Jewellery designer Stephen Einhorn set up his label in 1995. Ranging from anywhere between bespoke designs to commissions for Hollywood films, his pieces are unique, diverse and innovative.
What sparked your interest for design?
I’ve drawn and sculpted ever since I was a kid, so design was a natural development. I started off as a model-maker - making models for large advertising agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi and companies including Coca-Coca and IBM. Then, in 1995, I decided to sell my company and open my design studio and workshop in Islington to concentrate on my own designs.
I think that design is extremely important in every aspect of our lives and it annoys me that some things we use everyday are designed beautifully - like Mac computers - but then there’s an awful lot of stuff that isn’t. Why we can design the London Tube map in such an innovative, clever, and graphic way, and then forget about the importance and functionality of road signs, street furniture and everyday objects, is beyond me.
How do you go about designing a piece?
I’ll get an idea in my head, and then I’ll draw a quick sketch, followed by sculpting/modeling.
How would you say you’ve evolved as a designer?
I’ve always made what I like and still do. I’m not tied down to fashion in any way, I just make what I think is interesting. I love using traditional techniques but I’m not enamoured with repeating designs that have gone before. I like new, modern, and interesting designs and to pay as much attention to the back of a piece, a catch, the shape of the inside of a ring, as I do the parts you can see - every detail is carefully considered.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
The natural world is one of my greatest sources of inspiration; British engineering and design as well. London - the creative and culturally rich city I live in - has always been a constant source of inspiration. There are loads of artists and designers, architects etc that I admire and whose work I find inspiring, such as Thomas Heatherwick.
I am always looking for new and interesting materials to use. Materials that you wouldn’t necessarily think of in association with jewellery design, such as granite and concrete which actually look beautiful when polished; I really enjoy the process of working out how to adapt them and make them work. For instance the 2000-year-old Thames wood that I use in one of my collections was particularly hard to stabilize. I spent a lot time developing a unique impregnation and sealing technique to protect and waterproof this beautiful and rare material, which had been buried in silt for 2000 years.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on my “Insecta” collection based on stag beetles, which was inspired by the bespoke pieces I recently made for Charlize Theron’s Evil Queen character in Snow White and the Huntsman. I was drawn to the vast variations of colour and intricate details of these creatures: they are beautiful and a bit scary all at the same time.
How does designing for men and women compare?
The real answer is that I design more for the size of someone’s hands. I don’t want to make a statement about designing for men or women because that sounds too limiting, and besides, in this day and age, I think we should have moved passed that type of classification. Why should I say something is masculine or feminine? I have a design signature but I like to make different styles that will suit different people. But the difference between men and women? There isn’t one as far as designing is concerned.
Where do you feel jewellery stands in the world of fashion?
There are many positive and negative things about both the jewellery and the fashion world. Creativity, change and development is incredible, but there are also a lot of social and ethical issues that surround these industries and I think we all need to pay much more attention to these. When I started my label one of my pledges was a commitment to social, environmentally and ethical responsibility. This continues today and runs through every part of the business, from responsible sourcing of materials (we only use conflict free stones and most of the precious metal we use is recycled) to employee work/life balance.
After trying to be as ethically sound as we could be for the last seventeen years we became one of the few businesses in the UK who were given the license to be able to sell Fairtrade and Fairmined gold - this has been a brilliant part of our story.
What sort of jewellery do you wear yourself?
Large rings set with diamonds, rubies, green tsavorites and our 2000-Year-Old Thames Wood. I also wear cufflinks and wrist chains.
What has been the most memorable piece you’ve ever made?
This is too hard to choose... I love the simple design of my spiral corkscrew. The simplicity hides the incredibly hard production techniques it actually took to make it. The experience of making the ring for Johnny Depp’s character in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows film was totally amazing. I also have a real soft spot for the Flame ring, a design which pays homage to my fascination with fire and its constantly changing shapes, mesmerising abilities and primeval quality.
Words by Ginger Clark