Fortuna Weeks

Central Saint Martins Jewellery 2014 - I

For the second year, we have been working with Central Saint Martins, the leading art and design centre based in London.

Our collaboration gives the student designers an opportunity to experience designing with pearls for their final year work, which is showcased at a sparkling Jewellery Awards Evening on 19th June. We will be awarding our Winterson Prize to one of the students for 'The Best Use of Pearls'.

The designs are also open to the public at CSM during June 18-22nd.

Here we feature the first in a four part series of short interviews with designers from the CSM Jewellery 2014 show, including in this article – Eleonora D'Ottavi, Elizabeth Lee, Emma Duckers, Felicia Swartling and Fortuna Weeks.

Read about some of the other designers in Part IIPart III and Part IV of our interviews here. Discover the Winner of the Winterson Prize 2014 here.


Eleonora D'Ottavi


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am Italian although I have lived both in London and Geneva. In Geneva I became an intern in Christie’s jewellery department where I discovered Fine Jewellery. Since then I have been designing Contemporary/Fine jewellery.

What was the inspiration for this collection?

I wanted to create a collection which would transfer my personality and individuality into pieces of jewellery.

What have you discovered about working with pearls?

While writing my dissertation on the history of pearls I discovered that although natural pearls are incredibly symbolic, freshwater pearls are still without meaning even though they are just as beautiful.

What is it that makes a piece of jewellery a design classic?

I am not sure how to explain this, but there are some pieces of jewellery which make whoever is wearing them radiant, no matter what their age or style (both of the person and jewel). These are what I would consider a classic.

Which designer or artist do you most admire?


Name one jewellery toolbox essential that you can’t live without.

An antiseptic cream for burns.


Elizabeth Lee


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am half Chinese, half Taiwanese, born and raised in London. I have studied at Central Saint Martins since foundation, initially wanting to study fashion design and eventually becoming inspired by jewellery through product design.

What was the inspiration for this collection?

The concept of my collection entitled “Play” is based on the idea of finding the beauty in objects by looking at the finer details we often dismiss. Merging cosmetics into jewellery became the main source of inspiration as the notion surrounding makeup defines play.

What have you discovered about working with pearls? 

Pearls come in many sizes and shapes, each having its own unique character and lustre. For a few of my pieces, I worked with inlay and found that the rainbow shine could be reignited with a touch of water to recreate its mesmerizing appearance.

What’s next for you after CSM?

Designing anything product related for a company. Perhaps somewhere abroad!

What is your most treasured piece of jewellery?

A Yves Behar watch. The design is minimal and so innovative and beautiful!

Which designer or artist do you most admire?

Oki Sato for NENDO


Emma Duckers


Tell us a little bit about yourself

I am a designer who is looking to alter some of the grey in today’s world.

What was the inspiration for this collection?

The impact of heart disease has been the driving force behind this collection, as it is a matter close to my own heart. This collection is to raise funds for research aimed at conquering Cardiovascular Disease, the biggest killer within the United Kingdom.

There is a focus on the dual aspect of the heart: ‘two pairs of two different kinds of chamber, two types of blood- oxygenated and deoxygenated, red and blue, two sides, two return journeys, two types of vessel: artery and vein; all with a unification in purpose’ (L.Young, The Book of the Heart, 2002).

The series of pearl pieces focuses on the circulation of the blood around the heart. The lathed and milled interlocking sections illustrate the inter workings of the heart, whilst also allowing the neckpieces to have a dual wearability factor. Taking a broad view into a healthy heart, through to the digression experienced with Cardiovascular Disease.

The collection has been informed by the scientific advancements made in the study of the treatment of heart disease up until the present day. It also makes a nod to the fact that this is part of an on-going process. We are not at the end of the road yet and the collection celebrates innovation and advancement as abstract ideas by themselves, whilst also translating into a striking, wearable, considered pieces.

What have you discovered about working with pearls?

Pearls I have found hold the importance of material relevance for my collection, in representing both red, white blood cells and plasma. Relevant from the way they are formed, considered as a natural material and ideal in the array of colours and forms available.

Not only used for their relevance to my concept, yet used in this way the pearls offer an elegant luster, in a considered contemporary design.

Who could you imagine wearing your jewellery?

Melinda Gates.

Which designer or artist do you most admire?

Rebecca Horn for her creative approach to the adornment of the body and spaces.

Name your favourite place for design in London.

The Victoria & Albert Museum hosts an array of inspiration from all over the world under one roof. No matter how many times I visit there is always something new to discover.


Felicia Swartling


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Felicia Swartling, I am twenty-four years old and I am obsessed with jewellery. Where my love and hunger for jewellery has grown beyond anything I’ve ever felt before, to the point were Jewellery has to me become more then something that you just wear. It has become a part of me, almost like a language through which I can express myself.

What was the inspiration for this collection?

Similar to the framework of art and fashion, jewellery is also shaped by pre- conceptions that inevitably forms conventional jewellery to be conceived primarily as body adornment. When jewellery is not worn it is placed in a box, drawer or other encapsulating precious container to become invisible and obscured from further admiration. The jewellery box can therefore be seen as a parallel to the invisible space surrounding an exhibition or the stereotyped anonymous body on a catwalk.

With an equivalent shift of perception, my aim is to fuse features from other fields such as sculpture, flowers and African artefacts with jewellery to provoke the pre-conceptions that the conventional framework of jewellery may have.

Through the collection I have designed, I hope the wearer and viewer will re-evaluate the perception of what jewellery is and the value of its use. My collection consists of fifteen independent pieces of jewellery. Each piece has a dual quality; the ability to be worn, yet simultaneously does not require a body to be complete. The pieces have a sculptural quality to inhabit a space so to make the physical body irrelevant when they are displayed.

What have you discovered about working with pearls?

To work with pearls was a new experience and I’m now under their spell and intend to incorporate pearls in more upcoming collections.

What is it that makes a piece of jewellery a design classic?

Primal elements combined with futurism.

A design classic is something that possesses features from its history and tradition, yet fused with futuristic elements that when combined strikes as a contemporary piece with subtle connotations of heritage awareness.

What’s your motto?

No compromises. Shut up and work.


Fortuna Weeks


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Cuba and raised in New York City. I danced professionally and taught Pilates whilst living in NYC. After relocating to London I became fascinated by the creative buzz that surrounded me and decided to pursue a BA in Jewellery Design at CSM.

What was the inspiration for this collection?

Two contemporary artists inspired me: Yeon Joo Ham, a Korean textile artist; and Jose Parla, a Cuban/American painter. Their pieces brought to mind the interconnection of threads.

I taught myself a selection of complex braids using the ancient art of Japanese braiding, Kumihimo. Whilst braiding I found that I could relate the sound and rhythm of the bobbins knocking against the loom to the natural cycles in nature, such as Water. My collection is based on all these ingredients.

What have you discovered about working with pearls?

They feel great, they are timeless, and I love the lustre of good quality pearls. They are beautiful and work well with my collection.

What is it that makes a piece of jewellery a design classic?

A piece of jewellery is a design classic when it possesses timeless aesthetic value. It can be worn and appreciated regardless of when it was made.

What is your most treasured piece of jewellery?

My mother’s bracelets. Their family history, craftsmanship and beauty make them a design classic.

Name your favourite place for design in London.

My favorite place for design is the Saatchi Gallery.

Image Credits:

With thanks to Emma Duckers

Jewellery Trends for 2014: Blue, Bold and Pearls

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Central Saint Martins Jewellery 2014 - II

Junko Kurihara
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