We recently had the pleasure of chatting with inspiring young jewellery designer Maeve Gillies. Exhibiting for the first time this year at IJL with her brand MaeVona, her Scottish heritage is clear to see in her innovative designs. Originally from Scotland but now based in New York, she has already gained a huge international following; we cannot wait to see what she has in store for us at IJL 2014.
Q: You first tried goldsmithing when you were 15, was this what inspired you to become a jeweller?
A: Yes. My grandparents owned an art gallery in the Scottish Borders and I spent days admiring the intricate work of their featured jeweller. I luckily got to do work experience with her, and also at Clarksons on Victoria Street in Edinburgh. After these two experiences, I was hooked!
Q: Was your vision from the start to set up your own jewellery company and create pieces based on Scottish heritage?
A: I always knew I wanted my own jewellery business, but worked in six countries before I found the right angle. Designing for Domino in Birmingham was the final piece of my jigsaw. I relished the challenge of being creative and commercial, and felt passionate about the precious significance of engagement rings. As my business plans came together, my Scottish heritage inspired me, and defined MaeVona.
Q: What made you decide to move to New York and set up your business there?
A: I had worked in New York City as a fashion jewellery designer for two years when I completed my undergrad degree, and the US market intrigued me. There was a gap in the market for my 'look', and bridal brands were already established. Plus, my friend and co-founder Kenneth Cowin is a New Yorker.
Q: What pieces are you most proud of?
A: Probably my ERISKAY engagement ring, which was the first MaeVona ring I ever designed in 2004. I loved it so much we called it 'my precious'! It defined everything I wanted MaeVona to be - beautiful, feminine, elegant and original. It's still our bestseller today! I guess that's what defines a truly classic design. You can't plan it. It just happens. It can cross decades and still feel as fresh and unique as the day it was made.
Q: How big is the team that work in your New York HQ?
A: We have Marketing, Sales and Design in the office. Customer Service and Production is in our factory. We are 150 in total, shared with our new partners, Paul Winston Group.
Q: Do you have any celebrity clients?
A: To me all our customers are celebrities - real women who wear their rings every day! I never get tired of discovering where the latest customer lives, what they do for a living, and which design they chose to match their lifestyle.
Q: It will be your first year exhibiting, why did you choose IJL?
A: In 2013 we received so many requests through our website and Facebook to see our designs in UK cities, we realised the timing is perfect to find the right high-end retail partner in each city - all of whom will be at IJL.
Q: Which pieces are you planning to bring to the show?
A: We will have all the MaeVona bridal classics and bestsellers, as well as our all-new BLACK GOLD and BLACK ROSE engagement collections, using pink and black gold/diamonds together. You can see all of these trending on our Facebook and Instagram right now @MaeVona. We will also be showing our amazing new CELTICA fashion jewellery collections, shot in the Highlands of Scotland and featuring Slate Silver, Scottish Agates, Diamonds and Gemstones.
For your chance to see Maeve and her award winning bridal jewellery pre-register for IJL 2014. Pre-registration will be open shortly, fill out this quick form and we will notify you when it is open. www.jewellerylondon.com/notify