I met Philippa Roberts in New York in 2003 and was instantly drawn to the refinement of her work. It is fresh and simple, unfussy and tasteful yet slightly organic in shape. Since then it has become one of our best selling jewelry lines in the Annieglass company stores. I am impressed by its appeal to a wide variety of customers in age and style. It is a basic for every woman’s wardrobe.
Over the years, Philippa Roberts, who crafts her jewelry from her Oakland, CA studio and retail store, has held special trunk show events at the Annieglass store in Santa Cruz. Her beautiful designs and kindness to all always attracted a large following, and I am so excited to welcome her to our new store for the Philippa Roberts Meet the Maker trunk show event at Annieglass Santana Row, Saturday, July 25!
I was able to sit down with Philippa at one of our past trunk shows, and find out more about her jewelry, inspiration, and interesting family history of jewelry making. Read on, then come to the July 25 trunk show to see Philippa’s amazing designs in person, and to get styled by Philippa herself!
Annie Morhauser: (A.M.) What is your strongest influence?
Philippa Roberts: (P.R.) I like to think that my strongest influence is a woman’s need for simple, clean, classic jewelry. I know how crazy and busy our lives are, I want jewelry to be uncomplicated and easy to wear. My work is not something that goes with a specific outfit or at a specific time. It can be worn day or night; you can even wear the same piece everyday, which many women do.
A.M.: Where do you get your inspiration?
P.R.: My pieces come one of two ways. One way is I see a shape out in the world or in print (i.e. I saw some bubbles in a picture of a soap bottle and I loved the way they looked, so I will turn that image of the bubbles into silver and then into a piece of jewelry). I often come up with a bunch of new shapes before I have any collection in mind. Then I shop the gem shows and get inspired by the stones I see. So I buy what I think is beautiful then I come back to the studio and create a piece to go with the stones. Often this means I’ll have a mold made of the stone or I’ll put multiple stones together for a piece.
A.M.: Do have a whole, complete collection in mind when you design new work or does one flow from the other?
P.R.: One definitely flows from the other; it always surprises me how it all comes together in the end.
A.M.: Do you draw them out or make samples out of your head, at the bench?
P.R.: I make them straight into silver at the bench, and then carve them more on the grinding wheel. Everything has an organic feel because nothing is measured or planned.
A.M.: Tell me about your upbringing in a jewelry making family…
P.R.: My Great-Grandfather came to South Africa from Scotland; he started a fine jewelry business in Johannesburg. My Grandfather took the company over, then my uncle, and now my four cousins run it. They have five or six stores in South Africa and cater to the rich and famous! I know the Queen and Tina Turner have pieces.
So they are the finest of fine jewelers and I actually never was around the stores or the studios too much. It wasn’t until I was in my senior year in college that I really realized the connection. I had fallen into Metal Arts completely by accident when I could not get the ceramics class I wanted. I needed a 3D requirement so I took the metal class and immediately fell in love with working with metal. It was an instant attraction. When I was presenting my final projects it all made sense that this is what is in my blood. I love having that connection to my family back in South Africa, especially my Grandfather who passed away when I was a little girl.
We hope to see you at the Philippa Roberts Meet the Maker Trunk Show at Annieglass Santana Row, Saturday, July 25!