My jewellery box seemed to be filling up with pieces that had sentimental value but I didn’t like and never wore… what to do? There was the ‘Dianaesque’ engagement and wedding rings from my long since deceased husband, my grandmother’s engagement ring that had worn so thin that it might break, my other grandmother’s gold watch that didn’t keep time on me and a random diamond earring, the partner of which long since disappeared down the plughole.
A friend suggested I took them to Jo at Originals in Odiham in Hampshire, as she had created bespoke pieces for them in the past so off I went armed with all sorts of ideas, pictures from Vogue…
The first thing Jo did was look at my motley collection of bits and my ideas and then straight away started sketching. She keeps all her clients’ design ideas and when I went back to her to write this piece I was amazed that she still had them (see above). We discussed the bits I liked the bits I didn’t. I was keen to keep the essence of my engagement ring and Jo suggested keeping the 18ct gold from my grandmother’s ring separate and so she used it to mount the stones rather than in the ring itself. I went back a few weeks later…. And wow! So much more than I could have hoped for! I now have a ring I love made from all the things special to me that I didn’t waer. Every stone tells a story and they are all bound together with memories.
Jo started out as a potter but job prospects are slim in ceramics. After starting an apprentiship, which she found a little stifling, she left and studied full time for her City and Guilds at Sir John Cass Faculty of Arts. She set up a bench in her parents’ house and worked on items for her friends and family before a local jeweller in Farnham, fed up of her pestering, allowed her a bench and training in his shop in return for three days work a week. In 1989 she opened her first shop in Odiham.
Her current shop has a friendly fun and vibrant feel to it. It is a high quality professional jeweller’s shop with a really cosy atmosphere and personal touch. Jo loves to work with good quality, brightly coloured gemstones which she sources from the finest suppliers. About 70 percent of her business is commission based or work remodelling jewellery and the work she puts into building relationships with her customers means that she has much repeat business. I highly recommend!