Started in 2019, Ark Jewellery focuses on producing limited edition artisan jewellery using only recycled or fair-trade materials. Kristina loves working with a variety of materials using the latest technologies such as laser engraving and 3D printing and casting. We chat with Kristina about sustainability, her biggest inspiration for her creativity and much more!

 

How did your brand begin?

I studied at the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design at the London Metropolitan University. It was of course a dream come true. But like many artists, from studying what you love to, finding the courage to turn that love into a business took me along a scenic route.

A true entrepreneur at heart, after 3 years of working in corporate real estate and finance recruitment I founded my own recruitment company and coached people seeking a career change and pushing their passion. This drive focused my own attention on my interests, and in 2019 Ark Jewellery was born.

How are your products made?

Starting with sketches and ideas. I make a prototype that is cast in metal for future production. I also love creating my designs using new technology such as CAD design and laser cutting or etching. I use professional services for some of the works in my vicinity in Kent or London.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?

My collections are inspired by travel, history, culture, and symbols. I loved history when I was growing up and it was my favourite subject in school. My latest ‘Arabesque’ and ‘Santorini Collections’  are inspired by places I visited and their stories which I am compelled to tell through the stories in my jewellery. Symbols give the pieces a talisman-like element that has been popular in the current climate.

Travel has been so elusive in the past 18 months, I often go to a happy place in my mind and these are the ones I often visit. Call it mindfulness.

How do you ensure your designs are ethical and sustainable?

I use local services when looking to collaborate, all workshops are within 20.000 miles of my Kent studio. I use recycled or fair-trade materials wherever possible, all packaging is also sustainable, ensuring the minimisation of any carbon footprint created by the production of the jewellery.

Can you recall a particular moment with a client that will stay with you forever? Could be a funny horror story or a fond memory.

One of my customers who purchased the Crescent Moon necklace said when she saw it, she felt she had to have it. She loved the unique design which spoke to her, and it became a talisman and an important piece in her jewellery collection. She went on to buy the earrings as well so she is the delightful owner of a set!

How do you want someone to feel when they wear/use your designs?

I produce jewellery collections with stories that I hope resonates with customers! 

Art without a story is meaningless. But like all good art, my pieces give people room to discover their own emotions, connections and weave them into a story that ultimately makes them part of their life.

If you could only wear one piece from your collection, what would it be and why?

Any of the rings from my latest Santorini Collection because they take me back to a happy holiday there, they are unique, tell a story, and are always a talking point wherever I wear them.

If you hadn't become a designer, what would you be doing?

My interest in history from a young age as well as art lead me to want to become an archaeologist when I was 12.

Values are really important to us at JewelStreet. What are your core brand values?

From day one, I have used recycled or fair-trade materials. Without a doubt, the jewellery business has a particular reputation and disregard for the planet through mining. As an artist, I believe the passion to create art is not just to make a perfect material to create beauty, but also to educate and raise awareness.

If you could travel to one place in the world right now, where would it be and why?

Thailand, we were planning a trip there in 2021 to celebrate a special birthday! I was looking to find inspirations too for a new collection too.

Are there any specific manufacturing/crafting techniques you use?

Wax model making and casting in silver and gold is the most commonly used technique I use when creating a number of pieces that can be reproduced. Being intrigued by new technologies and 3D design printing, I explored the boundaries of what we can do that are perceived as precious, mixing unusual materials such as wood and fine metals, incorporating gemstones into designs that are elegantly inspired by the fragility and beauty of nature.

What drew you to JewelStreet?

I love Jewel Street because it offers a platform for independent designer-makers with a clear purpose, supporting brand growth with all aspects of the business in marketing & PR, selling, press and events as well as a dedicated Account Manager to liaise with. I haven’t found this level of complete service anywhere else.

Who is your favourite artist?

Iris Apfel, amazingly versatile artist and businesswoman, copywriter, interior designer, jewellery collector, fashion model… the list goes on! What an inspiring lady, this is how I want to grow old.

How do you ensure you’ve got a good work/life balance?

I run 2x a week, mostly on a cross-trainer as it is not weather dependant! I relax in my garden where everything constantly moves as I design different looks upcycling everything possible, weekly yoga for stretching and calming body and soul.

What is your favourite quote?

"Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There's no how-to road map to style. It's about self-expression and, above all, attitude." of course Iris Apfel!

Thank you for talking with us Kristina!

Click here to see Kristina Smith's boutique on JewelStreet.