When it comes to designing fine jewellery, Claire Aristides is fast becoming known as one of Australia’s best- combining a minimalist and luxurious approach to her stunning pieces- for her label Aristides Fine Jewels.
Claire has always had a passion for this craft and spent the last six years mastering her trade whilst creating some gorgeous cocktail rings, necklaces, bracelets and has also launched a Bambino range, focusing on precious pieces for little ones.
We spoke to this talented lady about her love of jewels, popular designs and the Greek Islands, which are a huge influence and source of inspiration for Claire’s beautiful work.
Can you tell us when you started designing fine jewellery?
I was living overseas in London and working in IT programming for accounting firm KPMG. However, like most women, I had a love of jewellery and started to learn more about it. I launched a fashion jewellery line in Carnaby St, London, which was my first taste. Unfortunately, my husband Mike’s mum was sick, so we came back to Australia, and I stopped. Then, when I was seven months pregnant, and I thought about launching a cocktail ring range. I created a collection of styles, where you could pick what you wanted, and I would make it. So I did that and soon discovered it was hard to juggle a baby and a new business. So the first year was slow, and when my son Enzo got a bit bigger, I started again, and the business has grown since then.
Do you now have a team on board with you?
Yes, I focus my time on design and marketing while my team of experts are dedicated to stone setting and polishing. I have an excellent bunch of people around me, from a setter who concentrates on diamond rings and another who purely works with gemstones. That way, I can design bespoke, and custom made pieces. It has taken a while, but I now have a group of people that are just as passionate as I am about what we are creating.
What draws you to this line of work?
What excites me is that fine jewellery is so personal. I have clients who come to me for a present for their girlfriend, then the engagement ring, push present, and we also have a baby collection- so we can work with them through all these happy occasions. I get such excitement from seeing new stones, new diamonds and engagement rings are so much fun because you really get to know the individual and their style.
How many collections do you launch per year?
I do my classic collection all year round, and then I have two to three other ranges that are occasion driven, such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and around Christmas time. This year I’m also working on some new cocktail rings, which I’m launching around race season.
How would you describe your current designs?
At the moment, I’m drawn to a modern take on the 1930’s ‘vintage feel’, and I also love mixing gold, so I have a collection of rings where I have mixed stones with different golds. There are always trends, and currently, everyone seems to want a halo engagement ring, stacking jewellery pieces and also rose gold is also in fashion. So I have designed some rose gold pieces with black diamonds, which we wouldn’t have seen before, but women currently love this look.
Can you tell us more about your Bambino Diamond range?
Bambino Diamond started when we went to Italy with Enzo (my son) as a baby, and Mike’s family gave me a beautiful solitaire diamond. I decided to make a bracelet from it, loved it and thought it was time to start a range for babies and kids too. This collection includes bracelets, earrings and pins for little ones.
Do you have a lot of overseas clients?
Yes, our business is predominantly online, and we have clients from all over the world. Even though we have our showroom in Paddington, most of our sales are online and worldwide. Customers can email us, and we make a technical 3d drawing that is very particular, and they sign off on that. So we even make engagement rings for people overseas, with a sterling silver sample so they can see it and make sure it’s right. We really work with the customer to make sure they feel comfortable with what they get.
Tell us about your love affair with the Greek islands?
It started when I was only a teenager and went to my local corner store, which a Greek family ran. I saw these iconic pictures of blue and white buildings, the iconic white churches and I said to the owner Stelios, “Where is this place? I have to go” and he said “Santorini.” From that moment, it stuck with me, and I fell in love with Santorini, as it looked so magical. Not long after that, I remember saying to my Dad, “I’m going to marry a Greek man.” And I did. My husband Mike is part Greek, and we both love the Greek Islands. As a couple, there is a real connection with it, and we never fight over where we want to go on holidays. It’s always “We are going to the Greek Islands.”
Which Greek Island inspires you most?
I love Mykonos and everything about this island inspires me. From the air, sun, water, food and all else that goes with it. I just love sitting back at Jackie O Bar, relaxing and unwinding. I love the stunning little alleyways and boutique stores that have gorgeous collections of Grecian jewellery and other fashion items; I always come back feeling inspired.
Where to next for Aristides Fine Jewels?
I want to keep growing internationally and having more collaborations as I think that is definitely the future for brands. Of course, more travel to keep re-injecting and rejuvenating my mind and creativity. I also want to grow the baby collection and do more designs and variety there. Ultimately I want to keep doing what I love, and that is designing fine jewellery.
Fast 5 with Claire Aristides
Fave destination: Mykonos
Fave restaurant: Le Caprice, London
Fave jewellery piece: Morganite rose gold cocktail ring
Fave designer: Tom Ford
Fave drink: Pommery champagne in a long-stemmed flute