We had the pleasure of having a lovely chat with founder and designer of London based jewellery brand Rachel Jackson, have a read below of our Q&A:
Rachel, tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m a Northerner-come-London girl where I lived for 25 years. I recently moved to the Kent countryside with my husband and two kids River (10) and Herbie (5). My career began in the music industry, in the heady world of rock n roll which was a brilliant way to spend your 20s! but after 10 years I knew it wasn’t my calling in life and I set out to travel the world. It was South America that stole my heart and there that I started coveting jewellery; both as a way to express who I was when meeting new friends, and to capture memories of the people and places I visited in mini, wearable, time capsules. Most people’s reminiscence is triggered by pictures or smell but mine, I discovered, is triggered by jewellery.
How did RJ come to be? What was the inspiration behind the brand?
At the end of my travels a close friend, Ale, gifted me an Amulet pendant with a note that said ‘For love and protection wherever you go’. Amulets can be any small object but typically jewellery and they’ve been used in this way for centuries. I’d never heard of the concept before and it was one of the most beautiful sentiments I’d ever been gifted.
Six weeks after my return to London Ale died in a tragic accident. He was 28, it was heartbreaking and it was a life defining moment for me. I realised that life is finite and that we should treasure everyday, like Ale had. He may have been young, but he lived such a full life. He was an adventurer, a lover of life and he gave so much to other people. He is the most authentic and inspiring person I’ve ever known.
In Ale’s legacy and because I’d found a new passion for jewellery, I decided to re-train at Central St Martins alongside setting up a stall at Spitalfields market (a whole other story). The first piece I ever made was our now, best selling Amulet pendant and it became my mission to pay forward the gift of love that Ale passed on to me, to as many people as possible. Jewellery may not be able to change the world but it does have the power to connect and move people.
Each year at RJ we join forces with Choose Love, a charity that helps displaced people all over the world. In collaboration with various celebrities, so far we’ve created 3 limited edition, sell-out, LOVE necklaces and raised over £160,000 by donating 100% of the profits.
Looking ahead we will also be supporting children with cancer with a new limited edition necklace and for every piece sold, we will donate another to a child or family member. So many people have a cancer related story and these are often associated with a sense of powerlessness. This is an opportunity to provide people with a positive symbol of solidarity and strength, whilst also making a meaningful contribution to research.
Where do you look for inspiration for each collection?
Trends, London street fashion (nothing beats that) but I’m also hugely inspired by what’s going on in the world. Our AW23 collection Stellar is inspired by space travel and features architectural hardware chains, orbs and subtle star detailing. Music also informs my work,, from styling to names and the creative writing behind the campaign - if you look closely there are song lyrics everywhere!
What is your favourite collection?
Our incoming SS24 collection called ‘The Amulet Collection’ where we’ve gone back to our beginnings. The collection features our iconic Art Deco sun pendant with a choice of two new, statement rolo chains and a focus on Tourmaline - the stone for compassion and love. Given the world is in such a difficult place right now, this felt like an obvious stone choice and I hope people will connect with it. New styles include protective talismans such as the evil eye, a London Blue Topaz Electric Heart and tokens of love in the form of Angel Wings.
What are the key things that set RJ apart from other jewellery brands?
We’re a British, female-led brand with heart, creating highly meaningful, personalised jewellery and I think there’s a power in that, that connects people. Being an all female company where everyone is passionate about jewellery, gives us a deep understanding of our audience. We know she wants to look and feel good, she wants cool but is quietly sentimental, she appreciates unique design, quality and cares about provenance.
What are your favourite pieces of RJ that you like to wear / layer up?
As my base necklace, I wear the statement Stellar Hardware chain because it makes me feel powerful and ready to take on the day. I then layer it with either the Electric Heart in Rouge Noir (with my fave song lyric engraved on the back) OR our large North Star locket because it has a family picture inside… a daily reminder of what really matters!
What are the future plans for RJ?
An experiential flagship London store featuring our new Amulet Bar concept (coming to The Dressing Room in 2024) an Ear Bar and a Personalisation Bar! Plus personal styling and a super cool events space for creative workshops and regular DJ parties for our community to connect.