Jewellery that has a story to tell

Flavia Amadeu's uber sustainable Jewellery

News, InspirationEmma René

Back in 2013 Lily Cole launched a jewellery collection made from wild Amazonian rubber, in collaboration with Sky Rainforest Rescue. It was a powerful piece of PR which set out to make people reconsider how fashion items are sourced and the impact they might have on the world.

Not only was it a beautiful collection featuring natural, wild rubber, but it had a very special story behind it. The rubber was ethically sourced from community of villagers in North West Brazil who obtain or tap the rubber from wild trees (rather than from land deforested for plantation trees). With the farmers paid fairly and the rubber sustainable, this meant the natural Amazon forest could be protected, and could be worth more alive than dead.

After being so moved by this worthy plight, I did some research and discovered that Flavia Amadeu was also an important player on this project. She was the connection with the community in Brazil, and already had her own jewellery collection made from wild rubber. I met with Flavia and briefly considered working with the rubber myself - designing my own collection to support the cause. However, I felt that Flavia was already doing amazing things that I couldn't really compete with, so I decided not to pursue it.

So I was very excited to learn today that her work and plight are now being featured in an exhibition at the V&A. Fashioned by Nature explores the complex relationship between fashion and nature, and is described as an "inspiring show determined to incite change". So I will certainly be making a visit.

You can read more about Lily Cole's collection here. and check out Flavia's awesome wild rubber jewellery collection here.

Jeweller's studio inspiration

Diary, NewsEmma René

Hoorah, finally, we moved house! It was an incredibly long process (as these things always are) and its been a very chaotic month but we are now slowly settling in. The big move has also meant a move for Narratorium's studio. We've got a completely different space to work so I thought I best get planning and put together my list of essentials and style ideas for a great jeweller's studio.

Storage inspiration, Ikea. Image from Pinterest.

Storage inspiration, Ikea. Image from Pinterest.

A Jeweller's Workbench

At the heart of any good jeweller's studio is a really good workbench. It's really worth investing in a decent one as it can last a life time and make a huge difference to the quality and efficiency of a jeweller's work. It's a slightly higher height that a regular desk or table, with a peg that's set at chest height that's central to almost every part of a jeweller's work. This workbench below is from Cookson Gold and is top of my list for the new studio.

Durston Jewellers Workbench, Cookson Gold

Durston Jewellers Workbench, Cookson Gold

Tool organisation! Image from Pinterest.

Tool organisation! Image from Pinterest.

Tool Organisation

A good jeweller can't work efficiently if they're not organised, so thinking about how best to store all of my tools is next on my list. They need to be arranged into different categories, such as filing, forming, polishing, soldering etc and need to be close to hand. Desk caddies and various tool stands are really useful, but I might also try and plan some sort of tool wall for hanging everything, as above. when all tools are super visible it makes it really easy to get to what you want.

Safety First

A jeweller's workshop can be a hazardous place to work with lots of dangerous tools, so its really important to make sure you create a safe place to work. There are a few items that are absolutely essential for working safely. A bench skin is one of them, a fire retardant leather skin that sits underneath the central working area or bench peg. It will catch dust and debris from sawing and filing, as well as anything hot that might fall off whilst soldering or heating. Other essentials include goggles, masks, fire blankets and a fire extinguisher.

Clever use of space, shelving in eaves. Image from Pinterest

Clever use of space, shelving in eaves. Image from Pinterest

Clever organisation for tools etc. Image Cox & Cox.

Clever organisation for tools etc. Image Cox & Cox.

Good Light

Good light is crucial for working at the bench, its important for showing detail whilst crafting, as well as flagging up scratches or firescale when polishing. Placing the workbench next to a window provides good natural light as well as important ventilation, so this is where I'm hoping to put mine. I will also be investing in a new lamp for the days when natural light isn't so good and for when I'm working late into the night!


Finally, there are many facets to my business that require different working areas. For example, I need a regular desk for my computer so that I can process all my admin, manage social media and other web based activities. I also want to set up a more permanent area for photographing all of my products, so that I can shoot more efficiently.

