When it comes to jewellery, I love both dainty pieces and also ones that make a statement. And if my pieces make a statement, then I want them to be a talking point. When I first saw Caroline Stokesberry-Lee work, I gasped! The rawness of her pieces really appealed to me – it was that ruggedness that drew me in.
Caroline often uses raw and uncut gemstones in her pieces and the imperfection in those raw gemstones makes her pieces truly unique and no two pieces alike. It is no wonder that she has won Awards such as Cookson Gold Design of the Week Winner – August 2014 and was also a Prize winner in Palmer Metals 2013 Jewellery Design Competition. We are beyond delighted to be featuring her on Floralesque today.
Have you always been quite a creative person?
Definitely! All through my school years, I always enjoyed the arts and excelled at the more creative subjects such as art and design, history of art and English. In particular, I have always had a love for writing, and have over the years wrote short stories and poetry, some of which have been published in local magazines. As a child, I loved working with my hands and was always fascinated with the idea of making something from scratch.
Can you please tell us a little bit about your path into your career as a jewellery designer?
Becoming a jewellery designer was not something that I decided on straight away. After I did my A-levels at school, I went to the University of Ulster to study Social Administration and Policy. At that stage, I had intended to continue on to study Social work or Nursing. After I graduated, however, I decided to go straight into employment and then go back to study at a later date. In my spare time, I began to experiment with jewellery making and wire wrapping. I always had a love for gemstones, so even then, my designs centred around gemstones. I attended various courses, and private tuition with some amazing goldsmiths, such as Wayland’s Forge Silversmith School in the Skerries, Dublin, and Thomas Goldsmiths in Derry.
Your pieces are so unusual with their stunning textures, where do you get your inspiration from?
I was very lucky to have grown up on the North Coast in Northern Ireland, and much of my inspiration comes from the raw rugged landscape and mythical undertones of the countryside. In particular, the Giants Causeway has always fascinated me, and I loved visiting the stones as a child.
The gemstones that you use in your pieces are beautiful, where do you source these? Are there any that you particularly like to use?
I use a variety of gemstones in my pieces, both raw and cut….and have a number of different sources. I love nothing more than finding a new and unusual gemstone to use in a new collection, so I am always seeking out new sources! It is difficult to choose a favourite gemstone, but I always love using aquamarine and raw blue kyanite in my pieces!
Is there anyone that you would love to design a piece of jewellery for?
Angelina Jolie….I think she is an amazing actress and such an interesting person.
What is your favourite part of the design process?
I don’t think I have one particular favourite part. I love the entire process from coming up with a new idea to sourcing the gemstones, the experimentation with materials, and then making the final piece!
What was the most challenging part of launching your own brand?
The most challenging part was probably managing my time. I have two young girls aged 5 and 3, so at times it can be difficult juggling family life with running my jewellery business.
Would you have any tips for those hoping to start a career as a goldsmith/silversmith – something that someone had said to you when you were starting out?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be successful straight away. Building a brand takes time and there will always be ups and downs. It’s so important not to be knocked by the downs, and to keep going. The most important thing is doing something you love, use that passion to motivate you.
Where do you see your brand in the future?
At the moment I am working on some exciting new ideas involving newly learned techniques. So I am doing a lot of experimenting with new materials, which I love! I am also going to be working with a very exciting new stockist this year, all to be revealed in the coming months!
A massive thank you to Caroline for doing the interview, I loved learning more about the brand and her inspirations. If you are looking to buy a stunning and unique piece of jewellery then I would recommend taking a look at Caroline’s website, and you can also follow along with her on her journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
All images kindly provided for use and credited where credited.
If you enjoyed this interview in the ‘Floralesque Meets’ Series, then you can click here to read more exciting interviews with designers, creators, artists, photographers, entrepreneurs and more – enjoy meeting the makers!