Bibi van der Velden
Jeweller and sculptor Bibi van der Velden was born in New York, and had a peripatetic, artistic upbringing between The Netherlands and the English countryside. After training in sculpture at The Florence Academy of Arts, the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and The Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, she decided to turn her attention to creating art of the wearable variety, launching her jewellery line in 2006.
It was antique objects that first inspired her to create jewellery. One of her earliest necklaces had at its heart a gold antique peanut, which she melded together with a folding pocketknife in order to create a charm. Stones with a story still hold an appeal for Bibi, with a square-cut emerald ring – left to her by her late grandmother – one of her most treasured pieces.
Today, she is renowned for her imaginative aesthetic that makes a feature of materials as diverse as 40,000-year-old mammoth tusk, baroque pearls, antique Chinese jade and real scarab beetle wings. She works these unexpected elements together with sustainable gold, diamonds and precious stones, to create truly unique designs. “I love things that tell a story, when something looks like it’s old and has had a previous life,” says the designer. “I love stones and pearls with imperfections, which give them character.”