Designer Spotlight: Jeweler Pippa SmallJuly 22 2021
There are few things more personal than a beautiful piece of jewelry; the intimate relationship we develop with a beloved accessory always feels like luxurious comfort. It’s the combination of sentimentality and the unique sartorial statements that jewelry can impart on our personal style. Jewelry tells a story, has a history and feels unique.
For our latest collection, we collaborated with the jeweler, Pippa Small. London-based, Pippa, is synonymous with pieces that are ethically created and she champions traditional artisan techniques by employing stone cutters and goldsmiths in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. Her eye for sourcing stones and creating strikingly beautiful pieces, while being mindful of the organic nature of the gems and precious metals, is inspiring. For the Johnny Was X Pippa Small collaboration, she created eight pieces—rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings—to compliment our modern bohemian aesthetic. We couldn’t be more thrilled with this collection and loved the opportunity to sit down with Pippa and share her process and purpose with you.
JW: Tell us about the inspiration behind the collection you crafted for Johnny Was?
PS: For these pieces, I primarily chose peridot, aquamarine and rose quartz. These are indigenous to Afghanistan and I selected them because these beautiful and bright natural gems speak to a joyful optimism, which feels like a lovely antidote to the unpredictability and instability of the last year.
JW: What’s your favorite stone?
PS: I feel such gratitude for all of nature’s treasures and I love all stones, but if I had to choose, rock crystal, quartz, is my favorite. It’s found all over the world and can be clear and water-like or full of interesting inclusions like clouds and rainbows. It’s also warm to the touch and is held as sacred by many cultures over the centuries.
JW: You also seem to love gold!
PS: My favorite metal is 22ct gold but for this collection we used a silver with a gold vermeil—I find the gold color always enhances the stones with its warmth. When designing a piece, I usually start with the stone and allow that to be the main voice, the settings gently follow the stone and holds it.
JW: What’s your favorite piece from the collection?
PS: I love the big, statement stone Lailuma Ring, it’s large and powerful and has only been given a very gentle faceting and low polish to highlight the natural beauty. I feel like I have a protective shield on when I’m wearing it.
JW: All of this dovetails into your work with the Turquoise Mountain too, can you tell us about that?
PS: I started to work with Turquoise Mountain in 2008--a charity created by HRH Prince Charles--as a way to keep traditional craft and skills alive, as well as honor heritage skills and a sense of identity in the making of handmade things. Turquoise Mountain works with refugees in the Middle East and Asia and provides training, skills and jobs in areas where they are most needed.
JW: You are a master of layering jewelry, any tips?
PS: I love to layer and have collected so many talismans and charms that I wear close to me at all times. I think layering is about balancing the lengths and size of the charms so they spread out and you appreciate each piece.
JW: Finally....necklace, ring or bracelet?
Ring! It feels the most personal and you can always see it.