Creating the art of jewellery joy
Inspired by Lincolnshire’s nature and wildlife, Amanda Coleman’s unique jewellery designs attract customers worldwide. By Kate Chapman.
Craftsmenship and detail are the heart and soul of Amanda Coleman’s handmade jewellery, and it’s her hope that each miniature work of art will bring its owner some much needed “jewellery joy”.
Amanda completed her master’s degree in goldsmithing, silversmithing, metalwork and jewellery at the Royal College of Art and set up her first workshop in London in 1998.
She moved to Lincoln with husband Martin 20 years ago, and credits the county’s natural wildlife, flora and fauna for inspiring her collections of bracelets, studs, necklaces and rings, which feature cute woodland creatures, delicate insects, flowers and leaves and other animal favourites.
“In autumn there are always leaves on the floor, while in summer the flowers are blooming. We’ve got a lovely garden too – full of beautiful plants and ferns.
“A lot of my pieces also feature animals like cats and dogs. People genuinely like cute little designs, I’m a sucker for them myself. These are things that make me smile, so I like to think they will make other people smile too, and bring them a little bit of jewellery joy when they’re wearing them, especially in these difficult times we’re living through.”
Amanda grew up surrounded by the creative arts. Her father is an artist and her mother a potter, while their circle of friends included other makers, who all encouraged her to explore her own artistic tendencies.
“I’ve always been very creative and liked to make things, even before I went to school I was making things from clay and plasticine,” recalls Amanda. “Then I started knitting for my teddy bears and other little things. We moved to Staunton Harold country estate which had a craft centre and stable block when I was still quite young. There were lots of people making things there, including a violin maker, blacksmith, woodturner, soft toy makers and bakers. My parents had lots of creative friends, who were always very encouraging, but I was just enjoying what I was doing, rather than thinking about a career.”
Amanda tried her hand at a variety of arts, including silk painting and even hat making, with some of her designs going on show in the shop at Nottingham Castle when she was 16. She also made buttons from Fimo modelling clay, selling them to shops in Derby.
“I tried not to give it too much thought, but at one stage I did think I might end up becoming a hat maker. I just love creating, and still do. I go into my own little world, it’s a way of blocking out everything else that’s going on,” says Amanda.
“My childhood was quite difficult – at school my family were considered a bit strange as we were arty. We’d moved from Birmingham to Leicestershire, my parents bought second-hand clothes and were a bit hippy-ish. I didn’t fit in at all. I was picked on at school, so would go home and enter this little creative world and make beautiful things, and then other people gave me praise for doing that. Making things was my escapism.”
foundation course where she experimented with other artistic mediums. She then took up a place at Surrey Institute of Art & Design, in Farnham studying 3D Design.
“I became completely enthralled by the sight, sound, smells and pure power of the forge – but fortunately they also did jewellery on the same course, as I soon discovered it was far too much hard work banging away at iron all day long!” says Amanda.
“I was much more suited to sitting down at the jewellery bench, working on tiny, intricate pieces of precious metals.
“Although, I hadn’t really been considering that as a career either. I’d felt jewellery was quite frivolous. It wasn’t until after my second year, when I went on an exchange to Dusseldorf College in Germany, where they were very serious about the jewellery they were making, that I began to see the appeal.”
Amanda describes her initial designs as more sculptural in form – one-offs that went to galleries and exhibitions – but following her master’s at the Royal College of Art she began designing smaller pieces that were both more affordable and had a wider appeal.
website, as well as around 70 shops and stockists nationwide, plus overseas outlets in America, Australia and Japan. She attends trade shows and events such as Stamford’s Burghley Horse Trials and her brand has been named as a Friend of Joules, selling through its website too.
Amanda aims to release a new collection each year and also retains customer favourites on her website. She uses metals including sterling silver and gold vermeil sourced from a supplier in Birmingham and specialises in a technique called photo etching – a way of putting images onto metal using chemicals which eat a fine design into the material. This enables her to create large batches in one go, although she still uses casting methods and often combines the two to create her fine, detailed work.
The company was named ‘Eponomous Designer Jewellery Brand of the Year 2021’, as awarded by a panel of judges made up of industry experts at the UK Jewellery Awards and Retail Jeweller.
“We use British suppliers wherever possible and try to keep the costs down for our customers as that’s very important to me – especially at the moment. Prices start from £25, although we do have more expensive pieces as well. I like to think our jewellery is unique, so if people are going to spend their money, hopefully they will spend it on a good, unique, quality design,” Amanda adds.
“Things on the world stage are unpredictable – I would love to open my own shop but given the uncertainty it’s not really feasible at the moment. We’re fortunate that we have a good website and we’re eternally grateful to our loyal customers who share our values of attention to detail in the design, quality of craftsmanship and materials, and keeping the tradition of jewellery making alive and thriving in the UK.
“We’ve coined the phrase ‘jewellery joy’ – and I hope my pieces continue to provide that to the people wearing them. It’s escapism for me when I’m making them, and I hope they make others happy too.”
For more information and to view Amanda’s collections visit www.amandacoleman.co.uk
Photographs: Amanda Coleman Jewellery