Jewellery Mavericks: An interview with Katerina Perez, jewellery insider and journalist

After training as a gemmologist at The Gemmological Association of Great Britain, Katerina Perez set out on a career in jewellery that would find her at the forefront of design innovation and trend forecasting. Following seven years of jewellery retail experience, in 2011 she realised it was time for a change. She became a freelance journalist and editor, founding her influential website and garnering a sizable Instagram following, all while developing a truly unique voice within the industry.

Given her passion and expertise when it comes to craftsmanship and design, we interviewed Katerina to gain some insight on what the future holds for bespoke jewellery. Along the way, we chat about the development of her own personal style and why she thinks unusual gemstones will always be essential for any memorable piece of jewellery.

Who was your greatest influence in shaping your jewellery taste? Do you remember when and how your passion was kindled?

I’ve loved jewellery for as long as I can remember. My first encounter with all things precious was playing with my grandmother’s jewellery box, taking her necklaces and rings out, studying them, and trying them on. They weren’t precious pieces, but to me they were treasures! Growing up, my mum—who is an artist by the way—contributed to shaping up my taste for beauty and refinement. Thanks to her, I got to see so many masterpiece paintings that she restored. I can’t paint, but I have always had an inner artist in me, and high jewellery is my kind of art.

If you could only wear one piece of jewellery for the rest of your life, what piece would you choose and why?

I would stick to my zircon and titanium butterfly solo earring because it embodies beauty, innovation, connection with nature, and audacity.

Is there an item which you consider both a simple accessory and a piece of art, both every day and statement?

A sculptured ear cuff represents all of those features. I have a swan ear cuff with sapphires and diamonds from the Turkish jeweller, Arman Suciyan. It’s a true piece of art, but so wearable and suitable for many occasions.

What is your favourite coloured gemstone?

Oh, it’s so hard to pick just one. I must confess I like the unusual varieties of gemstones that we’re all familiar with. If it is a tourmaline, I would go for a Paraiba. If it’s a sapphire, I would go for a Padparadsha. Show me topaz and I’ll definitely choose the Imperial one.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Exploring my creativity in the way I communicate about jewellery, constantly learning new things, and seeing how the jewellery I show people makes their lives better. I often receive messages from my readers and followers thanking me for what I do, or for inspiring them to take a gemmology or a jewellery design course or to buy a jewel of their dreams and enjoy it!

What are the biggest trends you’re currently seeing in the jewellery industry?

Right now, we’re in the middle of a pandemic so it’s more difficult than ever to talk about trends. If I’m being honest, the biggest trend now is mastering the digital world and its intricacies, rather than exploring new design directions.

Is custom designed jewellery a passing trend or is it here to stay? What are the advantages of custom pieces to off-the-shelf ones?

Custom jewellery will always be in-demand, as it helps to express oneself. Time will pass and I think more and more people will want to have jewellery that makes them stand out rather than simply acts as a status symbol. The advantage is in the limitless possibilities of what your dream jewel can look like.

Are there any rules to follow when designing the dream engagement ring or should it be led by imagination only?

I don’t think there should be any rules in terms of a design. It’s your ring so you make the rules. But it is good to keep the materials you’re going to use in mind, as they should be suitable for long-term everyday wear. Actress Emma Stone’s engagement ring has a pearl as its main gem, and although it’s beautiful it’s also rather impractical as pearls are very delicate by nature.

What are the most common misconceptions of the jewellery industry you believe first time buyers have?

In my retail years I would always wonder why people only consider the carat weight of gems when judging the price of a jewel. The amount of material you use will always contribute to the price of a piece, but there are so many other factors too! Be sure to give time to the uniqueness of an idea, spend time on developing it, and invest in good craftsmanship.

We want to say a huge thank you to Katerina for sharing her insight with us. It’s unique to find an vibrant editorial voice who also holds so much expertise in her field. We can’t wait to see all that’s in store for her website and blog, and what upcoming new talents she finds next!

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