When fine jeweler Claire Aristides established her namesake brand eight years ago, it was the realisation of a dream. Living in London for 12 years before relocating home to Australia, Claire honed her decades-long interest in jewellery. Mid-pregnancy with her first child, she established Aristides Fine Jewels as a way for every wearer to reflect on the most important milestones in life.
As Valentine’s Day fast approaches, as does our exclusive event featuring a Claire Aristides jewellery pop-up store at Parlour X on Tuesday 12th March! To celebrate this exciting collaboration, the X-FILES asked Claire about the three major loves in her life; motherhood, travel and jewellery.
Tell us about your formal background and living in London.
I moved to London in my 20’s. The plan was to go for two years, however it wasn’t until 12 years later that I actually left. London is so liberating, so exciting, and it’s always bigger than you. You are constantly moving and changing. I have many fond memories of my time in London – I left my IT programming job to become a jewellery designer, I started a jewellery school (what fun!), I published a jewellery book, and met the love of my life.
How did you discover your passion for creating fine jewellery?
My mum … it was the ’70s, we were ex-pats living in Singapore and Fiji and she had this incredible red case full of jewels; diamonds, sapphires, lots of long gold chains, gemstone rings and the like. I was mesmerised. I’ve been hooked ever since.
How and when did you establish Aristides Fine Jewels?
Around 2011, I had taken some time off to fall pregnant, and when I was at the seven month mark of my pregnancy I said to my husband ‘umm I have something to tell you…’. I’ve been working on another baby and it was Aristides Fine Jewels! It was very small scale for the first year as I had a baby (and obviously I had no idea the craziness a newborn would bring…!).
Why is fine jewellery so sentimental?
Fine jewellery traditionally is purchased as a gift for someone. A gift to say ‘I love you’, ‘congratulations’ or … ‘I love you even more 20 years on!’. So, these kinds of gifts have incredible sentiment, the jewellery tells a story, whether it is celebrating a moment or a milestone. I am a blubbering mess when my son makes me a Mother’s Day card that says ‘I love you’ … so imagine if the gift you receive is a diamond tennis bracelet or diamond ring – something of incredible value. Naturally, you are going to be a gooey, sentimental mush.
What are some of the most exciting precious materials or techniques to work with?
I’ve always adored gemstones, and my first collection was a cocktail ring collection. I love the colour of gemstones – the intensity and variation you get can be so brilliant. I find it exhilarating, I [still] get goosebumps. I am working on a very small capsule collection with gemstones at the moment. And then of course, there are diamonds. Diamonds are incredible, a symbol of strength. It feels like a privilege to make something incredibly special for someone… something that makes them giddy and beam with excitement, and ultimately an adornment for them that says – you are loved, you are special.
What insights do you have in the balancing act of motherhood with professional pursuits?
It’s a challenge ‘doing it all’. You just have to say no to certain things, be focussed. You can’t do everything (without dropping the ball on something). I was quite impatient with myself before kids, children has definitely softened and relaxed me. Motherhood has also made me realise how beautiful it is to create something slowly, taking your time, staying focused, and following your instincts.
Being your own boss, where do you turn for guidance, or is something you look inward for?
My husband is a great mentor. He built and sold a business, so he is very astute and I trust his judgement. I am very close to my sisters and trusted friends that I seek advice on matters. Often your inner voice is always right, so I try and listen to that instinct as much as possible. I also get inspired by collaborations with creative individuals in the fashion and design space.
Define your personal sense of style.
I am a mix of ’70s wide-legged trousers with a pussy-bow blouse, and pretty statement dresses thrown in for good measure. I don’t do activewear very well. Having kids and working has made me hone my look so that I know works for me – I am not chasing fashion but working with styles that I know suit me. I am also very efficient with my beauty and make-up routine now – which always includes sunscreen. I don’t leave the house without a hat and SPF on.
Living between London and Sydney, what role does travel play in your life?
Travel is huge for us. We couldn’t travel one year when my daughter was born and it was hard, there were tears. I left Australia in my 20’s and moved to the UK, so travel is a big part of who I am, and as a family it’s super important we seek adventures and explore.
What passions do you cultivate outside of jewellery design?
I have trained as a Clinical Hypnotherapist. Hypnotherapy has had a profound impact on my life over the past 20 years, and I am a huge believer in visualisation, creating a positive mindset for your dreams and goals. I love creating and updating vision boards for my goals. I am very passionate about hypnotherapy and could talk for hours and hours!
What are you wearing right now?
Three Graces London Kaftan and diamond hoops.