By Coral Brown
The career of critically acclaimed jewellery designer Dominic Jones is itself embellished with achievements. He’s won the NEWGEN award five times, won Jewellery Designer of the Year at the Elle Style Awards in 2011, and even counts Beyonce as an ambassador. Beyond all this, he’s also played an active role in a number of charitable projects. His latest collaboration is with Water For People and Absolut Elyx, working together to bring access to safe water to over 100,000 people in a 5-year mission.
In aid of this mission, Dominic Jones has created a limited number of bespoke rose gold bottle toppers and a pendant, both with hand-carved rock quartz representing water flowing down a drain. Shockingly, 1.8 billion people worldwide don’t have access to drinking water, spending more than 4 hours each day walking for water. This project is trying to change this, and instead help these communities with clean, safe water for generations to come, and freeing up time for communities to thrive rather than just survive.
With every purchase of either of Dominic’s new pieces, 100% of proceeds from the sale of will be donated to the charity. Here Dominic tells us about how he got involved with this commendable project and why it’s important fashion brands give back.
What drew you to Water For People’s campaign?
I’ve worked with Absolut Elyx on lots of occasions, they’ve always kindly supported my events, one of the most memorable was my LC:M presentation where the models were playing a live poker match. It was that presentation that inspired the launch event for this collaboration. This cause in particular is so important because it such a fundamental one, water is something that I personally take for granted every couple of hours each and every day. I’ve never had to worry about it, I can only think of a handful of times in my life where the water has cut for a few hours. Yet there are whole communities that don’t have any access to clean water, and it’s too easy to have that knowledge and keep it in that ‘out of sight out of mind’ mentality. I think it’s great that a company as well-known as Absolut are taking on such a long term project like this.
You’ve gone one step further than most by engaging with the issue of global water shortage creatively. Was your creative process for these designs different to when you design your collections?
Yes and no. I always make my samples by hand using traditional techniques. Those handmade samples are used for press and what I take sales from. But the product you are able to buy is never those samples, they are the manufactured product. So this will be one of the very few occasions that the public can buy something I’ve personally made by hand. As well as that, I have used a technique I’ve not ever tried before for the lapidary carving of the central rock quartz stone set in the centre of the bottle topper which I worked on again by hand to create a central spiral to emulate a water funnel.
Are there aspects of the medium of jewellery design that lend themselves to championing global campaigns?
I think it married very well with this one, the quality and craftsmanship of the Elyx product, the way its crafted it’s something that made perfect sense when paired with the same care and quality I give to my work and product. I guess in general the right jewellery can enhance anything!
You’ve previously created jewellery for wildlife conservation charity World Land Trust. What makes protecting wildlife an issue that’s close to your heart?
I think charity will always be a huge part of my work. As an idea I don’t like capitalism and greed so given the world my work sits within, it’s important for me to feel I’m balanced morally. That means using whatever influence I can spare, when I can spare it – that’s what I will always do.
Why do you think it’s important for fashion brands to collaborate with charities?
Because they by their very nature have a huge influence available to them; from ambassadors, to media support to production capabilities, as well as money.
You take a lot of your inspiration from nature, working with animal skulls and jaws. In your opinion, what’s the most beautiful structure in nature and why?
In my opinion there is no one most beautiful, and I think if there was I wouldn’t be attracted to it. Natures beauty is its diversity, its oddity and deformity the most appealing things are 80% beautiful 20% ugly. Otherwise you might as well just stare at an image of the Fibonacci golden ratio on a computer screen.
Are there other ways that your brand embraces ethics and sustainability?
I’ve worked and partnered with Gemfields which is an ethical mining company that produce guilt free stones which is something that is not an easy thing to be able to say in reality. They’re an incredible company I would recommend looking them up!
What’s coming up next for you?
There’s a very big next coming by the end of this year sadly it’s too soon to be talking about it but you’ll all hear about it soon enough. Watch this space!
All images: Dominic Jones