Tessa Packard always dreamed of being an accessories designer, and after working as an art dealer for four years, she founded her eponymous jewellery brand, with the aim for it to be as much about storytelling as it is about design.
Manufactured and hand-finished by workshops in the UK, her pieces are a reflection of everything she loves – from eccentric curiosity cabinets to cosy log fires and glasses of red wine – and as somebody who’s naturally attracted to colour and dynamic design, she playfully pushes the boundaries of fine jewellery. ‘I wanted to create an entry point to a fine jewellery house,’ she explains. ‘I didn’t want to build an elitist brand, in fact I was almost going against what was found on Bond Street, because I knew, from my own experience, about wanting to look at something beautiful but feeling very intimidated by it.’
Indeed, much of Packard’s inspiration comes from the everyday, and making the ordinary extraordinary. The Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining collection, which focuses on the weather, came about because Packard realised the weather was the one common denominator almost everyone in England talks about. ‘I thought if everyone’s talking about it – and it doesn’t matter who you’re talking to, whether it’s a great friend or a cab driver – why doesn’t everyone just wear it instead? It would be so much more fun and you could start your own kind of language based on the weather symbols you wore, such as today I’m moody, I’m sunny, or today’s a bit mixed… Why not start a whole new lexicon around it?’
The Fat Free collection on the other hand, stemmed from Packard’s memories of childhood and the intense curation that went into selecting penny sweets with her pocket money. ‘As a jeweller I found myself in stone houses being like: “I’ll have one of those, and one of those”,’ she says. ‘It reminded me of being a child with all those candy colours – wanting an exact pink mouse because it was a certain pink, and a fried egg because it was yellow and white.’
Her recently launched collection Hammered and Stoned, takes inspiration from vintage cocktails and liquors, with a focus on stone as the main material, and features everything from resin lemons to mini glass bottles. It’s not fine jewellery in the traditional sense, but it’s fine jewellery that makes sense to Packard because it’s about playfulness, irony and juxtaposition, which is very much at the heart of the brand.
The vibrant 18ct Bloody Mary earrings, complete with dangling enamel tomato and lemon slices are the perfect example of this, as are the quirky vodka-filled In Case of Emergency earrings in 18ct yellow gold with hanging corked bottles in either blue, green or orange glass. Then there’s the one-of-a-kind 18ct yellow gold Flaming Lamborghini earrings, with a detailed design inspired by the famous theatrical cocktail.
‘It’s essentially a fun play on getting drunk,’ she says. ‘You’ll see a lot of cocktail umbrellas and cocktail necklaces. It’s fusing the idea of the literal cocktail and having pieces that are inspired by the colours or the themes of these cocktails.’ Embodying the idea of cocktail hour, the collection also references vibrant cocktail dresses and colourful fruit.
‘Sometimes jewellery is taken too seriously, so my idea here is to put a smile on people’s faces.’