I am a goldsmith and gemologist and I’ve been working with DesignYard since 2011 in different guises. You will find me at DesignYard most days, either working in the gallery or making jewellery at my bench in the studio downstairs.
When I’m not at work I love being outdoors with my family: we are keen kite-surfers and sailors. We spend a lot of time on the water in Dublin Bay and take full advantage of our changeable Irish weather!
Describe the DNA of your jewellery:
I make my jewellery by hand, most of it with gold and precious gems, often ones you may not have seen before. Some pieces are one-off designs with unique fantasy-cut gems. These statement pieces are bold in size and colour, strong in form, yet understated in their lack of “bling”. This understated elegance carries over into my ready-to-wear collection. They are a great way to pick up a little gem (or two) for everyday wear.
How do you decide what to create?
Hmm, it depends. Sometimes the gem decides it for me. Some gems are better suited to rings and others simply call out to be a pendant or earrings. Other times a piece develops from experimenting with a particular concept or technique. My popular ShipShape pieces are a good example: the motion of the sea led me to explore the concept of kinetics. And I learned to make rivets to complete the pieces.
When I’m lucky it’s a collaboration between you and me – I enjoy making that personal connection. I get a kick out of showing you possibilities you mightn’t have thought of yourself: what to do with heirloom jewellery that you no longer wear, for example. It is so satisfying to remodel something old, perhaps with emotional value, into a new and modern piece that keeps its meaning.
What kind of materials do you like working with and why?
I love working with fantasy cut gems! I can get quite emotional about their colours and optical effects. I also like the challenge of turning the often unusual shapes into a wearable piece of jewellery.
I prefer to work directly in precious metal. Melting gold, rolling sheet or drawing wire, forging and shaping metal – it brings out my inner caveman. Yellow gold is simply a pleasure to work with. Silver is great because I can afford to play with new ideas or larger scale pieces.
What kind of person wears your jewellery?
Definitely a confident person with a strong sense of style. A fearless person who will wear their fine jewellery any day and someone with strong sense of curiosity. I mean someone who enjoys learning about something well-made and unusual. My customers appreciate the intrinsic beauty of my designs and the individual character of the often extraordinary gems. They prefer contemporary pieces with a story over something instantly recognisable or from the high street.
What is your must have jewellery?
Oooh, that’s gotta be a statement necklace – ideally something personally meaningful. In my case my “Dandelion” pendant, which was inspired by my daughter discovering her first dandelion puff.
Thank you Nicole for taking the time to sit down to chat with us. We enjoyed every minute of it.
If you would like to explore the delights of Nicole Van Der Wolf’s designer jewellery collection at DesignYard, click here. And if you would like to know more about our jewellery re-modelling service please email firstname.lastname@example.org.