A clean line on the future
“It’s a diamond-shaped drop, half filled in on the piece that covers the lobe,” says jeweller Kirsten Goss of her Pyxis stud earrings, part of her latest Neo Geo and Geografik collections. “I’m inspired by the idea of merging architecture and jewellery — nature comes into it, but we’re taking it to a more futuristic level.”
Hard, clean edges have inspired other iterations in her current collections, what Goss describes as “urban chic” with “very clean lines”, a clever crossover between 1980s sensibilities and Scandinavian aesthetics.
Rather endearingly, Goss admits that she doesn’t know the names of half of her pieces — she designs them and her staff (whom she describes as “family”) pick out the right words.
February marked 10 years since Goss signed her first lease and set up shop in Kensington, London. She now has four stores: the original London shop, and three in South Africa — in Johannesburg, Cape Town and a state-of-the-art goldsmithing workshop-cum-showroom in Durban.
Goss, who studied jewellery design at Stellenbosch University and later moved to the United Kingdom, made the decision to return to South Africa “in about 2006, after we had babies”.
She exhibited in Paris for the first time in January and says the most popular pieces included the Pyxis, Origami and Mercury earrings, and her cleverly angled Tantalum and Radon bracelets.
Goss also does two annual shows in New York and regularly travels to consult with clients in Hong Kong.
Despite her business’s continued global expansion, Goss has elected to keep her production entirely local (although some materials have to be imported and then re-exported).
“It’s tempting to outsource,” she says, “because South African costs are high by world standards — we can’t really compete with India or Hong Kong. And people don’t get that every item is handcrafted from beginning to end ... that it took a full eight hours to make an earring.”
To educate her clientele, Goss has introduced a webcam in her stores that allows customers to see exactly how her jewellery is created in the Durban workshop.
Goss is the primary designer on each range and was joined last year by her former lecturer, Chantal Meyer, who co-designs and manages the manufacturing side of the operation. The Durban workshop-cum-showroom employs two senior goldsmiths and also locally trained jewellery technicians.