We caught up with Freya Costello, the designer behind the wonderful Eileen Jewellery. Read all about Freya's story below:
First off please introduce yourself.
My name is Freya and I am the founder of EILEEN - a small jewellery brand with big dreams to spread golden designs that inspire courage to wearers around the world.
What inspired you to set up Eileen Jewellery?
I was very close with my late Grandmother (Grandmother Eileen) who was a very glamorous and deeply kind woman with a love of jewellery that I would constantly dress up in as a little girl and prance around her house! She was also someone who struggled with depression most of her life and I think as a result, was always a champion of self-care and self-love. A firm believer in treating and looking after yourself, and jewellery was very much part of that process. Our first collection, the Confidence Collection, is inspired by vintage treasures inherited from my Grandmother and reimagined for the modern wearer. They each feature special symbolism or a discreet affirmation as a reminder to the person wearing it everyday to be kind to themselves, and of their unique worthiness, capabilities and gifts.
Tell us a bit about the production process - where are your pieces made an by whom?
Our jewellery is handmade by skilled, small manufacturers in the UK . Recycled silver forms the base of our jewellery. This means our manufacturers work with metal suppliers accredited by the Responsible Jewellery Council, refining old scraps of silver to create the jewellery. Silver from all kinds of sources including the jewellery, technology and automotive industries is fully refined back to its chemical elements and re-alloyed to our specification. The silver base is then plated in 18 carat Fairmined Gold vermeil by our plating specialists in the UK. This means every product is coated in a thick layer of 2.5 microns of 18 carat gold for a luxury, long-lasting finish. We are so proud to be a Fairmined licensed brand which means that the gold we use is sourced from an empowered, responsible, artisanal and small-scale mining organisation.
You use recycled and fair mined metals - why is this important to you?
It was really important to me that if I was going to create more products in this world, it was done with kindness and as little impact as possible! I also became very aware of the sustainability and ethical issues surrounding mining processes, and so using recycled metal means no new mining processes are taking place, and by using fairmined gold plating, we are contributing to an organisation that made gold-mining an active force for good. The Iquira mining community is Southwest Colombia is where we source our gold, and it is where they have a robust management system for the security and health of their workers and they have decreased the use of mercury in their mining processes by 80% to alleviate the health and environmental impact.
We love the idea of the positive affirmations and mantra - what brought this idea about?
Like my Grandmother and so many others, I’ve struggled with my mental health for a lot of my life, which makes me ver y conscious of my mood and levels of confidence each day, and making sure I take extra care of my mind - as I often forget! I’ve always adored jewellery and its very much part of my morning and evening routine, that soothing process of putting it on and taking it off, so I thought how wonderful if those subtle reminders - “I am worthy”, “I am capable”, “be kind to your mind” - could gleam back at me. I also always fiddled with my necklaces when I was nervous - like before a presentation or big meeting - and this way, my necklace would be a token of courage too!
Lastly what are your hopes and aspirations for Eileen Jewellery?
I hope that each piece brings joy, courage and comfort to each owner's life and that one day, the pieces may be passed onto the next generation as my grandmother did for me. A sustainable circle of strength!