Jewellery is the unsung hero of a good fit. Often overlooked and seldom considered, accessories have the power to make or break a look – so it helps when all your pieces are sustainable, complex, and just straight fire. Enter SWEETLIMEJUICE; the jewellery brand crafting intricate silver and gemstone designs from London.
Having always been unconsciously drawn to the art of jewellery design, we caught up with SLJ founder Jovy to talk about the intersections of maker, wearer and piece – and how their signature ‘swaddling’ technique works to create and reinforce bonds with their jewellery.
Hey SLJ! Firstly, we want to get into the name. Where did this come from?
Hey! I’m Jovy, the co-founder and brand director of SWEETLIMEJUICE. My partner Simpson, the co-founder and creative director of SWEETLIMEJUICE, wants to say hi too!
About the name, Simpson came up with this random name during his final year at uni. He was inspired by a video games’ name generator. The idea was to create a brand that is statement-making, thought-provoking yet complementary to eclectic fashion styles. Add a glass of sour lime juice to some sweetener, and it becomes a refreshing drink.
You describe the design process as “articulate and meticulous” – could you break down your creative process for us? How do pieces go from concept to materiality?
After diving into the sea of research materials, Simpson usually starts his design process by playing around with silver rods and sheets directly on a mannequin or a body, making sure the intended designs have a streamline. From that, he will start to sketch and define the basis of a new design. We have started to incorporate 3D rendering and printing into the development process recently, so Simpson can cast the 3D print samples to metal.
When choosing materials we only opt for sustainable gem stones such as lab grown quartz and topaz and certified sterling silver (30% of which is recycled). We also work with reclaimed denim. For production, we have been working closely with the goldsmiths and silversmiths from Hatton Garden to ensure the high quality of our pieces.
Where do you find inspiration for the concepts that drive your designs?
History and art museums such as the V&A, British Museum etc and rare book shops are Simpson’s favourite places for research. But his main source of inspiration comes from observing daily life. He’s constantly catching interesting mechanisms, shapes and forms when walking on the street.
Were you always interested in designing jewellery? How did you get into it?
We were both influenced by our family unconsciously I would say. My mom was a fine jewellery designer who specialised in working with jade, pearls and diamonds. I was fascinated by her jewellery design illustrations but my passion was always in fashion. I graduated from BA Fashion Marketing at LCF and had been working at womenswear brands until Simpson invited me to start SWEETLIMEJUICE. I didn’t realise that I was already quite familiar with the jewellery design process, although it has been a long time since I was introduced to it at around 10 years old.
For Simpson, his father is a toy car designer who likes to study components and details. Seeing this, Simpson became interested in making things from scratch, and that led him taking the design foundation at CSM. It was all by chance that he got the best score in jewellery design and he just followed in that path. The rest is history.
I read that the focus of SLJ is placed on “the need for innovation and re-interpretation of traditional handcrafting techniques, the result of which is inimitable, gender-fluid and thought-provoking contemporary luxury” which is a really interesting statement which I think definitely carries through to the final pieces. Can you speak a bit more about this ethos?
Simpson was trained with silversmith techniques by working at Atelier Husam El Odeh. With Simpson’s rebellious mind, he’s always wanting to push the boundaries of traditional jewellery making by exploring new material combinations or mixing different techniques. For instance, we use denim and eco resin.
One of the signature features of SLJ is the ‘stone swaddling technique’. Can you talk us through what this is and how it impacts your work?
Our signature ‘gemstone swaddling’ technique embodies the personal bonding between the maker, wearer and the piece. We believe that jewellery is more than a decorative object but a belonging that holds a person’s memory or thought. The denim wrapped stone pendant compared to one’s true self can be revealed when breaking free from psychological constraints. The gemstone is wrapped in denim and sealed with Sashiko hand-stitch techniques; each stone is done uniquely in-house and has a slightly different finish. The piece ages, according to the wearer’s levels of wear and tear over the years, which reinforces the significant bond.
It’s also the technique upon which SLJ is based. Developed by Simpson during his final year, it won him the Swarovski Innovator award, and we derived our first collections from it.
What’s next for SWEETLIMEJUICE?
Design-wise, we will keep pushing boundaries for innovative fashion jewellery. We have recently developed a pendant mimicking the signature gemstone swaddling technique – a faceted quartz stone encased within a sealed, textured silver ‘cocoon’ with the gemstone revealed and strands imitating the fabric. Moving forward, we also want to expand our retail outlets, with a new site and seasonal pop-ups. There’s also a fine jewellery line in the works, so watch this space!
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