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Humans, not elves: How we do what we do

by Notes Motley on

We’re proud of the humans that make up every part of our supply chain – their artistry, creativity and skill are the main reason we make such original jewellery. 

The ability of an artisan to polish a precious metal just right is the product of decades of accumulated knowledge and skill. A designer draws on memory, art and the world around them to make something that’s not just beautiful, but also functional. Members of our team know each piece of jewellery inside and out – they know how to help pick out the right piece, and they’ll do anything in their power to get it to you on time (or, say, lend you a sample for a special occasion, if your order is running late because of Royal Mail deliveries). 

In the spirit of festive transparency, we’re taking you on a journey through how a Motley ring is made, and introducing you to the talented people behind the process. 

                                                                      Estelle, creator of the L'Oiseau ring

The Designer

Designer Estelle Dévé’s collection for Motley draws on iconic contemporary art references, transforming motifs from 20th century artists into a mini curated collection of wearable art. 

Braque, whose work inspired the L’Oiseau Ring, was fascinated by the shape birds cut as they flew across the sky. He spent years studying their movement and trying to capture the way they flew. Estelle design draws on his work, merging it with her own unique aesthetic. 

‘My Motley collection is heavily influenced by artists whose work I love, especially Jean Arp and George Braque. My work, in general, is heavily influenced by modernist sculpture, ceramics and furniture. I find that looking at objects that are not jewellery at the inspiration stage, gives my brain more freedom to create.’

Humans, not elves | Motley Blog | Image 2

                                                      Modernist sculptor Barbara Hepworth's 'Image II'

The Artisans 

The L’Oiseau ring is made in Suzanne's workshop, based just outside of Bangkok. Suzanne’s parents founded the business and she helps them run the business – she’s in charge of the workshop’s application to be one of Thailand’s first certified B-corps. The artisans at the workshop based just outside of Bangkok have, in some cases, been working there for decades. 

                                                                 Motley manufacturer Suzanne and her family

Expert polishers in her team bring out the metal’s shine and set the bird securely with a pin in its very own sea of green malachite gemstone. No two bits of Malachite stone are the same, so each L’Oiseau Ring is entirely unique.

‘I interviewed a few of our artisans and discovered that six of them have worked with us for 30 years. Two of them have been in our polishing department for the entirety of that time and I was intrigued by that. Polishing may seem like insignificant and dull work, but one of the women explained she has created her own totally unique techniques for polishing, which she uses to bring out the polish for specific types of design. She is a master and specialist in her own right.’

The Motley HQ Team 

Once Suzanne’s team is done, they send the latest batch of rings to Motley HQ in London. Hadassa, who’s in charge of all of Motley’s picking and packing, prepares each ring and carefully examines it to make sure it’s ready for send. She writes a personalised note to go with each ring, wrapping it up carefully to make sure no damage occurs on the way to its new home. If someone has questions about ring sizes, colours, or anything else, they speak to Ruth, who’s in charge of customer service. 

                                                                 Hadassa, our master Motley pick and packer

‘It’s just me and the jewellery most days, because of social distancing measures we have in place. I start my day off with reviewing the previous night’s orders, then get everything set up ready for pick up later in the day.’

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No machine could replace the human knowledge and skill that’s so core to how Motley operates. It’s the kind of thing you can’t bottle (but you can gift wrap it). 

Need your inspiration sparked? Explore our gift ideas.

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