To the City From the Sea: Jewellery Maker Hannah Bourn Chats Us Through Her Venture of Making Beautiful and Unique Jewellery

Interview: Rose Mason
Illustrations: Zarina Teli
Tuesday 04 July 2023
reading time: min, words

It’s always exciting to discover a new creative in Nottingham. Nature lover Hannah Bourn chats us through her venture of making beautiful and unique jewellery, and bringing a touch of the ocean to our landlocked city…

Main Image (14)

“I’ve always loved the beach and being in nature,” Hannah tells us. “I studied jewellery at uni and my final collection and dissertation was all about human connection with nature, natural materials and shells.”

Now, having developed her final collection, she’s selling textured rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and bangles online and at markets, each ‘shaped by nature, made by hand’. Throughout the past few years, Hannah’s small business has expanded gradually. “I set up over Covid at the end of my mum's garden in the shed, which was really nice.” She then moved to Lincoln before settling in a small studio in Nottingham.

Feeling a responsibility to be environmentally conscious, Hannah is mindful of where she sources her materials. Made from solid silver and solid gold, the metals Hannah uses are all recycled, Fairmined and from trusted sources. “The gold platers that I use I think are the only ones in the UK that use Fairmined gold,” she explains. “You can trace it back to the mines it's from and make sure it's from a good background.”

Mindful of giving back to where she takes her inspiration, sustainability is undeniably important in her making. From the Skegness coast to the Great Barrier Reef, our oceans are facing significant threats - plastic pollution, chemical contamination, destruction of fish and coral ecosystems - to name a few. “I like to think that everything is fully sustainable, because I make everything myself,” she says.

She also makes a point about investing in quality jewellery, rather than throwaway fashion, and offers a repolishing service and redipping for gold-plated items to keep them refreshed and everlasting. “The price point, the materials and the idea of the pieces is longevity - pieces that you can pass down to your family. It's not cheap jewellery that'll go green.”

While the packaging used for each piece is currently either fully recyclable or reusable, Hannah has ideas of taking this further. “Because my theme is nature and the sea, I’ve always thought it would be really cool to have packaging made out of ocean waste. In the future I’d love to incorporate that.”

The idea of the pieces is longevity - pieces that you can pass down to your family

Alongside creating a diverse collection, the day to day life of a small business owner sounds busy and vibrant. In Nottingham, Hannah has been immersing herself in the world of independent creatives, from meeting fashion designers to discovering spaces to rent and selling at markets, from Nottingham Contemporary’s Summer Fair, to the Ay Up Market in the Market Square.

“I think currently I have a market every weekend, which is full on, but that was the main way to get my name out,” she says. “I do think the ones that are local, people really connect with, because they can meet me. If they want something bespoke, or if they need a ring resizing, they know it's local.”

As well as selling individual pieces on her website, Hannah’s jewellery is stocked in Devon K.Fines in Nottingham’s Cobden Chambers. She also works alongside people to create bespoke pieces like wedding rings, which align with her themes of texture and the sea, but have a personal touch. It is creating these bespoke pieces that Hannah enjoys the most. “I really enjoy meeting people and doing a whole journey with someone.”

From looking at Hannah’s pieces, making fine jewellery is evidently a hard-earned skill, but her next moves include hosting workshops to teach her skills to the community and giving people a special piece of jewellery to take home. “I’m thinking of wax carving workshops, so people would carve their own rings and then I’d cast them and polish them,” she explains. “Teaching to solder can be quite difficult, so wax carving would be a more accessible thing. But workshops are really popular, people like to wear a piece and think, ‘I made that’.”


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