It was as a child exploring her father’s carpentry workshop that Abby Mosseri first had the thought of being a maker.
“I remember spending a lot of time fascinated with the tools that he was using, and I still find that workshop environment very inspiring – it has limitless opportunity,” she says. As an adult, she took a BA in jewellery design at Central Saint Martins; in her workshop in Lewes today, she uses traditional skills to make her own creations, working the materials by hand. History and travel are important influences: “When I need inspiration, I visit the British Museum,” she says. “It’s like the world on your doorstep.” Her jewellery uses colourful gemstones to simple but opulent effect.
Traditional jewellery techniques are at the heart of Abby’s work, including stone setting, chain making, and hand forging, “which is when you beat the metal into shape with hammers,” she explains.
She begins with loose sketches, before selecting the gemstones, which come from small, artisan gem-mines. She tweaks the design to suit the jewels, then makes a test run of the piece in metal, to make sure that the proportions are right.
“I do one-off pieces and small-run collections, so there aren’t many of each,” she says. “That suits my excitement about making new things, and it satisfies my creativity. I’m always looking to the next piece of jewellery.”
“My travels around north Africa and India have influenced my style. I have a fascination with adornment from ancient kingdoms, so my collection includes influences from the Moguls, the Egyptians and the Romans. I like the idea of a hoard or a treasure trove of jewellery, and often the gemstones themselves direct the design.”