Meet one of our exceptional designers who is featured as the first guest in a series of interviews — ‘Profile’.
The story of Nolda Vrielink’s jewelry started about 10 years ago, when she sat at the kitchen table with a friend, complaining about her office job and not getting any satisfaction from it anymore:
‘I told her I wanted to do something completely different but I did not have a clue what I wanted. My friend advised me to try and remember what things I liked to do when I was a child. Then I remembered the boxes I owned were filled with tiny beads in all colors and brass wires that I took from electrical cords, and it hit me — I wanted to make jewels with my hands and tools. But I wanted to make jewels the way they were supposed to be made.’
Eventually, in need of change Nolda Vrielink decides to learn several goldsmith techniques at the vocational school Schoonhoven. To think that her minimalistic esthetics come from education would be wrong. Actually, Nolda learned to make classic jewels at the vocational school, work very precisely and neatly, follow the exact measurements. As she explains it gave her the opportunity to think about what she could and wanted to design.
‘During study just once in a while, we could make something using our own design. In the first weeks of my training, I only practiced drawing on metal, measuring, and sawing. This was hard enough in the beginning! So I learned a lot in the technical field but nothing in terms of designing.’
In general, Nolda always loved designing and creating things. As a kid, she would spend hours playing around with very thin copper wires and tiny beads making all kinds of jewelry out of them. Even back then she made very small-sized, ‘petite’ items.
‘My style is modest and simple. Likewise, most of the jewelry I make is not eye-catchers. Only if you look closely you can see the subtlety. I think this makes a piece more interesting and you don’t become bored with it.’
A romantic person by nature, she discovers shapes and patterns by looking carefully at all things around her. She did not choose Minimalism as a style, she came to it as she enjoys the process of making the most. It relaxes her. Therefore each of her pieces has subtle natural colors and as she says the ’emptiness’.
‘I like making jewelry that can be worn every day. Sometimes a jewel becomes part of you because it is always there. You feel naked without it. Once I made a ring for myself. I wear it day and night for several years now. This ring, specially shaped for my finger, has become a part of it.
I love soldering invisible seams and forging different shapes. For me, the glow of melted gold is magic. I also love the tools I work with. The simplicity of a hammer and all it can do, for example.’
Nolda builds her business around timeless values. She designs jewelry that could be kept and pass-on to the generations.
‘I don’t want to make something that loses its value because it is out of style. I only work with precious metals that are long-lasting.’
Besides that, she works as sustainably as possible, reusing every crumb of silver or gold. She melts the precious metals and uses them for a new piece of jewelry. Made only of genuine materials like recycled or Fairtrade gold and sterling silver, Nolda Vrielink only occasionally introduces pearls or gemstones in her work.
In fact, all jewelry Nolda Vrielink makes by hand herself. A piece originates while she moves around pieces of silver or gold and the occasional precious stones in different shapes and colors. So designs are literally made from scratch.
‘I try all kinds of combinations until it ‘fits’. It’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle. And when according to me it ‘fits’ perfectly — that makes me very happy.’
Nolda Vrielink typically makes her work in silver in white color and with a matt surface. Only rarely does she oxidize and blacken the pieces. By wearing Nolda’s jewelry the surface changes over time and then the piece finally reaches its purpose and becomes more personal.
Nolda Vrielink →
Photos & text: VVOVVA →