- Brooke Gregson
“I have always loved the layers of character that a unique stone can hold. Natural stones can really tell a story and reveal layers of beauty and for this reason I think natural stones, when worn, allow the wearer to tell their own story about their own depth of character and beauty.”
BROOKE'S PASSION FOR FINE METALS AND PRECIOUS STONES WAS FORMED EARLY IN LIFE, INFLUENCED BY HER FATHER'S COLLECTION OF ART AND FINE JEWELLERY AND HER MOTHER'S INTEREST IN THE HEALING POWER AND ENERGY OF GEMSTONES. SINCE A DECADE, HER CREATIONS ARE DELIGHTING OUR CLIENTS. READ OUR LATEST INTERVIEW WITH BROOKE!
1. What is your link to the world of jewellery? Do you have a family connection?
My link to the jewellery world is both spiritual and aesthetic. Growing up with a Jewelry Collector Father and Crystal hoarder mother helped shape my jewellery viewpoint. I was always in awe of the craftsmanship and beauty of the stones in the pieces that my father collected (mainly from the Art deco period) but it was my Mother’s unique eye for stones with character and a spiritual angle that allowed me to see the different layers that jewellery can offer a person.
2. Tell us about your origins and your career path.
My former background was in Art History and Textile Design where I have degrees in both fields. These past interests (as well as a love of Geology) have given me a unique approach to designing jewellery as well as a wealth of inspiration to draw from.
3. What goes through your mind when you create jewellery? Where do you find inspiration?
When I started out designing jewelry I went through a more linear approach that was taught to me in design school…come up with a concept and work within that parameter but as I became more confident in designing and more open to serendipity I began combining formal design training with happy accidents such as finding a special stone and working around that or thinking of a texture and seeing how that texture could create a certain feeling and idea of something else such as the texture of the moon’s surface or a feather. I think now that a balance of formal training and thinking abstractly and with a curious open mind has been an approach that has worked for me in creating jewellery. I also like to surround myself around people as passionate as me in the jewellery world.
4. How do you create your jewellery? What was your first creation?
Just to add to the previous question I create jewelry in different ways. I think it is important to know how to craft a piece of jewelry because sometimes a great idea can come from the process of making. One of my first creations that I had actually made myself was a hammered gold disc framing a Labradorite Stone that was made to look like it was floating within the hammered frame. It reminded me of something Planetary where the gold might have echoed Saturn’s rings. Although I enjoyed crafting a piece during this time (many years ago) I soon realized that my strength was in the designing and stone sourcing. I would later leave all the making to the true craftspeople who study metalsmithing in the same way I study designs and gemstones.
5. The jewellry you make from natural stones is hugely popular - can you tell us about the role that nature plays in your creations?
I have always loved the layers of character that a unique stone can hold. Natural stones can really tell a story and reveal layers of beauty and for this reason I think natural stones, when worn, allow the wearer to tell their own story about their own depth of character and beauty. I have always been drawn to the imperfections of gemstones and how they can allow us not only to have a deeper connection with nature but also a deeper connection with ourselves.
6. Can you tell us why the sun plays such an important role in your creative process?
I was lucky enough to grow up with the sun being a big part of my childhood. I lived on the westside of Los Angeles near the beach where I could watch the sun rise and sun set every day. I would see how the sun’s movements would change the color of the sky and also allow me to have a sense of place and time. The sun for me is also a great symbol of positivity and energy, both traits which I lean towards.
7. Are you attached to any jewel in particular? If yes, then which one?
I really go through different phases of what jewel I am attached to. I do have one piece of jewelry that I designed in 2006 which I could never part with and it a true reflection of my design sensibility. It is made of natural raw diamond slices made into a modern mosaic pattern that wraps around my finger. I love that it is sparkly, modern, and luxurious but also very natural and earthy looking.
8. Apart from the hand (and therefore touch), which other limb or sense would you be unable to live without?
I am so incredibly visual and love getting inspiration from the world around me. I also feel like my visual side is my most special sense so I would be lost without my ability to see!
9. Stones and metals are conduits of emotion. What touches you most about the way in which you use these materials?
I have always been highly sensitive to how materials feel against the body. I remember as a textile designer, always making sure that a fabric had to have a feeling of softness and movement on the body. I also apply this to the way I see how metal should feel on the body. This is why the process in how gold is forged is so important to me. As for stones, to me there is a quality in certain stones that can draw a feeling and emotion out of someone without any explanation. I also think certain stones can have more impact on someone’s emotions through their unique color, inclusions, and depth. I remember one time I had to source a certain diamond for a client and they wanted and exact type that was graded and a certain shape. I found three of the exact same diamonds, that were the exact color, clarity, and shape. I remember looking at one of them, and it gave off something more, an indescribable feeling. I knew the client would probably choose that stone, and she did!
10. What would you have done if you had not become a jewellery designer?
I always loved music and grew up playing the piano and flute as well as guitar. I would have loved to have been a musician although I am glad I chose jewlery as I would not have been able to handle the lifestyle of a musician!
11. Who are your favourite artists?
The list is endless, Richard Diebenkorn, and Paul Klee in the Art World, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Frank Gehry in the Architecture World, Suzanne Belperron in the Jewellery World as she broke so many rules and paved the way for designers like me.
12. What would you say to a young designer who is starting out? How do you see the world of jewellery developing?
It is so important to have confidence in your own viewpoint and really explore it. I would also highly recommend a young designer take a business class! The world of jewellery is developing into so many directions but the one thing that I think will always be important in the jewellery world is it’s connection to the wearer and the story that a piece of jewellery is able to tell.