Brandts is a contemporary jewellery collection created by designer Ayshe Brandts.
'I am a nature lover, beach bum, detail freak, and a free spirit.'
Having tried out a few careers after law school - building up Eda Lingerie (now beachwear) with her sister for 7 years, then becoming a landscape architect - Ayshe found herself in a life crisis with work and home life pulling in different directions, with a job that wasn't quite what it was cracked up to be. When she had to take a career break for health reasons, she started to make jewellery after she saw the beautiful things her friend was making.
'Jewellery is one of my weaknesses. Having grown up in Cyprus where you are given your first piece of jewellery as soon as you are born, I have always loved jewellery, but never imagined I could actually make it myself.'
Soon, what began as a self-taught hobby became a full time occupation.
'The more I explore the possibilities, the more I am fired up to create beautiful things. Being a jewellery designer-maker is the ideal job for me. I borrow patterns and forms from nature, and transform them into pendants and bracelets. I love to be able to think through every detail, how I can hang a pendant from a chain as neatly as possible, for example, and I like to break the rules a little. See the Pod necklace, for instance. I crushed apatite beads into crystals and fixed them inside the pod with resin. Old-school jewellers would frown at this, but I don't care! I am only answerable to my clients.'
You can read Ayshe's views on a creative career on the UK Handmade blog.
Each piece in the collection is designed and hand made in London by Ayshe, using gemstones, freshwater pearls, sterling silver and goldfilled components (see Product Care for further information).
Her mission is to create sublime jewellery for all occasions, at a fair price.
'I believe that form and function should always go hand in hand. Jewellery is not just a piece of art that can be put in a glass case and be admired, or locked away in a safe. It should be wearable, comfortable, and durable. I personally can't wear jewellery that is too heavy, or gets in the way. You'll find that most of my pieces have a restrained aesthetic, and are very easy to wear. For day-to-day wear, I love the stretch gemstone and charm bracelets. I don't have to take them off while I'm working, typing away on my computer, or even practising yoga'.
If chunky is what you like, however, Ayshe is more than happy to create a bespoke item just for you.
Ayshe cares deeply for our environment and is very much aware of the impact which we have on it with everything we do. As well as following the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Ayshe sources as many of her supplies as possible locally, from gems and precious metals, to packaging materials. Moreover, Ayshe is always keen to explore the possibility of using components or processes which are nature friendly, for example, using a natural citric acid solution instead of hazardous chemicals after soldering, and crushed hard boiled eggs (free range, orgainc of course) rather than liver of sulphur to patinate silver! Ayshe plans to incorporate recycled silver and gold into her collections in the course of this year.