Until we opened our first boutique in 2015, I worked from my home studio in a leafy lane a short walk from the beach on Hayling Island, Hampshire, where I continue to be inspired by my coastal surroundings. I am fascinated by shape, texture and contrast - I believe that great jewellery design will reflect our personality, and I love designs that make a statement, expressing a sense of freedom and joy.
In 1991 Following 3 years at Art College in Portsmouth and Lancashire studying 3D design in Metals I recognised that I needed to gain commercial experience so I worked in a County Retail Jeweller for a year and then cut my teeth in the world of Jewellery Manufacturing and wholesaling to Independent Retail Jewellers and Groups – travelling and selling around the UK for 3 years with my Mercedes company car and what must have been one of the first ‘car phones’ - I really felt like I’d arrived! However during this time I became more and more disillusioned with the apparent lack of any innovative ‘design’ in jewellery available to the public.
So when my husband and I produced identical twin girls we realised it was the perfect opportunity to start my own business with the ability to work flexibly from home. That is when I first started advertising one-off and individually designed wedding rings. From an ad in the local paper Charlotte Cornelius Jewellery was born and we have grown over the last 21 years as steadily as my twin daughters have grown up!
Designing my own exclusive Ready-to-wear collections along the way, and developing the commissions to encompass jewellery for all occasions, increasingly including remodelling of inherited and significant jewellery. It would be hard to find a more satisfying and heart-warming job as I work so creatively and closely with individuals and couples as I aim to find an understanding of their needs and ideas and forge a trusting relationship which often lasts for years and even decades!
We had been looking for a way of growing our business and reaching out to a wider audience. So after much planning and research we decided to open a shop in Castle Road in Southsea. It is really important to us that we retained the warm and relaxed environment we are known for. We still buy all the materials and select our gems personally - I was so grateful to have achieved my dream of building our on-site workshop with our own Goldsmith - so we could continue to grow and improve our services for our clients.
After 2 years we outgrew 66 Castle Road and bought our own larger property on Marmion Road (East), here we have been able custom build a new workshop, building our team both Front-of-house and at the bench, so that we can continue to flourish as a business by creating the most wonderful fine jewellery and continuing our ethos of valuing every person who walks through our door. Although it was hard to leave our beloved Castle Road we are so excited about our newest Chapter and are loving the community of Marmion Road.
Values - We seek to run our business ethically and with integrity in every aspect including profit share for our team. All work is made and hallmarked in England, and all gems bought from UK dealers who are part of the Kimberley Process using conflict-free diamonds only. Sourcing Ethically mined gems and the introduction of eco and recycled silver and gold are also supported by Charlotte Cornelius Ltd.
I believe it is important to give back to the local and wider community. As a qualified Gestalt counsellor I have volunteered with, and continue to support a fantastic charity called Off the Record which offers free counselling to young people . Charlotte Cornelius Ltd also sponsors monthly a christian based 'micro-finance' charity called Five Talents which gives small loans, mainly to women, in developing countries so that they can set up their own businesses.