Get inspired by East Coast Gemstones | Designers interview

Joanna Wright
East Coast Gemstones
Designed and Handmade in UK
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  1. What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?

I started making jewellery as a type of therapy due to severe depression, and lack of funds. Something to concentrate on. Something to get out of bed for in the morning. Unfortunately, being out of work at the time, I found it hard to afford quality supplies, and had many dead ends with unreliable suppliers.  Over the years, I have learnt techniques that I never imagined I could do in my wildest dreams. Every time someone falls in love with one of my pieces, it gives me such a lift! Recently I have been able to work with ruby, sapphires, and emeralds!! I admit, my favourite colour is red, so the ruby is my favourite in those regards, but the unique colours in the emerald, are something that I could look at for hours!

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  1. Is there anything you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?I wish I knew how many people sold fake glass beads as gemstones. I wasted a lot of money in the beginning buying ‘gemstones’ that turned out to be fake or synthetic. I now have a reliable supplier that also supplies certificate of authenticity with my gemstones. This also means that I can assure my customers without a doubt, that what they are buying are genuine gemstones.

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  1. Is having talent enough in order to be a successful designer?

No. you can be one of the best in your field, but if you don’t have the knowledge to market it, or someone who can market it for you, noone will ever hear of your brand or products. If people don’t know you exist, then how can they buy? Also, pricing is very important. If you price too low, people will not belive its a quality product you are selling. On the other hand, if you charge too much, people won’t be able to afford it. Having the skill to sell, is just as important as having the skill to make.

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  1. Do you think that the current phenomenon ‘globalisation’ has a negative impact on local cultures/arts/crafts?

As with all things there are two sides to the story. On one hand, the arts and crafts of cultures all over the world, are more accessible than ever before. You no longer need to travel to india for example, and haggle in the local bazaars to buy silks, woodcrafts and many other craft items available there. With a few clicks of the mouse, or a trip to the high street, you can own your very own piece of india.

But on the other hand, you no longer have the experience of meeting the crafter. Experiencing their passion in what they do, haggling for a good price for you, and for them. Knowing that that money you spend will go straight into the local economy, feeding their families, boosting other local trades people.
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  1. Did you ever go through a period when you thought about quitting your job as a designer?

All time. Poor sales, and rising costs of supplies, make it difficult. Yet on the other hand, I am so used to it keeping me busy, and occupied, that I am not sure what I would do without it!! No. I couldn’t give up making my Jewellery. I appreciate the Gemstones for their beauty to much.

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