The Block

Inspiration — 4 years ago

Jewellery Design with Stephelle of MASS GOLD

Chats with Stephelle; founder, designer and general brains behind rising brand MASS GOLD Stephelle.


Can you tell our community a little about yourself to get started?

I’m a jeweller/virtual designer. Originally from Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been in London for about 6 months now. I’ve been making jewellery since 2013, realised uni just wasn’t for me after a while. I got into interior architecture and did that for about 6 months, then transferred to graphic design for a year. After that got a scholarship in Design Advertising and dropped out of that a year later! Not sure, I think I was too stubborn to study anymore. I ended up doing a couple of short courses in lost wax casting and sculpting and took my 3D design elements out of architecture and incorporated that into jewellery design.

Each piece is quite personal and I work quite closely with each client to make sure it’s what they want but in my style.

I did heaps of experimenting and learnt most of my jewellery skills through books. In the beginning I was only working with sterling silver and doing a lot of organic/raw stone settings, which was a whole different vibe to what I’m currently making now. On the side I was working with gold for close friends but was never able to afford doing that all that time. I think maybe a year or two later I somehow started making more and more gold pieces through word of mouth and it just blew up ever since then. I took photos of all my pieces which were generally custom made, and created an online folio under the name Mass. People usually have to hit me up via email to get things made, I don’t work like a shop or anything. Each piece is quite personal and I work quite closely with each client to make sure it’s what they want but in my style. I blinked and now its been 4/5 years since I’ve been doing this full time. It’s great!

Awful Records pendant. Source: MASS GOLD.

How would you describe the aesthetic of your work?

Classic yet futuristic? I like classic styles with innovative ideas to them. Whatever comes to my mind that helps me with ideas for jewellery I usually write down, I take quite a lot of photos of what I see and like. I’m obsessed with going to car boot sales, antique markets and whatever charity shops are around. I Also love Art Deco, however theres not much here in the UK! Lots of my shapes and ideas are Art Deco influenced.

Process is quite important to me also, so I like to show a lot of that. Seeing where it all comes from and how it got there. Lots of jewellery feels a bit soulless and clinical with its boring consistency. I think I’m into showing the mess.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I spend most of my days in my studio in Clerkenwell. I don’t really work on a time schedule as long as I finish what I have to do then I’m good. I run in and out of Hatton Gardens a lot, constantly dropping off and picking up things. Sometimes I spend an entire day on my computer doing designs, emails, mood boards and inspiration print outs.

9ct yellow gold old English rings. Source: MASS GOLD.

When you’re in need of a hit of inspiration, where do you turn?

Print! Magazines, books, architecture, libraries. I hate looking online at things to inspire me. For some reason everything starts to look the same online..I don’t really follow anyone on instagram other than people I know really. Other times if I’m lacking inspiration I just take the day off and not think about things. Or do something I don’t usually do then I’m back up. Walks help.

Gold rings and MASS logo stamp. Source: MASS GOLD.

What would be your dream project?

I’m actually thinking about maybe having a show this year. Sculpture jewellery-wise. So we’ll see how that goes.

What’s been your favourite piece of work to date?

I don’t really have a favourite piece! I have a couple of pieces which definitely are top for me. Like my snake ring, dragon pendant and ring, scorpion ring etc…

What can we expect to see from you for the rest of the year?

Lots of experimenting this year. Working closer with artists, designers and stores. I spent the last couple of years building my folio which I’m pretty happy about now. I’m currently working with a couple of stores in London so this year is already pretty exciting.

Criticism is sexy! Sexy Criticism. Is criticism sexy?

What has been the hardest part of your journey? How did you overcome it?

Working for yourself is pretty tough. Somedays I freak out and wonder if what I’m doing is enough? I think back in Melbourne I had a lot of time on my hands and always felt obliged to be doing more. I think I’m quite hard on myself in that sense which is kind of a good and bad thing. The hardest part is wondering what’s next I guess and what you have to do to get there. Time and being active is crucial…

Gold tooth and ruby dragon ring. Source: MASS GOLD.

3 tips for anyone looking to start their own creative journey?

Criticism is sexy! Sexy Criticism. Is criticism sexy?

Iced out vs plain – which one and why?

I’m about the plain! Or iced but tastefully. Tacky iced hurts.

Biggest challenge facing the creative community in 2018 and beyond?

I guess starting up is always the hardest but once you have work to show and break that barrier everything just falls into place from there. I kind of dropped having expectations and kept doing what I do and somehow things just work out in the end and you end up meeting the right people.