We caught up with jewellery maker, traveller, entrepreneur and all-round lovely lady Lenique Louis about her latest designs.
Is your jewellery ethical? How do you source your materials?
The semi-precious stones and freshwater pearls I purchase are sourced from a certified Fairtrade supplier based in England. They also have a mine in India, where their focus is mining for stones ethically, with conditions that are safe for the workers, ensuring the workers are fairly treated and paid a good wage. Making sure the money is benefiting the local community by employing locally is really important.
How did you learn the ancient hand carved wax technique? Or is it secret, like the Magic Circle?
I received a book about it and wanted to explore more, so I began carving some sculptures in my gran’s garage. It was raw and organic and I loved the fact that I could put all my thoughts and emotions into the wax. However, I needed to refine my work so I was fortunate to get placements and internships with Stephen Webster and the Queen’s jewellers Garrad, where their master wax carvers would help to improve and refine my skills.
What was the first piece of jewellery you ever made?
The first ever piece of jewellery I made was a large coral reef-inspired ring. It was beautiful, chunky and very heavy. I still have it and still look back and remind myself of when I first created it.
Your website says you’ve worked with the shopping channel QVC – what did that entail?
It was a fantastic time as I worked in the jewellery buying department. I learnt what buyers were looking for, how to spot trends, what celebrities were wearing, what styles were in, and what the big jewellery piece of the moment was. I had a great experience.
Have you had any celebrity customers?
Yes! Ellie Goulding is a celebrity customer. She loves our jewellery, especially our Gem Coral ring in gold, which is currently sold out due to the fact she wore it in her music video for ‘Love Me Like You Do’ for The Fifty Shades Of Grey blockbuster.
If money was no object, what piece of jewellery would you buy for yourself?
20 carat diamond encrusted hoop earrings for myself, as I always wear my Spine hoop earrings.
We love your designs inspired by Thailand’s coral reef. Have you got your next adventure planned?
I plan to visit New Deli very soon and I have to visit my second home, Thailand, again.
Have you got any old housewife-style tips for cleaning jewellery? Lemon juice? Bicarb?
I’ve tried and tested this method again and again. I get some warm water and a tiny drop of washing up liquid and place my jewellery into the solution for no more than 5 minutes. After this I take the jewellery out of the solution and give it a little rinse and gently scrub it with an old toothbrush. I rinse it again letting it dry and wipe it with a damp cloth – it comes out as good as new.
What items of jewellery are you wearing right now?
I always wear my own jewellery so you will notice me from a distance. I’m always wearing my Spine hoop earrings in gold as they go with everything, whether you’re casual or want to dress up for a night out. I wear my Gem Coral rings in rose gold and gold on my left hand. On my right hand I’m wearing my Potter ring stacked with my Cluster ring. My motto is you can never have too many items of jewellery!
Check out Lenique’s collections at www.leniquelouis.com