Ten Years In The Making
It's been ten exciting, challenging and rewarding years since I started making my own designs and building Jana Reinhardt Jewellery to where it is today.
Giving up a well paid job as a diamond mounter in Hatton Garden (the heart of London's jewellery quarter) to start a jewellery company with no idea whether I'd make any money, seemed like a terrifying step to take at the beginning but I had worked as a goldsmith for ten years both in Germany and England and I was ready for a new challenge.
I finally took the plunge back in 2006 and I've never looked back.
Here's a picture of me at my first workbench in a shared studio in Cockpit Arts. Cockpit is a charity helping young artists kick start there careers and there were loads of creative, interesting people there.
My first pieces were all based on William Morris wallpaper designs. I created different kinds of flower jewellery, set with turquoise, coral beads and other gem stones. (We have recently re-visited these designs and we've created a couple of Flower Engagement Rings, follow the link to take a look!)
Finding people to buy my jewellery always filled me with terror and to this day, Ross, my husband, business partner and fellow goldsmith, does the majority of the phone calls and client meetings.
I prefer to be hidden away at the workbench carving wax or creating new patterns whereas Ross loves meeting new people so it works out really well.
He soon found stockists for my work but we had to be pretty thick skinned as there was a lot of rejection at the beginning. Bit by bit though our jewellery brand became better known and it got easier.
In 2009 we had our first daughter and Ross officially joined the business.
We moved into our own workshop, a tumble down ex-factory building, possibly run by the Albanian mafia, but again, full with creative people and just around the corner from Hatton Garden. We loved having our own space and surprisingly, despite the less than hospitable six foot gorrila on the front desk, we got more and more bespoke clients.
They seemed to appreciate the gritty experience of a real workshop, something different from the suits and polished show rooms on offer in Hatton Garden and Bond Street.
Most of our bespoke jewellery commissions were for engagement rings, wedding bands and diamond eternity rings but we made all sorts of things really and still do. Take a look at some of our more unusual jewellery commissions.
Eventually, we felt like we needed more space (plus the pigeon nests in the toilets were starting to bother us) and we had been dreaming about living by the sea for years. So we moved to sunny Worthing in Sussex, found a nice studio, employed some help and found Byron, our workshop beagle (aka child number two).
We've moved a couple of times since then but we now have a good size workshop with space for gold plating, an engraving machine and seats for 5 jewellers. There is also a neat little client area with a comfy couch, which makes us very happy (and Byron loves even though he's not allowed).
We also invested in a stone setting microscope, which means Ross is doing all our setting now, making us the perfect mount maker and stone setter team :)
Nowadays I spend most of my time wax carving, which has become my favourite part of jewellery making, whilst lovely Hannah is taking care of the majority of our silver orders.
From September I´ll be back in the studio five days a week, after having spent some time at home with baby number two (or three if you count the beagle).
We´ve got lots of plans and new ideas for the forthcoming years and we can´t wait to make it all happen! To celebrate, we've decided to have a big giveaway over ten days, a little party in our workshop on May 11th and a 24hour flash sale on Friday the 29th of April with some amazing discounts!
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And lastly here's a timeline Ross put together with some of our favourite jewellery pieces from the last ten years... Which are your favourites?
Jana & Ross xxx