Can jewellery be gender neutral?
As a male jewellery designer, I found the majority of my designs to have a more masculine feel to them. I thought I should be making conscious efforts to make my pieces more stereotypically ‘feminine’. However, I quickly came to the realisation that the main difference between male and female jewellery I create is the size, not the design. It made me think - does jewellery have to be gender specific? I don't think it does. I think it’s subjective.
I started to see a lot of my male friends wearing their girlfriend’s big stone rings. Then I started to find this with the jewellery I was designing; I would design a piece initially with a woman in mind but then I would want to wear it myself. I would also often find rings I designed for men were appealing to my female audience.
I would like to think my jewellery is not gender specific, but is subjective to the person choosing it based on their own tastes, styles and what they’re drawn to.
I am currently a Bristol based Jewellery designer but the open road if where I feel home.
When I was three years old, my parents decided to pack up their lives, move into a bus and hit the open road. Being young themselves with three children they wanted a life that was different. With dreams of travel and adventure in their hearts, they did what many are scared to do. We headed to Europe and after a few years we had integrated ourselves into a travelling society known as 'new-age travellers’.
By the time I was six we were moving around different sites in Britain. I spent my childhood growing up on the road, living in different communities, travelling in convoys with all kinds of wonderful people from different backgrounds and different journeys. I learnt the value of travel and freedom from a young age. After almost a decade on the road we moved back into ‘normal’ society.
As my dad was a Goldsmith, I spent my childhood in and around his workshop, always so interested in what he was up to. I would watch him work and try to copy. In school I loved the creative and hands on subjects but never really found a field or career path for me. So straight out of school, at just seventeen, I decided to become a master goldsmith and began my apprenticeship.
I loved working as a goldsmith and loved the industry, learning new things everyday and working in a career I was truly proud of. Two and a half years into the apprenticeship I found myself feeling that something was missing out of my life… creativity!!
I made the hard decision to end my masters apprenticeship and to go to university. I studied Metalwork and Jewellery and this allowed me to focus on designing. I loved my time there, learnt so much and developed myself into a designer. After earning my degree I started to think about what was next. Fifteen years of 'normal' society later, the road would be my home again!
I downsized my life into one bag, packed a couple of hand tools and some jewellery wire and bought a one way ticket to Australia. Over the next couple of years the few tools I had slowly grew into a portable workshop briefcase. I have now been on the road for around 6 years with pop up workshops of some sort or another all over the world; from beachside garages in Sydney, a riverside campervan-convert in NZ, a chalet in the French Alps, an apartment in Bangkok, a caravan in the forests of Southwest England and the mountains of Fukushima and Hokkaido, Japan. Everywhere I travel inspires me to broaden my designs by incorporating the cultural styles and using the land's unique materials.
Travel is in my heart and Jewellery is my passion. The love of these two things lead me to creating my brand, Jack Mitchell Jewellery.
Hello!! This is me!!
Season 2 of All That Glitters
2022 - 2022; BBC 2
Jack Mitchell Jewellery
2013 - present; Goldsmith, jewellery designer and manufacturer Sheffield Hallam University 2009 - 2013; Metalwork and Jewellery BA hon. Northbrook College; Sussex 2008 - 2009; City and Guilds level three – Jewellery Bath Goldsmith Company, vintage and antique jewellery2006 - 2008; Master Goldsmith ApprenticeshipTina Engell, established goldsmith; Bath2005 - 2006; GoldsmithChristopher Milton Stephens, jewellery and diamond specialist; Bath 2004 - 2005; Master Goldsmith Apprenticeship