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Jewellery Inspired By Cornwall, Magic & Myth With Gemheaven Jewellery

Meet Jo! A talented jeweller, working from her wonderful home studio in Cornwall, where she creates magical and mythical handmade jewellery designs! We have always been in awe of Jo's statement gemstone designs, so we were super excited to hear more about Jo's experiences, inspirations and processes. We ask Jo all about how she discovered her signature style and passion for gemstones, we gain top tips on gaining a growing and engaged following on social media and hear all about Jo's love for Cornwall which plays a key role in inspiring her boho jewellery designs.

Hi Jo, how did you first discover your love for jewellery making?

I initially fell down the rabbit hole of looking on a website for beading thread to mend a necklace I had broken, I never looked back and never did mend that necklace. It grew from there and I began wire wrapping gemstones, and lampwork beads before I moved on to silversmithing in 2008.

How has living in Cornwall inspired your designs?

How can Cornwall not inspire! I’m definitely a Cornish maid, the essence and magic of Cornwall, whether from folklore, myth or the beautiful coast and wilds of the moors is in my blood. I like to think there is a bit of Cornwall in each piece I create.

"I like to think there is a bit of Cornwall in each piece I create..."

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What was your experience like studying a jewellery course and what did you gain from this?

Before I started silversmithing I wanted to expand my skills, this was before Instagram or YouTube so apart from reading there was nothing else but finding a course. I am a hands-on learner, so I took a course at the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery with Lisa Cain and that was the start of me with a torch!

"When I left Etsy a couple of years ago, I was a little worried but honestly it’s the best thing I could have done..."

"My top tip would be to put your face on there, it wasn’t a comfortable thing for me, but it does give some insight to the person behind the designs..."

How would you describe your jewellery?

Once someone described it as other worldly (Lord Of The Rings) which I loved, but I would say a little rustic, a little bit boho and a whole lot of magic!

How have you found selling jewellery on your own website compared to platforms such as Etsy?

When I left Etsy a couple of years ago, I was a little worried but honestly it’s the best thing I could have done. Selling online isn’t the easiest thing, you do have to promote constantly but I think I was already doing that before I left so apart from pointing people to Etsy, I just started pointing them to my website instead. 

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You’ve grown a brilliant following on Instagram, what are your top tips on growing your social media and having an engaged community?

I’m lucky that I started right at the start of Instagram so my numbers have grown organically, slowly but surely. I love the visualisation of Instagram, and the fact you can connect with your customers. My top tip would be to put your face on there, it wasn’t a comfortable thing for me, but it does give some insight to the person behind the designs. I think it's so important for handcrafted jewellery, for some behind the scenes shots too. Everyone loves to see the process even if just a snippet.

We love your gemstone designs, what’s your favourite gemstone to use and why?

Ohh gosh I have to say labradoritemoonstoneaquamarine and Australian opal. I know you said favourite, but I couldn’t pick just one and if you looked at my gemstone drawers it would be obvious these are my top 4!

What do you love most about bohemian style?

I think bohemian style captures a little wildness, free thinking and no confines of a particular style. I create what I feel, what inspires me, what flows.

Favourite beach in Cornwall and why?

As a child we spent all our summer weekends on a beach on the south coast called Pendower and I have such amazing memories from there, but I love the sand and more rugged coastline of the north coast, there is a little magic at Holywell Bay for me.

Where do you find inspiration for your next make?

Sometimes it is the gemstone that does the talking, and sometimes a book I am reading, or a photograph, a quote, or just looking at the night sky!

"I love to hear people can spot my designs a mile off – that for me is the best thing..."

What’s your favourite piece of jewellery you’ve ever made and why?

That’s such a hard question hahah, at the moment it would have to be my lockets. I have to really think about the construction and I feel like they push me out of my comfort zone. But I think yearly I change my mind on a favourite piece... (to be far every piece has a little bit of my heart).

How did you find your jewellery style - was it something that evolved or happened almost instantly?

It's funny when I look back over my old Flickr account (Prior to Instagram etc.) I think my style is there from the start, it's just as my confidence and skills grew my pieces evolved. I love to hear people can spot my designs a mile off – that for me is the best thing.

"I am rubbish at taking time out because I love what I do but I think it's important for the creative process to rest and recuperate..."

What’s your favourite way to have down time?

I’d have to say a long walk, whether in the woods or along the beach on dry days but on a wet winters day I am an avid reader and can easily lose myself in a book too. I am rubbish at taking time out because I love what I do but I think it's important for the creative process to rest and recuperate.

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Tell us about your studio, how have you made it your own and how long do you spend in there each day?

Ahhh my lovely new studio! My husband and I built it by hand at the top of the garden and I moved into her in November 2020 after 12 years in the garage (which was converted but had a frosted window so not much natural light). Now I have a big window above my bench and I look out over my garden. My husband built a wonderful bench and worktop, and she couldn’t be more perfect for me!

I have plants and pictures on the wall, and crystals on shelves – it’s my happy place! I probably spend at least 8 ish hours a day in there, sometimes longer!

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Photography credit: Griffin Photography

What’s 3 Kernowcraft products you’d recommend and why?

Gemstones

Always great quality and I am never disappointed in what I receive.

Settings

I love that you make sure if buying little cabochons and settings together you make sure they fit when a note is added to the basket. Sometimes using the tiny premade bezel cups saves so much time (and my eyesight)

Tools

You always have something a little different - sometimes I just have a scroll through and find something I think I must have (tool addict here!)