Style & Decor

Lastly, the fun part - thinking about style and decor. Ultimately it's got to be practical. A jeweller's work area is never dust or dirt free. Painted floorboards seem a good idea, so that they can be wiped down in case of spillage and show up tiny bits of silver that I'm forever losing!

As it's a working area with tools and equipment, it's naturally going to have an industrial feel about it, so I'm going to fully embrace that. I'm hoping to source some metal and wood industrial style shelving and cabinets to complete the studio's productive, hard working vibe!

Industrial style metal noticeboard,

Industrial style metal noticeboard,

Above is some of the inspiration I've found so far, and you can see more online at

Support Local Pop Up

Diary, NewsEmma René
Support Local Pop Up Tunbridge Wells
Plum & Ashby One Warwick Park
Leana Catherine Photography
Card Shop Support Local Pop Up Tunbridge Wells
Narratorium Tunbridge Wells
Leana Catherine at Support Local Pop Up

In November 2017 we got involved with Support Local Pop Up at One Warwick Park. It's a fantastic indoor space perfectly positioned at the end of the old Tunbridge Wells High Street (just before you cross over to the Pantiles) which provides small, local businesses like Narratorium with a space to sell.

Every other Sunday there is an interesting mix of local, talented small businesses selling their wares, with us being one of them of course! It's very nicely curated with no two business the same, from childrens' Tee Pee's, art, jewellery, photography sessions to homeware. Definitely worth a visit on a leisurely Sunday shop through Tunbridge Wells.

Photos by Leana Catherine
For more information visit

Finally back from Mat Leave

News, DiaryEmma René
Aubrey & Me
Aubreys feet
The family

It's been a very busy year with the arrival of our little girl Aubrey. Apologies if we've been a bit quiet and there hasn't been any new collections out for a while now - but fear not! We are slowly getting back into the swing of work after taking a years maternity leave.

Lots of exciting plans in the making, new collections and collaborations, so please watch this space! In the meantime, we are clearing some end of line stock - so why not check out the Narratorium's OUTLET at Etsy and grab yourself a bargain!

The Chinese Weekly Interview

NewsEmma René

Very excited to be featured in The Chinese Weekly magazine in the UK this October. The interview took place at our studio where we spoke about everything from our inspirations to plans for the future. Grab yourself a copy - but only if you can read Mandarin!

For everyone else, here's the article translated!

The British Independent Jewellery Brand, Narratorium
Wear your story

Those wonderful experiences in life, in what ways will you record these down? Text would be the usual practice, a more artsy way would be through drawings or song composing. Emma Rene, the designer of the British independent jewellery brand, Narratorium, chose to express those touching moments through handmade jewellery. She thinks: the story behind a piece of jewellery is exactly its soul, with the power to win people’s hearts.

On the day I visited the Narratorium studio, there were light showers, the moment I arrived I noticed Emma collected many unique exotic decorations, like the china doll wearing Qing Dynasty costume, Southeast Asian style buddist statues, Indian handicraft… Trust these different cultural elements have given Emma a lot of inspirations, so I can’t wait to hear about her story.

Narratorium was founded in early 2015, but early as four years ago, Emma started preparation work. “The initial idea was due to a trip to China, that led me realise richness that culture has. China has so many interesting cultural elements, that gave me such great visual impact!” After the trip, Emma then wants to use a special way of media to record it down the stories she saw and experienced during the journey. In the end she decided on jewellery design. 

Most of Emma’s inspiration comes from the things she see and hear during travelling. Every time she travels, she would take a lot of photos, write down her moments in her diary, and when she designs, she would recall her feelings based on these information, lastly to record them through shapes.

