Discover Benelux, Issue 54, June 2018

Page 20

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry & Innovation  |  Made in the Netherlands

From advocacy to creating top-notch jewellery TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: WILLEMIJN DE KONING

‘Former lawyer starts own jewellery store’. That would be quite an interesting headline, right? Well, for Willemijn de Koning, this headline became reality. During her childhood, de Koning was already keen on everything shiny and gold. Over the years, that love turned into a hobby, by fashioning stunning rings, beautiful necklaces and more wearable art during her time as a lawyer. However, less than two years ago, she decided to go for it and opened up her own studio in Utrecht. De Koning made this decision after selling the dance school she began after quitting her career in court - laughing: “Yes, I guess I am just someone with a lot of passions.” She admits that it took quite some time before she believed that she could truly succeed in this business: “When I started to learn how to make jewellery in Schoonhoven at a goldsmith, I expected just to create for family and friends.” Because of the very positive response however, which resulted in a lot of new assignments,

her dream to craft and design professionally did come true after all. De Koning really enjoys making her own creations, but it also gives her just as much joy to form rings, earrings and necklaces from already existing jewellery. Vintage or new, what are her favourite materials to use? “Gold, gemstones and pearls,” she answers without hesitation. But what is it exactly that makes her love this business so much? “Jewels are something you will have for the rest of your life. It is part of who you are. And, when something is produced with jewellery from loved ones, you are making sure that the memory that belongs to it, remains intact.” De Koning is working in her atelier with a ‘very personal touch and a lot of love’. Inspired by the person she is creating for and by the materials she is using, each piece becomes a unique one. Web: www.willemijndekoning.com

A passion for personal jewellery What started as a passion has turned into a profession. With the idea that each piece of jewellery should have a special meaning, Laura Lormann-Zwartelé creates beautiful handmade jewellery under her brand ByLaura. “I was always creative in my mind, but at work, never with my hands,” Laura Lormann-Zwartelé tells as she explains her sudden career switch from criminologist to jewellery designer. Following her passion for creating accessories, she started her jewellery brand ByLaura in 2014. But ByLaura is so much more than an average jewellery brand. Coming from the idea that each bit of jewellery is unique and each personal story earns its own exclusive touch represented in a wearable item, Laura listens to her customers carefully before designing and creating each piece. “Combining the wish of the customer with my own creativity is the most beautiful thing about my job. My designs can be described as 20  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

rough but because I work mostly with silver and gold, they still have a timeless look.” Furthermore, ByLaura offers two more services. “I love creating a new item beginning to end, but I also love doing only a small part of the job, to help others create beautiful items also.” There is its own in-house laser service called Metalscription, where other professionals can have their laser engraving done, such as fingerprints and handwritten text in fine jewellery, but also engraving logos in business gifts. And there is a wholesale department named Slagletterplaatjes, where other jewellery designers can buy handmade stamping blanks and tools,

“From being a lawyer, to opening up a dance school, to starting her own atelier to create jewellery – you could say that Willemijn de Koning is a jack-of-all-trades.”

TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: BYLAURA

which are perfect to give a personal touch to an accessory of choice and currently very trendy. “At the end of the day, I am happy when I see customers wearing my jewellery with joy. And it’s just wonderful that my passion has become my profession.” Web: www.handmadebylaura.nl www.metalscription.com www.slagletterplaatjes.com