Gemma’s Beautiful Handcrafted Jewellery

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With so many department stores and outlets on our high streets selling cheap, poorly made jewellery I can’t help but feel like I had become desensitised to what quality jewellery really is. It was a welcoming and refreshing reminder stepping into a unique store like Gem of England where you witness first-hand beautiful, handcrafted, home grown jewellery. The difference not being just in how it looked, but also how it felt wearing it and consequently how it made you feel.

There are stock pieces which continue to be popular with Gem’s customers, in collections such as ‘Life’s a Beach’. However her talented eye for handcrafted jewellery and skill is really shown off with the bespoke, one-of- a-kind pieces.

Whether it is a customer bringing back a Mussel shell from Majorca to be made into a necklace or a doctor requesting cufflinks in the shape of a bottle of Bordeaux with the name of a French Chateau engraved on each one; Gem is the person to make the vision real. She brings the idea into reality working with the raw materials with such elegance, style and quality at the core. Her clients come back every year with made to order requests, illustrating the trust they have in Gem and the consistency of her delivery.


The Products

Handcrafted Jewellery: Mussel necklace

Mussel Shell Necklace

 

This beautiful necklace is a bespoke piece designed following a customers trip to Majorca, in which a number of mussel shells were taken. Gem picked the mussel shell which would create the best mould and cast it into solid sterling silver. The bail was handcrafted (the loop for the chain) and this was soldered to the shell. The next part of the process is for the sterling silver shell to be sent to London assay office to be hallmarked where Gem of England is registered. Once this process is complete it comes back to the shop for a final polish and for the chain to be added.

Price: £220

Fanny Pack subscribers: £10 voucher (in the shop & online)


Handcrafted Jewellery: Nappa Leather Bracelets & Charms

These bracelets are a real hit, they are very durable, easy to wear, come in many colours (so plenty of choice) and are at a great price point. With a slightly smaller budget you can purchase the leather bracelet for just £30 and save over time to add on the charms. The handcrafted charms are charming, with nature-inspired themes, hearts, stars and your initials… so  you can compose a beautiful collection on your wrist completely tailored to your preference.

I usually find myself irritated by bracelets due to the feeling on my oversensitive skin and the sound they make on my desk when typing on my laptop. These Nappa Bracelets were perfect for me as they were surprisingly soft on the skin, extremely comfortable to wear and looked great at the same time.

Not a surprise then that I left the store with one on my wrist 🙂

Nappa Leather Bracelet

Price: £30

Fanny Pack subscribers: £10 voucher (in the shop & online)


Handcrafted Jewellery: Stirrup Link Necklace

Stirrup Link Necklace

This was a personal favourite of mine, however I am biased due to my love for all things equestrian. When Gem described the gruelling process to get this stirrup filed and cut just right, it made me appreciate the skill and time it takes to create these unique pieces. For anyone who loves chunky, heavy jewellery this would be a hit.

The chain picture above is not reflective of the link chain which really sets this piece of jewellery off. Each link in the chain and the T-bar is handcrafted by Gem and when you see it up close it is a piece that truly stands out.

Price: £350

Fanny Pack subscribers: £10 voucher (in the shop & online)


The Woman Behind It All

 

Gem of England
Gemma, the owner and jewellery maker

Gemma (better known as Gem) has a immense passion for jewellery for as long as she can remember. She is someone who is continuously inspired by her surroundings to handcraft these unique pieces. Whether it be when walking her dogs in the New Forest, visiting the awe-inspiring Victoria and Albert museum in London or observing art sculptures in exhibitions.

In 2006 Gem decide to bite the bullet and take a private course on making jewellery called Flux n’ Flame. Plenty of people tried to discourage her along the way saying, ‘you can never make a living from it,’ and ‘you will be wasting your time’. Undeterred Gem took the course and decided to throw her all into making it happen. In order to generate enough capital to purchase the materials she needed to get started she took every type of job she could find: Dog walking, babysitting, cleaning and even becoming a vet’s assistant.

It started out small, selling a few pieces here and there to friends, word of mouth at parties and occasionally promoting her craft at jewellery fairs. This expanded onto greener pastures as Gem approached hotels, a chance to showcase her work to potential new customers. Her jewellery is showcased in the Captains Club in Christchurch and Limewood hotel and spa, a magical and exclusive place where celebrities often stay due to its luxurious reputation.

We love to champion women in their respective industries and roles, however in parallel recognise the importance of the fragile world we live in. Gem does this through focusing on recycling of the metal she works so closely with. When she works on her bench she uses the leather skin which sits underneath to catch the silver debris which she can then use to make other pieces. This environmentally friendly approach has formed a collection called ‘the melt down’, in which Gem Freeman Jewellery designs ‘one-off’ pieces.

In 2013 Gemma won Business Mother of the Year Dorset 2013 at the Venus Awards which recognises women in business. In 2014 she returned to the awards as a sponsor of a new category called ‘Home-based business’ to support other women just starting out as she did. She returned the following year to sponsor a ‘Customer service award’ to signify the importance she places on it in her own business as well as in others.

“Customer service is everything, treat your customers well.”

Her story is one to inspire others to follow their dreams and do whatever it takes to see it through to the end.


What’s next for Gem of England?

It took Gem 11 years to reach this point and she describes the opening of the shop in Burley to be the ultimate highlight of the journey so far. After visiting Gem’s shop, I came away thinking that Gem Freeman Jewellery is about to embark on the next stage of this journey and what is out in front of her will lead to even bigger successes.

2017/2018 will see a brand new website which will support the jewellery to have a wider reach, a new engaging blog will be launched and an annual charity piece is set to be part of the plans for the future. I look forward to watching how Gem of England goes from strength to strength.

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Written by Rebecca Gache-Ford

Disclaimer: We received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review of it, all opinions are truthful and are 100% our own. We do not receive any commissions or fees from the links in this post. We enjoy being able to share our opinions and experiences with these products to help other consumers in making informed purchasing decisions, whilst championing women who have founded these great companies. We only do product reviews for companies which are working towards more environmentally friendly, ethical products. We are the legal copyright holder of all material on the blog, others cannot use it to publish online without our written consent. We are not providing medical or other professional advice as part of our reviews. We offer a discount on all the products we review to thank the loyalty and support of our subscribers. 

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