She found inspiration for her own range of jewellery in a butterfly … symbolising a new
season and new beginnings after overcoming loss and heartache. We met up with
designer Carmen Amdur, owner of José Jewellers in Benoni.
She called the range Metamorphosis and considers its recent launch to be the highlight of her career as designer. For the beautiful 47-year-old brunette, the range has been a very personal undertaking, with inspirational meaning behind the name.
“I have designed the range to celebrate the strength, resilience and beauty of women who survive life’s tragedies and traumas,” she states.
Carmen’s interest in jewellery started when she was about six years old.
“My mother was selling jewellery out of suitcases, calling on offices and businesses, so
I learnt about and loved jewellery from a young age,” she remembers.
She followed in her mother, Noreen de Gouveia’s footsteps. Noreen established José Jewellers in 1985.
From the age of 14, Carmen worked at the business every Saturday morning, and once she left school in 1990 it became her full-time job. She completed courses in diamond and
gemstone grading as well as jewellery valuations and has been running the business
on her own with a team for the last 18 years.
Carmen is a born-and bred Benonian and has two sons, Kyle (21) and Jordan (15).
She was happily married for 21 years, but unfortunately had to go through the pain and heartache of a divorce eight years ago. Since then she has been in two relationships that didn’t work out. Her last relationship ended on a sad note when he committed suicide eight months ago.
“He was kind, caring and gentle. I knew he was depressed, but I didn’t realise that he was depressed to the extent that he would take his own life! I could not understand why I had to go through all the heartache in my life and decided to go for counselling. After working through all the emotions for a while, I started to feel the urge to be creative,” she recalls.
“I started to design the Metamorphosis range and I can’t believe how everything just fell into place. It was as if it was meant to be! Since the launch in September we’ve had the most incredible response! I’ve always said everything happens for a reason. Even if you don’t understand the difficult times, you eventually see why you had to go through the challenge. You can’t evolve unless you’ve been put in a situation where you are forced to fight through and grow,” Carmen concludes.
How would you describe the Metamorphosis range?
Metamorphosis is a feminine, detailed range consisting of rings, earrings and pendants made out of 9-ct rose and white gold with diamonds.
Describe your design style.
I love designs with intricate attention to detail, designs that are different and unique.
What are the upcoming trends in the jewellery design industry?
Rose and white gold are still very popular as well as platinum since the price of the metal has dropped so much. Large coloured stones like blue topaz are trendy and silver jewellery in general has made a big comeback. Nomination bracelets still remain an ongoing trend as well as personalised name jewellery from our MeMi Collection.
How do you want women to feel when wearing your jewellery?
I love that jewellery is so personal – whether it’s been passed down for generations and has a history of sentiment or a new piece designed for a special occasion. I want the
women who wear my jewellery to associate it with a special time in their lives.
What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created – and what made it so special?
My favourite piece is the Isabella ring from the Metamorphosis range. It signifies a new season and new beginnings in my life.
What advice would you give to young girls who look up to you and want to enter a career in jewellery design?
My best advice would be to try being as unique as possible while creating pieces that are still affordable and comfortable to wear. Designing a piece of jewellery isn’t just about coming up with a pretty design. You need to learn about the different metals, the weights, workable dimensions, stones and setting limitations. Depending on which design field you go into, if you’re designing for clients it’s not always going to be what you like or would want to wear, so you need to be adaptable in understanding your clients and their tastes. Jewellery design is an interesting and rewarding field, but to be successful with your designs you need to have a thorough knowledge of the manufacturing and setting process
How should we wear jewellery? When is it too much and when too little?
Your jewellery is a reflection of your personality. When it comes to jewellery, I believe less is more, especially if you want to show off exclusive, striking pieces. However, wearing a lot of funky, trendy pieces will again reflect the personality of an eccentric or arty person. Jewellery is about art and individual style and the statement you want to make. I don’t
believe there should be rules for how you choose to express yourself.
Tips on how to take care of jewellery?
It’s best to take your jewellery to a reputable jeweller once a year and have your stones checked and the metal properly polished. You can clean your jewellery at home using a good-quality jewellery cleaner or polishing cloth, but to really get it looking like new, it needs to be polished on a polishing machine to get the scratches off. If you wear your jewellery a lot, it’s very important to have your stone settings checked as stones generally only fall out of settings which are worn. Pearls need to be restrung every few years as well.
Details: José Jewellers, Cnr O’Reilly Merry Street and 14th Avenue, Northmead, Benoni.
Photo- Tasha D Photography