Ethical Designer Spotlight: Oak Fine Jewellery

Introducing two amazing artists, Parul Tolentino and Jo-Anne Owdud from Oak Fine Jewellery when I first came across these talented designers I was transported to a world of whimsy and delight. Their design aesthetic is sublime and their ethics are both honourable and eco. I hope you enjoy my interview with these unique individuals!

 Q. Where did the name “OAK” spring from?

OAK was named to evoke a sense of strength, heritage and beauty.
Q. How would you sum up OAK’s design aesthetic?
OAK’s designs are inspired by the wonders of our heritage with a playful nostalgia. Each piece has sentimentality that holds an element of our past and brings it into our future.

Q. How did you start down this path of jewellery design?
We both studied jewellery design at Central Saint Martins in London and went onto forge careers in the fast throwaway world of high street fashion jewellery.  It was here that we met and worked together.  Realising we shared the same design ethics we decided to create our own brand.  We wanted to design and create beautiful jewellery that would last more than one lifetime and that would be treasured and passed down through generations to come.

Q. If you had to choose another career for yourself, what would that be?
Jo-Anne – wow! My other career choice is an alter ego of actually being able to sing and dance and to be in a west-end musical, channeling some Julie Andrews…  A very unlikely dream!
Parul – I have more humble aspirations! I would like to have run a florist or to write and illustrate children’s books
 Q. Can you tell us a little bit about what makes OAK an eco-conscious label?
OAK does have strong ethical foundations. We see ourselves as a super-luxe brand with a heart.  We are proud to be amongst one of the first jewellers to be a Fairtrade licensee. Our metals are either Fairtrade or recycled and our stones are ethically sourced.

OAK is also made in Britain intentionally to support British manufacturing and to enable us the assurance of good and ethical work practices and to cut down on some of our ecological impact.
Q. What advice would you give to designers who are interested in becoming more sustainable?

It can prove challenging in terms of sourcing and manufacturing. But any steps that can be taken are appreciated. It seem, rightly that this is where the future is heading and people are more conscious of where their products come from. There is of course always more that can be done but small steps can still make a difference.

Q. What is one of the most personally rewarding pieces you’ve ever produced?
The Treasured Tree without a doubt. It held so much magic and emotion to both of us in the design stage and we worked through technical challenges to produce something that captures the story that inspired it.
Q. OAK is a collaborative effort between two amazing designers. Walk us through the creative process when you work as a team.
We both love beautifully made objects with a good story to tell and items that bring emotion in the wearer. An element of humor is also added in our mix. We work really closely together and are always on the same inspirational headspace. We are constantly designing and create an abundance of designs. We edit carefully ensuring that every piece is integral to its collection and stands well on its own. 
Q. What does the future hold for OAK Fine Jewellery?
Lots more beautiful jewellery collections!  We hope you like what you see…
Here are some of Kindness by Design’s favourite pieces:
Richmond Park Collection

“The Treasured Tree” – An enchanting pendant with a sweet surprise made from fairtrade 18ct yellow and white gold along with recycled silver

“The Treasured Tree” – Signature OAK clasp

“Fallen for You” – Stunning 18ct fairtrade yellow gold bangle with intricate hand-sculpted leaf designs

“If Trees Could Talk” – Hand-carved slice of oak in 18ct fairtrade gold. Wonderfully unique!

“I’ll Always Remember – Classic Ring” – Stunning ring inspired by the natural beauty of branches and made from recycled silver

“Autumn Changed” -A study in recycled silver capturing a moment in the life of an autumn leaf 

Love Letters Collection

“Our Love Will Bloom Ring” – The word ‘lover’ is elegantly crafted in fairtrade gold

“In Our Hearts – Earrings” – Lusciously romantic earrings with a special selection of gemstones which cheekily spell out LOVER: Lemon diamond, Opaque jasper, Violet spinnel, Emerald and Ruby

“In Our Hearts – Bracelet” – Sublimely delicate bracelet with the signature LOVER gemstones

MINE Collection
“MINE eternal ring” – Dreamy silver ring with a lovely ethically sourced diamond

“MINE Necklace” – A delicate ethical diamond necklace

You can also find OAK on Facebook and Twitter at @OAKFJewellery, @OAKjoanne and @OAKparul

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