Read on to discover where Maximos and Claire find inspiration and explore how their jewellery design journeys first began…
Maximos Zachariadis has created collections for fashion houses around the world, alongside galleries, museums and more. His path into jewellery design began in an unconventional way, and reflects the passion, skill and immense talent Maximos possesses. Designing jewellery since 1989. Maximos’ clean geometric forms are at the epicentre of his designs.
What inspired you to become a jewellery designer? When I was 14 years old our home was burgled, and they stole all my mother’s jewellery. That’s how I started making jewellery with found objects like crystals, metal and using basic soldering techniques.
Your hand-carved Amphora Collection is an ode to your Greek heritage- where else do you gather your design ideas from? My inspiration comes from architecture, the beauty of nature and the shape of precious stones.
Is there a material that you love working with in particular? I love diamonds because they are beautiful and according to the metal I use, they pick up the colour of the gold- that’s either yellow, white, pink or even shades of green!
Can you share with us any insight into the bespoke design process? Most of my customers want to have something unique. I love the challenge of creating something, especially for them or for a special occasion such as a wedding, anniversary, birthday etc.
Sometimes a customer will have a stone that they have inherited, and I come up with a design after they have a brief and I know more about the client. It’s always satisfying when the customer adores the finished piece and it’s exactly how they imagined it! That is a good day!
Would you be able to pick the collection that has meant the most to you? Amphora Collection was a favourite of mine because it was designed for The British Museum in London and was inspired by the Ancient Greek Amphoras.
Claire van Holthe is a Dutch jewellery designer, now based in London. Claire’s love for natural coloured gemstones shines through and her delicate designs reflect this. She notes that her favourite piece to work on was a commission from Adriana. This was a small collection of jewellery incorporating authentic ancient artefacts when Adriana launched Ancienne Ambiance in 2004. For this, Adriana selected various ancient beads and amulets, including Egyptian faience scarabs. Claire made earrings and necklaces, also using Egyptian eye of Horus amulets and some very rare mother of pearl pendants from the Sumerian period c.2500 BC. In 2019, Claire and Adriana will be collaborating again, incorporating scarabs and eye of horus amulets once more.
Claire van Holthe
At what point did you know you wanted to be a jewellery designer? I’ve always loved jewellery and have made little pieces since I was a little girl.
Your beautiful jewellery is timeless- where do you gather the most inspiration for your designs? Thanks so much! The stones are the jumping off point – I take inspiration directly from them.
You make each item by hand, and this must be an intricate and lengthy process – which pieces take most time to create? I actually really enjoy the process, for me it’s a kind of meditation. I have thought about outsourcing but the making is the part I really enjoy.
I suppose rings are the most complicated, as I hand make the settings. Often for one of a kind stones, disaster can strike when I’m setting the stone. If it breaks, the ring has to be abandoned.
If you were to choose, what type of jewellery- from necklaces to bracelets, rings and earrings- is the one you love working on, and why? I love earrings the most as you can be really experimental with them. Women take risks with earrings, and they are changed more often than rings for example, which are usually more sentimental in nature. Earrings can be gigantic statements or teensy, delicate objects of wonder.
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Helen Wilson-Beevers is a writer and beauty editor. Find out more about Helen over at BeautyStylus.com.