Growing up by the sea in Largs, Scotland, Genna Delaney fell in love with the ocean, and all the curiously-shaped shells and pebbles it left behind. Ever since she was a little, girl she’s been making things with her hands and now, as an adult, she channels that passion into her striking and quirky range of jewellery.
Working with metal and precious stones, Genna forges one-of-a-kind bracelets, bangles, rings, earrings and necklaces that she views as wearable, miniature sculptures. Each piece is crafted by hand and inspired by a love of the natural world, with plenty of contemporary geometric designs to choose from.
We chat with Genna about her love for the sea, making people feel special and her hopes for the future of Genna Design.
When did you fall in love with jewellery?
“Designing and making jewellery is my passion. I got into making jewellery in my 6th year at secondary school, Largs Academy, Scotland. This was back in 1998. I wasn’t a girly girl but fancied making big statement pieces and I was inspired by Egypt at the time. So, I made chunky copper sheet embossed necklaces linked together with wire and beads. I wanted to learn proper jewellery skills like soldering so I applied to college to do an NC and HND in Jewellery and Fashion Design. I got into Cardonald College, just outside Glasgow in 1999, and I studying there till 2002. As soon as I started learning professional jewellery making techniques I fell in love with the art of working with metal and stones. I applied to art school and got into direct 2nd year Jewellery and Metal Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee in 2003.”
Where did you grow up and how has it influenced you as a designer?
“I grew up in the coastal town of Largs, a beautiful location on the West Coast of Scotland, beside the sea, with hills and parks and the countryside nearby. I loved combing the beaches of Largs, picking up unusual shaped rocks, stones, shells and sea glass. And I love to go out on walks with my dogs. This experience has been a major influence on my work and is why I use unusual textures and contrasting finishes. I love using natural stones that have unusual shapes and cuts, and which have natural inclusions. Each piece is totally unique.”
"I love using natural stones that have unusual shapes and cuts, and which have natural inclusions. Each piece is totally unique."
What drove you to start Genna Design?
“I wanted to design meaningful pieces that made people feel special, loved and that reflected their true individuality and style.”
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
“My work is inspired by my natural surroundings, architecture, natural rock formations and nature. I design and make every piece on my own in my studio in Dundee. My new collection, due to launch later this year, is inspired by technology and architecture, as I am using 3D printing technology.”
"I design and make every piece on my own in my studio in Dundee."
Values are hugely important to us at JewelStreet. What are your core brand values at Genna Design?
“I love to help people feel good about themselves. I love to produce high quality, original statement pieces which help people stand out from the crowd. I love to make pieces that carry memories and sentimental value to my customers, this is why I offer a revamping service.”
What’s been the highest point of your career so far?
“Reaching my 10-year anniversary last year and having a solo show of all my work in a lovely gallery space. Plus, the awards that I've been selected for, including being nominated as Best Scottish Artist Designer in the Scottish Variety Award, a finalist in the Women Ahead Business Awards and being shortlisted for BT- E-entrepreneur awards.”
How do you want someone to feel when they wear a piece by Genna Design?
“I want them to feel confident, loved, cherished, appreciated, beautiful, individual.”
"My clients are real people who appreciate helping others and like to support local, independent businesses."
Who are your clients?
“My clients are real people who appreciate helping others and like to support local, independent businesses. They have their own individual style and love to wear unique pieces of jewellery that no one else has. I work on a one-to-one basis with my bespoke clients so all of them have their own story. Each piece is sentimental to them and carries memories. One in particular is Audrey, whose husband commissioned a bespoke necklace and bracelet with pearls he bought many years ago. It was a total surprise for Audrey's special birthday and they have since commissioned me to make more pieces.”
What does the future hold for Genna Design?
“I always want to grow and push my brand further. I love to teach, educate and pass on knowledge to others, so I have started mentoring and teaching jewellery classes in my studio in Dundee. I would love to exhibit at high-end shows such as Goldsmiths Fair, London. I would love to have a celebrity ambassador to help increase the profile of my brand. I’m also really interested in making larger statement, higher end commissions, for film and the catwalk.”