“The collections that are already for sale, are mostly inspired by Chinese cultural elements,” Emma says. She picked up a necklace she was wearing – “Lovelock”, and told me about its story: a few years ago, when she and her husband were hiking up the Sichuan Mount Emei, they saw many lovers would hang this kind of locks on the fences at the peak, and would throw away the keys once they are locked, signifies the eternity of love. “At the time we also locked one there, and we also saw the sunrise at the peak. I was so touched by that day’s experience, so memorable, and also gave me my initial inspirations.” Many experiences during travel would give Emma the urge to design. She would record these ideas in a sketch book, and take the time to think whether the form or the meaning of these would become her inspiration. 

The design of “Lovelock” is inspired by its form, whilst another best-selling piece “Lun Yu” is inspired by Confucius Philosophy. Emma has her own view on Confucius “Lun Yu” philosophy, “Confucius philosophy has its wisdom, at the same time simple. Many phrases in ‘Lun Yu’ seem simple, but after repeat thinking you’ll be inspired, these principles are great wisdom in daily life. That’s why in this collection, I use the most common silver-based material and basic geometric shapes.” The style of “Lun Yu” collection is all very simple, with highlight being the embossed words on the pendant. The two designs each took the quote from “Lun Yu”, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart” and “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Emma told me, this collection has the highest clickthroughs and is the best selling among her current designs. This surprised me, because as a piece of accessory, the style of it is really very simple. So what attracts the consumers must be the story behind the necklace, which is also ‘ the soul of jewellery’ that Emma persists on. 

Emma’s specialty is graphic design, before that she did not received any professional jewellery design qualification, but this is also what made Narratorium special, she said “my professional background is more towards creative design, such as innovation on graphics and textures, I can therefore think outside of ordinary jewellery design, and further pay attention to the relationship between the style of jewellery and the story behind." Apart from learning the design and making of jewellery, Emma also learnt about developing start ups for creative brands at the School for Creative Startups in London, which deepened her understanding in brand management.

"The focus of my designs is not on the incision and handcraft, I'm more concerned on developing the connection between the jewellery and its owner. Therefore I will usually use silver materials, silk or ceramics these recyclable materials," she said. In London, Emma would always enjoy lingering in the small shops, only to find those special moments. "You can always find unexpected discoveries in antique markets. Some of the special items, or even broken pieces, I will buy them, and trace their stories. If this story touches me, I will bring it to my design, giving it new form of energy." 

The "past life" of "Koi" comes from a vintage arts craft shop. This broken piece is originally part of an art piece. Emma brought it home and after doing some research, she found that this is a decoration of a mother of pearl game calculator imported from an East Indian company during 19th century, and "koi" often signals luck in most East Asian culture. She said, "I want to pass on this kind of ancient blessings, that's why I used it in my latest designs." In Emma's design philosophy, accessories are not simply for decoration, in some sense they allow you to devote your emotions. People will bring the piece of accessory home due to the story behind it, and will also create new stories with it, this is a truly amazing experience.

Even though Narratorium has only been established for about half a year, it has already gained a lot of attention. It was published in the British Vogue in March, and part of the collection was featured in the local British magazine, House of Coco. Narratorium as a brand is also gradually going on the right track, but Emma insists every piece is solely handmade, and is vey hands on from choosing the materials to packaging.  "When I first started the brand I just wanted to record my own stories, then I realise customers who like my brand are also touched by these stories. I hope to pass this sentiment on to everyone through my work," Emma said. 

Best of Britannia London 2015

DiaryEmma René

We were at Best of Britannia in Shoreditch, London this week showcasing our unique jewellery. It was an great show, championing the very best of emerging British designer makers. There was all sorts going on including lots of delicious food stalls and a DJ set from the fantastic Norman Jay. And to top it all off, the sun was shining!

Best of Britannia 2015 London Exhibitor
Best of Britannia 2015 London Courtyard
Best of Britannia 2015 Narratorium Display

Wokit Story Jars

DiaryEmma René

In June 2015 Narratorium took over the display jars in Wokit at Borough Market London. We were briefed to create an interesting installation which occupied a whopping 55 pickling jars around the walls of the restaurant.

We decided to create 'Story Jars' with each jar housing a unique piece of our beautiful, Asian inspired jewellery. Our pieces were draped across bamboo sticks with book pages as leaves, and each jar had a luggage tag which told the evocative story of the piece inside.

