27 years ago, my mum walked up to a woman in a pub who she knew worked in a jewellery shop and asked her if I could have a job there. Mum always told me I could do anything, but at that age she decided she would help me get started.
I was 15 at the time, head full of art and fashion and I wanted to go to art college.
I worked there for 3 years, and both of my sisters got jobs there too. I learned all about precious metals, stones, diamonds, settings and how people interact with jewellery, why they buy it, what it means, and how they wear it.
When I was 18 I moved to Dublin as I had secured a place to study Fashion and Textiles Design in the National College of Art and Design, it was a big deal - the Central Saint Martins of Ireland. Every Saturday for most of those four years I went to work in a famous jewellery shop in the city centre and sold diamond engagement rings. The other sales associates literally used to try and trip me up, as they worked full time, and they didn’t like me coming in on a Saturday, the most lucrative day of the week, to steal their commission!
Even though I specialised in Printed Textile Design, my whole final year was a project based on diamonds, how the light would hit them, the look and feel, all of it. I must have been obsessed.
After university I moved to London, I had some interviews set up with some textile printers, but soon after I got here I got a job at Harrods as a sales associate for a London jewellery designer.
I was taking the place of a girl who was moving into the design studio, and that’s what I wanted to do too… start designing jewellery… The senior team were encouraging at first, until they realised how much jewellery I could sell, so on the shop floor I stayed! But I had great clients, and worked on lots of bespoke pieces, and got to know the ins and outs of the jewellery bench and all the craftspeople from stone setters to polishers to engravers. It was also very exciting as someone who was obsessed with music to meet so many famous rock stars…