Sometimes, when we become aware of a new designer we are in such awe of their work, we think ‘how did I not know of this label until now!?’ Pieter St Erasmus of St Erasmus Jewellery, is one of those amazing designers that has managed to slip through the mainstream fashion cracks until now.
In this celebrity obsessed world, we can more often than not, thank them for wearing the best up and coming new designs. And right now, the name on everyone’s lips in the world of fashion, is, Michelle Obama. The whole world is watching every moment to see and photograph what she is wearing, and who it is by.
Already well known for liking original and relatively unheard of names, Michelle likes to be a front runner in the fashion world. You can bet that within 24 hours of her wearing something, everyone is wanting to know where they can buy exactly what she has worn.
I am not one for wanting to wear exactly the same thing as a celebrity but I must admit when I saw this picture of Michelle Obama taken a few weeks ago, I immediately thought, ‘I want that necklace, where can I get it and who made it?!!’
After falling in love with the whole range, I am sure that St Errasmus Jewelery will knock your socks off as they did mine.
With a high fashion, couture edge, these pieces come with a suprisingly affordable price tag. The quality, beautiful stones and unusual materials combined with such unique designs creates a type of ‘heirloom’ feel yet without the typical ‘heirloom’ cost!
I am certain this designer and his collections will have the whole world wanting more and that you will soon be reading lots more about St Erasmus.
I spoke to the lovely Pieter myself about his start in the business, his work experience and his hopes to eventually make St Erasmus a 100% Eco made Couture Collection:
When did you start designing jewelery and was there anything that inspired you? It was in secondary school. I used to make jewelery and sell it to my girlfriends. My inspiration was from Art Nouveau books and images in fashion magazines.
Were you self taught or did you learn at a design college? I studied architecture for 2 years although I soon realised it was not for me. Then I studied art, with painting as my main subject. Part of the art course was that we had a silver smith subject once a week. This I flunked in the last year! I had to take it again the following year to complete my studies.
How and when did you start working for Givenchy and Matthew Williamson etc? I worked at Erickson Beamon for 7 years. During this time I had to work on projects at Erickson Beamon for Givenchy, Matthew Williamson, Betty Jackson, Roberto Cavalli and Dries van Noten.
When did you branch out into your own collection? I left Erickson Beamon in 2002. I started my own line of bags, belts and sandals. It was only in 2008 that I launched the jewelery line. The bags, belts and sandals stifled my creativity and by this time I really missed designing and making jewelery.
It is obvious you love Africa and India as they have a direct influence in your designs, have you lived and or travelled there extensively and were you influenced by the people or landscapes? I was born in South Africa. Left for London when I was 25 years old. So I am African, and Africa is in my blood. Making use of African influence is almost like revisiting place of my childhood, teens and early adulthood. India came later in life. I went to India about 5 years ago. It was the best place to get the production done for my bags, belts and sandals at the time. It took me some time, but I fell completely in love with India. Although India is full of colour, crafts and super exotic, it offer to me the things I miss from Africa, the sun shine and living outdoors.
Where do you obtain most of your materials from? From across the world. Of course mostly India because there is just so much materials to source from, but as well from Africa and the far east.
Who actually makes the pieces for you and where is factory based? I have a little studio in Delhi with a ‘harem’ of lovely ladies that make the main components of the jewelery.
Do you still hand make some pieces yourself? Once the ladies finish the main components of the jewelery, I assemble each piece myself. In this was I keep my personal touch to each item, and it gives me the opportunity to quality check each piece.
Michelle Obama has worn one of your necklaces just recently, how did that happen? is this the first time she has worn your jewellery? Did you get to meet her in person? Unfortunately I never had the honour to meet the wonderful First Lady. Ikram, a store in Chicago, placed an order with me for their store, and Mrs Obama bought the item from them when the goods arrived in the store.
What other celebrity would you love to see wearing your pieces? Tilda Swindon
Your pieces really have a ‘couture’ feel to them yet with quite an affordable price tag for the look and quality – was this one of your intentions so that the average woman could wear your designs? It is my duty to make women look fabulous, and to make sure it is affordable.
Have you got any plans to branch out into other areas of fashion? Jewellery is enough for me at the moment. I might add some hair accessories in the future collections. Your mother, sister and or female friends must love having you in their lives, do they always ask for samples?! Oh yes they do. And I love giving them any sample they want. They have always supported me, they have always been by my side.
If there is anything else you would like to tell me? I notice your blog is about a eco life style. A friend of mine, Mica Lamb, recently started up a eco friendly accessories agency called Agent for Change, and she has been asking me to join. She has been very helpful to make me aware as to how I can make my product greener. It is taking some time and research, but I am happy to report that with every season I try to make my product more earth friendly. The current season we have been using fair trade stones like tiger eye and hematite. Plus I have oxidise silver chain with boiled eggs and not sulphur. I am working towards getting my studio a fair trade certificate. All the workers are getting paid a fair wage and working in good working conditions. Step by step we will work towards a complete green product.
THE necklace worn by Michelle that started this new obsession of mine!
For prices and more designs go to www.st-erasmus.com
ST•ERASMUS UK stockists include Harrods, Erickson Beamon and Kirt Holmes among others, as well as a variety of international stockists and online retailers.