After a drive along the waterfront and up towards a quaint little row of shops, we find local jeweller Petra Bettjeman's studio tucked away from the hustle of the street, offering copious amounts of sunlight and privacy.
Petra greets us with a homemade blend of Peach Melba, matched perfectly with the hues of her fresh and fragrant flowers. Having occupied the studio for just over a year, Petra has already stamped her decorating-mark - the ceiling is filled with rows of coloured Mexican flags (bought home for her from her dad's recent trip), her desk's mood board creeps towards the window, and an Italian 'Sacred Heart', gifted to her from her parents, hangs in the ultimate shrine position. It's bursting with personality - just as, we're soon to find out, is its owner...
Nestled amongst the diamond skulls and vintage glass cabinets are Petra's jewels, relatively simple in comparison to the studio's immediate aesthetic, but again, as we we're to find out, the juiciness of her jewellery lives within her concepts. Exploring our way through folders of references, drawings and mood boards, the sheer level of process and discipline in Petra's work becomes apparent. Not only does Petra refine her design concepts and processes in her studio, she also takes care of every aspect that goes into making a piece of jewellery, from moulding, hand-shaping, polishing and filing.
Her latest venture, inspired by a recent (and unexpected) trip to England to see her family, is a new opulence range, which works with precious coloured stones such as green onyx, rose quartz, blue and raspberry chalcedony. It was in England, after months of hard work, that an extended family member reminded Petra to appreciate the colour in nature; the green of the post-rain grass and the bright yellows of the daffodil meadows. Combining this re-inspired love of colour with the idea of luxury and glamour, Petra realised her new collection which fuses bold and luscious colours with a border of precious diamonds. This new opulence range beautifully bridges Petra Bettjeman Jewellery's two existing ranges of everyday luxury jewellery and custom engagement rings.
As well as trying on her most expensive diamonds (she tells us that one piece will send us to Paris and back on a very luxurious and indulgent trip), we watch ourselves as we helplessly fall for her collection of coloured diamonds; black, champagne, and yellow, cut into 'brilliance' and 'risotto' shapes. They were dazzling. And in that springtime sunshine, it became official - we are well and truly head-over-heels in love with diamonds. They are after all, as Petra reminds us, a girl's best friend.
Thank you for having us Petra. We can't wait to see the final pieces of your opulence range in store, and we'll be back for more girly dates where the conversation strictly surrounds diamonds!
Shop our collection of Petra Bettjeman Jewellery in store and online.