My lightbulb moment: Jeweller Emily Mortimer

My lightbulb moment: Jeweller Emily Mortimer, reveals the inspiration behind her accessories brand

  • Emily Mortimer Hendry, 31, founded her eponymous jewellery company in 2015
  • Suffolk-based jeweller was inspired while visiting Mumbai with her husband
  • Her brand was worn by the Duchess of Sussex during a visit to New Zealand

Emily Mortimer Hendry, 31, founded her eponymous jewellery company in 2015. She lives in Suffolk with her husband Jonny.

I’ve loved all things gemstone for as long as I can remember; the colours, the shapes. As a child, I’d buy so much, my parents gave me a figurine jewellery stand as big as me for my birthday, and I’d chuck everything on it.

I grew up on a farm, so maybe this was my way of looking for more glamour. But I never thought it could be a career until I did an art foundation course, which led to a jewellery degree in London.

It was there, at a ball, that I met my husband, who was training to be an Army officer at Sandhurst.

Emily Mortimer Hendry (pictured), 31, founded her eponymous jewellery company in 2015 after being inspired during a visit to Mumbai

After graduating, I worked for jeweller Kiki McDonough in London for five years. I loved it, but I didn’t see myself working for someone else for ever.

Then, in 2014, Jonny flew back from Afghanistan to propose with an exquisite diamond ring that had belonged to his great-grandmother, an Indian princess. I was so struck by the intricacy of it that I knew I had to start my own brand. But it was not until April 2015 that I worked out how to make it a reality. Jonny and I were visiting friends in Mumbai, who suggested I visit a local jewellery workshop. It was incredible: I got to see everyone at work, designing, cutting and setting the stones. Later, I remember my husband saying: ‘I finally understand what you do and why you enjoy it.’

This was my lightbulb moment. I fell in love with India: it is the most vibrant, colourful place I’ve ever been to. I wanted to channel this spirit into a range of high-quality yet affordable luxury jewellery — a mix of silver and gold pieces, with fabulous semi-precious and precious stones.

I found a team of craftsmen who could make what I needed. Three months later, I launched Emily Mortimer Jewellery.

Today, we make rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, cufflinks and candles as well as bespoke jewellery. We sell online and are stocked in Fortnum & Mason and Fenwick. We’re launching in John Lewis next month.

I love what I do, especially seeing people wearing my jewellery. When the Duchess of Sussex wore our white topaz gold earrings on the royal visit to New Zealand last October, I felt honoured — that was my life made!

In the loop: Nova gold topaz earrings, £350, worn by the Duchess of Sussex

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