Dominic Jones’ Dominant Jewels



Londoner Dominic Jones has risen fast since launching his debut jewelry collection last year (with some help from model/It-girl Alice Dellal): his work has featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, praised by Anna Wintour, won two British Fashion Council New Generation Awards, and graced the necks, wrists, and waists of everyone from Vivienne Westwood to Beyoncé to the models in Thierry Mugler’s Autumn/Winter 2010 runway show. His new collection features Jones’ familiar toughness, but brings the edge through space-age angularity rather than through references to nature, as with his previous two collections. We caught up with Jones recently via e-mail.

ARIELLA GOGOL: What inspired you to start your jewelry collection in spring 2009?

DOMINIC JONES: After I left University, I tried my hand a lot of different things, as I had kind of fallen out of love with jewelry. After a few years of trying my hand in other paths, I’d worked out that I needed to be my own boss, and that my talent and passion was with jewelry.
I started by making a few pieces from my kitchen at home, and the reaction was amazing.

GOGOL: Your website refers to your pieces as “nature inspired,” but it seems like they also have a tough urbanity. Does nightlife play a role in your design aesthetic?

JONES: My first and second collections are directly referencing nature. I think there is an elegance and balance to design in nature that is the starting point for creating something of beauty. But with my third collection, I consciously tried to avoid those references, as I would hate the idea of being defined by anything other than my own aesthetic.

GOGOL: You’ve also initiated some new techniques this time around.

JONES: With this collection, I started by looking at the techniques in which I work, and the idea that they are almost identical to sculpture, only scaled down. My grandfather was a wood carver, and at a young age, I learned about working in three dimensions, and learning about the works of sculptors like Barber Hepworth, Henry Moore, and Andy Goldsworthy. I started to look at the forms and shapes that were used by sculptors in and around the Art Deco period. It was that aesthetic that influenced the curves and lines I used in this collection.

GOGOL: Has nightlife affected the way you put looks together?

JONES: Nightlife is something I don’t think directly affects my designs, but it’s a great tool for me, growing up in London. Nearly all my friends, I have made through going out, and it has been amazing growing with people of a like mind and watching people go on and succeed, it is hugely inspiring.

GOGOL: How did you come to know Alice Dellal?

JONES: I’ve known Alice for around six years. We met at one of the early !WoWoW! parties. She used take photos of a band called the Ludes that used to live with the !WoWoW! group, and I got involved with them. Alice and I clicked, we stayed friends, and saw each other around all the time, and we became really close. When she saw my jewelry, she loved it straight away. In fact, she was he first person other than me to own a piece. When she saw that I was struggling to keep up with it all, she stepped up and said she wanted to turn it into a proper company. So she invested in me, and we’ve not looked back since!


GOGOL: What was the biggest challenge to accessorizing the Thierry Mugler show?

JONES: The biggest challenge was the time scale, as it was quite late in the day that they contacted me. It came about because Sophia Neophitou had just used my jewelry for the cover Harper’s Bazaar and had it in mind for the Mugler show, which she was styling and wanted to use the collection, but requested it be remade in black. I had to re-make a set of my thorn earrings larger, and get them plated in black gold, all in a week and a half. I was of course more than happy to do it, as Thierry Mugler is up there as one of my favorite designers.

GOGOL: What are you working on now? I hear you are traveling shortly.

JONES: I have been working with the World Land Trust for the last year, and I have an upcoming project with them that is a follow-on from the Emeralds for Elephants exhibition and auction, in which my piece raised £32,000 for the charity. We are going to India in December to visit and work on the projects that the money was raised for.  

GOGOL: What are the challenges of designing in your mid-20s?

JONES: The design and creative side is not a problem, but learning how to run a company as a young creative has been challenging. There is so much more on the business side than I ever considered when I first started making jewelry in my kitchen. It has been a challenge keeping up with the company’s success, and I have had to learn from my and others’ mistakes as I go.