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Profile: Nolda Vrielink

Meet one of our exceptional designers who is featured as the first guest in a series of interviews — ‘Profile’.

The story of Nolda Vrielink’s jewelry started about 10 years ago, when she sat at the kitchen table with a friend, complaining about her office job and not getting any satisfaction from it anymore:

‘I told her I wanted to do something completely different but I did not have a clue what I wanted. My friend advised me to try to remember what things I liked to do when I was a child. Then I remembered the boxes I owned were filled with tiny beads in all colors and brass wires that I took from electrical cords, and it hit me — I wanted to make jewels with my hands and tools. But I wanted to make jewels the way they were supposed to be made.’

The choice was made to learn several goldsmith techniques at the vocational school Schoonhoven. If you are thinking that her minimalistic esthetics are coming from the education you would be wrong. At the vocational school, Nolda learned how to make classic jewels, work very precise and neat following the exact measurements. As she explains it gave her the opportunity to think about what she could and want to design.

‘During study just once in a while, we could make something using our own design. The first weeks of my training I was only practicing drawing on metal, measuring and sawing. This was hard enough in the beginning! So I learned a lot in the technical field but nothing in terms of designing.’

Nolda always had the love for designing and creating things. When she was a kid she used to spend hours playing around with very thin copper wires and tiny beads and make all kinds of jewelry out of. Even then she was making very small sized items.

‘My style is modest and simple. The majority of the jewels I make are not eye-catchers. Only if you look closely you can see the subtlety. I think this makes a piece more interesting and you don’t become bored with it.’

She is a romantic person by nature, who discover shapes and patterns by looking carefully at all things around her. Minimalism is not a chosen style, it is what makes Nolda feel relaxed, therefore she likes subtle natural colors and as she says ’emptiness…’

‘I like to make jewelry that can be worn every day. Sometimes a jewel becomes part of you because it is always there. You feel naked without it. Once I made a ring for myself. I wear it day and night for several years now. The ring is specially shaped for my finger and has become a part of it.’

‘Soldering invisible seams and forging different shapes is what I love. To me, the glow of melted gold is magic. I also love the tools I work with. The simplicity of a hammer and all it can do, for example.’

One of the values which Nolda did build her business around is to design jewels who people always want to keep or pass on:

‘I don’t want to make something that loses its value because it is out of style. I only work with precious metals which are long-lasting.’

Besides that, her work is done as sustainable as possible, because every crumb of silver is reused. By melting it, it can be used for a new piece of jewelry. The jewels are made only of genuine materials like gold and sterling silver, that are recycled or Fairtrade, sometimes pearls or gemstones.

All jewelry from Nolda Vrielink is made by hand herself. A piece originates while she is moving around pieces of silver, gold and the occasional precious stones in different shapes and colors. So designs are literally made from scratch.

‘I try all kinds of combinations until it ‘fits’. It’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle. And when according to me it ‘fits’ perfectly — that makes me very happy.’

Typical of Nolda Vrielink’s work in silver is that it always has a matted surface and a white color. Or it is oxidized and blackish. By wearing it the surface may change over time and become more personal.