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An interview with Clifton Rocks Jeweller: Katie Snow

You might recognise Katie Snow for her work as one of our in-house designers here at Clifton Rocks, but today we’re chatting all about her first individual collection, ‘Edge’

11 years in the making, we’re thrilled that you can get a look inside her brilliant mind with this 8-piece collection, including engagement rings, stacking rings, signet rings and a bangle too.

 

When did you realise you wanted to be a jeweller?

I literally decided in primary school that I wanted to make jewellery because I liked it. There’s definitely photos from that time of me heavily accessorised, wearing clip on earrings and necklaces. 

I have a memory from primary school when one of my friends was like “I want to be a doctor!” and I was like “…I don’t!”

 

How did you make your jewellery design career happen?

I studied at Birmingham School of Jewellery, which is where I learnt the basics. The course I did was more about design and the concept side of it. They wanted you to work in different materials, so we had all sorts of projects where we’d work with food, or paper…but I was determined to stick with using metal because that’s what I wanted to ultimately further my knowledge and skills in. 

My final collection was wearable containers in the style of pocket watches – they were very flat-sided with clean lines, so quite similar to what I’ve got now!

I then spent about eight years after graduating working in the Jewellery Quarter, in different parts of the industry, repairs and resizing, that kind of thing. At the start of my career, I worked with someone who was a great person to be on the bench with – he sort of had no inhibitions, and was just like “Yeah, go for it!” I think the first gold thing I touched I melted, and he was like “Oh don’t worry, it was only for stock”, so I was very lucky. 

And now I’m lucky enough to be part of the good, supportive, all-female team here at Clifton Rocks, which is really nice. 

 

You’ve just released your first jewellery collection, ‘Edge’. What was that like?

This collection started from one of our in-house projects, which was very much me exploring and making in different ways – it was exciting to branch out a bit more! I obviously haven’t got masses of precious metal and stones within this collection, it’s still quite a lot of silver, but it’s so nice to be able to design those pieces that are potentially going to be someone’s forever ring or bought for a very special occasion. 

The potential to have commissions off of them is also always exciting, because it’s usually for special occasions, happy times, and things which are all very sentimental. 

In terms of my aesthetic, I guess it’s kind of twofold. The engagement rings are quite crisp and knife-edge, and then there’s the more textured pieces. 

It was nice to do some stuff that’s not high polish, and to just play and use my favourite colour tones and geometric aesthetic. 

 

Princess Cut Champagne Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring - Katie Snow

Do you have a favourite piece from the ‘Edge’ collection?

It’s the princess cut engagement ring. I basically love orange, so this design was my nod to that. It’s got almost a half halo either side, a champagne diamond in the middle, and then cognac orange diamonds either side of that. 

Even with the salt and pepper diamonds, I’ve kept all of my stones quite warm – I picked the stones and kind of designed around them, so I’d like to try and do this style around some slightly different shapes as well.

 

What was your inspiration for the ‘Edge’ collection?

I do look at an awful lot of buildings…so I’m always the back of the pack in my friendship group. I remember once I was visiting a friend in Dublin with another friend, and they were way ahead in the road. 

They’d stopped and turned around and were like “Oh there she is again, looking up, taking photos…we’ll just wait here for you Snow!” 

I just like looking at lines a lot, the juxtaposition of how buildings intersect with each other, the differences between more modern buildings with a lot of glass and steel structures, and then older buildings which are perhaps a lot more intricate with their stone carvings and things like that. 

The lines they create, the negative spaces they create, the total mishmash –  anything like that catches my eye.

 

With that in mind, what’s your favourite building in Bristol?

I take a lot of photos of the suspension bridge, especially being up in Clifton! The cables that run up the sides go at different angles, and in different lights they just create amazing patterns. 

Even with the crosshatch-ish railings, when the sun shines you get the pattern of that on the pavement as well. A lot of the buildings up here feature Bath stone, so they’re quite linear in that respect too.

 

Speaking of Clifton…you said this collection kind of started from an in-house project. What’s the difference between an in-house project and an individual collection?

So here at Clifton Rocks we quite often set in-house projects. The latest one is the Bangle Project, but the one that started it for me was the Signet Project ‘Signature’ which we did a few years ago. 

Ultimately, everyone takes the same item and then designs that item in their own style. It was awesome to make something with no inhibitions and no particular pressure because it didn’t have to be a whole body of work. 

I actually based my project on a signet ring I’d made my Dad for his ruby wedding anniversary, so it was all just following a theme for me. After bangles I think we’re doing lockets, which I’m really excited about! 

 

What advice do you have for people trying to pick an engagement ring for their partner?

Usually I break it down to whether people have an idea of the stones their partner likes, then do they have an idea of what metal they wear – but at the end of the day it’s often about going with your gut.

 

What advice do you have for couples just starting to plan their wedding? 

I mean if we’re talking about cake, then ANNA Cake Couture is the one to go for…

But jewellery wise, I’d encourage more people to embrace the rings as a fun part of the planning. Not many people think about the fact that the rings are the only physical bit of the wedding you spend money on and keep forever (other than the marriage certificate!), so I just think it’s an exciting part of the journey. 

Oh, and leave enough time! 

 

How much time is enough time?

if you haven’t done your rings three months before your wedding, you want to be doing it then.

 

What’s been your favourite part of your jewellery making career so far?

Probably making the collection. As cheesy as it sounds, I know a lot more about myself, so being able to put that into the collection and sticking to my guns in knowing what I love.

 

What are you looking forward to (other than the lockets project…)?

Well I’d actually quite like to do a small range of lockets! I made one for my Mum years ago so I’ve got a vague idea of how I would want them to look, but would love to expand on that and take the work project into a mini collection. 

It also kind of brings me full circle to my degree project, because I see lockets as little tiny containers, but perhaps making them more wearable and accessible.

I’d also love to combine jewellery and yoga, as I’m a trained yoga teacher. A range of jewellery with hidden affirmations has been in my brain for quite a long time! 

I really like the calming side of yoga and the powers it has to heal and calm your mind, so I love the idea of being able to walk people through that side of the journey. 

You wouldn’t necessarily have to share with someone that you’ve got something about your person with a little message for yourself – it could look like a standard piece of jewellery, but within it is a little message to give yourself courage, or peace, or whatever you might need.

 

Come and see Katie’s Edge collection in store – find us at 31 The Mall, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4JG. If you’re lucky, she might even be in to chat you through it herself!

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