Interview with Lauren Davison, founder of Ellie Air Jewellery
Read how Lauren Davison launched Ellie Air Jewellery.
What is your career background?
Straight out of school I started a studio apprenticeship at a jewellers in Cambridge focusing on the design and manufacture of high-end, fine jewellery. In 2013 I studied further at the Alchimia International School of Jewellery in Florence, with more of a focus on mixed media and conceptual jewellery.
On returning to London I started the brand Ellie Air and over the next four years worked with a few jewellery stores and designers in both London and New York, before going full-time with Ellie Air in 2017. The brand is now based on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, where we have our own studio and apprentice, continuing the legacy that started it all for me.
Why is it so important to work with Fairmined gold?
We work with Fairmined gold because gold mining is another area of the jewellery industry that has been exploited and has created environmental devastation over centuries.
Choosing to work with Fairmined gold ensures provenance, and the miners receive a premium that goes towards their communities, clean water, healthcare, education for younger generations and more. Fairmined Ecological gold is mined without the use of mercury or other hazardous chemicals and therefore is socially and environmentally friendly.
What is your brand’s USP?
Consumers have become increasingly responsibly minded over the past few years, with customers demanding to know more about where their purchases have come from.
Striving to be a responsible and sustainable brand currently sets us apart as we are able to offer Fairmined and Fairtrade gold, fair-trade and responsibly sourced gemstones and diamonds and can confirm our workshop and studio uses no hazardous chemicals and is paper free.
However, these things take time and we believe that this is something every jewellery (and non-jewellery) brand will be able to achieve in the long run.
The Ellie Air brand is borne out of my obsession for natural, striking gemstones and this carries through into each and every one of my designs. Over the years I have collected hoards of weird and wonderful gemstones and diamonds, each with their own character and allure.
The jewellery I create is designed around the gem, letting the stone ‘do the talking’, leading to the Ellie Air signature style of simplicity and geometric elegance. The geometry that comes out of these one of a kind pieces then runs through the collection pieces that all feature angular designs and bright gems and diamonds.
What is your proudest moment so far?
Many brands might boast of awards and accolades and being recognised in the industry’s 30 Under 30 in 2016 felt like a great achievement. But I also feel that Ellie Air has smaller moments to be proud of – achieving things like hiring our first apprentice who is now learning the traditional skills of making jewellery and launching our first ethical jewellery collection ’Notte’ back in 2018.
Why is your work so important to you?
I have always had a creative drive, first of all at school, then in my various sessions of training to be a jeweller. When the chance to build my own brand opened up I saw it as an opportunity to reflect that creativity into the world and to help write people’s stories into jewellery.
Jewellery is such a personal, intimate thing; you can remember exactly when or why you bought a piece, or who gave you something extra special. Being allowed in to some of the most private moments of peoples’ lives is a true gift in itself, but being able to give something back as a way to remember it, to keep with them always, is even more amazing.
Who inspires you?
Though I don’t take inspirations directly from other people or other jewellery, I have always admired the work of milliner Philip Treacy and jewellery designer Andrew Grima. My main inspirations are my love of astronomy, especially the Earth’s moon, and the gemstones themselves.
It never ceases to amaze me that nature has created these natural stones, those that are unheated and untreated, polished into the most spectacular cuts, and for most of our designs the stones really do the talking!
What are you top three pieces of advice for aspiring jewellery designers?
First of all try to gather a network of peers and professionals around you, it’s invaluable to have people who can help or just hold your hand when the going gets tough.
Secondly try to find your story and your style early on, continually working towards that and evolving with the world – it’s a very saturated market so try to stand out from the crowd. Lastly, work hard and be nice to people!
Read more about Ellie Air Jewellery.