So whilst customers waited for their tasty pots of Asian noodles, they could digest a fascinating short story or two, as well as enter our competition to win their favourite piece of jewellery. Our lucky winner choose an elegant Lovelock Pendant in Rouge.

Pastel Dreams

News, Style, FashionEmma René

Very excited to have our lovely Teal Lovelock Pendant featured in a Spring Trends feature on Instagram, Pastel Dreams, Styled and Art Directed by Natasha Freeman. This beautiful set features dreamy pastel shades and all clothing sourced from the ‘Great British’ high street, visit Natasha's blog to find out what the models are wearing.

Natasha has been styling for almost a decade for a variety of commercial and editorial clients in fashion, lifestyle and advertising. Clients include Fendi, Timberland, Dove, TRESemme, House of Fraser, Boots, Grazia, Glamour, Vodafone, McDonalds, Disney, Natwest, Sainsbury's and John Lewis. 

Photographer - Phil Suddick  Models - Cheyenne @ Elite | Ivane @ Profile  | Wei -Lin @ Nevs  Hair & Make Up – Anna Wild and Joe Pickering Casting – The Eye

Worry dolls

InspirationEmma René
Guatemalan Worry Doll Art
Quitapenas Art

On our travels through Guatemala recently, we came across a great gallery in Antigua called Casa Des Artes. There were all sorts of interesting antiques and curios, but one slightly more modern piece caught our eye. Originally designed as a glass tray, this lovely piece has 'quitapenas' or worry dolls trapped between two panes of glass. We really liked the idea of trapping your worries away and though it was a stylish modern twist on an old Guatemalan tradition. So we've put one up as a piece of art at home.

Behind our first photoshoot

DiaryEmma René
Narratorium Paper Props & Set Plan
Narratorium Fortune Collection Paper Props
Narratorium Product Shots
Narratorium Shoot Behind the Scenes
Narratorium Porcelain Set
Narratorium Lovelock Collection

Behind the scenes at the Narratoriums first photoshoot. Working with the very talented photographer Kristy Noble and stylist Lora Avedian to create our original, intricate paper sets which were designed to tell the unique stories behind our brand new collections.

For example, the Lovelock Collection set was designed to reflect the mountains from the love story in Huangshan, China, where the tradition of leaving a keyless padlock originated. We created paper boulders to present the jewellery and delicate paper Ginko leaves as foliage to decorate the set, using different background papers to add depth.

Hebridean Hues

Inspiration, Culture, TravelEmma René
Lewis sand ripples
Peaks of Harris & Lewis
Harris Weavers Loom
Harris Wool
Hedridean Harris Tweed

Early September we visited the Isles of Harris & Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Barren yet beautiful the isles are famous for Harris Tweed which can only be made there.  We stayed at a master weavers cottage and were able to learn about the process first hand.

We fell in love with a particular piece of fabric that our weaver had created on his loom. The colours of the weave beautifully captured the heathery, earthy hues of the landscape. So we bought a piece to turn into a project at home!

My Country Business Awards 2014

Diary, NewsEmma René
My Country Business Awards 2014

This month the Narratorium has been shortlisted by The Country Homes & Interiors magazine for the My Country Business Awards 2014. The awards were set up to showcase, champion and support women in business outside of major cities. Narratorium made the shortlist alongside 4 other companies under the Fashion category. Watch this space!

Makegood at Old Selfridges Hotel

Diary, NewsEmma René
Makegood Old Selfridges Hotel
Ceur Makegood S4CS
Makegood Talks
Cocoa Hernando Makegood

In May 2014 we said our first 'Hello' to the world at Old Selfridges Hotel. Makegood was a 3 day festival showcasing over 100 brand new creative start ups, including the Narratorium. It was supported by big names such as Cath Kidston, Mark Dolan and Dan Germain from Innocent, and was the culmination of a years worth of learning done at School for Creative Start Ups aka S4CS.