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Fine Jewels

Christchurch’s iconic Filigree Fine Jewels have been meticulously handcrafting their range of breath-catching, unique jewellery in the city since 2005. Cityscape caught up with accomplished jeweller and designer Vanessa Stowers – who leads their talented team of jewellers in the creation of exceptional, tailor-made jewellery – to find out more about their new bridal line launching soon, as well as the upcoming Christmas Woodland Capsule Collection with local artist McChesney Kelly Adams.

What attracted you to jewellery design?
Art has always played an important part in my life; craft club after school, painting class, and generally a lot of gluing things together! Later on this interest developed into a passion for making jewellery.

Tell us about the first piece you designed.
The first piece of jewellery I made was most likely something very basic at the silversmith guild, prior to me doing any formal study, and I think it was a very clumsy fish! I loved the process however; it felt very natural and I enjoyed the intricacy of it. It was like a tiny personal artwork.

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How did the Filigree brand come to be and what does the name represent?
‘Filigree’ is ornamental work consisting of wire formed into delicate patterns. It takes a high level of skill and patience and it is for these attributes that I chose the name. It also sounds very exotic, which helps!

You opened Filigree on High Street in 2005, what was the plan back then?
We achieved my initial vision which was to give Christchurch a bespoke luxury product in a field where mass-production dominated. I think as the years have progressed we are still leaders in our field, which is an achievement in itself.

The Filigree brand is synonymous with a timeless modern aesthetic; what are the key inspirations/criteria behind your designs?
The phrase that my staff and I use constantly is “modern with a classic overtone”. I would say this sums up our aesthetic.

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Tell us about the Filigree experience.
Service would have to be at the top of our list. If you establish a great rapport with a customer it is only natural that they will end up with a beautifully-crafted piece of jewellery that is reflective of the individual.

You’re launching your new bridal line soon – what can we expect?
Bespoke bridal jewellery is something Filigree has always made. Brides often struggle to create the vision they want with their wedding jewellery, so this range gives them an opportunity to try and play with different looks, whether it be vintage, romantic, feminine or modern.

Tell us about your upcoming Christmas Woodland Capsule Collection and collaboration with local artist McChesney Kelly Adams.
Think Brothers Grimm, rather than pretty bunnies! Tangled bramble thickets, wild raspberry and mischievous hares.

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If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
Life is short – stress less and enjoy the finer things in life.

What was the last piece you made that you couldn’t bear to part with?
We have been doing a lot of remodelling lately and creating some stunning modern art deco rings that I have coveted!

How does it feel when you’re out and you see someone wearing your work?
Even after 15 years I still get pleasure out of seeing my jewellery worn – more often than not the client and I recognise each other and have a chat!

If you were granted one career do-over, what would it be?
A stylist for a magazine.

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What is your fave brunch item of choice?
I have a sweet tooth, so probably French toast with berries and definitely Belgian hot chocolate from the Metro Café in Ferrymead.

Favourite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
A drive with my husband in his restored 1971 XY Falcon (which was his first car and the transport for our early first dates!) to a café and to scour the countryside for antiques and interesting things.

What are you reading/and or bingewatching at the moment?
The Good Wife is dominating any spare relaxation time that I have, or a good home design magazine such as Urbis.

Filigree Fine Jewels
447 Colombo Street
filigree.co.nz

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