In conversation with Charlotte Penman Jewellery


Author Rachael Caughley / Category People  

Charlotte Penman comes from a lineage of makers, artists and travellers. It is with these qualities that she lends her creative spirit to jewellery making, creating stunning objects of love and ritual. Inspired by gemstones and crystals she brings a Bohemian yet classic sophistication to all her pieces that may be worn as amulet, keepsake or armour.

Q: What made you decide to start Charlotte Penman?
A: It was a very organic process that happened over time. I initially started making jewellery while living in Japan. I had collected strings of hand cut emerald gemstone beads and pearls while travelling through Pushkar, Rajasthan in Northern India. Enroute to Japan I collected antique 22 carat gold beads and clasps in Bangkok, and started stringing the combinations together while on my travels. When I returned to New Zealand to study design and fine arts, friends started to request custom made designs, and from there Tessuti and Workshop commissioned me to design collections for them.
The business grew over time, and after our collections became more established our clients started to request I design their engagement rings and wedding bands. This has been a really serendipitous and beautiful extension of our design work. The work is intimate and personalised... We now also collaborate with Auckland Art Gallery and Auckland museum, which is really inspiring as myself and my assistants Maya and Alliyah all have fine art, design and art history backgrounds, so it feels in sync with our interests and passions.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
A: I am a mother of daughters Florence and Celeste and a son Marcel. We have a Husky called Miska and 2 cats Tashi and Bodhi. I grew up in Auckland in the city when I was little, and then my family moved to Titirangi right next to a beautiful forest where I would roam for hours, and then after that close to the sea in Devonport, nature is incredibly therapeutic and inspiring to me... I spent my childhood travelling between New Zealand and Hong Kong where my grandparents lived and travelled a bit, South East Asia has left a huge impression, I always feel like I have arrived home in the tropics. I have loved travelling all over the world to source gemstones and experience new cultures, and then in recent years I have been more homebound, and really enjoyed creating more here to get inspired by.


Q: When creating your designs, where do you look for inspiration?

A: I find inspiration in travel, art, such as painting, sculpture and moving image, vintage fashion, antiquity jewellery, archaeological finds, mid century architecture and nature... I am inspired to create miniature pieces of art in honour of the female form and to compliment the human form and empower women...

Q: You have so many divine collections! What is your favourite piece from your most recent collection and why?
A: Thank you! My current favourite is the Dyonysus charm, as a vessel it represents so many things, from abundance, the divine feminine, the womb, mystery. It is a vessel which could contain the ultimate mystery, my cousin recently commented that it reminded her of a memento mori piece. I love jewellery that is both timeless, yet still has the ability to evoke emotion, and create different meaning for different people.



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