Sotheby's is having yet another exhibition with one particular ring valued at $1 million by jewelry designer Maggie Simpkins. The ring itself has a pink diamond surrounded by sapphires and rubies. In an interview with Forbes, Simpkins describes her ascent to professional jewelry designer, ethical sourcing and more.
Being self taught, Simpkins was asked how she'd arrived at having her own line of jewelry and having a record-breaking piece at Sotheby's, to which she said, "My journey into jewelry design truly began when I was a little girl, but it wasn't until I was 20 (13 years ago), had just dropped out of college and was living in Los Angeles, that I was given the opportunity to design for a private-label, fashion jewelry line. Within months, my designs had been purchased by BCBG and Nordstrom, I remember the first time I saw a necklace that I had designed on the BCBG website, I knew at that moment that I was on the right path and capable of one day making a living for myself from my creativity.
"So I just kept going. This meant a lot of Top Ramen for dinner, taking various jobs at different jewelry companies, learning about the industry hands-on through experience, asking a lot of questions and, of course, trial and error. Over the years I continued to experiment and make my own jewelry on the side, while working for other people, learning and as much as I could - it was enough to (barely) pay my bills and self-fund my exploration.
"These were some of the most challenging years of my life, but I always managed to somehow make ends meet and pull off whatever I had set out to do. At a certain point I started getting enough private commissions and realized that I owed it to myself to take the leap and fully go out on my own. I was terrified, but I knew it was my only option. This was back in 2015, and I haven't looked back since."
When asked how important ethical sourcing is for her pieces, Simpkins said, "Ethical sourcing is very important to me, and is also something really complicated, which is why I think it's also important to work with people who have strong ethics in general. Ethical and sustainable are really big buzz words right now, and I think it's important to not only look at sourcing in that way, but at your business as a whole. Are your business practices ethical? Are they sustainable? Are your artisans making a living wage to support their families?"
Information originally sourced from Forbes.