Inspired by the ocean, Naomi Lewis is making waves with her fluid, minimalist jewellery. She explains how her intuitive love of texture and shape led her to launch her workshop in Cornwall.
Start with a few kilos of recycled white gold. Add an ethically sourced diamond and ‘wavy’ textured details reminiscent of the ocean.
If your name is Naomi Lewis, what you’ll end up with is a beautiful engagement ring or wedding band. Naomi, who launched her jewellery business Found Treasure in 2018, specialises in bespoke engagement and wedding rings that speak of her connection to nature and, more particularly, the ocean.
“I was born and raised in Cornwall near the sea so it’s always been an influence,” she says. The young designer returned to the Cornish coast in December last year, following four years in New Zealand where she started her brand.
“During my time in New Zealand, nature was a key muse, contributing to a sense of time and place that’s so important in my work.”
It’s why her bespoke pieces, made by hand from fine metals such as white gold, yellow gold and platinum, have proved so popular with customers all over the world.
But it wasn’t always like this: Naomi originally had her heart set on a career in fashion. “I was always good at art, particularly with textures and shapes, but creating art for sale felt too personal. I couldn’t see how I could turn it into a business.”
Instead, she signed up for a three year degree at the London College of Fashion and after graduating worked on high-end fashion shows and immersive events for clients such as Anya Hindmarch, Temperley London and the British Fashion Awards.
“I was involved in branding, styling, production ,set design and event design. After two years with an event agency, I went freelance, working on set designs for press shows, editorials and commercials.”
It was fast-paced but after two years, Naomi realised it wasn’t filling her creative cup.
“I was looking for inspiration that felt meaningful to me, so I took a break from London and travelled through Indonesia, the Philippines, Hawaii and Australia.” In Indonesia, Naomi fell in love with the local silver jewellery and ended up doing a one-day jewellery making course in the Gili Islands, where she created a textured spin ring.
Another more intensive jewellery making course back in Cornwall followed, before further travel through Mexico, Central America and finally New Zealand.
“When we moved to New Zealand, I decided that I wanted to make jewellery for myself, so I started Found Treasure, named after the objects I often picked up on my travels and the beach because I liked their shape or texture.”
Initially, Naomi started making necklaces, cuffs and personalised rings part-time from an Auckland studio space. The rest of the time she worked as a jeweller for popular New Zealand jewellery brand Meadowlark. But when demand for Found Treasure pieces started taking off, Naomi was able to focus full-time on building her business and, soon after, streamlining her offering to engagement and wedding rings.
“Wedding and engagement rings hold so much value and meaning and are items that clients will wear and treasure for the rest of their lives. For a jeweller, crafting an engagement or wedding ring is the ultimate goal.”
Naomi’s signature style features a “super minimal” band with a subtle wave shape to it, which suggests the fluidity and movement of the ocean’s surface.
“That means the ring has more of a curve to it, rather than being a flat band. If I’m designing both the engagement and wedding rings, I can ensure that they sit together perfectly.”
Naomi’s customers, who extend from Switzerland to New Zealand and everywhere in-between, are able to input their wishes into an interactive mood board that she uses as her starting point for each design.
“I’ll talk to the clients about who they are, their style, and the kind of designs and colours they like, as well as the impact they want the rings to have. It’s about personalising the ring as much as possible. For example, if clients had an amazing trip to Sri Lanka, I’ll try to source a Sri Lankan sapphire.”
The design and construction process usually takes 10-12 weeks but can take up to six months, depending on the complexity of the design, the location of the stone and the proposal date.
Naomi sources hand-cut sapphires and opals from Australia and diamonds from Hatton Gardens in London and a Cornwall supplier. Her precious metals are recycled and melted down by a local refinery. All of the materials that go into a Found Treasure ring come from carefully selected ethical suppliers.
Naomi’s brand has such a strong global following that she’s hoping to eventually expand her presence in Cornwall with a gallery and creative workshop space.
“I’d like to bring on two jewellers so that I can focus more on the creative direction of the brand and bespoke designs.”