I am delighted to bring you a new interview with the wonderful Pippa Small. Pippa (@pippasmalljewellery) is a responsible jeweller based in London’s Westbourne Grove and she is considered to be one of the most inspirational leaders in the jewellery industry. Awarded an MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II in 2013, named ambassador of the human rights organisation Survival International and Winner of both the Ethical Jeweller of the Year and the Corporate Social Responsibility awards in 2016, and was also winner of the Green Sustainability Award by Town and Country magazine.
In this interview, Pippa tells me how she fell in love with travel as a young child, following her widowed mother who took her children to exotic places. She became attracted to stones very early on, and she explains how through stones, she keeps a connection to the places and people that each are linked to, and also finds a sense of protection from them.
Pippa shares how she went from studying medical anthropology to working with indigenous communities in South-East Asia before starting to develop her own jewellery. She began organically making her own pieces but she also gained her credentials working at Gucci under Tom Ford as a consultant designer in 2003. Even though, in her own words, her organic free flow jewellery felt at odds with the graphic and sexy feel of the Gucci house at the time, she was recruited and briefed to go to India and design whatever she thought could work: colour, uneven shapes and a very different new aesthetic for their jewellery. This financially enabled her to start her first project working with the San bushmen in Botswana, combining her love of travel, working with indigenous communities and jewellery.
We also discuss the vital importance of adornment and jewellery, going back to the caves of Lascaux, the luxury that is ‘made by hand’ but also the great importance of learning to ‘make’ or transmitting tradition in the communities that Pippa has been working with, from Bolivia to India, to Jordan, Myanmar and Colombia. With a brand new collection out — made in Colombia from ethically sourced gold called ‘Together Forever’ — we discuss the difficulty of not just sourcing clean gold, but motivating and educating consumers to talk about it.
A wonderfully inspiring interview. Happy listening!🎧