Enhancing an Heirloom with Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery

Jewellery has always played a major role in my family. Growing up, few things were as special as raiding my mother’s jewellery box. Each piece had a story to tell and these little jewels held a world of wonder. She herself had always wanted to become a silversmith, and has instilled in me a love and respect for precious metals and gemstones. And maybe a slight obsession with all things of a sparkly nature!

It’s no doubt she got her love of jewellery from her mom. My grandmother didn’t just have a box; she had a whole drawer of magic. I’d love to watch her get ready, she’d always open that dresser drawer to add on the finishing touches. I’m not sure she ever went out without some jewellery on!

The Piper family ladies, 2010, missing one cousin! 

Sadly two years ago, she passed away. While her jewellery collection was not extensive, it was important. She liked to collect opals and had been telling us granddaughters (there’s four of us, no boys!) that we would all one day inherit one of her beloved opals.

My grandmother's opal ring, along with one of her trinket boxes

She made jewellery special. She would often talk about a piece like it was her friend. Some of the items in her jewellery box were dinky trinkets, but everything had a story. Many of the more expensive pieces were given to her by my late grandfather for birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions. Including her silver charm bracelet.

 My grandmother and I, perfecting our pouts, 2014

My grandmother and I, perfecting our pouts, 2014

Not many pieces of jewellery can tell a story as inexplicably as a charm bracelet can. The charms itself were given individually as gifts over the years. Each one has its own significance, it’s own tale to tell. While inheriting the opal almost felt like a birthright, receiving the charm bracelet felt just as dear.

I knew that I needed these pieces to become a part of my life, and weave them into my own story.  

So without hesitation I took them, along with a few other things over to the award-winning Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery. The studios themselves are like Aladdin’s Cave, full of treasures and wonder. But more so you could feel the passion, see the craftsmanship and know that if you walk out of there with something, it’s going to be special.

I love the brand for many reasons, one of which is the importance they place on nurturing new talent. The setup, while exquisitely modern, has a real feel of importance in tradition and craftsmanship to it. It’s clear that they care about the trade, and as such also uphold exceptional ethical standards – which can often be a bit foggy in the jewellery industry.

At Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery, Halls Green

Upon arrival (without an appointment I might add) at the Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery workshop in Halls Green I was offered a drink from their fully-fledged café and had a browse whilst I waited for one of their designers. After a few minutes I was introduced to designers Laurie and Beth. They were full of knowledge and ideas – pretty cool considering they’d had no time to prepare.

I wanted to have the opal ring made into a pendant necklace. The ring itself was far too dainty for me, but I thought repurposing the stone and diamonds into something more my style would be the perfect solution.

Laurie came up with a stunning design, taking everything I wanted into account but also making sure it was technically sound.  We decided to add in a new stone, a blue topaz (my birthstone) to truly make the new piece my own.

The inspiration, by Wwake

Laurie's design for the necklace

This is something the team at Harriet Kelsall excels at. If you’ve inherited jewellery that’s not quite your style, they can give it a new lease of life. Or you can incorporate meaningful stones into new items – much like Prince Harry did by adding two of his mother’s diamonds into his bespoke engagement ring for Megan Markle.

My own jewels were then taken to one of the jewelers for technical checks and pricing. The jeweler quickly noted that the charms were soldered on with lead – which was not good long-term for the integrity of the bracelet.

The charm bracelet before, very tarnished!

After carefully explaining the processes and prices to me, I decided to go ahead with the full bracelet refurb but would have to wait for the pendant as it was a bit out of my budget.

I’m sure I probably could have taken the bracelet somewhere else at a lesser price – but when you have such an important heirloom, you need to trust your jeweller. The standards at Harriet Kelsall are among the highest in the industry.

The jeweller reworking the silver fastenings. Image courtesy of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery

I was given a three-week turnaround time, which considering it was just before Christmas was completely reasonable. It turned out that we would be leaving to go to the US for Christmas just a day or so after the deadline, so they very kindly pushed it up, allowing me to bring the bracelet back to show my family its transformation.

