Becky Pearce – making beautiful jewellery from the Surrey Hills

Becky Pearce Jewellery, Becky Pearce Designs

Meet the Maker: Becky Pearce

British jeweller Becky Pearce doesn’t do frills or fussiness. “My approach is to let the gemstones take centre stage,” she explains. Becky starts each day stomping around the Surrey Hills with her dog Kipper, before immersing herself in a world of gems and precious metals in her purpose-built studio. We caught up with Becky to discover more about her creative life (and swoon some more over her beautiful birthstone stacking rings)… 

Can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?
Hello, my name is Becky Pearce and I’m a silversmith, specialising in personalised gemstone jewellery. I’m originally from Derbyshire, but now live in the Surrey countryside with my husband and two girls.

Becky Pearce Jewellery

I gave up my ‘proper job’ as research manager for a publishing company so I could spend more time with my children and get my fledgling jewellery business off the ground. I’m so glad I took the leap – it’s a wonderful thing to spend my days doing the work I love.

When and how did you start making jewellery?
I started making jewellery in 2009 as a hobby. I’d previously tried to scratch my crafty itch with various different media from appliqué to upholstery, but jewellery got me completely hooked. I started out with simple beading projects after a one-hour class at a bead shop, then worked with silver clay, and then moved on to working with sterling silver and gold, using traditional silversmithing techniques. So I’m mostly self-taught with a few short courses along the way. The thing I really love about jewellery is that there are so many different techniques and skills to learn. It’s impossible to get bored!

I gave up my ‘proper job’ as research manager for a publishing company so I could spend more time with my children and get my fledgling jewellery business off the ground. I’m so glad I took the leap – it’s a wonderful thing to spend my days doing the work I love.

birthstone stacking rings, Becky Pearce

Stacking Ring with Gold Heart by Becky Pearce

I don’t do frills or fussiness. My approach is to let the gemstones take centre stage.

How would you describe your jewellery?
My designs are simple, clean and contemporary. I don’t do frills or fussiness. My approach is to let the gemstones take centre stage.

Becky Pearce Designs, interview

Once I know what I’m aiming for, I get to work and it’s this that I love the most: the measuring and marking, sawing, filing and shaping… the soldering, setting and polishing…

Where do you look for inspiration?
My days start with an hour stomping through the Surrey Hills with my dog Kipper, and although it’s a bit of cliché, the countryside around me is a major inspiration (have a look at my Instagram feed for my #walkies pics and you’ll see what I mean). It doesn’t always translate directly into my work (although I can’t resist throwing the odd silver leaf in!) but just being outdoors for an hour sets me up for a creative day ahead. Apart from that, a key inspiration for all of my designs is the materials I use. I love rummaging through my gemstone stash to see what catches my eye.

Birthstone stacking rings, Becky Pearce

Personalised Birthstone Stacking Ring by Becky Pearce

The idea behind my birthstone stacking rings that you can wear your own birthstone ring alongside those of the special people in your life, or your children’s birthstones all together.

We’re slightly obsessed with your beautiful birthstone jewellery. Can you tell us more about those pieces?
I love making jewellery with a special meaning behind it – something that makes it unique to the wearer. Birthstones are perfect to work with in this way, as not only do they look gorgeous but they have that extra layer of meaning as well. The most popular of my birthstone range are the stacking rings: sterling silver rings that can all stack together. The idea is that you can choose your own birthstone ring to stack alongside those of the special people in your life, or your children’s birthstones all together. Names or dates can be stamped on the inside of the bands to make them even more personal.

I love combining a stack of rings and seeing how the gemstones, colours and shapes work together. I’ve made hundreds of rings now, and don’t think I have ever made two sets exactly the same.

Becky Pearce Jewellery

I get completely absorbed in the whole making process – I can lose hours!

How do you start a piece?
I tend to sketch out a design when I have the materials in front of me, as that helps me visualise exactly how it will look. Once I know what I’m aiming for, I get to work and it’s this that I love the most: the measuring and marking, sawing, filing and shaping… the soldering, setting and polishing. I get completely absorbed in the whole process – I can lose hours!

Becky Pearce, studio, studio jewellery,

A few years ago we converted part of our garage into a studio. I know how lucky I am to have a dedicated workspace in my home… it’s not the tidiest of rooms,  but it is truly one of my favourite places to be.

Can you describe your studio? Where is it and what’s on your workbench?
A few years ago we converted part of our garage into a studio. I know how lucky I am to have a dedicated workspace in my home, with heating, lighting and running water – there’s even an extractor fan to get rid of fumes. The walls are covered in my kids’ artwork, and it’s not the tidiest of rooms, but it is truly one of my favourite places to be.

Becky Pearce Jewellery interview

I have a jeweller’s bench where I do most of the work, with my all important pendant motor ready for action. Right next to that is my soldering area, and my steel block, rolling mill and vice are on the opposite worktop. It suits how I work perfectly.

Solid silver leaf earrings, studs, Becky Pearce

Handmade Silver Leaf Earrings by Becky Pearce

Although it’s a bit of cliché, the countryside around me is a major inspiration. It doesn’t always translate directly into my work (although I can’t resist throwing the odd silver leaf in!) but just being outdoors for an hour sets me up for a creative day ahead.

What’s the best thing about being creative for a living?
It took me a while to realise it, but the satisfaction of making something tangible is really important to me. By the end of my work day, a beautiful object exists that didn’t before. This was particularly important to me when my kids were smaller – when no matter how clean the house or how small the laundry pile got, by the next day it was back to square one. Making something feels like a real achievement in a world where I often feel I’m treading water.

I also have lots of lovely folk who follow my Facebook page, and who buy my jewellery time and time again. I love working on my own, but very occasionally it can feel a bit lonely, and the support and feedback from my amazing customers and Facebook followers gives me such a boost.

Becky Pearce jewellery

I definitely have the entrepreneurial gene in me and love being my own boss… I get a real kick out of learning the marketing and business side too.

If you weren’t a maker, what would you be?
Although I have a degree in psychology and worked in research until I took the leap to selling my own jewellery, I don’t think I’d still be doing that now. I definitely have the entrepreneurial gene in me and I absolutely love being my own boss, so I think I’d be running my own business somehow – even if I wasn’t actually making the products myself. I get a real kick out of learning the marketing and business side too.

Jewellery making tools, Becky earce

Experience is the best teacher, and if you wait for everything to be just right you’ll never get started.

What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
I’d say, just do it. Don’t wait for perfection – get your stuff out there and learn as you go. Experience is the best teacher, and if you wait for everything to be just right you’ll never get started.

Becky Pearce Jewellery, interview

Craft is more than just a combination of skills and experience, it’s also a link to the handmade past. In these mass-produced times I think it’s something we really need to hold on to.

What does craft mean to you?
I don’t see myself as being hugely creative and I’m definitely not arty (I really can’t draw for toffee), but I do see myself as a craft person. The need to make things has always been there for me, and when I’m in the ‘flow’ it feels like a form of meditation. But craft is more than just a combination of skills and experience, it’s also a link to the handmade past. In these mass-produced times I think it’s something we really need to hold on to.

Personalised Silver Pendant, Becky Pearce jewellery, handmade jewellery

See more Becky Pearce Jewellery on Folksy >

Use code GEMS10 for a 10% discount on Becky Pearce Jewellery before 11th July 2016

 

 

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