The founder of Ark Jewellery, Kristina Smith graduated from London Metropolitan University in Design and Jewellery. After a long gap in pursuing another career, she set up Ark Jewellery in 2019 to contribute to the movement towards sustainability.
The brand is based in Kent, UK and uses recycled or fair-trade materials with sustainable histories to produce limited edition artisan jewellery that she hopes will be passed down to generations. Kristina loves working with a variety of materials using the latest technologies such as laser engraving and 3D printing and casting.
In the stunning Silver Leaf Collection, Kristina delves into the relationship between nature, plants and women. The design of the beautiful Arabesque Collection is inspired by Middle Eastern Architecture. Decorations make frequent use of geometric patterns and are often built on combinations of repeated squares and circles which she uses to create intricate patterns etched and painted on sustainable wood.
How did you start your accessory brand?
Like many artists, from studying what you love to finding the courage to turn that love into a business took me along a scenic route. A true entrepreneur at heart, I found my own recruitment company and coached young people seeking a career change and pushing their passion. This drive focused my own attention on my interests, and in 2019, the Ark Jewellery was born.
Like all good art, Ark Jewellery gives you room to discover your own emotions, connections and weave them into a story that ultimately makes them a part of your life. Kristina believes art with a story is meaningless.
Share your favourite part of the job with our readers.
My hobby is my work, it never feels like a chore but an exciting opportunity to create beautiful pieces with a story, and that’s what I love about it.
As an artist, I believe the passion to create art is not just to make a perfect material to create beauty, but also to educate and raise awareness.
Do you have a signature style? Tell us more about your most popular designs.
In the Silver Leaf Collection, I delve into the relationship between nature, plants, and women. The design of the Arabesque Collection is inspired by Middle Eastern Architecture. Decorations make frequent use of geometric patterns and are often built on combinations of repeated squares and circles which is used to create intricate patterns etched and painted on sustainable wood.
Being intrigued by new technologies and 3D design printing, Kristin explored the boundaries of what can be perceived as precious, mixing unusual materials such as wood and fine metals, incorporating gemstones into designs that are elegantly inspired by the fragility and beauty of nature. And not to forget, all of the packaging is also sustainable, ensuring the minimisation of any carbon footprint created by the production of the jewellery.
What's your proudest moment in your accessory designer career? What makes you a happy artist?
My proudest moment is being recognised by the industry. In May this year, I have been listed in the Professional Jeweller Power List 2021 Rising Star category. In June I've been selected to take part in the Goldsmiths' Centre's new initiative Getting Started: Stars in the Making 2021-22, putting jewellery and silversmithing talent in the spotlight and championing early career makers. This is a really important milestone achieved by hard work and perseverance.
A happy customer delighted with her/his jewellery or gift is what makes me happy, this is the main reason for doing what I am doing.
What's your accessory styling advice for your clients?
I think that trends no longer matter that much, the trend is being individual. Colourful pieces are certainly popular after living in lockdowns and long and bleak winter. Mix and match or just mix pieces you love with a single or unmatched pair of earrings is my favourite style at the moment together with nature-inspired and holiday jewellery as we missed being outdoors and to brighten up our staycation holidays!
Which of your designs is your favourite? Can you tell us the story behind it?
The Arabesque Collection, inspired by a happy place during a memorable holiday. A visit to the Alhambra in Granada, Andalusia, Spain captivated my imagination, and the eternal beauty of the repetitive patterns, colours and tranquillity throughout the palace led me to incorporate these feelings of stillness and eternity into that collection. It’s created with innovative laser-etched technique on sustainable wood, inlaid with silver or copper and painted with organic materials.
What's your prediction on trends for accessories? What style or colour would you recommend for 2021/22 Autumn/Winter?
Pantene named two colours for colour of the year 2021, Illuminating Yellow and Ultimate Grey, they are both vibrant, bright and positive colours. My favourite colour is bright or dark green, I think because I miss nature and I also find green extremely calming and reassuring. Minimalist pieces on the other hand have been popular too, as we reassess priorities in the rapidly changing world.
London Accessory Week Team