With the annual Goldsmith’s fair kicking off today over in the east, we decided it was high time to shout about the sparkling talent in the west. Step forward then Reema Pachachi, former creative director of De Beers and contemporary jewellery designer. We talk her magnificent past creations, dressing Iman, and her latest collection…
When people mention De Beers, the first thing that springs to women’s minds is that incredible whopping millennium star diamond. That must have been some job to manipulate into a necklace?
Yes that was a huge feet of engineering! It was 203.04 carats in total; from a designer’s point of view, trying to make such a huge stone veer away from bling and into elegance was a bit of a challenge, but I think it worked. Iman, the model and wife of David Bowie, wore it to the De Beers store launch in Tokyo.
Which other of your show-stopping designs are you most proud of?
I loved designing the diamond back piece for Galliano which, again, Iman modelled at Cannes Film Festival. It was a very delicate piece that I wanted to keep asymmetrical; its floral design draped down the back made it stunning to wear with a backless dress.
Your store, Kuka-me, in Notting Hill houses some of your new collections. How would you describe your style ethos as a designer?
I have two sides to my ethos on jewellery design. I absolutely adore working on one-off individual commissions and designing show-stopping pieces; there’s something fascinating about working with such rare stones. But on the other side, a huge part of my style (shown in my collections) is designing jewellery that women feel they could wear every day – I like to call it aesthetically accessible. It’s a clean, tailored look which women can dress up or dress down. But overall, I want my jewellery to be accessible, wearable and affordable. I want women to feel like they can pop into the shop and buy a piece they love which they will wear to death, without the huge cost.
Tell us about the Edges Collection, which epitomises that wearable style?
For that collection, I tore up Japanese handmade paper and pressed it into the silver to give it a rough but natural shape. Then I used fresh water pearls with varying subtle hues to add a nice effect. With quite a few of my necklaces you can alter the size of the chain by doubling up or attaching the clasp in different places which, in turn, makes it versatile and alterable according to your taste. The long twist pendant necklace, for example, can be doubled up or worn as a long necklace and looks good both ways.
Who are you influenced by?
Many things and many people… for example one of my collections was inspired by a nurse from Ghana who tended to my daughter while in hospital. She was so sincere and so incredibly good at her job and I never quite got to express my full gratitude in the brief period she was there, so I wanted to create a collection in her honour. It will be called Adinkra and it uses symbolic designs in different shapes to represent different virtues, such as strength or hope.
Which designers – jewellery or otherwise – do you find exciting at the moment?
I love the Japanese designer, Ikuko Kuamoto, who makes ceramic pots which are also stocked in Kuka-me. Kuamoto wanted to make the surface of the pots textured so that it would feel interesting to blind people, hence why they have a brail-like texture. They are simply beautiful.
Do you have any events coming up we should watch out for?
Yes, I will be holding some launch events towards the end of the month, so watch this space…
Reema Pachachi; Kuka-me; 5 Elgin Crescent W11 2JA; Opening hours: Tues-Sat 10:00-18:00; kuka-me.com