Polishing the tarnished silver. Image courtesy of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery

The transformation itself was astonishing. I didn’t think it could be polished as well as it was – I wouldn’t be surprised if its shinier now than it was brand new!

I’m so pleased with the end results as well as the customer service and care I received.

 My shiny refurbed charm bracelet, worn with my ChloBo stacking bracelets, a gift for my first Mother's Day

My shiny refurbed charm bracelet, worn with my ChloBo stacking bracelets, a gift for my first Mother's Day

There’s no doubt that I’ll be working with Harriet Kelsall team in the future. I love the romantic notion of having a ‘family jeweller’ – a place that will help us celebrate life’s special occasions with tangible objects of sparkling beauty, heirlooms to be treasured. (Husband, take note!)

If you’d like to chat with the jewelers and designers at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery they’d love to hear from you. In addition to their expansive Hall’s Green workshop and their Cambridge studio, earlier this year they opened a shop in London’s Primrose Hill. Whatever your jewellery needs, they will be able to help!  

(Note: This is a sponsored blog post, however I sought out and had decided to use the services of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery before the idea for this collaboration came about. I would have used their services regardless and can wholeheartedly recommend them.)

Back to Blogging. Hello September!

I’m writing this sat in my car outside of little L’s nursery. It’s his last settling in session before he starts one day a week. I’ve been okay up until now. Heck I’ve even excited for him to start this new chapter and for me to gain a solid day when I can begin taking on clients and putting my business brain on again.

But now… I’m a bit emotional. This is normal right? When I look back at these past 10 months I can’t believe how far we’ve come. There have been ups and downs, laughter and tears, sick and smiles, but overall, I’m kind of loving this motherhood gig.

 Bag packed and ready for nursery!

Bag packed and ready for nursery!

That being said, it’s only been for the past er, couple of months that I’m finally starting to feel a little bit myself again. Little L is going to bed much easier in the evenings which means this mama can have a night off – and catch up with friends over dinner and drinks like the old days. Except of course that I’m ready for bed by 10pm. Baby steps okay?

 Out for a sunny stroll... the sunshine didn't last (it is England!)

Out for a sunny stroll... the sunshine didn't last (it is England!)

But the dawn of this new chapter is a bit emotional. I’ve always loved September and this one is no exception. Its fresh start, which is probably engrained in our brains from school days. It feels exciting and fresh. Which is kind of weird because autumn is all dead leaves and darker days. But I don’t care, I love it.

I’ve already had my first (but by no means last) pumpkin spice latte of the season. Thanksgiving is just around (my) corner. And funnily enough, Little L’s 10 month birthday yesterday also meant its just 100 days until Christmas! So it's now 99 and counting (even if I'm the only one counting)... 

 Summer loving... see ya later! Bring on autumn!

Summer loving... see ya later! Bring on autumn!

Lolo's Life - A Quick Update

One of my goals for 2016 and for this blog was to make it a bit more personal. Looking back, I’m not sure that I’ve totally achieved that quite yet… so I started brainstorming on a more ‘personal’ blog post. It just didn’t feel like I had a natural lead in and I wasn’t really getting anywhere, rather quickly.

So I decided I’ll just go for the awkward, ‘I know I said this, but here’s the reality’ lead in. And here we are. And here’s a little update on the things going on in my life…

Being Pregnant

I’m just about to start my third trimester of pregnancy and I definitely ‘feel’ pregnant. I’ve been fortunate to have a fairly easy (knock on wood) pregnancy up to this point. No major morning sickness or other crazy side effects. I’ve been lucky to be quite mobile and exercise regularly throughout (swimming and pilates are fab).

I’m hoping these last three months will go by without a hitch. I definitely can’t hide the bump now and am starting to get a bit restless. There’s a definite ache in my back, I’m pretty darn tired, sleep is rather restless and my stomach is all kinds of smushed, making it difficult to eat much. But as it’s getting closer and closer, I am so excited to meet my little boy!

I also plan on blogging more about my experience, so stay tuned… Next week I plan on posting about the things that helped me survive my first trimester.

