Hargreaves Stockholm: Fine hand-crafted jewellery that doesn’t cost the earth
Since its launch at Stockholm Fashion Week 2017, Hargreaves Stockholm has established itself with a unique offering of the highest-quality fine jewellery, crafted using ethical methods and materials.
TEXT: LIZ LONGDEN | PHOTOS: HARGREAVES STOCKHOLM
Jemima Hargreaves draws upon over 20 years’ expertise as a master goldsmith. She has worked at and managed some of the UK’s finest traditional jewellery workshops, created pieces and managed projects for royal clients and celebrities, and worked on jewellery for the film industry, with director Tim Burton among the commissioning directors. Yet, despite the prestige of much of the work she has done, she says her fascination with jewellery stems from something much more essential.
“I think it’s about the connection that people have to it. From the time that someone first saw that nugget of gold washed up in a river bed somewhere, people have felt that it’s meant something —a gift from the gods, a piece of the sun, and so many other things. And it still feels like that, even all of these thousands of years later,” she says. “Whether it’s a wedding ring, or a pendant that your child has made you out of pasta, jewellery means something to us and we connect to it on a base level.”
Jemima Hargreaves. Photo: Johan Nyström
A collaborative process
Hargreaves relocated to Stockholm in 2017. It was a return of sorts – although born and raised in the UK, her family originally hails from Denmark – and Hargreaves Stockholm’s early work was heavily inspired by her Scandinavian heritage and by traditional Nordic motifs. More recently, much of her work has evolved towards strong, clean shapes, contrasted by the use of stones in a scattered effect, reminiscent of sunlight reflecting off the waters of the Swedish coast and through dappled forest leaves.
In addition to the brand’s established collections, however, Hargreaves also encourages customers to become involved in the design process. “Some people just want something specific, and that’s absolutely fine, but more and more I find that it’s about developing an understanding,” Hargreaves explains. “I have a lot of customers who come to me because, even if they may not know exactly what they want the piece to be like when it’s finished, they know that they have control over that design process. If a piece has to have a certain function in their lives or has to mean something to them, they know that I’ll try to make sure that that is considered in the design.” She adds: “It might sound big for something that’s ‘just a ring’, for example, but that might be a ring that that person is going to wear every day for the next 40 years. And they will only do that if we’ve got it right.”
The process is dependent on close communication, something which technology has made possible even for Hargreaves Stockholm’s many international clients. And such is the closeness of the collaboration that Hargreaves says it often transcends the traditional customer-supplier relationship. “I actually have a lot of customers that have come to me from abroad. We happen to have connected because they were looking for something specific that I could help with, but then it has remained a really strong connection, to the point where they’ve become part of my business and almost like family in some ways.”
Another quality that makes Hargreaves Stockholm stand out from the crowd is a strong focus on ethical production. The social and environmental problems that can be brought about by the mining of precious metal and stones are myriad — from mercury poisoning and the destruction of natural landscapes to the fuelling of conflicts and the exploitation of workers — and an important part of Hargreaves Stockholm’s ethos is to encourage change within the industry. Leading by example, the brand therefore uses responsibly sourced materials, including conflict-free diamonds purchased from official retailers in agreement with UN resolutions, and Fairmined ecological gold and silver. It also recycles and re-uses antique pieces and offers lab-grown diamonds as an alternative to mined stones to customers who are interested.
“This is a unique, very special industry, and I really love its traditions and history, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be frightened of change,” Hargreaves argues. “Our position has always been to show that we can keep that tradition and those handcrafting skills, and still produce really high-quality pieces, without doing harm to the world around us.”
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