Recently, we caught up with Nadia Thomas for a chat and a quick Q & A session about her work and her inspiration. Nadia, based in Enfield, North London has been a customer of Gemstone Cabochon since 2015. She first caught the jewellery-making bug as a child...
Gemstone Cabochon - Where did you learn the art of jewellery making?
Nadia Thomas - My first silversmithing class was at the London Jewellery School. I then began enrolling onto more and more classes each weekend. I began experimenting with different mediums; glass, enamel, metal clay to name a few. I still go back there every now and then if there’s a specific class where I feel I want to strengthen my skills in. I have also attended an evening class at the Mary Ward Centre and had the opportunity to do a day class with Anastasia Young at Central St. Martins. Whilst travelling around Ubud in Bali I was able to pick up some old fashioned techniques from locals who had been taught themselves from generation to generation.
GC - How long have you been making jewellery?
NT - I actually had my first taste of jewellery making at a very young age. I was probably around nine or ten when I would buy lots of beads and base metal findings to put together. However, it wasn’t until almost three years ago that I began taking the classes at the London Jewellery School.
GC - Where and how do you sell?
NT - I have a website chamareldesigns.com but most of my sales are via word of mouth. From family, friends and colleagues, commissions have built up. I hope to begin targeting arts and crafts markets later in the year.
GC - What are your favourite stones and why?
NT - I love working with semi-precious gemstones. You’d be surprised how many people haven’t heard of stones such as prehnite or even labradorite. The range is so vast. Whilst shopping for stock I’ve become a bit obsessed with labradorite. The way the stones change as they catch the light is almost hypnotic. So much blue, gold, green, even purple ‘flash’, all encompassed in just one type of stone. I like one of the ancient Inuit legends that says some of the Northern Lights were released from these stones found in Labrador and some stayed trapped within the rocks. (We like this legend too -GC)
On a more personal level, I love wearing rainbow moonstone. It’s a stone I’ve just become drawn to over the years. In terms of a more opaque stone, I adore the depth of colour in lapis as it’s so rich and bold and creates quite a statement.
GC - How long have you been selling and what has been your best seller?
NT - Until late last year I had only really been selling pieces to friends and family. I initially set up my website as a visual because people would keep asking me where could they view my work. The last six months I have knuckled down and been very focused on churning out stock so that I can be more business orientated. I have found that people tend to want more simplistic, every day pieces. Studs, stacking rings, pendants with clean lines and classic cut stones. My Aurora pendants, Kelowna Dreamcatcher pendants and stone studs have probably been my most popular pieces.
GC -If you could own any gemstone what would it be?
NT - Either a star sapphire or star garnet! At the end of last year I travelled around India and became fascinated by the asterisms within these stones. I actually bought myself a ring set with a star ruby so it would be nice to add to that with one of these two as garnet is my birthstone and my mum’s was sapphire.
GC - Do you find making jewellery therapeutic and relaxing?
NT - Yes I do! The main reason I took my first class was to aid the grieving process after my mum passed away. I became very dependent upon channelling everything into my jewellery. I am conscious that I always want it to be something I enjoy doing, regardless of the hours spent shut away in my studio. The only time I might deviate away from this is when I’m working on a last minute commission. Stress levels naturally peak but the sense of pride and achievement upon completion (and happiness of the client), makes it all worthwhile.
GC - Does your source of inspiration constantly change?
NT - A lot of my inspiration for designs start from the stones I’ve purchased. What stones are in my boxes? How can I use them? What ones are currently popular amongst my clients, or are the latest trend? I enjoy travelling and when I do I bring home a little piece of that place, whether it’s in the form of stones that are familiar to that region/country or an actual piece of jewellery. These all contribute to the thought process when I'm designing.
GC - You named your business ‘Charmarel’ - where does the word come from?
NT - Chamarel is a place in Mauritius famous for its natural beauty of coloured earths and cascades. I wanted to choose a name that was somehow reflective of my mum, who has had the most influence on my life, especially as her passing was the trigger for me beginning my jewellery classes. Mauritius was her home country so it seemed appropriate to use Chamarel as I have such good memories from when we visited there
GC - What are your plans for the future?
NT - At times I feel that I’m still developing my style and want to create more of an identity. I’d like to experiment with more organic, darker pieces instead of purely focusing on clean lines. I would love to learn more about lapidary as I think it would give me the opportunity to cut stones to suit my designs for a change, rather than the other way round.
Here at GC we love Nadia's work - I particularly like the clean lines of the cradle pendant and the beautifully simple sunstone earrings.
Nadia's details are available in the Jeweller’s Directory, and all of her pictures can be viewed in our gallery. Gemstone Cabochon would like to take this opportunity to thank Nadia for her patronage and the time she's given us for this feature. We wish her the very best of luck in all her future ventures.
Many end users come to our website via Instagram and we are often asked by them where they can purchase finished products, or if we can recommend jewelers, so this is a great way to get free publicity! Each of our Featured Jewelers also receives a £20 Gemstone Cabochon GIFT voucher, so do get in touch if you'd like to be one of our Featured Jewellers.
Also, don't forget to send in your details to be included in our Jeweller’s Directory!