Harriet Kelsall

"The Company is an amazing organisation that helps support new talent in the industry. The support for young apprentices is absolutely amazing, it makes you feel very proud to be a part of this wonderful industry."

Freeman, Harriet Kelsall


I made my first ring at the age of four and was surrounded by jewellery, art and architectural sketches from an early age. I learned how to make jewellery from my Dad who was a very talented jeweller as well as an NHS doctor. 

I studied industrial design which felt like a path between design and engineering. It was creative and I learned loads about design and materials and did a lot of hands-on making from metal machining, welding and plastics to woodwork and jewellery. From here I was recruited into the computer industry.

For all of this time I was making jewellery for myself and for my friends and I began taking on commissions. I converted my tiny shed in my garden flat into a mini workshop with a junk shop table that I hacked into a workbench.

A few years later, I began to get a feeling that I wanted to find a way to be much more creative in my working life. I felt this huge pull to jewellery, despite it being possibly the most challenging path before me. I was making already in my spare time to see if I could do more with this hobby on my own. I asked my dad to teach me some more advanced techniques and learned others from teaching myself.

In 1996 I saw a very real gap in the market for jewellery made to suit the wearers style, personality and budget. I pinched the word ‘bespoke’ from the tailoring industry. People weren’t using that phrase at all, but it stuck and has certainly been widely used now, 20 years later. In 1996 there were hardly any websites back then - I had a very basic page with about two photos and a phone number on it, but this offered a new route to the market. In 1998, I decided to leave my day job to try and properly make my jewellery business work. I started the business with about £400 and only the essential tools that I could afford.

True bespoke jewellery is about being a bit like an architect. Instead of people coming to me and saying ‘I love your style can you make something particular for me in that style’, I go to them and say, ‘I’m going to be able to design and make something that works just for you’. It is a rather different way to how most designers work.

I have mentored many creatives over the years which has led me to write a book, ‘The Creative’s Guide to Starting a Business’. For this I interviewed creatives from many different disciplines, including fashion designers, potters, sculptors, artists, perfumiers and photographers.

In about 2010 I spoke to a few of my suppliers who said the Company was good and that they had a fantastic apprentice scheme. We had been trying to train up apprentices on our own with mixed success. Soon after becoming a Freeman I was taking on my first apprentice. It is so great to be able to bring young people into the industry and help and nurture their talent so that they can be the best that they can be.