollbeads founder gave words on her strong aspiration to lend a hand to bettering the lives of others;

 

“I am now in the position to help others. I believe the best way to do so is to help them create an existence for themselves, providing help for self help is close to my heart”.

By offering the opportunity to learn the art of glass making first hand from someone that is at the forefront of jewellery design, Lise Aagaard has given a window of hope to those less fortunate.
Each bead tells a unique story, inspired by the idiosyncrasies of the life of the maker in question which in turn forms a truly personal collection.
By all of the beads being ‘Universal Uniques’ the design not only fits onto Troll bracelets but also other leading branded bracelets so everyone can enjoy the artistry, thus giving a wider prospect in terms of commerce and sending the collective on its way to becoming completely self sufficient!

In times like these with such an unvarying inflation throughout the high street prices, it’s hard as both a consumer and a retailer not to allow oneself to get too wrapped up in cynical thoughts on where this leave the buyer and the merchant.
But then projects such as this allow us to stop for a moment and gain a little perspective on what is really important right now, generating opportunities for those less privileged, the unemployed both here and overseas. Many of us are struggling in some way but that doesn’t mean we can’t take the time to give a little back.

This brings me to my next account of an ethical jewellery venture, which too is led by the same form of premise as is held by Lise Aagaard and is just as fresh off the press.
It goes by the name of Cornerstone and while being a completely different project this and Trollbeads are united through the mutual ethical concepts that are the driving force behind these organisations.

Cornerstone started its life back in 2011 when distinguished jewellery designer Paul Spurgeon took a trip to South Africa where he led lectures to small businesses, sharing the personal philosophies behind his brand. It was there that he was struck by the work of local jeweller Nqobile Nkosi who has become the first person to ever open a jewellery store in his home town of Soweto.
Inspired by such revolutionary movements Paul has since collaborated with Nqobile to form the project as a means of progression, taking such labours of love out of Africa and into Europe.

Currently the designs comprise mostly of silver and enamel due to the current market and project funds, through time as business flourishes Nqobile and his team hope to gain full independence of, with the prospect to expand their horizons both artistically and within industry; and it is the proceeds from the project that will go towards turning this vision into a reality.

 

The brand was officially launched at The Jewellery Show in Birmingham earlier this year and this was swiftly followed by the support of The Jewellery Show London and Treasure in their naming Cornerstone as their Social Enterprise partner for the June show at Somerset House. Meanwhile Weston Beamor have offered a helping hand in providing all of the casting and silver for free and in August Paul organised a sponsored bike ride from London to Paris to raise further funds as well as to promote interest within trade press and further afield.

These projects prove to consumers that when it comes to jewellery, there need not be any reason to compromise on style when choosing to direct the focus on ethical means of manufacturing. Who would know, when viewing these collections that established designers such as Paul and Lise were working with ethical motives? The fact that the making of these pieces is done with such conscious makes each one all the more candid and unique and just goes to show that there really is more than meets the eye when it comes to big name designers.

 

 

For further information on the Malawi Universal Unique beads as well as other Trollbead and Paul Spurgeon products available please visit our website.