These hands belong to Em; our creative whirlwind, resident tea addict and incredibly talented Designer & Bespoke Manager.
Who do these hands belong to?
Em Watson, Designer & Bespoke Jeweller.
What is your role here at Natalie Marie Jewellery, and how long have you been on the team?
I have been a part of the Natalie Marie Jewellery team since it’s early days in a part time capacity, and have been on board full time since 2015. My predominant role is liaising with clients who are looking for guidance in designing a bespoke piece of jewellery. This involves meeting, chatting over the phone or emailing with clients, sourcing materials through our local and international suppliers and overseeing the production of the piece from conception through to the final quality check. It’s a really special process that I love being a part of.
When I’m not busy managing bespoke projects I also design pieces for our triannual collections and One of a Kind pieces alongside Natalie. I also dedicate time to building relationships with our suppliers, new and old, and making sure that our material sources align with our ethical and sustainable practices.
Has your role changed since you started?
It sure has! When I first came on board I worked on the bench as a manufacturing jeweller, creating pieces from our online collection as well as engagement and wedding rings. After a while as our team grew I became the Online Production Manager, which means I was the person processing orders that came through the online store and managing their production.
I did this from 2015 through to 2017, and when Natalie went on maternity leave in 2017 I stepped in to help manage bespoke production while she was away, and have been doing so ever since. In mid 2018 I joined Natalie in designing the collections that we release three times a year, and oversee the creation of all of the master models for each of these pieces that we design.
Describe a typical day for you...
My days can vary quite dramatically depending on what’s happening in the studio. On a quiet day I come in and answer emails, chat with clients and suppliers, inspect gemstones and diamonds and quality check bespoke jewellery. On busy days I’m doing all of the above plus going in and out of appointments with clients, designing pieces, approving production stages, ordering materials, meeting with other team members and overdosing on tea and chocolate. In and around all of this I’m usually talking loudly, trying to speak Spanish (I don’t speak Spanish) and annoying the admin team with questions and terrible impersonations.
What is your most treasured piece of jewellery?
My grandmother’s simple gold wedding ring which I wear everyday and has a special engraving on the inside from my grandfather - it allows me to carry them both with me wherever I go.
What is your favourite Natalie Marie piece?
From the current collections my favourite piece would have to be the Marquise Extra Large Loop Through Studs - I love a statement earring! There are some really exciting pieces coming soon in our next collection though…
Where would we find you on the weekend? How do you unwind?
In the summer I just want to be at the beach, swimming and soaking up the sun. In the colder weather I love curling up on the couch in my comfy clothes with a good movie.
Coffee or tea? How do you take it?
English breakfast with a good splash of milk, and I’ll need about 5 cups per day to keep me going.
What advice would you give to anyone considering being a jeweller?
It’s a slow journey, so if you’re in it for the long haul then I can’t stress enough how important it is to take your time and not to cut any corners. The process of learning takes a long time, and everything is exciting and new when you first start out, but don’t rush it. Absorb as much as you can, listen to your teachers or the jeweller you’re learning under, and accept that you’ll always have more to learn. If you learn to do things the hard way before you try to do them the easy way you’ll come out the other side as a much more capable, experienced and confident jeweller than if you try to rush to the finish line and miss all of the important details along the way.
What inspires you?
Details. I’m a very detail-oriented person when it comes to design, so I often find myself inspired by little parts of things I see rather than whole concepts or entities. Sometimes I’m also driven to find new ideas through a sense of apathy towards what’s in style - jewellery is part of an industry that is driven by fashion and trends, so quite frequently I find my creativity is sparked by the desire to create something different enough to feel refreshing and exciting.
If you could live anywhere else, apart from Sydney, where would you be living?
Somewhere on the coast, with the ocean at my feet, likeminded people around me and a creative community to be inspired by. I enjoy spending time outside, so somewhere outside of a major city or anywhere too densely populated where the air is clean and fresh and there are lots of trees and wildlife. Being close to a cultural hub is important though, so nowhere too isolated. I’m open to suggestions!
If you were not working at Natalie Marie, what would you be doing?
I used to teach design at a university in the city, so probably still doing that! I really enjoy the classroom environment, so most likely I would have followed that path further. I’m also an eternal student myself, I absolutely love learning new things, so I probably would have gone back to uni or maybe taken up a short course to keep myself stimulated. Jewellery definitely would have been in my life regardless, so I imagine I would have kept enrolling into courses to further my practice.
What kind of challenges do you set yourself in life?
I’m generally really bad at self-motivation in a day-to-day sense, so any challenges I set for myself are more long-term. At the moment I’m trying to save to buy a house, which is a huge challenge for me since I looovvee eating out and being social, and I’m really into gift-giving and filling my home environment with beautiful, handmade things - all things that cost money, go figure!
What is your daily ritual?
Walking the dog after work. I do this with my partner and it’s such a lovely half an hour spent just the two (three if you count the dog) of us outside in the fresh air, no matter the weather, which always helps me to unwind, debrief and reset after a long day.
What are you most grateful for?
I have everything to be grateful for - a supportive family, likeminded friends and coworkers, a stimulating job in a field I’m passionate about and a creative work environment, a beautiful place to live, the opportunity to learn and grow professionally and personally... honestly there are so many things it’s impossible to choose one!
What is the best piece of advice you've been given?
Accept the things you can’t change, have courage to change the things you can, and wisdom to know the difference.
If you were a dessert, what would you be?
A banana split, for sure. With whipped cream and a cherry on top!
What is your least known talent?
I used to be really good at making string figures with my hands when I was at school. I haven’t tried it in years, but I’m sure it’s like riding a bike!
If you could share a pot of tea with anyone, who would it be?
My uncle who passed away before I was born. I grew up hearing stories about him and mum always told me that he and I would have gotten along like two peas in a pod - I would love to sit down with a hot cuppa and find out!
What is on your wishlist right now?
A good pair of hiking boots!
What is your favourite gemstone?
Australian sapphires by a mile! I luckily get to work with them everyday, and I’m never bored of looking at them - each one is completely unique and so beautifully rich in colour, and they come in all variations of blue, green and yellow and often a mixture of two or three.