is a fine jewelery line from New Zealand born Louisa Richwhite. Her designs are made using rose, white and yellow gold with a variety of gems and stones creating a variety of rings, earrings and bracelts for men and women - and famous fans include Rihanna. We Q+A Richwhite about her life, love of fine jewelery and find out what she gets up to after dark.
What is your earliest fashion memory?
I was about 7 years old at school and we had to do a project on animals. For some strange reason I drew this big fashion sketch of a human sized rat in a purple ski suit!
You studied fashion design, but how did you get involved in jewellery design?
I vividly remember the day I drew my first piece of jewellery for my final collection at University. I designed a possum ring and an owl earring to compliment my clothing line. I was surprised to see how much attention the accessories created and I soon realised this is where my talent lies. I knew little about precious stones or metals and running a business but I felt there was an opportunity in the jewellery market for something unique, of excellent quality that was affordable. And so began the process of starting ‘Violet Darkling.’
You’re originally from New Zealand, how did you end up in London?
When I was 14 my family moved from New Zealand to Switzerland where I went to school for my teenage years. After high school I moved London to study. It has always been a city I have been drawn to, as well as offering some of the best fashion schools. I have now been in London for 9 years, and have no desire to live anywhere else for the time being.
Where did the name Violet Darkling come from?
I invented Violet Darkling as my alter ego. Violet is ‘a girl of the night’. I imagine her being cute, but naughty with a Victorian-esque style. She’s fascinated by all things to do with the dark and the night. It is during these hours when her imagination runs riot seeing and believing things are real.
What is your favourite thing to do after dark?
During Christmas me and my family go back home to New Zealand where we stay on an island that is completely secluded. It’s a very airy and spiritual place and due to the isolation there is no light pollution. When the moon is bright we take the horses down to the beach, everything is so calm and quiet, I love it
What are your inspirations when you make your designs?
My work is inspired by anything and everything ‘Of the night’. I have created a range called ‘Treasures of Darkling Wood’ based on nocturnal animals with huge wild eyes and sharp teeth. I guess they are animals of a child’s nightmare. But I have combined these creatures with bows and pretty details to give them femininity.
You create jewellery for both women and men – what kind of women do you design for?
The women I have in mind are cute and quirky, strong and mysterious and creative. She would be a little bit wild but with a good kind spirit. Many of my ideal women already wear the jewellery, which is encouraging and really flattering.
Would you design for the man that you would want to date?
Yes! I have found designing for men a little difficult as they are so restricted in what they can wear and in how they can express themselves. The kind of guy I go for is a man’s man, quite rugged and very outdoorsy – kiwi style. This may be why I always try to make my designs masculine. Men don’t generally feel comfortable wearing jewellery, so confidence is required. With confidence then he can wear almost anything. I like men like this – with a bit of attitude!
Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend, but what piece of jewellery can you not live without?
My big gold tarsier pendant with a amethyst tourmaline in its mouth – girly in colour, but quite dark in style. It transforms any outfit! I wear a big Tarsier pendant everyday