Jewellery is something that’s always managed to capture my attention. As a young child, I would admire my mother’s wedding band and engagement ring as we sat together at church, sometimes spinning it around her finger to see how the diamonds caught the light.
When I was a bit older, it was my sister’s jewellery box that I would admire. I never dared try the pieces on, but I would hold them to the light to see how the gold would glint or hold a piece in front of me to see how it might look if I was to wear it.
The moment I got the OK from my parents to get my ears pierced is still a personal highlight: I was about 10 or 11 years old, it was Christmas day, and under the tree was a teeny, tiny wrapped box with my name on it. Inside was a pair of heart shaped pierced earrings in gold, and I remember being devastated and trying – but failing – to hide the hurt when I said something like: “But I can’t wear these – my ears aren’t pierced!” And my mom replied: “I guess we’ll have to fix it, the mall and piercing pagoda are open tomorrow.” I don’t remember what else happened that Christmas, but when I returned to school after the holidays I had those gold hearts proudly stuck in my lobes.
Ever since, my love for jewellery has remained and my style has become more pronounced. In this post, I’d like to share several of the small, independent jewellery brands I’ve discovered and whose pieces I keep reaching for time and again.
ALKYMI, designed and crafted in London
Handmade to order, the Viola Hoop Earrings with Pearl Drops had been on my wishlist for nearly 6 months before I purchased. I’d discovered the brand on Instagram, and fell in love with these hoops last summer.
Before ordering, I’d contacted the team to ask about London stockists, or the ability to see the pieces in person before purchasing – I very badly wanted the earrings, but they were non-returnable for hygiene reasons and I have small ears, so want to make sure they suit.
Unfortunately, no London stockists were available and a studio visit wasn’t possible, so the team thought up a solution: they would send the earrings in a small clear pouch that was sewn shut. If the earrings didn’t suit, I could send back provided the pouch remained sewn shut. If I opened the pouch, then the earrings were no longer returnable. Needless to say, I love how these earrings look on me.
Erica Weiner, made in NYC original handmade jewellery
Erica Weiner is an eponymous brand I’d been eyeing up for years – so many that I couldn’t even tell you for how long, but it was at least 4 years by the time I made the purchase.
I discovered Erica Wiener on either Instagram, a blog, or on Pinterest – and I’ll never forget the pitter patter the first time I saw the heartbeats necklaces. I loved the “After the party it’s the hotel lobby” and the “This must be the place” options, but back then when I first found the necklaces they were slightly out of my affordability when shipping to the UK was considered, so I held off. And every now and then when returned to check again the price went up just that little bit that kept it out of reach.
That is, until I was in NYC last autumn for work and realised I was standing outside of the Erica Weiner shop in Nolita with 20 minutes before I had to leave the area to collect my bags for the airport, my credit card in my pocket.
No way was I missing this opportunity! Neither the R.Kelly lyric (it’s no longer produced) or the Talking Heads lyric were in stock in gold fill that day – but there was a Fleetwood Mac option, so I took the opening.
Now this beauty is safely in my jewellery collection in London, and she goes on adventures outside at least once each week.
Maya Magal, contemporary British jewellery based in London
Another eponymous brand, Maya Magal’s flagship on Upper Street in Islington offers customers the opportunity to see a glimpse into the studio behind the till, an excellent reminder of the craftsmanship that goes into these pieces.
I can’t remember how I learned about Maya Magal, but the first time I purchased from her brand was at the Islington store’s 1 year opening party in 2017 where a discount offer was in place. That day I headed home with a gorgeous choker and necklace that can also be worn on its own as a ring (they stack beautifully together) and a wishlist for the stacking rings sold in store.
That year for my birthday, Jeff got me a set of three Maya Magal stacking rings – he’d remembered me going on and on about them when I got back from the event, and I’m so pleased that’s what he chose to remember me saying that day!
My latest two pieces from Maya – a ring and a pair of earrings – were both acquired during the 2018 Black Friday sales, which she took as an opportunity to clear end-of-line stock from her shelves as well as part with one-off and bespoke designs that hadn’t sold elsewhere. Neither item is in stock on site anymore, and the earrings are no longer listed.
What are your favourite small jewellery brands to shop? Please let me know in the comments!
Much love, Katie xo