Jewellery for life
Thinking of proposing? A Southsea jeweller explains to Charlotte Pearson how to pick the right ring.
Choosing an engagement ring is not necessarily an easy task.
There are so many things you need to consider to ensure that when that box opens, alongside the look of shock, there is one of amazement.
But jewellery designer Charlotte Cornelius does have some advice.
“Think about the size,” she says. “We can resize a ring but if it is by too much it can change the design and the way it looks.
“Also with the metal, try and find out what she already wears.
“It can be hard as when I design a piece for someone I meet them, see what they are wearing, their style and character and figure out what they would wear and what would suit them, so I just have to go by what I am told.
“But I love it when they come back for the wedding rings, and I get to meet the fiancée and see if what their partner told me was right.”
At her new shop in Castle Road, Southsea, Charlotte admits a lot of the work she does are commissions for wedding rings, eternity rings and engagement rings.
“I also see a lot of people coming in who have been married, 30, 40 or 50 years and maybe didn’t have enough money for a proper wedding or engagement ring so now they can spend a little more and have something made,” she reveals.
Charlotte studied a HND in 3D design which saw her work in a range of materials, but it was metals that captured her imagination.
After being able to hone the practical and technical side of designing, making and marketing jewellery she moved into jewellery manufacturing where she learnt another side of the business.
“I then moved to Hayling Island and had my twin girls so I needed something more flexible,” explains Charlotte.
“I had a lot of contacts so started off small but as my daughters got older it meant I could do more and more so I launched the website.
“Now they are 18 and at university so I thought it was time to open a shop and the space came up in Castle Road.”
Living and working near the sea has heavily influenced Charlotte’s own work.
“I am inspired by nature,” she adds. “I have collections featuring seaweed, bubbles like pebbles on a beach, birds, and a tide collection.
“I try and do a collection a year, but it means retiring an old one.
“They all sell but it is looking at what needs to be rested. It is like telling your child that it is special but it needs to go away for a bit.
“I just think of them as limited edition, it makes it easier.”
Working with an in-house goldsmiths, Charlotte reveals she uses specialists for stone setting.
“Although we do a lot in the studio we do use specialists to achieve the best,” she explains.
Describing her designs as simple, chunkier with texture and contrasts, Charlotte sees a lot of inherited jewellery coming through the door.
“I find that these pieces don’t really fit in with people’s style and they want something that will,” she reveals.
“People want to keep and wear things rather than it being left in a drawer or jewellery box, so we can take the stone and put it in something else or reuse the metal.
“It is nice to have jewellery that lasts and can be passed down to someone else in the future.
“It means it will last forever, and it is really satisfying for me as the pieces are always filled with emotion and mean a lot to someone.”
The shop also does special buys, which when I visited was a stunning bee featuring rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds.
“These pieces are vintage or pre-owned,” explains Charlotte. “There is just something a bit special about the piece. It just has to be different and catch my eye.”
With her motto being ‘jewellery for life’ I’m sure that in years to come her pieces will also be handed down through the family to be loved and cherished.
Charlotte Cornelius, 66 Castle Road, Southsea, PO5 3AZ.
For more information, visit www.charlottecornelius.co.uk
All pictures: James White Photography
January 27, 2016 Fashion and Beauty