BEJEWELED: SALOUKEE

Aida Rock Necklace | Saloukee

Designer: Sarah Kelly | Saloukee.com

Describe your designs in three words: Raw. Unique. Unconventional.

How did you get started in the jewelry industry? I studied jewelry at college and university. After graduating, I worked for others and spent time traveling. By 2008, I knew working for myself—on my own terms—was the only way to take the steps to reach my goals.

What materials do you most like to work with? Ones that feel great in my hands, sometimes natural, sometimes found, always real; ones that I can morph into something new, contrasting textures and problem solving through the limitations that the materials have, to something unexpected, designed through exploration and adventure.

What’s one thing jewelry design has taught you about life? To listen to my instinct and trust my gut, it’s not often that they have done me wrong. It’s too easy to base life on what you believe are others’ expectations of you. With experience, I realized that the biggest critic in my life was always myself. The more I learn to have faith in my decisions, the more freedom I have to find contentment and answers.

What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date? When I set up my business in 2008, I set out on my one-woman mission to change—in my own little way—preconceptions of what jewelry should or could be made from. Along the way, I’ve written a book on the subject, undertaken workshops with people, aged from five to seventy-five, and even lectured designers on the future on the subject. In all those years, 2016 feels like possibly the most exciting year yet. It’s finally the year where I will see the medium of paper in jewelry, being ‘accepted’ and sold in a designer boutique within one of the most stylish lifestyle stores in the U.S., so watch this space for more details.

What’s one thing people would never guess about you? Having been a city girl my whole life, excited by bright lights, opportunity and bustle, last year I took a huge leap of faith and moved away from family and friends and settled in the tiniest hamlet in Shropshire with my now husband and two cats. In a ‘trust my gut’ moment, I realized that with only one life to live, I wanted to spend more of my precious time taking a moment to just ‘be.’ My studio now overlooks rolling hills, I get to breath fresh air on lunchtime strolls and I get more head and physical space than I’ve ever had. Luckily for me, family, friends and London are still only a few hours away, so I also get that fix frequently too, just with more energy to give when it does happen.

Priceless means: Something unique, with sentiment, never to be physically replaced.