Emma Finney and Jon Tompkins launched their award-winning jewellery brand, So Jewellery, 10 years ago after successfully running a retail jewellery business in Richmond for many years. Their constant insight into what customers want and what brings them back to their store time and time again has helped the pair create a sought-after collection of sterling silver jewellery.
Their affordable luxury designs switch between classic motifs that are perfect for gifting, and slightly more unusual designs that will stand out in your collection. We chat to Emma about creating her best designs at her kitchen table and her life-saving engagement ring.
How did you first get into the jewellery industry?
“I came into the jewellery trade in my early thirties, so I’ve been in the industry for 20 years now. I had a background in retail as my husband and I ran a successful jewellery shop called Denham & Finney. I’m a completely self-taught designer and I’ve always considered designs from a wearable standpoint given my commercial roots.”
How did So Jewellery begin?
“After extensive research, I firmly believed there was a need for a silver jewellery brand that adhered to the high standards of many of the more expensive gold pieces, yet was still affordably priced and beautifully packaged. Ten years later and we’re still going strong!”
"Ten years later and we’re still going strong!"
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
“I travel a lot and I’ve lived in Spain for several years. The simple, sophisticated style of most Spaniards has definitely influenced my designs. Clients often comment on the jewellery as having a Scandinavian feel to it, which may, in fact, come from my belief that ‘less is more’. If I ever need advice on new collections I always turn to my Danish sister-in-law, Trine. She’s been my inspiration when it comes to jewellery and has a stylish taste in everything, from jewellery to fashion, furniture to friends!”
What’s the most meaningful piece of jewellery you’ve ever received?
“My engagement ring is by far the most meaningful piece in my collection, not least as it literally saved my then fiancé’s life! He was in Jaipur deliberating over whether to turn right to the shop selling a very ornate ring or to turn left and go with the less glamorous but more unusual ring. Thankfully he turned left, as later he discovered that the huge explosion he heard whilst making his purchase was a bomb that exploded right outside the other jewellery shop. Although I could argue that there are many other ways in which I have saved him, he never disputes the luck the ring has brought!”
"My engagement ring is by far the most meaningful piece in my collection, not least as it literally saved my then fiancé’s life!"
What are your core brand values at So Jewellery?
“Our values are based on three core principles: design, quality and service. Our pieces are all made and finished to the highest standards and we will always go that extra mile to ensure that our clients’ experience is the very best it can be. Quick delivery, a no-quibble returns policy and good stock levels are just some of the lengths we go to to ensure that we remain customer-focused in all that we do.”
Where do you create your best work?
“I do my best work at my kitchen table! I’m lucky enough to have a large open space that’s light and minimalist, enabling me to de-clutter my mind and think clearly and productively. Spring is usually the season that inspires most of my best work, with many pieces being named after this season of new beginnings, like ‘Dew’, ‘Crocus’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Sunflower’.”
Are there any of your customers you’re particularly proud of?
“Everyone who enjoys wearing our jewellery. Each time we get a note of thanks or enthusiastic praise, it means so much to the whole team!”
Where’s your favourite place to visit?
“My favourite place to visit, just for the pure joy of it, is the jewellery room at Liberty’s. The clean, contemporary displays combined with the classic environment and ambience always leaves me falling in love with the jewellery industry all over again!”
How do you want someone to feel when they wear your jewellery?
“Stylish, sophisticated, special and a little bit spoilt!”
What’s been the highest point of your career as a designer?
“Being shortlisted for Brand of the Year and Supplier of the Year by Retail Jeweller Magazine and Highly Commended for Gift of the Year by the Giftware Association – all in the same year!”
What drives you to continue creating jewellery?
“Constantly seeking new avenues for our jewellery to shine. We have a good foothold in the Corporate Rewards market and we sell through some beautiful independent jewellers, as well as online via JewelStreet. But perhaps the most valuable time of all is at jewellery shows where we can interact with our customers, soak up the feedback and enjoy watching their reaction to the brand.”