Unwrapping a new piece of jewellery? There’s no lovelier feeling. Especially when it is handcrafted in St Ives using the highest quality, eco and recycled silver. Carol uses her specialist range of silversmithing techniques to create hand hammered, textural jewellery pieces that are designed to last a lifetime. For that extra special touch, Carol also creates personalised pieces where you can write a loved ones initials - they’re so special you might even treat yourself.
What made you start Silver Coast and what’s the inspiration behind it?
Eleven years ago I moved from Bristol, where I had lived all my life, to stunning St Ives and experienced a fantastic lifestyle change. I am as passionate about St Ives as I am about making jewellery. I can not imagine living anywhere else or doing anything else.
Cornwall has a very creative culture and the move here sparked my own creative urges and inspired me to pursue something I had wanted to do for many years – design and create silver jewellery.
It initially started as a hobby but I wanted to develop it into a business so I enrolled in a silversmithing college course and attended a series of one to one workshops with a local jeweller. Over the past 5 years I have continued to develop my skills and grow my business.
It is so rewarding to be able to create a unique piece of handmade silver jewellery from a length of silver wire, a lump of silver clay or piece of silver sheet. I love the thought that a classic piece of jewellery can be cared for and enjoyed for generations. It is so inspiring to know that jewellery I have made may become an heirloom and be passed through generations keeping special memories alive for people.
What did you do before creating Silver Coast?
In my ‘former life’ I was a School Business Manager for many years and worked in schools in Bristol and Bath. I was responsible for large budgets and the school’s administrative staff. Whilst I did enjoy my job it was very stressful and the pace was relentless.
What I do now couldn’t be more different. I can work at my own pace and everyday I wake up knowing I will be spending my day doing something I love in a beautiful place.
How are your products made and where are your materials sourced from?
I make my jewellery using a range of specialist silversmithing skills and techniques. I love working with texture, using this with contrasting smooth polished surfaces to create my minimalist style. My range of jewellery is versatile and pieces can be worn alone or stacked and layered together to suit individual style. Jewellery that is designed to wear all day, everyday.
All my jewellery over the required weight is hallmarked at The London Assay Office.
I use mainly sterling silver and wherever possible I use eco and recycled silver. I save every scrap of silver after making a piece and melt it down to reuse. Any waste that I cannot use I send for recycling. I also use silver clay which is reconstituted from recycled silver particles. It is recycled from things like old x-ray plates and film negatives from the photographic industry. Recently I have introduced a range of silver and rose gold filled pieces. The contrast of the warm rose gold tones add a striking contrast to the sparkly silver. Pieces from this collection are becoming my best sellers.
Gold filled is an affordable option to solid gold. It should not be confused with gold plated or gold vermeil as it has 100 times more gold alloy making it a lot more durable and far superior. The gold is melted on to a base metal using a pressure and heat bonding process that means it won’t tarnish or wear off. It is perfectly fine to wear on a daily basis and only requires light surface cleaning with a polishing cloth. If cared for properly gold filled jewellery can last a lifetime.
Where does your inspiration come from?
St Ives is renowned for its remarkable quality of reflective light and is the inspiration for many artists. I use hammered and light reflecting textures to create my minimalist jewellery style which is inspired by the beautiful beaches and waters of St Ives bay.
What have been the biggest challenges/achievements on your journey so far?
Prior to ‘life in lockdown’ most of my jewellery was sold at local artisan markets and fairs with only minimal sales online. When it was no longer possible for these events to take place I had to develop my website and marketing to increase my online business. It was a case of sink or swim. I took on the challenge and thankfully my online business is currently thriving.
How would you describe Silver Coast in 3 words?
Beauty in Simplicity.
What is your connection to Cornwall?
Simply put — living in Cornwall puts life in perspective for me.
Do you have a special spot in Cornwall that inspires you?
Kynance Cove on The Lizard is so spectacular. I am fascinated by the transformation that can occur in moments from peace and tranquility and calm seas, to mean and moody with crashing menacing waves. Nature at its most awesome.
What’s next/any exciting plans?
I will keep on refining my methods and processes to make my business as sustainable as possible. I want to expand my ring collection by introducing semi precious gemstones into my designs and I want to make more pieces with silver clay as it has endless and exciting possibilities.
Shop Silver Coast Jewellery here.