My Personal Styling business

I’m gearing up for a really busy start to AW16. I’ve loved having the past few weeks to have some me time and relax as everyone else seems to be on summer holidays, but from next week business is going to get a bit crazy.

I’m looking forward to detoxing and shopping for several wardrobes before I go on maternity leave. My last day for Personal Shopping is Friday 16th September. Then I’m taking a mini holiday as my best friend from the US is visiting. I have very limited availability in October for Wardrobe Detoxes and Online Shopping, and I’ll also be participating in St Albans Fashion Week – whilst I enjoy the early days of maternity leave!

My plan at the moment is to take a few months completely off, with the occasional blog and social media post, and return to the business part-time from March. I’m keeping this very loose for now though!

St Albans Fashion Week

I am so excited to be the resident stylist for St Albans Fashion Week. I’ve already started blogging for them (check out their fab blog and my posts if you haven’t already).

I’ll be hosting an event on Tuesday 25th October (tbc), aptly titled ‘How To Look Good Knackered’ (I’ll be 37 weeks preggers, eek!). Tickets will be on sale shortly but if you’d like to know about it first, please sign up to my email list.

I’m also hoping to help out at the catwalk show and potentially with some mini shopping sessions during the weeklong extravaganza. More details to follow soon!

House updates

We keep getting asked if the nursery is ready…. Err, not even close!

You see when we moved in two years ago we did a lot of work to our downstairs living space – and were too burned out to do much upstairs. So we’ve had our work cut out to get ready for the baby.

I’m giving up my dressing room – which will become the nursery and we’ll be converting our second bedroom into a guest room/wardrobe/office space for me. I’ll be posting regular updates over on my Instagram, so give it a follow if you’re interested in seeing the progress.

On Blogging

As I write this, part of me is thinking, gosh this is rather dull – will anyone actually read it?! But my more personal posts have often been my most popular one so who knows.

I am planning to blog more as it gets more difficult to move around and be on my feet, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep it up, even if only rather occasionally, once our little boy arrives.

I’ve got lots of exciting posts planned for the next few weeks… from more about my pregnancy to maternity styling help and of course, plenty of content to kick off Autumn/Winter 16! If you want to receive updates straight to your inbox, be sure to sign up here

Bumps, Blogs and Booming Business: A Normal Service Shall Now Resume

I probably don’t need to tell you that it’s been awhile since I last posted. Although it didn’t start out intentionally, I needed a bit of a blogging break to focus on other things – but I’m back, in full swing, with lots of exciting announcements!

 Hubs and I and our little mer-person

Hubs and I and our little mer-person

First and foremost, for those that don’t already know – I’m pregnant! Today marks 19 weeks, almost half way there (cue Bon Jovi). I’ve been really fortunate to have a fairly easy pregnancy so far – no sickness or other crazy side effects aside from extreme tiredness (which doesn’t seem to be going away, sigh). 

The hardest part was keeping it under wraps the first few weeks – in fact, it was torture. I dealt with it by basically becoming a hermit and working in overdrive. 

This was totally great for my business – it’s booming at the moment! The past few months I’ve met so many lovely new clients, had some great press and done some fabulous things. All of which have lead me to decide to launch some new services – more on this to come next week. Be sure to follow my Facebook page or sign up for my Style newsletter to be the first in the know.

I’m totally determined to ride this wave through to when baby is due to arrive this November. That means you can expect a lot more from me in the next few months. I’m really going to step up my social media and blogging game. There, I’ve put it out there… so now it MUST happen!

 Whaaat?! Where'd this bump come from?

Whaaat?! Where'd this bump come from?

I’m also really excited to delve into the world of maternity style. It’s an interesting time to say the least. The miraculous changes my body is undergoing are not always easy. I’m still waiting for my proper preggo belly to ‘pop’ – and praying for sunshine in the meantime as skirts and dresses are so much easier to wear at the moment.

I plan on posting about my own experience of pregnancy as well as stylish maternity solutions for mommas-to-be, but don’t worry if you’re not with child – I’ll still resume with my usual style advice and fashion and lifestyle content.

If there’s anything you’d like to see in the coming weeks, I want to know – please comment below and I’ll do my best to create the content you want!